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The Race to the Bottom
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dmgood
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
95% of people launching themselves onto the voice over market will not make any money at all.


So, what's a poor boy to do? Pack up his mic into its little wooden box, tuck it under his arm and run home to Mama cryin'? :cry:
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Andy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all about persistance. Perhaps, Phil, you might want to share with us how you made the transition from "wannabe" to the five percent. Maybe it's the journalist in me, but could ya source those percentages?
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10480

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The percentage is accurate and I tried to find something on the net so anyone who was interested could see for themselves, no joy. Having said that I could give you the names of over 100 wannbees who've approached me out of them 6 have made something yet only 2 are making a living.

Not trying to be the harbinger of gloom and certainly don't feel threatened by any new kid on the block, am happy to help anyone.

My opener tends to be "ok, tell me what you think and in return I'll tell you what I know". A voice coach trying to extract money from someone is more than likely to be over optimistic as is the man trying to sell you his demo making talents.

"Pack up the mic and go crying home to Mama?" If you feel rattled by my statistic or comments, yes, great idea! If on the other hand you firmly believe you're not one of the 5%, yet. Stick with it. You'll win in the end.

Below is my stock email response to the wannabee and in my book "wannabee" is not a negative term.

"Nice to hear from you.

So how do you get started in voice overs? Well do you know who they are and what they do? Why do you want to become one?

Things for you to do and think about.

What you need to do first?

1 - Get involved with your local hospital radio station. It will give you technical experience, mic experience, everything you will need to give you a thorough grounding in using your voice.
2 - Do you have a local theatre group or amateur dramatic society? Find them and volunteer, voice over work IS ACTING!!! Even the simplest voice over requires performance skills.
3 - Got a mobile phone? Change the voice mail message on it everyday, try to impress people with it. Make a note of what works and what doesn't.
4 - Find someone to whom you can regularly read a story. If you're good at characters, well a good story will give you plenty of opportunity to prove it.
5 - Do you want to go on a course and get some professional training? Get in touch with http://www.voxtraining.com/ , they'll teach you how to get the best out of your voice.

Enthusiasm is great and it will get you through the tough times, but a space shuttle pilot got to sit in his seat through a combination of training, experience, dedication, enthusiasm and hard work now you must do the same.

Of the list above I did four out of the five, so tell me which one you'd rather not do then go and do the rest.
I suspect like most people keen to follow a career in VO work you would like to phone someone up tomorrow morning and be paid to voice something for them tomorrow afternoon, I've never known that happen for anyone. Now it's time for you to put the work in.
A good voice or a clever/flexible voice is only rung one on a very long ladder. Imagine I am a producer and you need to give me a reason why I should use you in preference to someone else, what would you say? You can't say good voice, good impressions, good at accents, he's got that already.
Work in the industry can be feast or famine and in the early days it will be thin on the ground, you just need to keep telling people that you are out there. Remember it is not a salaried job so if you don't work you don't eat.
There can be travel involved, it depends what you are doing. In the past 12 months I've been as far as Holland.

With the right equipment it is possible to work from home, you can set yourself up for about ú3,000. Using ISDN technology you can be accessed live from around the world, most local radio commercials are voiced this way.
It is possible to break in and there are lots of people who will give you a first chance but if you try before you are ready you could very easily blow it. Producers talk to one another so your first session could also be you last.

Practise reading aloud, record yourself, listen to voices on TV, radio, film and ask yourself why they are good or bad. Could you have done better.

You will need to make a demo of your voice and put it on CD. Ideally it should last no longer than 3 mins. What are you going to put on it? That's up to you, but before you decide get advice from the experts.

Hope the above helps, if you need more let me know."

That's it, in a nutshell. Obviously some UK references but in general the comments apply to everyone.

For those of you don't know, I've been doing this for 15 years. My initial marketing was to local commercial radio stations. I sent out around 100 audio cassettes to qualified leads, in other words to people I had asked if it would be ok to mail them a demo. I followed up with a call asking if the demo had arrived safely. I did not ask for work or feedback. I then waited to see if the phone would ring, it did. Within 2 months, three companies had paid me to voice radio commercials. Once may have been luck, twice a coincidence, three times proved I was on to something. So I kept on marketing and the ball rolled and rolled.

Following my initial marketing effort I was prepared to walk away if I had received nothing. By something, I mean I had been paid.

My guess is that if you follow the steps above and after 6 months, nada, then voice over work is not for you, from the financial stand point. Can still be a fun hobby though.

