Aha! That great issue we call P2P’s (“pay to play sites”). That huge conundrum. To do them or not to do them. That is the question! Do you do them? Do you just hope to get an agent and get all your work through them? Let’s talk!
Ultimately, P2P’s, are, as they say, “here to stay.” They really are! Like ’em or hate ’em…they’re here to stay. They really are. It’s a shame what happened to VoiceBank, and though I wasn’t really around during that time frame, I can say with definitive clarity that I’m all for voice actors receiving their due payments and being properly and handsomely rewarded for a job well done. There’s an excellent article blog post by Tom Dheere (“The ‘h’ is silent, but I’m not!”) about what happened, why it happened, and the ensuing aftermath. Voices.com will consequently always be the industry pariah and the lightning rod of hate for the voice actor industry in general as a result, and they’ll always bear the wrath. Not necessarily just because of the purchase of VoiceBank, but because of the behavior as publicized by Tom Dheere.
I myself have come across jobs across ALL P2P sites, not just Voices…where I see the job, I see the intended market, I see the duration, and then I see the price. And I’m left scratching my head going, “heh???” The paycheck is WHAT?!?! Honestly, it’s rampant…across every site, and all over the place.
So what’s a voiceover artist to do. 1) Be mad about it all the time. 2) Be mad and throw your hands up and quit the industry. 3) Adapt and overcome. 4) Boycott every last one of them and end up living on the streets.
For me, I choose option 3. Every time. Adapt and overcome. What can you do to be better than, to beat the system, to make the money you need to, and furthermore deserve to make? There’s several things.
- Pay close attention to the GVAA rate guide. Make sure you’re keeping in step with the rates therein
- Make your own rate guide that reflects GVAA pricing, is honest, and doesn’t shortchange you, nor bring down the whole industry.
- Realize that you are worth more.
- Do not underbid or undercut other bidders.
- Make sure that you’re communicating to your clients the scope of your bid: that it’s not in perpetuity. That it’s not a full buyout. (Unless it actually is, and that was stated up front).
- Quote that ACTUAL rate you should receive…without compromising, without backing down, without being sheepish, and WITHOUT APOLOGY.
Rates, simply, are what they are. Anyone who flies coach in an airline pays the same rate that the next guy in coach does. Anyone in first class pays the same as the next first class passenger. A voiceover is a vehicle to get a client from one point to another. And it’s a service you’re providing them that doesn’t cost more to one person or less to another. It simply is what it is. And the client must understand that. I get my oil changed recently with conventional oil at Jiffy Lube and after tax it was like $52. And the next guy did the same. Guess what? We paid the same thing for the same service. Period, end of story.
I’ve chosen an approach to quote with integrity and to still use the pay to play sites, even Voices. Voices has put more bread on my table for my family than any other client or marketplace, and I make no apologies about that. I treat it with respect, I take the jobs that I know are paying correctly, and I quote correctly on the other ones. Either one may not book me. So? Do I get mad? No. I keep on auditioning. I adapt and overcome. I keep auditioning. I adapt or die. I keep auditioning. I adapt.
It’s my job to put food on my table, and to keep auditioning so that I can get that food. It’s not my job to be mad and complain, and join the bandwagon and the cacophony of the mob-mentality that says “Down with Voices.com!” Because, honestly, again, I’ve seen jobs across ALL of the P2P sites where there’s shoddy business being conducted, and somebody’s making a pretty penny off of me. WHat do I do? I steer clear and move on to the next job. No harm, no foul. It’s my job to sniff out the good ones, audition for what I think I can do, and do well, and keep moving forward. The only REAL enemy, in my mind, is not Voices.com at all, (where many of the customers I’ve served there have paid me well there and have then become great customers EX-Voices.com and continue to use me)….but rather sites like Fiverr. And Freelancer. And Upwork.com, which apparently has a reputable name and yet I’m absolutely appalled at some of the rates I’m seeing on there. I saw a voiceover job posted there today that paid $7. I saw an audiobook of 50,000 words that paid $350. 350???!!!??? Now, sure, that sounds like a lot of money, because it is. But that’s not the issue. The issue isn’t what they are paying, but what you SHOULD be earning. Don’t sell out. Don’t sell yourself short. Bid competitively, accurately, with integrity, according to what you deserve. Because you do deserve more. And you can make a lot of money on the P2P sites these days.
They’re here to stay. Use them and use them wisely. Don’t wait around all day for an agent to pull the trigger on some jobs for you and start getting you work. It won’t happen. Make it happen yourself.
I’m Joshua Alexander, and I approve this message.
Amen brother, preach it.
Seattle Voiceover Artist / Voice Talent / Voice Actor for hire