Just another day in the studio. Scrolling through casting sites searching for potential auditions. Maybe looking through the inbox for opportunity from an agent or a lead you’ve been cultivating on your own.
Then you find it.
The job with the four words voice actors dread most.
Suddenly, your entire mood shifts. Your good morning just became a bad day and you’re pissed off.
“Here we go again,” you think to yourself.
“Another cheapskate seeker trying to screw over voice actors and get something for nothing.”
Giving the Benefit of the Doubt
I’m not really sure what it is about our industry, be talent seemed to be pre-programmed to assume the worst when project rates and specs don’t align with their idea of what is fair and proper.
We take to social media to air our grievances. Venting aloud all over Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn.
Can I just be really brutally honest?
Sometimes it’s embarrassing. For the person venting, for the people who join the party, and for our industry as a whole.
I have a working mantra in my life and business. I will always give someone the benefit of the doubt until they give me a reason to not.
In other words… innocent until proven guilty.
When a client hits me with an unrealistic budget, I don’t get angry and shame them on social media.
I have a conversation with them. Respectfully. Professionally.
After all, we are supposed to be professional voice actors aren’t we?
It’s About Education
Here’s something I’ve learned over the years… most clients don’t actually have a clue. They’re trying to muddle their way through rates and usage and budgets and such based on whatever little pieces of information they can find online.
Remember, for some reason, most VO’s have sworn their rates and such to absolute secrecy… so how is a voice seeker supposed to learn?
There’s no information online readily available for them!
Let me also remind you of this fact… not that many years ago, agents handled all of this stuff. You know, before online casting ever existed and long before talent started working directly with clients.
Negotiating Like a Business Owner
You’re a #vopreneur. This is something I teach and believe fully. You’re not just a creative. Not just a talent. You’re also an entrepreneur and you’re running a small business. Which means, like any business owner, you better be prepared to educate and negotiate!
When the rates don’t line up, rather than shaming the client or dumping the audition, what if you took the time to actually submit a professional proposal? One that clearly outlines the how and why of your quote?
How else are seekers ever going to learn?
Oh, and one more thing… stop assuming they’re all trying to screw you. Maybe they just genuinely don’t know any better!
Four Words Voice Actors Dread Most
What are those four words? The ones that ruin your day and start this entire conversation?
Fully Buyout in Perpetuity
Based on my own research, you’d be amazed at how many people include this in their job specs simply because they assume it’s industry common. Half of them don’t even know what it actually means.
After I explain it to them, they get it. Most of them remove it.
For the ones who don’t get or don’t remove it, you have two choices. You can either a) get really angry and vent on social media or b) move on, because this is someone you don’t want to work with anyway.
As a voice over community, it’s my belief that our responsibility isn’t simply to record the jobs, but also to educate those who would hire us on what is fair, standard and acceptable in our industry.
That’s what a professional voice actor does.
That’s what a #vopreneur does.
If we don’t… who will?
Want to be part of the solution? Consider a membership with World-Voices. Join them as they advocate for our industry, including fair rates and best practices. Find out more at https://world-voices.org.