One full hour of everything you needed to know to make your way through the “unsettledness” of the post-VoiceBank marketplace.
See the recording below for all the latest info from:
- Matt Dubois, the founder of VoiceCastingHub
- Erik Sheppard, VO Agent Alliance/talent agent
- Liz Atherton, CastVoices/talent agent
- Carol Rathe, GO Voices/talent agent
- Peter Bishop VO talent/WoVO Vice Prez
- Anne Ganguzza VO talent/co-host
- Dave Courvoisier WoVO Prez/co-host
You will hear some sage advice for voice talent, talent agents, and the community at large. This is what we need to do to claim back decent compensation rates!
Show Notes WoVO (World Voice Over) Rates Roundtable February 2018
Dave Courvoisier: [00:00:12] The greatest good to see you all.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:00:13] This is the February 2018 version of Rates Round Table sponsored by World Voices Organization the only industry trade association for voice actors. We’re so glad to see all you guys here today because we got a lot to talk about and some important topics. My lovely co-host Anne Ganguzza I think is gonna do the honor of the introductions.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:00:31] Yes. Thank you. I’m super excited about the panel today. So let me get right to it. I will introduce first Matt DuBois CEO and founder of the Voice Casting Hub. He found his interest for entrepreneurship and technology while in college. When he wrote his first piece of software ultimately that sold to a publicly traded company and he pursued his passion of building his business. So Currently he’s CEO of national cloud hosting provider Cloud 9 and partner in a merchant services provider accounting software company and sports fundraising platform. Thanks for joining us Matt. Yes.
Matt Dubois: [00:01:09] Thank you for having me.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:01:12] Next up is Carol Rathe The owner of Go Voices a Denver based voice over talent agency serving worldwide clientele. She began her career as a professional voice over artist and then later on became a writer producer for commercial live television network and industrial projects. In 2009 she combined her love of video with her love for natural beauty and moved to Denver. Yes it is beautiful there where she founded Go Voices and in the years since go voices has gained a national reputation for integrity and excellence. Thanks Carol for joining us.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:01:44] Hey Carol.
Carol Rathe: [00:01:45] It’s great to be here and my camera doesn’t work.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:01:51] Next up we have Eric Shepard the force behind the Shepard Agency and one of the founders of the VO Agent Alliance. Eric is a seasoned pro with a long history of professional clients and successes and he’s also that guy that you see in that successful YouTube show called The outspoken. So Eric has long been a voice of advocacy advocacy experience and reason for us here in the Voice Over community.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:02:15] Thanks Eric for joining us.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:02:16] Thanks Erik
Erik Sheppard: [00:02:17] Thank you. Next we have Liz Atherton the queen bee and owner of the Atherton Group Talent Agency also known as TAG and On-camera and video agency with their headquarters in Austin Texas. She’s actively working with talent and clients all over the United States and abroad.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:02:33] Liz thanks so much for joining us.
Liz Atherton: [00:02:36] Thank you.
[00:02:38] And last but certainly not least we have Peter Bishop a seasoned British voice actor and I like this description as Sting says an Englishman in New York.
[00:02:47] He’s currently the executive vice president of the World Voices organization and for the past 10 years he’s worked as a full time voice artist operating in his own home studio where he provides voiceover work for corporate commercial explainer audio book Learning telephony documentary and medical and he’s a proud new grandfather so congratulations.
Peter Bishop: [00:03:11] Thanks.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:03:12] Thanks again guys for taking time out of your busy day. I’m going to actually throw the first question over back to Dave.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:03:19] I just read this and I have talked about this and it’s an easy first question because we all want to hear what’s going on with with Matt’s new voice casting hub as we as we as we tackle the challenges of a post voice make worlds so Matt the floor is yours. Please describe your your new endeavor and how’s it going.
Matt Dubois: [00:03:38] Thanks. Thanks for having me. It’s going it’s going well it’s actually in the we’ve had an overwhelming response to this and the know we have some agents that are on voices.com and on our side right now. And from the reports that we’re getting every week we’re basically kicking butt on the union jobs. And so I would say that they are pretty successful start. You know we saw a lot of work to do. There’s a lot that needs to be done. We have a lot of features that are coming out by March 1st but we’re hiring some extra customer support reps and we’re just doing everything we can to keep up with the constant demand and flood of support requests to get webinars yesterday. That probably kind of helped out easing some of that load for our staff it’s really been working tirelessly here to get this done.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:04:38] What’s been the biggest challenge so far.
Matt Dubois: [00:04:41] The building software is the software companies. It’s not it’s not the challenge. It takes a little bit of time. We’re about four months into this which is probably about eight projects.
Matt Dubois: [00:04:57] Normally so that was a little hectic around here. I would say the bigger challenge that we’ve kind of underestimated initially was this wasn’t just the software platform that we had to do.
