When the VoiceBank sale to Voices dot com was announced, the voice over community had a collective meltdown. Understandably so.
Though I’ve never used VoiceBank, I understand that it was one of the last few safe places to go online for incredible voice over opportunities and legit fair rates.
The assumption is Voices dot com will destroy that. It’s a reasonable assumption given the questionable (at best) business practices of the major online casting site. My guess would be you’ll see rates erode as Voices skims their 40-80% without anyone being any the wiser.
We know this is how they run their business. It’s been proven time and again.
And it’s too bad.
In A Perfect World…
If Voices would be a little more understanding of the talent side of the equation, there’s no doubt they could become the premiere source for voice over work and it could be a win-win-win for talent, clients and Voices. Unfortunately the Voices dot com business model is to look out exclusively for their own bottom line with little consideration for the other parties involved.
It’s their business. That’s their prerogative. Just like it’s our prerogative to run our businesses as we see fit.
At the same time, do they have any reason at all to even consider what we, as a talent community, have to say when nearly everyone is just beating the ever-loving crap out of them online? Would you sit down and listen to the opinions of someone doing that to you?
5 Points to Ponder
As the talent community continues to meltdown, I’d like to offer a few thoughts for consideration.
1) VoiceBank had asked for talent feedback. Consider that if VoiceBank cared at all what talent thought, they would’ve asked for our opinions BEOFRE they made the sale. In other words… before you devote your energies to providing feedback, just know that it may make you feel better, but won’t reverse the sale.
2) If you want to have a voice in this entire ordeal, direct your voice outside the voice over community. Talent know full well what is going on. Clients (voice seekers) are the ones who need to be educated; albeit respectfully and professionally.
3) Stop calling out talent for being friends with David and Stephanie on Facebook. Stop sending angry private messages to talent for liking particular Facebook Groups affiliated with Voices dot com. It’s unproductive, annoying, and quite frankly…who anyone chooses to Like or Follow or Friend on Facebook is their business.
4) Voices dot com has literally received tens of millions of dollars in funding. Let me ask you with all seriousness… is a talent run campaign to stop Liking them on Facebook really going to change anything? Is the goal to hurt their feelings and hope they reverse how they do business if a few hundred of us unfriend them?
5) VoiceBank sold. Though I don’t know the number, I’m guessing it was one big, fat, honking cheque. If you were a business owner and saw a chance to take your payday and retire, would you do anything differently? Take a breath and answer honestly.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The frustration is real. The concern is legitimate. Don’t get me wrong. I hear it. I understand it. I feel it. I want to see our industry circle the proverbial drain about as badly as you do. Remember, this is how I make my living, pay my mortgage and support my family as well!
We’re all in this together. That means coming together as a team to find the best possible solution. It means brainstorming to create fixes. Not venting amongst ourselves with no viable options.
If we’re going to have any kind of influence in this entire ordeal, I genuinely believe it will be through educating the people seeking voice actors. If we’re going to do that, we’re going to have to chose our words very carefully and wisely.
“Voices dot com sucks and screws talent,” or some variation of that isn’t going to have any effect beyond making us look like amateurs and cry-babies. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I desire to be viewed.
The other lesson in this is one I’ve been teaching from day one. YOU run YOUR business. If you become too reliant on outside sources, one day when they change the rules, you’re screwed.
Some people are learning that lesson hard right now.
How can we channel our collective energy in a positive, responsible, professional and productive way? How can we put our emotions aside and make wise business decisions for our industry as a whole going forward?
That’s the question I’m asking myself today. Perhaps you can ask it too, and together we can stop focusing on the problem and start creating the solution.