podcast-aRemember that big online melee about Fiverr that was sparked by Bill DeWees a few weeks ago? 

Let me say that Bill is a friend, and I’ve never, nor will I ever bash him or his practices here on this blog.  But, it’s OK for friends to disagree, and apparently I wasn’t the only one to disagree with Bill about his suggested approach to Fiverr.

To be more succinct, it wasn’t so much about BILL using Fiverr, but a business coach that he coincidentally ran into a couple of times, and how HE was using Fiverr.  That coach — Lance Tamashiro — told Bill of his success building revenue doing voiceovers on Fiverr…and Lance isn’t even a voice actor!  However, Tamashiro was doing so well with a certain method of “working” Fiverr, that he was claiming revenue of at least $1,000/mo doing voiceovers on Fiverr for an hour-a-day.

That got Bill’s attention, and that of his business mentor – Fred Gleeck. They immediately launched a plan to capitalize on Tamashiro’s formula, and called it The VO Success Formula.

The reaction from many in the voiceover community was abhorrent.  Lance Tamashiro admits he got plenty of calls and emails decrying Fiverr and the VO Success Formula.  Fred Gleeck — also a friend of mine — fired off a series of emails to me asking point blank, how could anyone reject a plan like this without even evaluating it first, and giving it a fair consideration?!

My answer to that question, and to a number of questions concerning the current landscape of the voiceover marketplace came out in a podcast interview Lance Tamashiro did with me Wednesday.  ‘Turns out Lance grew up watching me on the news in Las Vegas.  Although he now lives in Utah, he’s built up a loyal following of entrepreneurial business freelancers…and that’s what voice-actors are, right?

Here’s the recording of our conversation:

Below, there is also a full written transcript of our conversation.

Maybe Tamashiro is a resource you should pay attention to.  Aside from his forays into voiceover, his site has some great advice for freelancers of every stripe… and lots of podcasts with all sorts of people.

Here’s a link to Tamashiro’s site.

Thanks for the opportunity to extend the conversation about this, Lance!

Courvo

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Lance Tamashiro:
Hey everybody this is Lance Tamashiro, welcome back to the show. I’m really excited about today’s show because we’re going to talk about a different business model that we’ve talked about quite a lot in this show. Actually we’re going to be talking about the whole world of voice overs, performing voice overs and I’m super excited for the guest that we’ve got today. His name is Dave Courvoisier. You probably know him online as Courvo, I think it’s what he goes by now, but I actually grew up watching him on the news in Las Vegas and somehow through all of this stuff that we’ve doing lately, our paths have crossed here. I asked him to be on the show because a lot of the things that you guys that listen to a lot know that I’ve been doing lately is trying to figure out how to build other types of businesses than what I’m currently in.

Dave has a different approach and represents an organization that sort of looks at the voice over stuff a little bit differently. I asked him to be on here so that, one, I can educate myself but two, also educate all of you and to sort of open your eyes up to some of the possibilities, some of the different things that you can do. Dave, I’m super excited to have you here, thanks for doing this, I know you’re a busy guy.

Dave Courvo:
Lance, I’m so glad to be here. It’s so serendipitous that we should have crossed paths after all these years. You said you watched me on the news, that makes me happy because we want viewers and that’s a real compliment. Thank you.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah. I know we have a very limited amount of time here, but one of the things I sort of want to get started with, how do you go from … How did you go, what was your journey of sort of being on the news to getting into this whole world of voice overs? Now I know you are president of the world voice organization and what was that path for you? How did you go from that to the one thing to the next? Also, if you can talk about what your organization does.

Dave Courvo:
Well, you got a couple of hours?

Lance Tamashiro:
No, I mean I do.

Dave Courvo:
That’s like three questions there. First, I’ve been a news guy on TV since I don’t know, 1980? That makes me kind of old but you know what? I worked really hard at it and I thought I was really into something in the best years of TV. Now it’s taken a turn like radio, the internet has disrupted TV like it has photography, voice overs, publishing, graphics artists. If you have a freelance entrepreneurial audience then they know all this. They know that the TV and their profession has been disrupted by the internet. I saw that coming years ago and I thought, “I got at least one good thing left in me.” I thought, “Well, voice over’s got to be easy. Jeez, I do that anyways on the news, right?” I startled dabbling it in and really immersing myself in that culture. I found out that broadcasting doesn’t necessarily work in my favor as a voice actor. In fact, in many ways it works against me and I can explain that later.

