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Four Words Voice Actors Dread Most

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?

Stop assuming #voiceover clients are trying to screw you on rates. Have a professional conversation with them instead. #vopreneur
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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

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World-Voices created to be a talent directory… and that’s exactly what is is. A talent directory… just like they said.

Just like they’ve repeated.


It seems like every time Voices dot com does something disruptive, the cries go up, once again, for World-Voices to turn into the solution and savior we’re all looking for.

It’s still a talent directory.

Just like they said it would be. Isn’t The Solution You’re Looking For

Online casting isn’t going away. This is something we’re all too well aware of. However, if online casting is going to remain fair and lucrative for serious voice actors, admittedly, we may need an alternative to Voices dot com. is not it.

A searchable database of professional talent has a place and purpose. But it’s only going to take us so far.

The reality is, most people seeking a voice want the quick and easy fix.

Like it or not, Voices dot com offers that. Post your project. Collect auditions. Hire. The end. Heck, if you want, for the low low fee of 40-80% of your budget (unbeknownst to you, of course) Voices dot com will even handle the entire deal for you! doesn’t do that.

Nor, do I suspect, will it ever.

Unless someone is planning to infuse tens of millions of dollars in the bank account.

Remember, Voices dot com didn’t become the juggernaut they are, for free! There are, quite literally, tens of millions of dollars on the books to build the infrastructure and help them operate and grow daily.

At the end of the day, the success of your business falls on you and how you choose run it.
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There are a couple bigger issues at play, as I see it.

1) People misunderstand the purpose of World-Voices. While the organization will act as an advocate for the industry as a whole, it is not in their mandate, as I understand it, to help you or me find and book voice over work.

2) was not created to replace casting sites as your source of voice over work.

3) A talent directory is meant to provide a searchable database for voice seekers looking for professional talent. It’s not meant to be a casting site for you to find voice over work.

4) Stop expecting other people, sites, organizations, companies and sources to find voice over work for you. Including World-Voices and

5) Voices dot com, or any other casting site, should NEVER be your primary source for income in the first place, and if it is, let this wake up call be the gentle nudge you need to take back control of your business, do your OWN marketing, find your OWN work and build your OWN client base.

How Are You Running Your Business?

I’ve built a six-figure voice over income with my own blood, sweat and tears. I’ve not relied on casting sites, VoiceBank, agents, or anyone else to find those opportunties and convert them. I do my own legwork daily.

My business is MY business.

This is why these “disruptions” have had little to no impact (thus far) on me or my business and why (to this point) I’m not sweating them too much or freaking out.

Can there be tools and resources to help us? Sure there can! Resources like being listed in a free talent directly such as can be one of them. Heck, even casting sites can be one of them.

Just remember, each of them are SINGLE tools in your toolbox.

At the end of the day, the success (or lack thereof) of your business falls on you and how you choose run it.

If you choose to give away control to outside entities (like casting sites, VoiceBank, etc…) then you’re allowing your business to be run by their rules, and you can’t act surprised, hurt or p’oed when the rules change and you take the hit.

Not if you let it happen.

Want to learn more about World-Voices and how they’re advocating for our industry? Or, better yet, want to become a member? Visit

Disclaimer: The opinions shared in this blog are those of the blogger (that would be me). They are not endorsed in any way by World-Voices or
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5 Things Voice Actors Wish Voice Seekers Understood About Casting Sites

We get it. When you’re not a production house or ad agency, knowing where to go to find a voice over isn’t instinctive. So you do a Google search. That’s natural. Everybody google’s everything all day.

Thanks to the tens of thousands of dollars (or more) casting sites spend on pay per click ads, when you search for basically anything related to voice over, your top results will be any combination of a half dozen or more casting sites.

So you post your job.

Some of us are there waiting to help you with that job. We’ve got our demos uploaded. Our microphones warmed up. Our Granny Smith apples to resolve mouth clicks. We’re primed and ready to deliver exactly the voice over you need! Unless you go to Fiverr. All the good VO’s won’t be waiting for you on Fiverr. But that’s another blog for another day!

Now that you’re on the casting site and you’re ready to post your job, here’s five things that us voice actors would like you, as voice seekers, to understand about the process. Getting these five things will help you get a better voice over and make it easier for us to provide it. So really, everybody wins!

5 Things Voice Actors Wish Voice Seekers Understood About Casting Sites

Give Us Your Best Take: Generic directions such as this or other statements like, “we trust you.” “We don’t really know what we want.” “You’re the professional, we’ll leave it to you.” Or simply saying nothing at all, is a really great way to ensure your casting process will be tedious and torturous. Give us something. Anything. A couple of words. Informative. Upbeat. Conversational. Casual. Authoritative. Post a sample of another read you’ve heard that you like. Anything!

