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An Interview with Kevin West of VOPlanet – Part 2

This is a continuation (and the conclusion) of my interview with Kevin West of the recently relaunched To read Part 1 please click here.

Marc: Will membership be capped? Or could we see another casting site boasting 200,000+ voice actors?

Kevin: We will never have 200,00 voice actors! If we do get 200,000 I am totally moving to Canada! Does VDC really have 200,000? The serious answer is the others do not have that many voiceover people. What they have are hundreds of thousands of untrained members. Anyone with a credit card can sign up on those sites and call themselves “pro vo talent.”

We’re not interested in profiting from the high turnover of people who think they might want to try being a voice actor. We want quality over quantity. We are happy to have enough pro voiceover actors in each category to give our voice buyers all the auditions they need to be thrilled with their job posts. We will certainly cap our membership when we get there.

Marc: What role does VOPlanet play in the casting process? Is it simply a matchmaker? Or can talent expect them to act as a middleman between them and the seeker?

Kevin: We are matchmakers. We do not pay talent or get mixed up in the money at all. No casting fees, no percentages, no altered budgets. We’re completely transparent. That is where the other guys went wrong. Buyers and voice actors work direct at VOP.

We designed the voice actor profiles to clearly highlight their direct contact information. Your personal website, your email address – all easy to find.

At V123 your website link is written in tiny little letters at the very bottom of the screen? Why? Why do they hide your direct contact info? Why do they make you pay FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to see every job posted that fits you? Everyone sees every single job on VOP and that is included with our industry low annual membership fee of $199.

Marc: One of the problems many talent have with other casting sites is that within 15 minutes of a job posting going live, 200 people have already submitted. Is VOPlanet doing anything differently to control the audition process?

Kevin: I have cast more than ten thousand vo projects using every platform out there. You get 100 auditions. I can easily evaluate 100 auditions in a few minutes. I can tell within 3 seconds if a voice is a contender. Most auditions are not what the client is asking for, and I am happy to have more to choose from. Even the ones that come in late in the casting. This is an unnecessary fear among voice actors. I am telling you that from the casting side, two hundred auditions are not a problem. And yes, we do listen to all the auditions.

Marc: Casting sites are in a challenging position where they’re trying to keep both sides of the table happy, that being talent and seeker. What kind of commitment is VOPlanet making to ongoing dialogue with the voice over community and accepting viable / valuable suggestions that may be presented?

Kevin: By simply asking both sides what they need and finding common ground. Ask around. We have been in every vo group asking questions and the same with voice buyers. Voice actors want more jobs at better pay. Clients want better voices at a fair price. Both want transparency. And that is what you get at

Marc: People that have been around this industry for a while remember VOPlanet from days gone by, and many don’t have fond memories from the end. What are you doing to reset the stage, so to speak? What messages would you like talent to hear so they’ll considering giving the site a second chance?

Kevin: When we took over the previous owner had become a minister and the site was no longer her key focus. The site lost momentum. We bought out those folks, built a brand-new site and are on the streets busting it to get gigs for our members. To us it is a new voiceover platform with the unique advantage of a client list that goes back more than a decade. Christine and I have been casting vo through our audio production site since 2005. This is not our first voice-over venture. Come join us. We will take care of you.

Marc: Thanks again, Kevin, for your willingness to answer some questions. Is there’s anything else you want the community to hear?

Kevin: There is a better way to do voiceover. Corporate sites are lowering voiceover rates, taking more than their share of the budget and funneling jobs to select voice artists. It is time to change your voiceover site. And it is time for voice buyers to change their voiceover casting site. is here to help! Thanks for the chance to share our vision Marc!

Marc: Do you have plans to offer a monthly option for people who want to test the site first before putting $200 down?

Kevin: We understand folks want to kick the tires a bit and take VOP out for a spin. That’s one of the reasons we post peeks at our jobs board on our Facebook page @voplanetofficial. We know you are curious about the jobs. We’re seeing nice jobs with fair rates. We have turned down some low paying jobs. We are not offering monthly memberships at the moment. We appreciate you letting us know that’s being asked. Great ideas from the vo community are vital to VOPlanet in building our community and setting our path.

Want to know more about the new #VOPlanet casting site? Kevin West answers your questions.
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Ready to Join?

