Online spot market for voiceovers

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39 Responses to “Online spot market for voiceovers”

  1. CaptainPedge says:

    But only if you have a facebook account

    • moiremusic says:

      This is incorrect.  The sign-in page is confusing, and puts you at a Facebook login by default, but there’s a tab at the top that lets you register with an email. I entered a project after reading this post. No Facebook account needed.

  2. pjk says:

    My experience with online markets like this for translation jobs is that making such labor markets liquid only pushes rates down and introduces a whole bunch of annoying customers who want you to work for less than minimum wage.

    • snowmentality says:

       Yeah. See also elance.com, aka “I want an experienced graphic designer to do a full brand identity package. Give me 8 concepts to start with, and take them through multiple iterations. Max budget $50.”

    • digi_owl says:

      Welcome to the world of the industrial worker.

  3. Teller says:

    SAG and AFTRA have to fit in I suppose, when the hiring company is a signatory to the union.

  4. Interesting concept, could be a great idea.

  5. SamSam says:

    Um. How did they create a promo video without a SINGLE voice over??

  6. jamie says:

    I’ve used voice123 for years, and I’ve found some great VO artists through them. You can pretty much sidestep the whole system once you find a voice and then deal with the talent directly.

  7. grimc says:

    By coincidence, I’ve been looking for a VO for work. All I’ve been getting is generic, boring Voiceover voices, nothing like what I asked for in casting specs, and yesterday I found out why: The producer asked for non-union talent to save money.

    • Nic Vigil says:

      I think it depends more on the area your talent pool is in (in other words, whether or not you have a large talent pool, or very limited), rather than if they are union or non-union.  I am non union and have done national commercials, video games, animation and promotional campaigns.  To dismiss actors as low-quality because they are non-union is insulting and grossly inaccurate.

      • OTOH, expecting to get professional-quality VO talent by forcing performers to low-ball each other in a downward bidding war is a sure-fire way to guarantee just the opposite…

        • Nic Vigil says:

          Totally agree…I only object to the non-union generalization.  It simply isn’t true.

          Unless I know the person/project on a personal level, I will always refer potential clients to my agents.  They have gotten me lots of work, and so it is the ethical thing to do as well as insurance that I will not have to get involved in a low-ball bidding situation. I don’t have the time, nor the desire to deal with that crap.

      • grimc says:

        Sorry you feel insulted, but the simple truth is that a non-union search is going to yield more lesser quality results than union for the simple fact that “union” generally means professional working actors and “non-union” means people trying to make a couple bucks on the side. You may be a diamond in the rough, but it’s still the rough.

        • Nic Vigil says:

          Actually, I’ve known all too many people with union status that lucked into it and can’t act their way out of a paper bag.  There are LOADS of very talented people here in the Bay Area that intentionally are not union members simply because there isn’t enough union-sanctioned work up here to make it worth joining and thus having to refuse all other non-union work.  I get a lot of well-paying ($350-$450 per hour/session and up) gigs that are non-union and it would suck to have to turn them all down because I joined the union and can no longer take those jobs.  There is no getting around weeding out people on either side of the union fence – and as I said before, if you generalize and judge actors by their union status, you are potentially screwing yourself for no good reason.  And I’m not doing this to “make a couple of bucks on the side” (though it can be very lucrative)…I do it because it is my passion, my career path and I take it seriously.

          • grimc says:

            No, there is not getting around weeding out people on either side of the union fence. But what you refuse to acknowledge is that there’s a lot more weeding to be done with non-union talent. If you’ve ever had to spend the better part of day listening to demo after demo after demo, you still may not like what I’ve been saying but you couldn’t deny that it’s true.

            Honestly, congratulations on your success. But I’m simply describing reality, as ugly as you may find it. Talk to any casting agent that works with union and non-union talent. They’d tell you the same thing: If you’ve got needs beyond a generic VO, you’re going to save a lot of time and have much better odds listening to a ton of union actors versus non-union.

  8. chroma says:

    There are a few companies on the internet with a similar service, as well as a number of independent professional voice actors.

    A couple months back, I was looking for a professional announcement for a telephone service. I ended up using  Debra Leigh Voiceworks ( http://www.debraleigh.com ), and was very pleased with the results.

  9. rasputinaxp says:

    I’ve tried to do a couple of these and all I get are people asking me for samples that are pretty much entire scripts, which means they just don’t want to pay me.

  10. Andy Murdock says:

    The needle drop music made me gag.

  11. EggyToast says:

    I’ll agree with the other commenters that my experience in these freelance markets is that are started with a noble idea — companies need voice overs! People who are looking to get into the field can start small! — but are almost immediately overwhelmed by companies who are looking for free voice overs because they don’t want to pay actual market rates, and “freelancers” who see it as an easy way to read things for money in their spare time.

    • moiremusic says:

      As I’m someone who needs voice overs, but has no experience, can you give examples of what might be actual market rates? Something general or vague, or a range, might do. I want to know what I should be offering for using a service like this, and still be fair about it. I like the accessibility of this service, but I believe in paying people what they are worth.

      • EggyToast says:

        Most of the cost is in the initial setup, rather than the total length. Similarly, you do pay for quality. Someone who can handle different voices/tones and will respond to direction is going to be more, sometimes much more, than someone who just reads the script. For someone to just read some text, and without any experience, you’d expect prices around $40 for 30 sec, and then a 10% fee for every extra 30 seconds. The higher quality VO, the more you’d spend. That’s the baseline, and I’d expect anything better to be twice the price for every perceived increase in quality. So if you assume that getting your next door neighbor to read your text into their laptop microphone would set you back $45, getting someone who is 4 times better than that would be around $200.