I’ve been at it for about 8 or 9 years now and it’s definitely a marathon and not necessarily a sprint, it takes a lot of application and like I said, immersion in the business to really find your way through it. How I started in world’s voices was a group of us were with an organization that we thought had promise 4 or 5 years ago. It turned out to be almost illegitimate, almost illegal. A core of 4 of us withdrew from that organization and started our own, we called it World’s Voices. The idea was to create an industry trade association for voice actors. We felt that there were a lot of people in our community who were not being represented by the union or anybody else.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, right.

Dave Courvo:
We set about to set out some best practices for producers, for coaches for talent. We take a high road in ethical judgements of things, we try to set a tone that advocates for voice actors, mentors, promotes and educate the voice acting community. In 3 years, we’ve grown up to 750 members and we have an annual conference in Las Vegas, we’re heading for our third one here in April.

Lance Tamashiro:
Awesome. I know that you guys have some standards and best practices that you set out and I think that one of the big things that, maybe we should talk about right off the bat, what does the path look like? Because I know … It’s funny that you say, “I thought being in media, being in broadcasting, I’d be good at voice over. If you know how to talk maybe you’re good at voice over.” All the things that you see on the internet, get a mic and talk, you know how to do that so be a voice actor. I found out the exact same thing as you, like it’s not as easy as just getting into a microphone and talking. It’s a lot harder than that, what sort of is the path that you guys set out if somebody listening is saying, “This is something that interests me, how do I get started? What do I do?”

Dave Courvo:
There’s kind of two answers to that. First of all, there’s a wide spectrum of genres of voice acting, I mean there’s video games, there’s audio books, there’s radio imaging, there’s commercial work. You kind of have to find your niche, you need to find what you’re good at and your bread and butter is and start there. Then if you think you want to tackle another genre later you can do that. There’s not many voice actors that can do a lot of different genres because it’s a wide range of skills. You need to kind of decide on that. Beyond that you need to also decide whether you’re going to do this part-time, whether you’re going to make this just some little extra pay, little extra job on the side or if you’re going to make a career out of it. That’s one distinction that I really want to bring up to your audience today. The difference between a career voice actor and a voice actor who’s just doing it as a part time job.

Right now, I got a full-time job as a newscaster but I feel like I’m doing voice over full-time too. Yes, burn the candle on both ends, I’m very busy. Luckily I’m an empty nester, it’s just me and my wife at home and she understands. I think there’s an important distinction between how do you want to approach this business, it is a marathon. People get into and they say, “Gee, I was a radio DJ for 5 years, I should be able to do that. I used to cut spots over at the station.” It turns out that in today’s world, in today’s market, the announcer voice is not the one they want. Almost every audition I get, the direction say, conversational. We’re looking for the everyday guy, we don’t want somebody who’s an announcer. In fact it’ll say, no announcers or no announcery.

I had to overcome that broadcast lose cadence, that rhythm, that pattern of broadcast news, it’s so typical to do everyday guy. I’m still working at it, it requires a lot of coaching, it requires acting classes, improv. It takes an application of practice and intensity to get past the news broadcast or the radio broadcast cadence.

Lance Tamashiro:
It’s funny that you say that because I know that when I started out, sort of my journey of dabbling into this whole thing, I saw that whole thing where people were like, “You got to be conversational.” I’m thinking, “Well, great I talk to people everyday.” This weird thing happens, when you put a microphone in front of you that you automatically turn into the guy on the radio from the 80’s.

Dave Courvo:
And you know what? Most of the people that send out those jobs are the producers, are the clients as we call them, they include directions that sometimes are longer than the script! It just wonders through this what they think pie on the sky voice they want and bottom line is they don’t really know. They don’t know exactly what they want, they kind of have to have an idea. Sometimes they’ll send you a link to a YouTube video and they want you to listen to that and copy that. They’ll say, we need a Morgan Freeman type, well then go get Morgan Freeman. Well he costs too much, well then you’re not going to get Dave Courvoisier instead. I can’t do, there are people that do Morgan Freeman but ultimately you got to do yourself.

