DISCLAIMER: Out of respect for the client involved in this situation, specific project details have been omitted at their request. If you are familiar with the job posting in question, please do not share specifics. Thank you.
Yesterday was an interesting day. It started out like most. A couple scripts to take care of in the morning. A couple hours of marketing scheduled for the afternoon. Routine. Uneventful. Just the way I like it.
Then I made the mistake of going on Facebook.
It Always Starts On Facebook!
In a private group exclusive to World-Voices members, a post was shared. In it, the details of a voice over job being offered on two casting sites. This, of course is nothing out of the ordinary. Clients seeking a professional voice over will often take advantage of different sites to gain the broadest collection of auditions.
Thing is, there was a slight budget discrepancy between the two casting sites. By slight, what I mean is, the budget listed on one site was roughly 85% less. To the tune of a few thousand dollars. Did I mention it was the same project on both sites?
By now we are all well familiar with the topic of Managed Projects on a casting site that shall remain nameless as they need no further SEO from me. We’ve heard the spin. By spin, I’m politely and delicately referring to, lies. Excuses, smoke, mirrors and a whole lot of “umm’s” and “aah’s” and “well, you see’s” were offered in the interview heard ‘round the world a few months back.
Nothing satisfactory was offered.
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman!” Did anybody else think of that at the time? Or was it just me?
I have to tell you that when I saw the details of this particular project yesterday, it kind of lit me up a bit. After this company’s CEO was seated directly in the spotlight, put under the magnifying glass and his inept attempts at apology, logic and reason were through, the optimistic, albeit somewhat naive side of me, truly believed some form of change would be implemented.
When you’re caught with your pants down, one would assume you’d quit strolling around naked.
Well, you know what they say about assuming…
It’s Time For Results!
Something you need to know about me. I’m an action man. A results man. Venting my frustrations on social media, while perhaps considered action, seldom produces results. It was time for results, and I was determined to get some.
With a little bit of effort, I was able to determine the company responsible for the project in question. My gut told me they were unaware of the 85% budget discrepancy, but I needed to know for sure. At the risk of looking a fool, and facing the likely prospect of an awkward conversation, I decided to give this client a call and find out.
Can you guess what happened next?
Surprise, surprise… they were quite taken back by an 85% budget discrepancy on their Managed Project.
To back up my claim, I provided the client with PDF documents that showed the project listings on each of the two sites. This way, they could see exactly what the talent saw. Let’s just say they were unimpressed.
As I stated earlier, I will not go into the specifics of the project or the exact details of my conversation out of respect for this company who has done nothing wrong. I will simply say this… when they were presented with the evidence, they immediately made the decision to remove their job posting from the casting site with questionable ethics. Further to that decision, I suspect they will not be posting any projects on that site going forward.
For voice talent, it’s a small victory. We deserved it.
A Small Victory
As I explained to the client involved at the very beginning of our conversation, my motivation was simple. I suspected they were unaware of what was being done with their Managed Project, and I simply wanted to shed some light so they would have all the facts.
I’m not a crusader. I’m just a guy who believes in fair play and ethics and integrity in business.
In the midst of all this, there’s an important and valuable lesson for us as talent.
We are well aware of the practices of the casting site that shall remain nameless. We’ve thrown up our arms and aired our grievances all over the internet and social media. There was even a season of mass exodus from the site in protest. While that may feel good, and perhaps even be therapeutic, I’m not convinced it offers a viable solution to the problem which clearly still remains.
As long as clients are unaware of what’s happening (and they are clearly unaware), I don’t anticipate any lasting resolution.
What we may overlook in our frustration is the fact that clients are being taken advantage of as much as us. Perhaps even more so. Look at this one single project in question. We’re talking about thousands of dollars. How that’s not criminal is actually beyond my comprehension.
Where Do We Go From Here?
If any kind of satisfactory resolution is ever going to come to pass, it will take a significant campaign of education which reaches respectfully and professionally into the hands of the people trusting the site to hire talent for their projects. Those people, their opinions, I suspect, will carry much more weight than the collective voices of an angry talent pool.
My suggestion is simply this… when you see a dual posting such as the one today, rather than spread anger across social media and risk any kind of undue harm to the innocent reputation of the client involved, try and determine if there’s a way to reach out to them. Take screen shots of the postings on each site. Many web browsers will actually let you export web pages as PDF documents. That’s what I did today.
With the evidence in hand, send an email or make a phone call. Not to the casting site. We already know they don’t care. Take it directly to the company seeking a voice actor. Let them know what’s happening. Determine if they were aware of excessive commissions being taken out of the budget they earmarked for professional voice talent. Odds are, they have no idea this is happening. Story after story proves this so.
If you don’t want to make the phone call, send the information to me and I will!
Action produces results. Together we need to make a stand and take productive action to generate productive results. One client at a time may be a slow race, but with each new voice added to the fold it makes the cries louder.
Eventually, they’ll be impossible to ignore.
Want to be a part of the solution? Check out World-Voices at world-voices.org