        The problem with proposing high prices on these type of spot markets is that the people who are really low quality will still bid on your work, forcing you to weed through people. Most of these sites are biased towards the people who spend the most time on the site, rather than those with the most skill.

        With anyone you work with, you should have a system in place for handling do-overs. If the talent messed up something, they should be willing to do it over. If you changed your mind and want them to use a different pronunciation for a word, or alter their pacing overall (and you didn’t provide these instructions beforehand), you should expect to pay something.

        • Teller says:

          Union scale is about 226 for radio; more for TV. That’ll get the user 13 weeks of play. If it runs longer, user pays again. As Donald notes below, some talent gets double-scale or triple-scale or, for the real heavies, you negotiate a fee. (There is no fee for the great Mr LaFontaine. He’s unavailable.)

      • Market Rate depends on how the VO will be used: commercial rates are going to be higher than non-broadcast for example.   

        http://www.aftra.com/contracts.htm is a good place to start when trying to figure out what you want to use the spot for and what the current rates are for union-scale work (which, BTW, even many non-union talent use as a baseline.)

  12. Donald Petersen says:

    When I saw what union voice actors get paid for TV (well over half my weekly pay for about four hours’ work), I wished my own voice didn’t sound like Margot Kidder had downed a helium+Drano milkshake.  I can do the acting part of it, no problem, but just as Howard Stern has a very good face for radio, I have the original Voice for Newsprint.

    Still, there’s a pretty vast gap between the paychecks of, say, Don LaFontaine, Frank Welker, and Grey DeLisle, and doing voiceover work for free because somebody’s too cheap to pay for what is actually a difficult and demanding (though not exactly sweat-breaking) art.

  13. mattashburn says:

    I don’t see what the advantage is over, say, voices.com, which has been around for years.

  14. Joel Rothman says:

    Ditto the freelance markets comments.  Also, see “Our Amazing Technology” page here:  http://voicebunny.com/pages/technology which describes, using silly rabbit metaphors, a very real patent application for a reverse auction filed in mid-2007.  http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2720080040141%27.PGNR.&OS=DN/20080040141&RS=DN/20080040141

  15. ggpen says:

    The video from VoiceBunny is nothing less than an ad. Why is it featured in Boing Boing exactly?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Because Cory found it interesting. And because BB frequently features posts about new business models.

      If you want to read a website that never mentions products or services that are for sale, you should probably create one yourself.

      • gerardwhelan says:

        fair enough, can I ask Cory a question about the ‘facebook sign up’?
        I am registered as a talent with their parent company and I have no Facebook account. they say I cannot join ‘Bunny’ (even though they know who I am), because “Facebook has to verify that I am who I say I am”. HOLY F@#$ !!! who put facebook in charge of my identity?! and is this not discrimination? maybe Cory or Mr. Geist could advise on how online businesses are monitored and how they can make outlandish choices like this – not being a prick here, really want to know, thanks.
        what am I dong? asking you to respond to a reader’s query… foolish of me.

  16. Bill Kates says:

    Voicebunny sounds cute, but, as Monty Python said, that rabbit is a killer. The client can’t hear the voice he’s bidding for (unlike voices.com and voice123), and the hideously low rates, as a voiceover artist, make me want to cry. This site is poison for professional voice performers who actually want to make a living at it, another nail in the coffin of reasonable, professional non-union rates. I’m getting back with AFTRA after a decade or so away.

  17. Tom Dheere says:

    I’ve been a  voice talent for over fifteen years and a member of Voice123 for almost six years. V123 has been quite good to me and I’ve acquired many clients whose rates are commensurate with the industry standard.  The business model of P2P sites works the way  it’s intended if you screen effectively, audition professionally, and bid ethically. Voice Bunny does concern me because the rates are generally not commensurate with the industry standard. Selfishly speaking, if they build a site that caters to “bottom-feeders”, I hope they raise the minimum rate for V123 casting notices so the producers don’t have to wade through so many awful demos & auditions to get to the actual professionals…

  18. Mr. Jan says:

    I’ve done VO’s as a professional hobby for a few years now but stopped recently due to elance and the like making me charge pittance for what is pretty consuming work. 

    I thought this had potential but having to register as talent via Facebook? Nope. Sorry. That’s just lazy.

  19. Marty Wall says:

    I make my living as a voice talent, and I can tell you that the skill level of talent available from multiple sources on the web varies  wildly.  And so does the price associated with those services.  Much of the “typical price
    information” above is pretty worthless, because the market has broken wide open with the advent of online casting.  Unless you are casting union, there simply is no firm framework for what you should or should not pay.  And I agree that a little screening helps you avoid poor quality auditions.  One quick thing to do is check the web presence of the potential talent.  Lots of examples, including mine at http://www.martywall.com (shameless plug) will show you pretty quickly at what level the talent operates.  

  20. Bill Kates says:

    It really is impressive how the voicebunny promo contains not one single example of a professional voiceover. That’s like a hamburger advertisement without a single image of a juicy hamburger. But hey, it can work if your brand is established enough. Speaking of speaking, this is what I sound like, here: http://youtu.be/aKAIzU90zA8
    And here: http://www.voices.com/demos/billkates

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