It’s what you bring to the mic, it’s what your life experience forms you as. That’s what they want, they want you now. You may not be the guy they necessarily want but the next client, you might hit the mark totally for that guy. You just have to throw out you to the client and hope that that’s what they’re looking for. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

Lance Tamashiro:
You pick the genre and then it’s … I mean obviously some equipment type of stuff. I know that there’s a range of 50 dollar mics up to you name it. As high as you want to go, is there a sort of a set-up that somebody just getting started that’s good enough or do they need to spend 5,000 dollars?

Dave Courvo:
There’s a sweet spot around 2 to 300 dollars where there’s a series of set-up mics that are just great. I like the studio projects C1 mic, it’s 300 dollars or less. It’s top notch. Some of the best coaches that I’ve studied with, have used that mic. I would say, less than 800 dollars to really get going. I mean a 300 dollar mic, software these days for recording is pretty decent priced to a 100 bucks or so. Then you need good cables, you need maybe pre-amp, you need some kind of USB interface to port it into your computer and you’re set.

The most important thing Lance is, you can have a 5,000 dollar U87 Neumann mic and it’s going to sound crappy if your recording environment isn’t good.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right.

Dave Courvo:
Harping on that is what we’ve been doing a lot of lately is get your recording environment set. Now I work at a converted closet. A lot of people buy their own booths, whisper rooms or their set-up specifically for audio clarity, but you can actually do pretty well in a motel room with an ironing board and some comforters. It’s really just isolating the outside sound from getting in and keeping a nice tight sound inside that doesn’t reverberate or echo off the walls.

Lance Tamashiro:
I think the one thing I sort of figured out is that’s the biggest thing as obviously, as quiet as you can make it and specially the higher end you go on a mic the more that it seems to pick up, which in a lot of ways, you talked about the lower end 2 to 300 dollars stuff, in a lot of ways, you’re way better off if you don’t have this great set-up already, sound wise.

Dave Courvo:
I think what works for a lot of people is that they go out and buy some PVC pipe and make a frame that’s 4 by 6 and maybe 6 or 7 feet tall and they just drape some of that stuff that you get a U Haul for padding over it and on top of it. That actually works really well.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah because I think the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is, you got to to dead in that bouncing off the walls and that’s really I think what makes the difference, at least that I’ve noticed in the people that are making it and aren’t is that you don’t hear that echo that’s in there.

Dave Courvo:
The bottom line Lance is a lot of us in the voice over business are geeks, we love our equipment. We love buying new equipment thinking that the next microphone is going to really make us pop. There’s a point of diminishing returns with that. I stopped buying mics and equipment years ago because I had good enough stuff, it wasn’t bad. It was my recording environment and my talent that was going to get me the job, not a better mic or a better pre-amp.

Lance Tamashiro:
One of the things you mentioned is that you have a converted closet, are you literally talking about like, it’s a closet and then you’ve treated the walls and sort of try to deaden the sound that way?

Dave Courvo:
It’s a second floor closet, so it’s not attached to the bedroom. It was just an existent closet that was at the top oft he stairs that has shelving, it has racks for clothing but I took all that out, I put up some Auralex around the sides, it’s about 4 by 6 foot closet. It doesn’t have … I’m in it now, how does this sound? I’m using base traps in the corners, I got … It’s tight, it’s dead. Now, I do get an occasional barking dog or leaf blower from outside and I’ll pause for a second or a plane flying overhead but honestly, it’s very consistently good.

Lance Tamashiro:
That was one of things that when I looked at this, I mean honestly, you’re going to laugh about this, I started with a 35 dollar USB Logitech headset microphone. You can do that and we’re probably going to talk a little bit about what I did but I think that you’re right, that sound environment is really what you’re looking for.

Dave Courvo:
It’s the first thing you need to focus on.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah, and way more important than the microphone.

Dave Courvo:
Yeah.

Lance Tamashiro:
I think for sure. The neat thing is, you pick what you’re going to do, the genre or niche, which like you said, there’s a wide a range of them. You get an area treated then there’s sort of two paths that I’ve heard, again I’m no expert, I just kind of researched on the internet and one is: get a coach and get into a program. The other is: kind of feel your way around the area first. My inclination is, always getting a coach is better but what do you guys sort of recommend as, is that the time? Once you get your equipment, do you get a coach before equipment? How do you sort of navigate that area?