Long, drawn out post but wanted to be as helpful as possible.
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Gregory Best
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 04 Aug 2005
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Location: San Diego area (east of Connie and south and east of Bailey)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:35 pm    Post subject: LOw, LOW rates...and if you act now... Reply with quote

Closest legal thing to prostitution.
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Gregory Best
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 04 Aug 2005
Posts: 1845
Location: San Diego area (east of Connie and south and east of Bailey)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: LOw, LOW rates...and if you act now... Reply with quote

GregAllen wrote:
Closest legal thing to prostitution.


Some how this got posted here. I was responding to the website with the low rates.
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Bailey
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Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 4336
Location: Lake San Marcos... north of Connie, northwest of the Best.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: LOw, LOW rates...and if you act now... Reply with quote

GregAllen wrote:
Some how this got posted here. I was responding to the website with the low rates.

Maybe that was LakesideHotel.com. :roll:
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schaer
Contributore Level V


Joined: 08 Jan 2005
Posts: 169
Location: Las Vegas, New Mexico (yes, there is such a place...)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Phil, that was a very valuable post! I printed it and will keep it handy. I intend to make it in the VO business but if not - as I said on a different topic - I'll start a collection agency Wink

I could use your input on my demos that I put up here http://bernardschaer.voice123.com as far as the technical aspect goes before I put them on CD to be mailed out to qualified prospects.

Best,
Bernard
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Gregory Best
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 04 Aug 2005
Posts: 1845
Location: San Diego area (east of Connie and south and east of Bailey)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: LOw, LOW rates...and if you act now... Reply with quote

Bailey wrote:
GregAllen wrote:
Some how this got posted here. I was responding to the website with the low rates.

Maybe that was LakesideHotel.com. :roll:



You have to be a San Diegan to get that one. The Lakeside Hotel is infamous. Actually, I was responding to another thread on a VO site where they seemed to charge $25 to $60 for doing spots. This short changes the industry and lowers expectations. Oh well, they get what they pay forů
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kgenus
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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 889
Location: Greater NYC Area

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: LOw, LOW rates...and if you act now... Reply with quote

GregAllen wrote:
You have to be a San Diegan to get that one. The Lakeside Hotel is infamous. Actually, I was responding to another thread on a VO site where they seemed to charge $25 to $60 for doing spots. This short changes the industry and lowers expectations. Oh well, they get what they pay forů


What makes you believe it short changes the industry? That is an assumption that many people make that can't be further from the truth. It only short changes the individuals involved and yes, they gets whats they paid fer.

Kevin
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brianforrester
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Joined: 30 Jul 2005
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin,

I think I know where you're coming from with regards to it only short changing those involved, but I also know that many a voice talent would argue the point quite fervently with you (and me!)...

Why do you feel it only short changes those involved? Besides the fact that the client gets what they pay for and the talent really doesn't gain anything long-term.

Do you not believe that by undercutting on price and providing a sub-standard product, that they are lowering the bar on the performance demanded of the profession as a whole? Or possibly giving the profession a poor name. Are the clients paying ridiculously low rates actually in the minority, just appearing to be in the majority because of the recent influx of online 'casting' site.

Do you believe that there are enough clients out there with integrity and the foresight to realize that a dollar saved today does not mean more dollars earned in the future? In fact it probably means the exact opposite based on reputation. Will these clients continue to pay rate to talent who are just that, talent... not folks who have bought a mic and set of headphones and hooked them up their pc, or will they begin to slide down the slippery slope of cheap voices.

Is this simply a short term anomoly created by the sudden and overly glamorized appearance of online 'voice banks' (I use the term very loosely in the traditional sense), hoping to grab some cash, while claiming to be 'promoting the talent' whom they 'represent'.

I don't know... I see it from both sides I guess. But as long as mediocre voices accept jobs for $60, in the short term it's tough for those holding out for rate to make it... but in the long run, the cheap voices will drop off, because they'll have to voice 2 -3 times as many projects (conservatively) as those of us who hold out for rate. Eventually they'll realize that this business isn't as easy as they thought it was going to be and go back to selling Widgets at the local Acme store (Banksey's stat of 95%), and those of us with the fortitude and persisistence will benefit, all the while maintaining a higher standard of performance.

That's my diatribe riddled with opinions, questions and ideas! Purely semi-coherent thoughts open for debate and argument.

Cheers
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