Matt Dubois: [00:05:07] You know the media might have something on this and this from this roundtable discussion is it’s become kind of a PSA campaign. There’s a lot of education that had to go on in the industry. You know everybody’s used to doing something for so long and there is a lot of people kind of sleeping and not paying attention to what was really happening behind the scenes with this acquisition. It’s more than just a soft the Voice Make acquisitions was more than just a the software company acquisitions. There’s actually a large shift in you know in the industry or what an attempted large shift in the industry so you know educating people to that process. What’s really going on there and then. Showing them a new platform that’s just not the same. It’s changed I mean it’s something the same for 15 years.
Matt Dubois: [00:06:00] Yep change changing me is good. But you know there’s some people that listen they struggle to see something different. Some of it is all they’ve ever known. So that’s that’s been the biggest challenges.
Matt Dubois: [00:06:13] Well watching everybody just make.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:06:14] Just one more follow up question what look what are the what’s the most common question you’re getting from agencies.
Matt Dubois: [00:06:22] Why is this not just like Voice Bank.
[00:06:26] It’s better that.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:06:27] It’s better than Voice Bank. there you go
Matt Dubois: [00:06:30] Yeah. You know that’s where the education process in it’s not.
Matt Dubois: [00:06:35] I think that some of the expectation convenience was OK. You know boy think I purchased a purse. There’s people like oh I’m going to shut it down it makes money. But I think there’s a handful of agents knew you know all the agents. And then the roundtable right now knew that it was more than that. And that. They were gonna shut down.
Matt Dubois: [00:06:54] Voice Bank eventually but there was quite a few agents that were in denial that would ever happen. And they know what happened. Yeah. r Yeah. And then they recently announced that and there’s still a handful they’re in denial really what’s going on here. So we couldn’t just put another Voice Bank up because this wasn’t about forcing the shutdown to purchase on this. There’s a there’s a bigger plan here it’s going on and it’s really aimed at putting out that union out of jobs. And the agents have got caught in the crossfire and with no agents and no union. That’s where the talent and that’s where that’s really going to hurt the rates for talent. So.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:07:37] PETER Yeah.
Peter Bishop: [00:07:38] Yeah. Yeah. I had a couple of questions. We’ll start with the first one. I think it’s a measure of how much the new platform is welcomed in the industry by the amount of buzz that’s going on with working VOs. But unfortunately some people I’ve spoken to there seems to be a misconception out there that the hub is for them because there’s been so much interaction. I know you say you’re not a replacement direct replacement for voice bank primarily you are. Or tell me if I’m wrong a portal for agents a repository of jobs where agents can then find them and put them out to their rosters. It’s not as far as I understand a portal for talent because a lot of talent has said to me what am I going to stop getting jobs. How do I get jobs from there. My line is always you don’t. Your agent does. So I think to some extent your handpicked by your own success and the enthusiasm in the industry because a lot of voice talent are absolutely chomping at the bit because of what you represent and what you’re doing. So it’s a good thing but there’s a small misconception. So I really would like you to clear that one out.
Matt Dubois: [00:09:01] Yeah me face no there there. There is you know I was kind of the same the biggest challenge here is you know build a software launch it in four months. It’s still maturing. So a lot of things that we need to work out and refine that process. That’s not the hard part that’s pretty normal. That’s standard operating procedure for us. The challenge has been just that is managing expectations with everybody you have talent agents three different audiences that are all vastly different in how they require communication and what they are the most responsive to and even within the even within the agents. We had the agents that all this that were. They only use paper filing system still some of didn’t have any electronic records of the talent and there’s some that had very robust sites that had you that were very advanced almost rivals some of the features that we have in this lab. What was this stuff of those.
Matt Dubois: [00:10:04] So I mean it was a gap for these agents and it was it has been a challenge to communicate because they’re so far apart in where they’re at that technology and just the understanding. We are a direct replacement for Voice Bank as far as competition is is in our services. We’re not a direct replacement and we just voice Bank2.0 it’s just the same site that does the same thing. I think that’s where some agent agents agent. That’s what they’re like. Why doesn’t it do the exact same thing that Voice Bank did.
Matt Dubois: [00:10:43] Yeah. But for talent you know with Facebook and social media it’s hard to try to do our best to remain involved and then keep the expectation set sometimes things get viral and get get carried away and our phone lines support reps. Certainly. know that’s struggle
Dave Courvoisier: [00:11:05] Carol let’s. Let’s get you in here on this. She’s here. She’s the one there without the camera.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:11:09] We can hear you Carol and we’re wondering how you feel about a voice casting hub how easy is it been to join in there.
Carol Rathe: [00:11:19] Because it is such a robust site there is so much it offers agents and producers that we’ve never had before in a nation like testing site like this. There is a certain amount there’s a learning curve there’s you know it takes time to get all our talent on they’re going to other information on there.
Carol Rathe: [00:11:42] But anything that’s going to work well and give you a lot of CRM and a lot of features is going to take some time to learn and to get into.
