Transparency Now. It’s a campaign that’s been ongoing for quite some time in the voice over industry, and it’s specifically targeted at one major casting site. Voices.com.
The basic premise of the campaign… voice actors want transparency on fees for Professional Services jobs. Voice actors want to understand why 40, 50 and sometimes 60% or more of budgets for projects seem to be disappearing. Where are those budgets going? Where are those dollars going? How is the commission and fee structure determined?
Talent want transparency.
Where Is The Budget Going?
Nobody is trying to deny a company from conducting business. Nobody is trying to deny a company from turning a profit. However, when the exact same project appears on one casting site for $1,500 and on Voices.com for $750, talent want to know why.
What exactly is it that Professional Services does? Why are they seemingly eating up significant portions of the budget? Money that was intended by the client to go into the pocket of the talent.
There’s a lot going on we don’t get to see.
Transparency Now Becomes Transparency Never
During an absolutely fantastically moderated panel discussion at VO Atlanta featuring leaders from the main casting sites, J Michael Collins asked the question directly to Jennifer Smith of Voices. “Will there be transparency for the talent?”
The answer was simple and direct. “No.”
Is it the answer talent wanted to hear? Certainly not. However, at least now we finally have an answer. We know, as talent, exactly where we stand.
Prepare To Leave Money On The Table
If you choose to use Voices.com to find work, and you choose to participate in projects managed by Professional Services, you simply need to be aware that 40, 50 or even 60% + of the projects originally intended budget is going straight into the pockets of Voices.com.
That’s in addition to your annual membership fee and your 10% Sure Pay escrow fee.
Talent, for now at least, will never know exactly how much Voices is withholding. We’ll never be offered an explanation or breakdown. That’s all there is to it.
Will the conversations continue? Yes.
Will it change the outcome? Who knows.
For now, however, you need to be aware of what’s happening.
I’ve said all along I’ll never tell someone how to run their business. I’ve also said all along if you choose to use any casting site (or sites) as part of your business plan, make sure they were tools in your toolbox, just not the only tool.
Know What You’re Signing Up For
Clients still need voice overs. Clients are being taken advantage of as much as talent are. Remember that. It’s not their fault. They don’t realize it’s happening either. Yet, anyway. Voices has said they will offer transparency to the client… however, only if they specifically ask.
My best advice, if you’re using Voices.com for your business, just think twice about the Professional Services projects. If you’re on Voice123 as well, even better. Watch for dual postings. At least on 123, you know you’ll get the entire budget the client intended you to receive.
Also, make sure you take time to read and understand Voices Terms of Service. Educate yourself. Know what you’re signing up for, and what you’re signing away. On a Professional Services project, you’re basically giving away everything until the end of time, for use throughout the universe and beyond.
And the conversation, and debate, continues…
If you were unable to attend VO Atlanta and watch the casting site panel, it’s truly worth it if you’re using casting sites. Find out how you can watch the entire discussion at voatlanta.tv