For those of you familiar with me and my coaching, you know that I teach direct marketing. I encourage talent to NOT rely on casting sites to build their client lists and grow their businesses. I also believe that many of the casting sites out there do not have the best interests of talent in mind. Those sites are only interested in building their bank accounts, not yours.

With that said, having heard what Kevin has to say, I feel good about spreading the word about VOPlanet. He knows what he’s doing. He cares about the VO community. He’s trying to create something different. This is a business model I can get behind.

Casting sites still should only be ONE tool in your voice over toolbox, don’t ever forget that. VOPlanet could certainly be one of those tools.

Interested in joining? Visit Membership is currently $199 USD / year.

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An Interview with Kevin West of VOPlanet – Part 1

When word hit the interwebs that was returning to the casting site world, the voice over community was buzzing. Everyone wanted to know what the story was. Some talent who had been around for a while recalled VOPlanet from a number of years ago. It was a major player for a season, but then slowly faded away to the background. That is, until Kevin West came in to revive it.

Does the world really need another casting site? After all, it seems like a new one is popping up and asking for our membership dollars just about every week. Well, that’s one of the questions I actually asked Kevin, who was more than willing to answer!

One thing remains prevalent in our industry. After the VCD fiasco, talent aren’t going to trust any site that doesn’t offer transparency and a reasonable level of accountability to the community at large. We also want to know we’re getting fair opportunities at fair rates.

Will VOPlanet deliver? Read on for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Kevin West of VOPlanet Answers Your Questions

Marc: When the community heard about launching (or re-launching) many said, “Oh great. Another pay-to-play.” SO what sets VOPlanet apart from all the other casting sites trying to collect membership dollars? How is it unique?

Kevin: What’s great about your question is it’s the same first question we asked ourselves! How to build a P2P in 2018 is very clear: treat people better. The market very clearly demanded an alternative to the big greedy corporate sites. So, we asked the voiceover community what they felt was wrong with P2P and using that guidance built a voiceover platform that avoids the mistakes the other sites have been making.

My partner Christine Bloxom and I created a professional, transparent, work-direct P2P that’s actively being shaped by the requests and needs of the members.

Marc: Recognizing it’s still early in the launch, approximately how many opportunities a week are being posted on the site. Can you give us an approximate breakdown of male/female, languages and genres of work? What is the goal you’re targeting for the number of postings weekly?

Kevin: We are only in our fourth week and we are seeing jobs posted daily. There are hundreds of voice actors in about six languages split evenly male and female and we are adding members every day. All genres of work have been posted.

Our goal is “everyone works.” We’re working hard to attract better paying clients and jobs. We will push until everyone is auditioning multiple times daily.

Marc: What is VOPlanet doing to protect industry standard rates? Are budgets set or is there bidding? Is there a minimum rate or suggested rate card for voice seekers?

Kevin: We are not only working to protect standard rates, we are working to raise them. Another VOPlanet difference! A BIG difference! VOP created a no underbidding policy. We do not allow bidding lower than the proposed budget, which means no undercutting other voice actors. Think about that. While the big corporate sites have all encouraged a race to the bottom with bidding on voiceover rates for the past 15 years, we said enough.

Times have changed. If you feel the budget for a gig is too low, we encourage you to bid HIGHER than the client’s proposed budget. And you can tell the client why! It’s all built in our auditioning dash. No low bids? Please bid higher? Those are VOPlanet exclusives and our way of protecting rates, making our industry stronger and treating our people better.

Marc: Does VOPlanet do anything to vet talent? Are there any requirements or expectations talent must meet? Or can anyone with a microphone sign up?

Kevin: We are a professionals-only voiceover community. You must be an experienced, working professional with a professional studio. We listen to every demo and look at every vo site of every talent that registers. Expect to be asked to leave if you are not a pro. We’ll point you in the right direction of voice coaches and demo producers if you do not meet the requirements.

Marc: Within the industry, it’s no secret that VDC has an ad budget most can’t compete with. What kind of strategies does VOPlanet have for finding work and bringing opportunity to the site (without giving away any secrets)?

Kevin: VDC also has a reputation that clearly works to VOP’s advantage. We do not require millions in ad money when we have some of the strongest word of mouth networking of any P2P site in history. This at the very same moment the voiceover world is being turned upside down by corruption. Voice buyers and voice actors are searching for an honest alternative and we believe is clearly the best choice.

