VO Rates Roundtable

by | Jul 29, 2015 | Popular, Training/Education, VO Business | 3 comments

roundtableMainDon’t fault me or WoVO for focusing so much on voiceover compensation rates lately.  We’re only trying to keep up with the crazy pace of this industry.  No one topic garners more interest among freelance voice actors than this issue.

World-Voices Organization members site “rates” as one of their top concerns.  For those choosing a career in VO — and willing to work hard for it — this business had some promise.  The threat of ever-descending rates, though, is challenging that paradigm.  There are as many causes for plunging scales as there are proposed solutions.  It’s easy to point fingers and make scapegoats… but what can be DONE?

WoVO keeps coming back to the need for education.  We believe in open sharing of the situation as it stands (warts and all), where it’s heading, and what we can collectively do to claim our rightful, equitable, professional piece of the media compensation pie…be it legacy markets or new digital markets.

In that spirit, WoVO professional member Anne Ganguzza and I are launching into what we hope will be a regular online video-based series of webinars to open up a congenial dialog to educate, motivate, and mentor the different sectors of our business that NEED TO KNOW what’s going on.  

Educated, it’s easier to see the truth, and take action.

You’ll see what I mean when you watch the video below:  our first online roundtable discussion with some industry thought-influencers, all sounding off on the issue of voiceover rates.  

Our Participants:

Atlanta-based Talent Agent Jeffrey Umberger
Voice Talent Paul Strikwerda
Voice Talent Matt Cowlrick
Talent and VO Coach Cristina Milizia
WoVO Pres. Dave Courvoisier
Talent and VO Coach Anne Ganguzza
Former MCA-I chapter Pres. John Coleman
Coach and Booking Agent Mary Lynn Wissner

WoVO is grateful for the time and idea contributions these thought-leaders made during this discussion.  The video is an hour long.  We coulda kept going, but I guarantee if you take the time to watch this discussion, you will learn something about VO rates you didn’t know before!

More to come in the near future!




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  1. Taylor Stonely

    Excellent article and a must see video, Dave! Thanks to you and all of your panelists for doing this. I have one suggestion for getting more people involved and enrolled with Wo-VO. Offer a free trial period of 30, 60, or 90 days to anyone who would like to join. Everyone loves free, especially when they aren’t sure of what to expect. Once they see what Wo-VO has to offer the new VO talent entering the industry, they will more than gladly continue their membership.

  2. Kay Dees

    Thank you for this discussion! I recently joined WoVo as an Associate member. After a year of working with a professional coach, I started auditioning on a P2P about 9 months ago. So, I am new to the business. Prior to this, I had another business for 20+ years where I coached hundreds of other people on how to have a successful home based business. I had to deal constantly with what we called a “hobbyist” mentality. I never thought I would be dealing with that again in my new chosen career. Already, in just 9 months of actively auditioning, I have dealt with: A producer from Dubai on LinkedIn who only wanted to pay 1/3 of the going rate for a job. When I counter offered with what I feel is my minimum rate, he gave me another low ball offer that was still below my minimum. Really? A company in Dubai can’t even pay $100 for a job? So, I walked. (By the way, I took Paul S’s advice and posted my rates on my website) Then, I got a private invitation for an audition on a P2P for a national TV commercial. I was so excited! My bid was right in the middle of the range posted with the job. The audition was only extended to 4 VOs. I got a message back from them saying that they really liked my voice, but they could really only afford to pay me 1/3 of my bid (which was well below the minimum posted with the job!) I could not believe a company would pull a bait and switch like this. However, I did not reply that I wouldn’t do it – I just asked some questions to try and understand the scope of the project and the pay rate change. They never responded to my questions, never even attempted to negotiate. I am quite certain that they took it off line, and went with someone who didn’t ask any questions. Most recently, I completed a job on a P2P, and the client never released the funds! The P2P company said they would automatically release them if the client didn’t respond in 30 days – which is what they had to do. Now it will take another 10 days before it shows up in my Paypal account. So – for 40 days both the P2P and the client had what they wanted, and I was not paid for it. Definitely felt like I had no one on my side. As a new VO talent, if I had some place else I could get work, I would leave P2P in an instant. But I don’t live in NY, LA or Chicago – so don’t know where I would get any work at all if not for P2Ps. I was told by a Casting Director/Producer in NY that I should expect to work on P2Ps for at least 3 years before branching out to other venues. I have spent thousands of dollars on training, equipment, joining organizations, webinars, etc. If I had other means of getting work, I would very much like to post some of my experiences with P2P on social media, but to do so would be biting the hand that is feeding me the few crumbs I can get at this point. I wanted to share my experiences with you because I feel that when you stand up for an acceptable minimum wage – the client may not be willing to negotiate, and you lose the job because there’s always someone willing to not ask questions and do it for an insanely low rate. Thank you for all you are doing through WoVo to try and remedy the situation.

  3. Bob Wood

    I am kind of rebellious. It’s good to see others rebelling against the status quo.

    Some thoughts: Perhaps gathering WOVO paid rates, averaged… might attract those who also are frustrated by p2p.
    Negotiation: I have found it helpful to state a number and ask if it’s in their comfort zone. That’s a nice starter for negotiation. But through certain p2ps you don’t get to have that conversation.
    I worry about jobs which are seemingly NOT for the client directly, as the production company is using the piece to try to GET the clients job. Cheaply. I worked out of LA for years in the 80s, have 30+ years in VO, am union and also non. (Texas location.) Viva high rates.


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