With nothing more than a script, it can be really hard for us, even as professionals, to truly get in sync with your vision for your project. A little bit of direction can go a long way to making the process better for everyone involved.

Budget Breakdown: None of us voice actors really want to say it, so allow me to just go ahead and throw it out there. There are certain casting sites (that start with voices and end with dot com) that take significant portions of your budget, often without you even knowing. Like 40, 50 or even 60% + of the budget that you’ve intended for talent sometimes simply goes into their bank account without disclosure. This makes us sad. So many of us won’t play in their sandbox anymore.

If you want to get the best talent for your project, and make sure they’re getting the whole budget you intended (because sometimes budget determines the level of talent you’ll get), we’d like to suggest you post your projects elsewhere. We’ll find you there. We promise!

Ranking Matters: Voice123 has a ranking system for auditions, and it’s one of the most misunderstand and misused features we’ve ever seen. What you, as a voice seeker, may not realize, is these rankings actually impact us. So, for example, if you listen to 40 auditions and mark one of them with Four Stars and 39 of them with One Star, those 39 talent take a hit from the casting site.

Ranking can help you sort through auditions. We get it. We expect it. We just want you to know that how you rank us matters, and can impact our ability to be invited to future projects. Take the time to understand how it works, and please, unless we really stink (and admittedly, sometimes we do miss the mark), please don’t hit us all with the one star!

What’s The Usage: Voice Actors don’t like it when we see things like, “full buyout for all mediums in perpetuity” on casting site auditions. Here’s why. Let’s say you’re a local pizza restaurant and we voice a commercial for your pizza restaurant. Then one day a pizza chain comes knocking offering us five-figures to voice their national pizza chain commercial. Only, they find out we have a full buyout for all mediums in perpetuity deal with your pizza restaurant. Guess what… we just lost a five-figure VO job.

Most talent want to work with you on your projects and we try really hard to be reasonable. All we ask is you understand the other side of the coin (that would be the side our head is on). If we give all rights to your pizza restaurant, we may never be able to voice another pizza project ever again! And if you’re only offering $250 for your project that could cost us work for a lifetime… well… I think you understand. All we ask is that you be clear and reasonable about usage and let’s all work together to find fair solutions.

Please Listen To Auditions: Nothing is more discouraging for a voice actor than to put a lot of effort into delivering a quality audition for your project, only to find out later that audition was never even listened to. It ends up being a waste of time and that can be frustrating.

Casting sites let you choose audition numbers from 10 to 200 (maybe more). Many people, especially people who are new to casting sites, just set the number to 200, assuming that’s the best way to get the most options. On one hand it is. For sure. On the other hand, think of how long it’ll take you to listen to 200 auditions. Let’s assume every one is :30. Plus you need another :90 to click through the site to access each one. That means two minutes per audition. At 200 auditions, that’s 400 minutes. That’s nearly seven hours to listen to them all. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

In order to make sure everything gets listened to, and you’re not missing a potentially great voice actor for your project, consider setting the audition number to something more reasonable for you and your available time.

The voice over community is filled with many amazing, talented, creative and professional actors who are ready, willing and able to deliver the goods for your project with grace and ease. All we need to make the process as smooth as possible is a few simple steps from you up front that aren’t always made clear in the casting site instructions.

Take these five things into account, and you’ll be well on your way to top notch voice over the next time you need one.

Oh, and as a parting note, if you’re looking for a database of vetted, trusted professional VO’s (and you don’t want to hire me directly *wink* *wink*) please visit!

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.

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How To Pick A Voice Over Conference To Attend

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to selecting a voice over conference to attend. So how do you decide when you don’t have the ability to attend them all?

Here’s a few tips.

Voice Over Conference Options

VO Atlanta –

WoVOCon –

Mid-Atlantic Voice Over Conference

That’s Voiceover –

VO Mastery –

MidWest Voice Over Conference –

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World-Voices August Rates Roundtable

Dave Courvoisier and Anne Ganguzza host a monthly Rates Roundtable discussion for World-Voices. Each month they’re joined by a fantastic panel of guests to discuss a particular issue, challenge, topic or area of rates as they pertain to the voice over business.

For the August 2016 Roundtable, I was invited to participate. The subject we tackled was newcomers to the voice over business, and how they do, should and could approach rates. It was a really informative conversation and I was proud to be a part of it.

You can watch the roundtable below.

For more information on World-Voices visit

To watch previous roundtable discussions check out the WoVO YouTube Channel by clicking here.

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.