Philosophical differences are the toughest ones. Just ask the Democrats and Republicans. Both sides are forgetting that the people across the aisle are proud Americans…who see a possible future that’s different from the opposing viewpoint. That doesn’t make them any less “American”.
I’ve spent the better part of my spare time the last few days sitting in the middle of a philosophical rift in our voiceover community.
I’m not going to name names, and it would even be beyond the scope of this humble blog article to lay out all the issues, and reasons how we got here. As they say: “it’s complicated”.
I’m not sure the issue is even new, but it’s on the front burner, and accusations have been made, and maybe some feelings are hurt. The instantaneous nature of social media and other digital streams makes it easy for any polarized controversy to reach a crescendo pretty fast…and that’s not always good.
Let me just say that at the heart of the issue is a difference of opinion over what’s an acceptable compensation rate, and for what kind of work…and who should/can/will have a say over what’s fair and what’s not.
You have that say. But….
Here’s the caveat:
The old adage “…everyone has a right to their opinion…” no longer stands on its own.
The best rewrite of that old saying is: “…everybody has a right to their informed opinion…”
So yes, you have the right to set your own rates. But be informed about it. And be informed about the consequences. And remember, we don’t live in a vacuum in this community. Your actions DO affect others. Yes, you gotta put food on the table, but you also have to secure a future in this business that will not always represent beginner’s wages.
Actually, the very crux of the issue probably lies with newbies. Lord knows they’re flooding the field with stars in their eyes. Someone somewhere told the impressionable person with passable pipes that there’s money in the hills of voiceover.
Seasoned pros all upset about newbies destroying rates need to remember where THEY got started.
And newbies need to constantly rachet up their expectations of acceptable rates as they improve.
The eagerness that newbies exhibit just to break into the business is not lost on an ever-growing cadre of voiceover “coaches”. I’ve written extensively on this.
…and this is where the reference to The Voiceover Frontier comes in. The VO business is largely unregulated, uncharted, uncertified, and populated with eager and uninformed hopefuls; just like the days of the California Gold Rush. No wonder a dozen eggs costs $20, a shovel costs $100 dollars, and a map to the motherlode is an overpriced forgery.
This is why it’s up to YOU as the newbie panning for VO gold to do due diligence. Many mentors are quick to offer solid advice about reputable paths through the canyons…because it helps ensure their own future is more steady. Do research, hang out in forums, ask questions!
Sorry, but I can’t help myself. I’m passionate about the “education” prerogative. World-Voices Organization is NOT the VO police, we do not set rates, and we do not twist arms. We are a non-profit. We mentor. We educate. We advocate for the best interests of our members and the community at large. Yes, we have leanings this way or that…because our members have that point-of-view and expect us to articulate that leaning. But we are not monolithic, nor are we incapable of adjustments to market trends.
Just remember…in the end it comes down to you, and how well you inform yourself, and how well you then run your business.
By the way, I probably don’t need to remind you that the frontier made the rugged rich… not the softie. To conquer the frontier, hard-nosed American pioneers stayed the course, did the tough labor, were in it for the long run, and knew there would be mistakes and failures. Not all of them found gold, but those who persisted found success.