Dave Courvo:
All right, let me back up just a little bit and tell you about the phone call that I get almost every week from somebody who has an incredible voice and has the same … This is the same phone call I get every week is, “Hi, my name’s Bob and gosh everybody tells me I got a great voice, I should be in radio, how do I get started in voice over?” I have to nicely tell that person every time, a good voice is not really that necessary anymore for voice over.

I got a friend who has a thin, high, raspy voice and he’s killing it in voice over because he’s good at marketing. He’s a good freelance business person. He knows how to promote himself. The other thing is that I think, you have to, as I said before, you have to immerse yourself in the culture of voice acting. Yes you need to get a good coach, a couple and you need to try new ones and you need to stay after, even after you feel like you’ve arrived, you still need the coaching and the improv.

You need to immerse yourself in the culture online, there’s a number of Facebook groups and communities online, lurk there, find out what they’re talking about, get to know the lingo, find out their tips, get a mentor. Find someone who’s good at voice over and who doesn’t mind spending a little time with you on the phone every once in a while, can give you some tips and just kind of guide you through the system because there are some ins and outs, there’s some missteps you can make that will almost turn you against the community if you do it wrong.

The coaching, the mentoring, the immersion and the culture. Choose your colleagues because … I’ll tell you one thing about voice over and you probably already heard this from Bill, is that incredibly supportive encouraging community. We don’t see each other as competitors, I don’t know why that is because we kind of are, but honestly we support each other immensely. I was blown away by that because in broadcasting it’s dog eat dog, it’s cutthroat, you’ll step over somebody to get ahead not on voice over. Everybody wants to help everybody. It’s a wonderful community to be in.

Lance Tamashiro:
I think one of the things that you’ve said a couple of times that’s really sticking out to me and maybe part of that is, you’ve said it over and over, own your voice. Don’t be Morgan Freeman, be Dave Courvoisier.

Dave Courvo:
That’s right.

Lance Tamashiro:
Don’t be this. Own your voice and I think that at some level the neat thing about, while there’s yes, there’s lots of competition, at some level there’s no competition because at the end of the day, somebody’s looking for you. Your job as a marketer is to find that person that is looking for your voice.

Dave Courvo:
Yeah, it’s so true. The reason I say we’re not necessarily competitors is yes, I may get the same audition from an agent that 50 or a 100 other people get. What is the client looking for? Sometimes they don’t know but when they hear it, they know. And so, if what I bring to the microphone my world experience, my life experience my emotional tenor, if I bring that to the job and that person is looking for just that then that’s why I got the job. Not because I have an announcer voice or because I have any particular acting skill, it’s because I brought to them what I had. The next client may not want that, they may want the guy in LA who just applied for the job. My goal is to get a job audition and the directions say, we want a Dave Courvoisier type.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, you got the right guy.

Dave Courvo:
That’s my goal.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah. Let’s kind of shift gears because I mean, I think the neat thing about all of this and anybody listening needs to understand is, it’s not necessarily about the equipment, it’s more about the room and finding a place where you’re not going to get some bouncing stuff, which I think is neat because you really can get started for way less than if you were going to open up a shop or produce some kind of thing or do almost any other type of business that you’re going to do. 1,000 bucks and you’re pretty much set. Finding this coaching and community and I think that’s sort of where we met paths, is this whole idea. I know your group has some very strong feelings about not only the site that I like to do and find work on but also a couple of other of these sites where people go to, to get paid for. Can you kind of talk about, I guess not even the site itself but what your guys’ position is and what are you guys trying to do as an organization for the voice over community.

Dave Courvo:
First of all, I really have a hard time judging anyone who’s a freelancer at their approach to the business. I think there’s some rights and wrongs and some things you can do to enhance your position but everybody who’s a freelancer finds their own way. I don’t care if you’re a writer, a photographer, a graphics artists, you’re going to find your own way to make it in this business. I go back to what I’ve said before, are you doing this as a job? Side job? Little extra pay? Are you making a career out of it? That important distinction at the very top of your business plan will set the tone for how you view these services that you mention.