Kevin West of #VOPlanet answers your questions about the new casting site. Read on! #vopreneur
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Part 2 of the Interview

Kevin wasn’t done answering your questions. To see the rest of the questions and his responses, please read Part 2 of the interview available by clicking here.

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What Do I Include In A Casting Site Audition Proposal?

Whether it’s sending an email or writing a note through a casting site platform, few things seem to confound the working voice actor more than trying to figure out what to say… which is kind of ironic, don’t you think? Guess we’re just too used to working off scripts!

I’ve had so many voice actors reach out to me for help with email marketing that I actually made my email templates available for purchase. It makes life easier when you can basically copy and paste. Takes the guesswork out.

But what about casting sites? What are you supposed to include in the little box that allows you to write a proposal with your audition?

Consider the Audience You’re Writing To

First things first… keep in mind audition count.

What I mean by that is, if the audition is unlimited and there are 200 voice actors submitting (not uncommon), what that translates to is, the voice seeker is going to have 200 of those messages waiting for them to be read.

Put yourself in their shoes. Would you have time to read 200 messages? Do you want to read 200 messages?

Your audition proposal needs to be short.

Read that again.

Your audition proposal NEEDS TO BE SHORT.

In your audition note, address the most important questions a client wants answered. #vopreneur
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What To Include In Your Audition Note

Length: If it’s more than a few sentences, I guarantee you it’s not getting read. Your note doesn’t need to resolve all the concerns of the entire project. That can (and will) happen after you book it. So don’t include every last detail and don’t write your life story.

Delivery: The most important question on a clients mind (perhaps only next to budget – which are often set already) is, “how fast can you turn this project around.” Answer this question. Briefly. Can you deliver same day? Within 24 hours? Do you need 48 to turn it around? In one sentence, give an accurate estimate of your delivery time.

Budget: If the project asks for quote, include it. My preference is to just give them ONE number. I’ve received auditions in the past that line list expenses. I don’t care. Most voice seekers don’t either. “My quote for this project is….” That’s it. Say no more in the audition note. You can break it down more thoroughly later, if necessary… after you book the job.

Retakes & Revisions: Clearly and concisely outline your policy for retakes and revisions. “I do not bill for retakes that are due to my read. Revisions as a result of script changes after the final recording will be subject to additional billing based on the scope of work required.” If you’d like to copy and paste that, feel free. That sentence answers the question enough for the sake of an audition. You can dig in deeper together… after you book the job.

Thank You: Call me old fashioned, but I still think it’s a sign of respect to show a little gratitude. It’s something I see happening less and less and that makes me sad. “Thanks for the opportunity and your consideration. I appreciate it.” Something like that is often how I end every note.

Be Thorough | Be Brief

It’s possible to do both. Answer the most important questions the voice seeker is likely to be asking. That’s being thorough. Do it in a couple sentences. That’s being brief. All the rest of the information you want to include, like details about your studio… sorry… but nobody cares. Unless they’re specifically asking for Source Connect or ISDN. In which case, you wouldn’t audition if you didn’t have it. Which means it’s assumed you do have it. Which means you don’t need to tell them.

In other words, just give them the necessary information THEY care about it. Leave the other details to discuss later…

After you book the job! 😉

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How to Respond to Production Houses That Only Use Casting Sites

When you’re direct marketing your voice over business to potential leads, one of the inevitable responses you’ll receive is that the production house doesn’t keep a roster of voice actors because they book all their talent through online casting sites.

Great. Now what. You’re trying not to use casting sites!

There are a couple options you have when faced with this response.

How to Respond to Production Houses That Only Use Casting Sites

If you do have a casting site membership, the most obvious response is to send them a reply and include a link to your profile. Invite them to add you to their list of favorites. Let them know you’d happily audition for any project they post that fits your profile. Also suggest to them that if they send you direct invitations, it’ll guarantee you see their casting and can reply promptly.

One key to remember when you’re writing your reply… word it so it offers them benefit. As with the direct invitation. It’s not about you getting an opportunity. It’s about them receiving a prompt audition.

If you don’t have a casting site membership, you can still have a free profile. Though I’d personally not recommend associating yourself with Voices dot com for their abhorrent business practices, there’s nothing wrong with setting up your free profile on Voice123. With a free profile potential clients can still invite you to audition.

