This is a continuation (and the conclusion) of my interview with Kevin West of the recently relaunched VOPlanet.com. 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 VOPlanet.com.
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 VOPlanet.com 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. VOPlanet.com 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.
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 VOPlanet.com. Membership is currently $199 USD / year.