Your question comes at a time when there’s really a disruption in the voice over business. It used to be, to be in voice over you’re more or less in LA or New York City and you drove around to the different studios every day auditioning live in their studios. Now it’s totally different, for the last 5 years the internet has disrupted this business and has democratized it so that there are people sitting in their studios at Omaha and at Little Rock and buying for the same jobs that used to only be available in LA or New York City. Now what that’s also done is it’s created this new climate for compensation rates that is up for grabs. The two main online casting sites are voices.com and voice123.com, they got into the game early, realize there was this eager population of people trying to find jobs and they supply them these jobs. They list voice over jobs every day and you as a subscriber to their site, can audition to those jobs.

There’s a couple things that came out of that that has precipitated out of that paradigm, that business paradigm that is what we think destroying a lot of the compensation rates that are legacy, quite frankly. The first thing is, it creates a climate where the talent are bidding against each other and that leads us to the second point, which is, the client, the talent becomes the commodity, not the job. It’s a bad place to be because it drives rates down, down, down, down because the clients going to go usually for the lowest bid if the quality is equal and quite often it is. For the person who lists the job on voices.com they get maybe a 100 responses. Easily a 100 people auditioning for that same job.

There’s a few with USB mics that they toss right off the top and then there’s a few more that have bad sound or bad noise floor in their audio. Anyway, you come down to maybe 10 or 12 or 15 and you sift through those and you choose the best one. If it comes down between two guys who are equal and one bids 200 bucks for the job and the other bids 400 bucks, you’re going to take the 200 dollar guy. It constantly drives down the market. Now, with a place like Fiverr and Odesk and Elance and all the many other thumb tack that have popped up recently that offer also a bidding process for all kinds of professions, the same thing applies.

As a career voice over, I’m not going to choose to even go on to Fiverr because I don’t think a 5 dollar voice over job is consistent with my business plan.

Lance Tamashiro:
Absolutely. This is sort of the thing that sort of … I guess it was surprising to me because when I started and how we found out about each other was through this course I was doing on Fiverr and what was interesting to me about the reaction that came from the voice over community towards what I was doing is that I didn’t even … I was surprised that something like that was even on the radar of you guys, to be honest because you guys weren’t on my radar until all of this happened. My real struggle with that I’ve been really trying to figure out and get my head around is that, I almost look at this as like major league baseball. There’s guys in minor leagues, single A, double A, triple A and at some point there has to be a path for people to improve and get paid but it still doesn’t seem to affect the guys at the top. Even on Fiverr where I’m at and quite frankly, I’ve tried doing the stuff on voices.com and I can’t win an audition because I’m just not good enough for it.

It seems like there really are levels of people and also levels of clients at the same time. One of the things that shocked me was that, it doesn’t even feel like I’m competing at the same job and/or client that people even on voices or definitely at your level are. One of the things that I was looking at, I was researching World Voices and different things, there doesn’t seem to be a path for people that are brand new, to sort of get their feet wet and cut their teeth. I know the guys, now I do, I know the guys I’m competing against on voices, I’ll never win. I mean, the things that you’ve said. That was one of the big disconnects that I saw.

Dave Courvo:
Lance I think you could easily have a future in voice acting because you have a unique voice and you do sound like a regular guy. You also have that youthful voice which is very much coveted right now, but to get back to your question. It’s the old catch 22 of I can’t get experience without a job and I can’t get a job without experience and so you’re right. There has to be a pathway for the newbies, so to speak, to learn the ropes and to try their … Get their feet wet a little bit.

Places like Fiverr I suppose do fill that need, if nothing else, it gives you a great chance to see what’s commercially out there, what’s being asked of voice talent and to get practice copy. There’s no end of sources for practice copy. The auditions that you get off of Fiverr, voices.com, listening to the radio and the TV, those are guys who won the audition. Those are the guys who got the job, so listen to radio … Don’t turn off the TV when the ads come on, listen, those are the guys that are winning the auditions, same with radio.

The path to a greater compensation rate does follow a low rate to a higher rate, there are lovely clients who are wonderful and realize the value of a good voice actor and will pay compensation rates that meet that expectation and there are those who just don’t care, they just want to get it done. They want it done in the next hour and they don’t really care, they just don’t want to pay a lot, they just want it done. Those are sometimes your worst client. They’re the ones, the most picky, the ones that you just want to say good bye and sometimes you have to fire a client because they’re just a pain in the butt.

