Talent Cow

by | Feb 16, 2012 | Subscription Services, Web Resources, Web/Tech | 8 comments

Animal lovers are apparently taking over the voice over business.  First VoiceBunny, now Talent Cow.

I first heard about TalentCow.com, actually, in response to my blog article about VoiceBunny.

TalentCow’s Neil Bentley wrote: “…I’m founder and CEO of a new service launching in 2 weeks called http://www.talentcow.com. We are based in London and cater for a worldwide multi skilled audience covering all genres within media. We supply an incredible service for Agents, Talents & Job Posters. We have been developing for a long time and with my 21 years in marketing leading broadcasting, the research we have gained is invaluable….”

I was intrigued, and wrote to ask Neil for more information.  He responded, in part, to say: “…talentcow is about showcasing all of what you do. We all know that voiceovers can edit, some are semi pro at photography – some host live events.This is generally the case for most ‘freelancers’, but at the moment it would mean joining a bunch of sites and paying a LOT of money. Knowing how to edit means that you can offer this service separately. talentcow gives you the opportunity to do this – within our defined parameters….”

As the conversation continued, I asked Neil if he would be willing to answer some formal questions.  He agreed, and that Q & A is below.

Lately, innovative tools seem to be busting off the design table for voice over people (see also this week:  Artist Growth and SoundStreak).  That’s not to say it’s all stuff that’s golden, or even that I recommend…I often just throw out for evaluation the stuff I discover, and it opens up a discussion.  For instance, in the last 24 hours I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about SoundStreak, and not all of it is good.  I’m working with their people on some Q & A as well.

Until the full launch, all you can do with TalentCow.com is register with your email, and be put on a notification list.

Here’s Neil Bentley’s Interview:

Neil Bentley, TalentCow.com

Can you give us a brief idea of the genesis of Talent Cow…in concept and implementation?

I started in radio in 1991, presenting my first show at 16 years of age. Like anyone of my era the learning process didn’t just cover presentational skills. It was editing (in those days razor blades and tape), copywriting, scheduling and production. Over the years ‘Multi Skills’ became the major asset of getting a better job in the industry. Making yourself more skillful meant you stood out.
I found that I wasn’t alone. Friends were making money by taking photos at weddings, presenting at trade shows, producing voiceovers and even acting as TV/Film extras. Colleagues craved a way to monetize their ‘streams’.
I knew that an online solution would work, if handled in the right way. Of course we don’t want a jack-of-all-trades, but it’s quite conceivable that you can be a master of some.  No other sites do this, the concept of narrow casting to niche genres has become the norm. Annoying if you do three skills really well.
The frustration doesn’t just lie with the Talent, Agents and Job Posters have their gripes as well.
Agents constantly complain that there’s nowhere they can control their portfolio of clients online and Job Posters dislike using job boards and press ads as it delivers inconsistent results – meaning they have to sift through irrelevant candidates to get to the good ones.
talentcow was formed as a company in 2011 after years of planning, research and design to offer the perfect solution and we are mightily proud at what we’ve achieved for just a small team.

You claim Talent Cow is more than a voice-over site, but is your main target audience Voice Over talent?

No, not at all. Our users are a varied mix of media/creative professionals. Media & Creative Services, to us, encompasses everything from Radio to Blogging, Production to Voiceover, Article Writing to Acting.

Some schools of thought have it that when you spread your branding message too thin (I do photography AND voice-overs!), you send the message that your expertise might be broad, but not particularly good at any one thing.  How does Talent Cow get around this argument?

We believe this very ‘old-school’ thinking. Do people actually believe that painters can’t decorate too? A mechanic can fit a wheel, but can’t tune an engine? I think this is easier to understand if you look at the umbrella genre you work under and break down the components of what you do.
Take me for instance: Radio Presenter (Editing, Copywriting, Production…), Host (Trade Shows, Awards, TV…), DJ (Clubs, Corporate, Parties…), Voiceover (Live, Adverts, Narration…). Each stream is a rich skill set that can allow you to offer services to people that need it. I may not be the best voiceover in the world, but I guess that’s the subjective view of the client.
The old saying goes: “You are the best you in the world!” There will be jobs that I’d get over other talent and vice versa.

The “clever cow” relevancy system sounds eerily like V123’s “SmartCast” system…a process which has never won a lot of fans among its subscribers.  Explain how “Clever Cow” is different.

I don’t want to comment on any other operators system, I can just speak for ours.
Ours doesn’t limit the amount of jobs coming through to you. If you’re relevant to the job, you get delivered the opportunity.

Please tell us how Talent Cow’s Job-poster’s working area helps them decipher who’s the right talent for the job.

Our system works on a unique ranking system that looks at many different parameters and sorts the talent profiles, on the Job Posters virtual desk, accordingly.
Talent profiles are concise & clean and deliver the information a Job Poster needs to make a decision.
You’ve stated that Talent Cow will protect the talent.  Can you elaborate?

