People often ask me, “Marc, why are you so against Pay To Play voice over casting sites?”
Thing is, I’m not. Not specifically, anyway.
It’s more that, in my own career, I’ve evolved beyond them. I choose not to pay for memberships with any of the casting sites. This doesn’t mean I’m against them. It’s just a choice based on what works for me and my business.
Do I share my opinions on the subject of Pay To Plays? Sure I do. I blog. That’s half of what blogging is. Sharing opinions. Isn’t it? Further to that point, because I’ve previously paid for memberships on all the big players in the online casting game, I believe I have an educated opinion.
Why don’t I use them anymore? Well, there are a few reasons. Not the least of which is, I jumped into voice over with both feet because I wanted to be in control of my career and my lifestyle. I wanted to call the shots. Make the decisions. The buck stops with me. My level of success (or failure) would be of my own doing.
Pay To Play sites, over time, took that away from me.
My Thoughts On Pay To Play Casting Sites
Consider some of these points..
- Sites no longer allowing direct communication with clients, inhibiting my ability to provide exceptional service and also making it difficult to form long term relationships.
- Sites inserting middlemen (Project Managers) into the equation, adding another unnecessary layer of complexity to a process that doesn’t need to be complex. Voice Seeker + Voice Talent = Voice Over. It can be that easy!
- Sites raising membership rates (to outrageous levels) while limiting the number of opportunities talent receive.
- Sites charging membership fees AND commissions.
- Sites dictating my value as a talent by setting and controlling rates.
After taking some time to reflect on the entire process, what I realized was, I was paying people to control a significant portion of my time, career and success. In return, I wasn’t receiving a lot of value… if any.
“Here’s $400 so you can limit my opportunities, prevent direct client contact, manage my work, take a commission and pay me less than I’d make if I booked this job on my own.”
When you put it like that, it seems kinda absurd, doesn’t it?
The Price Of Doing Business
What you need to understand is, Pay To Play casting sites are a business. Like any other business, voice over related or not, they’re out to make a profit. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m out to make a profit! We’re all trying to make a profit. Earn a living. Pay some bills. Have some fun. Support our families.
That doesn’t make us bad people.
With the Pay To Plays, I simply found that over time, as their emphasis on profits and bottom lines for their businesses grew, my profit margin with them shrank. Substantially. The price of doing business with them simply grew too steep for my liking. Not only financially, but in my time as well.
I wouldn’t say any of the major Pay To Play sites were ever overly talent focused. I started using them around 2007, maybe. I will say in the last year or two, all of them have pretty much stopped giving a second thought to talent and our concerns whatsoever.
They’re just cashing those membership cheques and hauling money to the bank.
That’s their right as business owners.
I’m not against Pay To Play casting sites. I just don’t have much interest in doing business with them anymore.
A New Alternative For Voice Casting
What really irks me is how much time, effort and energy is devoted to public floggings of the Pay To Plays for their business practices. How long can you beat a dead horse before you find a new way to fill your time?
Somewhere along the way we (as talent) must draw a line in the sand. Are we going to continue to lend our voice (in whatever capacity) to the problem(s)? Or will we lend it to the solution?
Personally, I want to start focusing on the solution. I believe that solution could be VoiceOver.biz. Does it need work? Sure. But could it be something great for us as talent? Unquestionably.
Want to start being part of the solution? Let me encourage you to spend some time researching World-Voices and consider joining.