There is a spectrum of opportunities and paid skills as well as other is a spectrum of jobs and a spectrum of talent that can meet those jobs. Now we haven’t even got into the discussion about union and non-union. The union as you know SAG and AFTRA have merged and what the union would like you to think is that when you hire a union actor, you’re getting a pro, but what you’re actually getting is a guy who paid his union fees. That doesn’t mean he’s a pro, there’s plenty of union talent out there that aren’t looking anything, in fact, the kind of loosely quoted figure is that only 5% of SAG-AFTRA workers, members are actually working and making a living off of acting. It’s a wild west out there, much like other professions that have been disrupted by the internet. It’s a shift in the marketplace and everybody’s trying to find their way through it.

Lance Tamashiro:
One of the reasons of why I wanted to have the discussion with you is, I wanted to be educated about this stuff. It’s such a weird thing because on one hand, again I’m not in the voice industry, I’m not any of those things and it’s like … I consider myself an outsider looking in on all of this and it’s like, on one hand I totally see the legacy point, we need to protect these rates and on the other hand, then I see, it kind of feels like what’s going to happen when all these guys die? Where are these people going to go?

I feel like at some of the lower sites, that you guys definitely would not be on. [inaudible 00:27:51] would not be on but Lance is, is that there’s a lot of students looking to get their papers narrated for their power points. There’s a lot of people that are making YouTube videos, startups that are never going to make any money at all, where are those people … In the spectrum of things, where are those clients supposed to go to get service? Because when I look at stuff that I do and again, I do this stuff on Fiverr, I look at it and I go, if somebody wasn’t doing this here, if Fiverr went away and they had to go to voices where there’s the minimum of 100 dollars, there’s no return, do you know what I’m saying? It prices out a whole spectrum of people that they’re not looking to make commercials, they’re not looking to make hundreds of thousands of dollars on their investment.

Dave Courvo:
I’ll tell you this, here’s an analogy. I have 3 daughters who are 20 somethings. They are going online to find relationships, that’s the new thing. It doesn’t sound right to me because I’m an old guy but that’s the new thing. Of course, if you’re a startup company, you don’t really want to commercially just want to say an in-house video done. You have no clue where to find a voice actor, you don’t know any agencies, you don’t know any advertising agencies, you don’t know any booking agents. Where do you go? If you’re going online for relationships for love relationships, you’re certainly going to go online to try to find a voice over.

The good voice actor makes himself available, he does good SEO, she does good SEO on their website. They list themselves in places like voices.com or voice123 or even Fiverr, if they want to get those level of jobs. That’s why I said, I even wrote a book about it Lance, it’s called More than just a Voice. It goes back to my example of Bob who called me, “Hey, I got a great voice.” Well Bob, it takes more than a voice, it takes good business sense. Lance that’s why you could make it in voice over because you have great marketing, self promotion and business skills. Your voice is adequate is going to be fine, it’s the business side of things, you have to be a good freelance business person or you’re not going to make it in voice over.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, I think that’s a super important point, not only in voice over but in any business.

Dave Courvo:
Yes, yes.

Lance Tamashiro:
There is no, it’s easy to look at a guy like you for example and say, “Well, look all he does is get in front of the mic and gets booked.” It’s like, “Yes, but also there’s 9 years of building up to that.” Everybody sees the overnight success that happened over night not the time that went in before last night.

Dave Courvo:
There are very few of those actually. There are people that started after I did and are doing very well but that’s all they’re doing. I got another job too and it does get in the way of me being able to promote my business as much as I want to. You’re right, these are people who worked hard to get ahead, they stayed with it. Lot of people drop out after the first month or two because they realized the sacks of money aren’t being delivered to their front door.

It takes patience and skill and time and it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The business perspective of it, but see I didn’t have that. I’ve always worked for someone else, so when I got into voice over I’m like, “What? I got to keep my own books? I got to send my own promotional materials? How do I do this?” It took a long time just to learn to teach myself to be a good business person. You’ve already got that Lance, you’re way ahead of the game as far as I go. As far as I’m concerned, you’re 80% of the way there to success in voice over.