This is all well and good if you’re on the casting sites. What about if you’re not? What if you don’t even have a free profile?

In that case, the best you can do is to offer a benefit statement that may spark their interest in you.

Let them know you don’t use online casting sites. However, if they’re ever in need of a voice over they think you may be right for, or perhaps they don’t find what they’re looking for on the casting site, let them know you’ll happily audition for them any time and that they can reach out to you directly.

Find a way to speak to the ease of using you. Direct communication. No middlemen. Quicker turnaround.

When a company says they only source #voiceover through a casting site, offer a benefit to spark their interest.
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The 10,000 Pound Casting Elephant In The Room

What do I do when a lead says they use Voices dot com?

Most talent want to take full advantage of this to launch into a diatribe about the casting site, it’s loathsome policies and how it’s generally considered to bring about the voice over industry apocalypse.

Might I suggest a more subtle approach?

Here’s my response; “Unfortunately due to questionable business practices that didn’t always align with the best interests of my clients and business, I’ve chosen to no longer associate with Voices dot com. However, if there’s ever an opportunity where I could assist you directly, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

That’s my best diplomatic response. Sometimes it opens the door to further conversation. Sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, it makes a point without making you look like a jerk!

As I always say, marketing is a numbers game. You may not get the results you want when companies rely on casting sites, but you never know when a window of opportunity may open. I’ve had success with this approach in the past. I know you can too!

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I Don’t Need Help – 4 Dangerous Words

People come to me on a daily basis looking for advice about one thing or another as it relates to their voice over business. When they’re coming to me, generally they’re looking for help with marketing, social media, goal setting, etc. Although, I still get a lot of inquiries about demos, home studio and performance to name a few.

Most of the people that reach out are looking for help and happy to get it, in whatever form that may be.

Others, not so much.

Too Good For Guidance

For example, when someone comes to me for marketing help, the first thing I ask is to hear their demos. Before I’ll ever do any coaching with a talent, I need to know they’ve got a marketable demo. Without that, my advice to them would be useless and I won’t take their money for something they can’t use.

When I hear a demo I don’t think they should market, I say so. I’ll suggest further coaching and a new demo when they’re ready. Of course, this isn’t what they want to hear. They want to market themselves now. Find work now. Book gigs now. Make money now.

“I don’t need help,” they tell me. Speaking of their performance or ability.

At this point, there’s nothing I can do for them.

Don’t Stay Stuck

When I first joined Voice123 back in 2008 or 2009, I booked on the site about weekly. My audition to booking ratio was great and I credit the site with leading me to some really fantastic clients. Clients I still work with to this day.

A few years ago, I let all my casting site memberships slide. I had no need for them. I was too busy with my own clients. I didn’t have a lot of time for auditioning and saw no real value in me having a membership. Some castings I let go for other reasons. *cough* * cough* * gouging talent and budgets* *cough* *cough*

In the fall, Voice123 offered a really awesome deal on a membership and I decided I’d give it another shot. What the heck. Why not?

My experience on Voice123 this time has been a lot different. I haven’t booked a single gig. Granted, I’m still extremely busy with my own clients and definitely don’t audition as much as I should. Some weeks, I don’t audition at all. That said, I was still surprised I hadn’t booked anything. Especially considering how well I do on my own.

Top #voiceover talent stay that way with coaching.
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That’s why I reached out to J Michael Collins. Nobody does casting sites better than J Michael Collins.

My note to him was simple. I stated that I’d like to book him for an hour of coaching and have him listen to some of my Voice123 auditions where I received bad reviews, despite them being for jobs in my speciality genres. I wanted to get a second opinion.

Many Voice Seekers don’t know how to use the ranking system on Voice123. The site has admitted as much. So I know bad rankings aren’t always a reflection of the audition or talent. Still, I want to cover my bases. I want to be sure.

I Don’t Need Help – 4 Dangerous Words

Even as a successful voice actor with a six figure income, I know when I need help and I’m not too proud to ask for it.

As you grow into your business and develop as a talent, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. But ever be too proud. Don’t even be too embarrassed. Don’t ever be too afraid.

If someone suggests you might need help in a particular area, listen to them!

Four of the most dangerous words a voice actor can speak are, “I don’t need help.”

Einstein said it best, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Don’t let yourself die!