…The Rest of the Story

by | Mar 8, 2016 | Ruminations | 4 comments

p2ppanelIn the side-halls of the Airport Atlanta Hilton, VOA attendees are dishing in hushed tones about the DeWees/Fiverr conundrum.

A few feet away, in the main hall,  J Michael Collins is deftly moderating a panel on pay-to-plays.

Threading its way through both conversations is the seemingly unanswerable question of setting freelance voiceover compensation rates.

The Bill DeWees method is accepting of most anything that comes your way in good faith money…eschewing concern for any effect it may have on preservation of a standard of pay in the VO community.

The JMC attempt to nurture understanding and kindness between seemingly defrauded subscribers, and a juggernaut online casting service paradigm “that’s not going away” is laudable, but unclear in a practical sense.

For what it’s worth, every other freelance profession faces similar challenges:  writers, photographers, grafx artists, etc.

Although the discussion is needed and assuages angst, don’t expect there will ever be an answer equitable to all.

Here, in our little niche corner of the free market, the most productive answer is the adage that the most lucrative work is that which you find yourself.  In other words, go out and get it.  Make it happen for you and your brand.

This philosophy takes many forms, but in each one, the level of effort you put INTO it tends to pay back in kind, what you’ll get OUT OF it:

  • practicing and getting good enough to be noticed and listed by an agent
  • cold-calling targeted prospects
  • working hard to make a kick-ass demo for every genre you want
  • experimenting with advertising that hits the mark
  • non-stop coaching and improving your craft
  • practicing some more and auditioning selectively
  • networking, social-networking, word-of-mouth raising of your profile
  • seeking referrals from peers and satisfied clients
  • consistent marketing, awareness marketing, social-media marketing
  • more marketing — all kinds…new kinds…kinds you’ve never tried before
  • currying worthwhile relationships and nurturing them
  • progressing your studio sound and technique
  • knowing your limits and your strengths

There’s more.   So much more…but what this approach does NOT encourage?—-> Paying your money into a black-box clearinghouse that magically matches both seekers and talent for those passively waiting for auditions to come down the transom.  Audition quickly and prodigiously enough, and the numbers will work for you! 


What numbers?  What control do you have?  Who are you auditioning for?  What kind of a business relationship is that?

Oh, it DOES work, I suppose (never has for me – but others claim it does for them).  So call me old fashioned, but I see MY business as a necessary part of someone ELSE’s business; an irreplaceable part, a dependable part that’s built on relationship, trust, and hard work. 

Those are the jobs that don’t list on Fiverr, ODesk, Elance, and Thumbtack.  Those are the business that aren’t settling for a voice in the midst of 100 auditions on Voices.com or Voice123.

The REAL jobs come from FINDING the opportunity, nurturing the relationship, taking the chance and being ready when it comes.  The kind of job that appreciates someone who took the time to find THEM, who knows their needs before they state them, who understands their business as good as they themselves do, and offers a solution to make it better. 

THAT’s the job I’m going after.




CourVO Newsletter


  1. Brent Abdulla

    Dave, thanks for this posting. I have a saying I created while walking the Champs-Elysées in Paris. “It’s a big abundant universe!” In our world today there’s plenty of everything. I encourage everyone to read the book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, written by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

    There’s plenty of voice over work in the marketplace and associated money available out there. It’s up to each individual to look through their eyes, and see it and take action on obtaining their share in a way that works for them. That’s assuming they’re mission is obtaining money. By the way you can’t make money, that’s called counterfitting. But you can earn money. There’s also a saying in sales; “Some will…some won’t…so what.” Some will take the necessary actions to obtain their goals, dreams and desires, some won’t, so, so what! I’m going to get mine through my personal efficacy and the help of my business network that I like to refer to as friends. And to have good friends, you have to be a good friend.

    I totally agree with your blog post above, appreciate the bullet pointed list of action items and conviction of WOVO. Thank you and everyone associated with its mission.

    Advertising 205 at Michigan State University taught me a technique of “Balancing Your Media Mix” in order to achieve the greatest ROi on your advertising budget. Having run a successful business for the last five years I know if I want business I have to go out there and get it from multiple sources, utilizing multiple means. In order to get it I need a skill set designed to acquire it, which means I need to take “Massive Action” in all aspects of learning, business and life. From daily exercise, to continual education, continual networking, continual prayer and meditation with extreme focus.

    Let’s face it the P2Ps are not going away, if anything due to the continuing development of technology they’re just going to become more prevalent. Learning how to balance them into your “Media Mix” is key. Many may disagree with this, and that’s okay. As for me I’m definitely not putting all my eggs in one basket, others may choose to do so.

    There’s a reason why you don’t negotiate when you purchase jewelry at Tiffany’s, steaks at Ruth Chris, watches at the Panerai store, bracelets at the John Hardy store and the list could go on. That reason is value. As an entrepreneur if my product and services provide “Perceived” value, potential customers will pay me my asking price.

    Building “Value” in your voice over business with skills from education, to auditions, to bookings, to invoicing to customer follow up all with continuous improvement and in a world class fashion is critical for success. A customer will purchase an item when their perceived value exceeds the cost. Which tells me that in this VO business, as in any other business the cream will rise to the top and the Pareto Principle definitely will apply. 20% of the VO talents will make 80% of the money and 80% of the talents will have to do their best for the left over 20%.

    So it boils down to a personal choice. Do I want to be part of the 20% or settle for the 20%? There’s a lot of settling in our world today and it’s been this way since the beginning of time. Relatively new to the VO business I see tremendous amounts of settling by people with “Great Voices…you should do voice overs.” You see these posts all over social media; “People say I have a good voice and should do voice overs where can I get a demo produced…today?” They have no clue about the path it takes to succeed in this extremely competitive industry or any industry for that matter based on their question.

    Thanks for all you and WoVo and all the 20%’ers do for our industry.

    Time for some “Tongue Twister Practice”!

    Best to all. If you want it…take the necessary massive action to get it.

    • CourVO


      Thanks for your hearty response. I’m glad my thoughts struck a nerve. I also thank you for your support for WoVO. We keep trying to move forward and keep a high vision for our business.


      Dave Courvoisier

  2. Charlie Sill

    Oh how utterly familiar is this topic to me and my business? VERY and you’re so correct Dave. The gigs on pay to play sites are for the newbies and I was one once well before they came along. I have tried them and they have not paid off for my efforts. Perhaps I was too seasoned to be considered. Perhaps I bid too high. In every case it is different and I too go after the jobs where a face to face meeting is always a winner!

    • CourVO


      Thanks for the dialog you always put up. I can tell you’re a thinker, and very relational. I had no idea you lived in Atlanta. I thought you lived in LA.
      Anyway, just wanted to express my appreciation for your constant presence in my conversations online.

      Dave Courvoisier


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