Some of you have heard there’s a new voice over casting site on the world wide web, and a few of you actually asked me personally if I’d try and get an interview with the site. So that’s what I did. I reached out to site founder Keith Gilbert to find out more.
Marc: Keith, tell us a bit about your background. Are you a working voice talent? What experience do you bring to a voice over casting site?
Keith: I am not a voice actor — I’ll be honest, my voice is just not cut out for it. But that’s actually the reason for my first contact with the voice acting world. As an internet entrepreneur for almost 10 years, developing websites and producing videos has led to hiring many different voice actors from various sources (I used my own voice for videos in the beginning, but soon realized that I was much better off hiring a professional!)
As a result of being on the hiring side of things, I understand exactly what businesses, organizations, and individuals are looking for when they seek voice actors. And I think this will benefit the voice acting community, because VoiceGarden can bring more business to voice actors, as it provides exactly what voice seekers need.
Marc: Some talent are already saying, “Just what we need. ANOTHER pay to play site.” What’s going to make Voice Garden different from all the rest?
Keith: At VoiceGarden, one of the biggest differences is that we don’t charge any kind of monthly or yearly fee. Personally, I don’t think it’s very fair to charge hundreds of dollars just to have your voice acting profile listed on a website, or to have your auditions limited unless you upgrade your account. That’s why it’s free to have an account at VoiceGarden. We only have a small earnings fee.
Marc: Will you limit the talent pool? Or will anyone with a microphone and a demo be allowed to join? Explain the talent selection process.
Keith: Anyone can join, and we only screen accounts for abuse, fraud, unprofessionalism, and so on. While this may seem a bit surprising to veterans in the voice acting community, our opinion is that the “cream will rise to the top,” so to speak. Frankly, if your work just isn’t good, you may get feedback on your samples, but you’re just not going to get picked for many projects. On the other hand, if you have a great voice, talent, training, and the right equipment, you’re going to be awarded projects.
Marc: How will the casting / audition process work?
Keith: The “audition” process at VoiceGarden is a little different. If you are a voice actor and interested in a certain project, you are required to submit a 30+ second sample of the actual script for that project. (You cannot simply submit a demo reel or generic sample.) Instead of waiting to get invited to a certain project, you can simply browse through projects and see which projects fit your voice as an actor, and submit a sample to any that fit you. After the project creator reviews the submitted samples, they will pick the voice that they like the best for the project. If it is you, you will then submit the finished voiceover to them, and the project will be finalized.
Marc: How does membership work for talent? Is it subscription based or commission based? What are the rates and/or percentages?
Keith: We only charge a 10% fee of any earnings from projects that you are awarded. Since we’re a new website, as well as being in beta, we’re even waiving this fee until April 2014 — so no fees of any kind until then, period. If you are awarded a job for $99, you’ll get paid $99. And as I mentioned before, there are no monthly or yearly fees.
Marc: Will the site have a fixed rate card or will clients post their own budgets? Will there be minimum standards for budgets that are in line with industry averages?
Keith: It’s both. It’s hard to make everyone happy, but at VoiceGarden, we’re trying to walk the fine line between business and organizations that are wanting to define their budget exactly and to get better deals, and the voice actors who are wanting better pay. To accomplish this, we do allow the project creators to define their budgets exactly (although we have minimums), but at the same time, we recommend budgets that are somewhat above going freelance rates for voiceovers on the internet. To get details, please visit the pricing page on our website.
Marc: When does the site officially launch? What sort of marketing are you doing to prepare for the launch?
Keith: We intend to fully launch by November 19, 2013, if not sooner. We’ve gotten a large number of signups from voice actors. Our next step is to reach businesses and organizations who need voiceovers created. Without sharing the details of our strategies, I will say that we do have a great marketing plan in place, which we’ll start to implement in the coming days.
Marc: Is there anything else you’d like to share or think we should know?
Keith: I’d just like to thank the voice actors who have joined the site so far and sent in enthusiastic and encouraging comments. I’ve been overwhelmed with all the response from these voice actors. It’s truly inspiring, and I look forward to working with them more.
Visit VoiceGarden and sign up for an account at voicegarden.com