Lance Tamashiro:
All right, I’ll definitely have to take you up on that and hit you up for some coaching then. There’s so much that we can talk about in this and I know that we have this limited time. What I really wanted was to get a conversation going because I know that there’s people on both sides of the fence and I think that my perspective, and again I’m just an outsider looking in, is that there’s two sides that both seem to be digging their heels in right now and my guess is that the truth is probably somewhere on the spectrum in the middle of it.

I totally don’t think there’s anything that any of us can do to solve this in a matter of 30 minutes over a Skype conversation that’s being recording, but what I do appreciate is that you stepping out specially with your role with the World Voice organization, having this conversation because I think that there’s nothing bad that can happen from a dialogue starting. At least letting people hear both sides from an objective non-heated point of view can’t be bad for anybody. I super appreciate this, I’d love to continue this conversation with you if that’s something you’re open to. I know you’re a busy guy.

Dave Courvo:
Let me just say something to wrap up then. Voice actors work in isolation, we all work in our own booths at home so it’s easy to think that what you do doesn’t affect others but there is a voice acting community. There is a market place for voice actors and when you accept low bidding jobs or low pay jobs, you set an expectation among the clients and the producers that this is what is common pay for this kind of work right now. You’re affecting other people in this business by accepting low pay. There’s arguments for and against this, I get that and I’m not judging because the marketplace is a free marketplace and you got to do what you got to do to pay the bills but I’m just saying, we don’t live and work alone. We live in a community that’s trying to get ahead in trying to find better compensation for what they do.

Lance Tamashiro:
I don’t think this is the place for us to have an argument but-

Dave Courvo:
No.

Lance Tamashiro:
I agree and also I still think like there’s Mercedes and Hyundai and Hyundai doesn’t put Mercedes out of business, you know? There’s minor league baseball and pro baseball, one gets paid 20,000, one gets paid 2 million a game for some of these guys.

Dave Courvo:
There’s room for all. There is really room for all Lance.

Lance Tamashiro:
I got to tell you, when I reached out to you I didn’t expect to hear anything back. I know some things had to happen for this to happen but I super appreciate-

Dave Courvo:
Me too.

Lance Tamashiro:
Being willing to have this discussion and get his out there and hopefully something that we can continue because I think for the whole voice over entrepreneur people in general, I think this is important not only in voice over but in a whole lot of freelancing things. There are disruptions happening for freelancers where this exact issue is happening all over the place. There’s got to be an answer that benefits everybody in the long term because I think that either everybody’s going to win or everybody’s going to lose. I think that having a dialogue is the best way to find that middle ground.

Dave Courvo:
It’s hugely important and that’s, one last comment, that’s why World Voices is really exist, is to help educate its member as to what’s out there, then they can make their own decisions. At least it’s an educated decision.

Lance Tamashiro:
Just to wrap this up, where can people find out about you, personally, I know you got a great blog, also about your book and World Voice Overs as well?

Dave Courvo:
The center of that is my website, it’s courvo.com and you can put a /blog after that to see my blog. I blog 5 days a week for the voice over community, I’ve been doing it for 7 or 8 years, I got 2,600 articles out there. It’s how I wrote my book, I just took the best blogs and made it into a book called More than just a Voice. There’s a link to my book on the website as well.

World Voices is world-voices.org, we have, like I said, we have about 725 members right now, growing by the day. On that site, you can see a number of our resources, we have posted our best practices for our producers and the talent and coaches. Probably like a lot of other professions, there’s a kind of predatory education level that really just bleeds our community from people that want to get started. They have stars in their eyes, they see an ad that says, “Hey for only 4,500 dollars we can spend the weekend and cut a demo and you’re all set to go.” It’s not just true, you can’t cut a demo in a weekend from scratch. You got to start and get months of coaching first typically and then you cut a demo. There’s predatory demo mills and coaches out there that we’re trying to warn against and that’s why the education is so important we believe from the World Voices stand point.

Lance Tamashiro:
Awesome, well I appreciate that and again all of those links for everybody will be in the show notes but definitely go check out courvo.com/blog. I go and check it out, there’s a ton of great information there. It’s a great place to get educated find out what Dave is up to. As always, we appreciate you guys listening to the show, we look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks everybody, bye now.

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