When a Job Poster signs up they can’t just SEARCH the site. Why? Well we are not a Google for Media.
Job Posters have to post a job. Once posted the replies are then filtered back onto their desk, thus telling them these talents are available and relevant to their project. The Job Poster doesn’t get to see the ‘contact’ info until the talent has been chosen. No email, no phone, just the content they need to make a decision on the right candidate. Once chosen the talent is forwarded the Job Posters contact information/profile.
By allowing talent to control the flow of personal information makes it safer. In talentcow v.2, a feedback system is being developed to enhance this process. We also are a company with a phone number and an office. If there’s anything troubling you, just call us.
What are the education and networking components of your service?

As our talent base grows so will our education and networking. Talents that are interested in different skills can contact us. We then connect with other talentcow users that can offer ‘how to’ videos and advice to fulfill their needs.
Ambassadors will run networking nights, regularly connecting with talents in the real world. It a good chance to get together, celebrate success and ask questions. This will initially start in the UK, but will grow as the website does.
In your advance materials, you make the bold statements that there is to be no auditioning, no bidding, and henceforth, no undercutting.  So…what IS the process?

Talents don’t like auditioning online. If you see a well-rounded & informative profile with media examples of what someone can do, a Job Poster can make a decision easily, especially if they have the option to compare and contrast across multiple talents and agents.
Job Posters can fix prices or give a negotiated figure ($500 – open to negotiation). It’s up to the talent or agent whether they are in or not. Turning down a job, or accepting 200, doesn’t hinder you in the slightest. Job Posters will have access to a typical rate card so they can judge their prices accordingly. talentcow is a professional media tool, we don’t encourage jobs for £10, $10 or €10.

CourVO

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8 Comments

  1. Nat Jones

    Just another in a long line of this kind of website!

    Everyone looking to make a quick buck from a voiceover.

    Reply
    • Neil Bentley

      I guess we are all entitled to our own opinion Nat. But as nothing like what we’ve offered has ever existed, I don’t quite get your ‘latest in a long line’ comment.

      Also we are not after a quick buck. I have personally invested a lot of capital and hundreds of hours of coding. I’m upset you feel this way, maybe it’s due to bad experiences with current models. Why not sign up to the newsletter at http://www.talentcow.com and have 3 months on me when we launch. You can then make your mind up from using it. Can’t say fairer than that.

      Regards,

      Neil

      Reply
  2. Jack Taylor

    I’d say give the site a chance, from what I’ve seen it looks much better than existing services, so I’ll try 3 months for free and if it works for me I’ll continue using it- can only judge when I’ve tried it out!

    Best of luck Neil, I know with your experience you can pull this off, excited to see how it all works.

    Reply
  3. Craig Burnett

    When I’m wearing my producer hat, my clients INSIST on custom auditions. Neither I nor my clients have time to “compare and contrast across multiple talents and agents.” We have a script. We need a particular voice to read that script. We need to hear how every talent reads that script, and whether what they bring to that script is what we need.

    I have NEVER listened to a talent’s stock demo beyond 10-12 seconds, to confirm they actually have a decent voice, know how to use it, and aren’t using a plastic computer mike. Beyond that, I and my clients must hear them reading our script.

    Can you imagine a boardroom at my client’s office, where four decision-makers have to wade through one guy doing a car ad, one guy doing a furniture store ad, one guy doing a Kraft commercial, all to “guess” how each of those talents might sound doing THEIR commercial? It simply won’t happen. And it’ll make me as a producer look like I have no idea how to do my job.

    I’m afraid the lack of being able to request custom auditions will kill your service, since every other service out there offers that ability.

    I respect you for your desire to create something newer, better, stronger. Just don’t paint yourself into a corner while you’re doing it. 🙂

    Respectfully,
    -Craig

    Reply
    • Neil Bentley

      Thanks for your reply Craig. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion & of course I hope you are very wrong! lol

      As a voiceover I have not auditioned for a part in years. You book me or you don’t.

      As a Presenter or Host, people look at my recent work – how could I stand on the stage and provide a live audition? You book me or you don’t.

      As a DJ, clients listen to previous mixes and make a decision.

      Of course Craig – it’s great you can get auditions from talents – but the perfect talent maybe one of the thousands that are not willing to audition.

      Paid auditioning is fine though. You can do that.

      I hope you stick around to give it a go…

      Neil

      Reply
    • CourVO

      Craig,

      I concur with what you say….as an talent auditioning…I just shake my head in disbelief when a client posts a job and doesn’t provide copy. It’s just bad business.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
  4. Neil Bentley

    Hey guys, just thought I’d let you know that we are just about to go into the last phase of intense testing.

    Hold tight, http://www.talentcow.com is coming!

    Neil

    Reply

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