Why $5?

by | May 10, 2015 | VO Business

$5Why not just do it for free?

This blog officially beats the proverbial dead horse — again — but I can’t stand it anymore!

I ran across a tweet for this Fiverr VO offer yesterday:


This person’s pitch goes on to say:  I am a professional voice over artist and actor in New York City! I have done voiceover for national and international commercials, cartoon shows, smartphone apps, online courses, and small projects. With my voice over, I hope to help you with anything you might need! Thank goodness for Fiverr!

Yeah, thank goodness! 

The reason I hesitate to even write about this is that I know I’ll get strongly-worded messages calling me out for being elitist, or a snob, or saying “…everybody has to start somewhere…”.

This topic is right up there with:

  • religion
  • politics
  • Mac v. PC

….only it’s uniquely voiceover-centric… or I guess you could say unique to freelance creatives.  Writers, photographers, graphics artists included.

I refuse to engage in the anecdotal evidence that people have to “put bread on the table”, or start “somewhere” when just beginning a career, or “I’ve got medical bills to pay”.  It’s not up to me to judge those individually passionate justifications.

All I can say is:

  • I choose to value my work more than that
  • I’m not accepting “volume” work at low prices and the “promise of more work soon”
  • I’ve worked hard, and spent plenty to be a professional, and I charge professional rates
  • When someone does a VO for $5, everyone who does VO suffers
  • Saying “no” to undervalued compensation is a powerful negotiating point
  • I’m in it for the career, not just the job
  • As an industry we CAN demand better pay…and get it.

Sure, market globalization is a reality that probably hits Europe and North America harder than anywhere else.  I understand that the internet is a disruptive technology that levels the playing field in many ways…good & bad.  I also see where unions have failed miserably to represent our business (or even NOTICE our field of creativity).

So that’s where you personal ethics and pride of ownership come in.  That’s where your sense of value and your service to your customers means something.  Don’t fold…don’t balk.  Freelance creatives set their own mark.  Set it high!

Personally, if I did a VO for $5, I’d wanna go take a shower right away… or be so disgusted with the whole business that I’d sell my ‘416 and go work in a tire shop.

I hear they get more than $5 a job.




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