Carol Rathe: [00:11:53] All from our perspective and our agency is just like well let’s just figure this out and let’s just make it work and let’s just go and.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:12:03] I mean what’s the alternative without the alternative.
Carol Rathe: [00:12:06] Exactly what’s the alternative. This is being offered to agents and there is no other thing out there that’s going to give agents the agents.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:12:17] I disagree.
Carol Rathe: [00:12:18] It’s hard to make it work.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:12:21] All right so Liz you have something to say about that and we’re we’re looking maybe for some peek into your new endeavor What’s that.
Liz Atherton: [00:12:29] We have an enterprise system that’s called actor 360 agent 360 cast voices and cast actors. And it’s been 20 years in the making. Prior to me owning a talent agency I was in project management with Siemens and we created a site for ourself that we’re now rolling out. You know I always refer to last August as the tsunami.
Liz Atherton: [00:12:52] And I’m I’m thrilled with it. And I would put some feature sets in there that I think are going to please the users.
Liz Atherton: [00:13:03] Our main focus has been on Unix and UI user interface and user experience. And that’s where we’re headed from We do sincerely try to protect the agents. But ours is searchable and people that are not represented can it be invited to play. So we it’s you know the good news about voiceover is there’s plenty of room for several of us on the Hub, cast voices and maybe some of the others and while I’m at it I mean I certainly want to extol the virtues of what we’ve got going because I’m really proud of it. But there’s also the VOAA site you can go over to the VO Agent Alliance and while it is not what the hub is and it’s not what Cast Voices is it is a way to go to 14 vetted talent agents and submit projects. So you know. And I think there’s just opportunity and I have mad respect for anybody that is creating a software platform as he will share with you. It is it’s not just a Lotus spreadsheet or an Excel spreadsheet and you know you go get your little macro and life is beautiful.
Liz Atherton: [00:14:10] It’s not constant contact where you go create this little email chain that you send out. It’s actually extraordinarily complicated. So the good news is is that I think the hub is ethical and that rocks. The good news is is that we’re ethical and that rocks and not to segway to rates but I’m going to because this last year we booked one of our actors and I’m going to I’m going to leave out the project just because I don’t want somebody come jumping in my throat.
Liz Atherton: [00:14:45] But this actor booked a project it was 500 procession and three spots at a thousand dollars apiece. So it’s a thirty five hundred dollar gig. This project just posted on Voices for two hundred dollars now. Now I’m in all fairness perhaps they were just putting the Session out there but that was a thirty five hundred dollar budget less than twelve months ago that money went somewhere and even if the client said We’ve got half our budget it just seems to me. And again I’m sure there’s more to the story but we booked it so we know what they got paid last time and you know on the pay to plays you’ve got if people don’t think you need an agent to kind of be in your corner or the right software to be in your corner. I just think that you’re confused. That’s next to me is just an egregious career just taking off fees and you know in fairness maybe they didn’t take a single fee maybe that’s just what you pay to play. I don’t I don’t I’m not on a pay to play. I’m not trying to be in front of a mike. I just except for this kind of platform. I mean it just is. That makes no sense.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:16:03] You know what. Pretty scandalous.
Carol Rathe: [00:16:07] Real quick. This is Carol again. Liz I just want to apologize to you.
Carol Rathe: [00:16:11] I know you’re coming out with the platform.
Liz Atherton: [00:16:13] Oh honey.
Carol Rathe: [00:16:15] Well I have mad respect for you
Liz Atherton: [00:16:18] I take no offense whatsoever. Like I said there is room. There is so much video work I want there to be other people out there. I may take your business you may take my business. We’ll all play together. But if we play in an ethical way and again like Carol like you guys said and respects the effort that has gone in behind the scenes for our for our actors and I hope for those of you who are listening you understand that neither one of us probably. Well I had mine running but you know it wasn’t for a huge scalable product but neither one of us. Six months eight months ago were trying to pop out a product with with with. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a software development or hardware development let’s just say it’s a lot of work.
[00:17:07] Yeah I hope.
[00:17:09] I can appreciate it.
Liz Atherton: [00:17:10] You know what I mean.
Liz Atherton: [00:17:11] So I think whether than people griping about it maybe be real supportive of the man because he got out there he’s got you an alternative and there’s auditions I know I think we’ve already put two of them. So I mean there’s there’s some really Matt I am used that word to get mad respect for the effort that’s going on and you know the VOAA has their thing. Matt’s got his thing. We’ll soon have our thing and there’s the dog but there’s other options out there that are legit that are trying to do it right.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:17:41] Well you mentioned the voiceover agent alliance.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:17:43] Let’s let’s talk to Erik and see how that Erik please with the Alliance happening right now.
Erik Sheppard: [00:17:55] Yeah. you know the alliance as it is is doing well. You know we took a little bit of a break for the holidays but we’re active. There are people you know that are part of the alliance pretty much every agent in the world is on the hub now and is interested in the other stuff that’s going on. So as far as you know talking about these platforms you know Matt been a friend to the alliance and a friend to. We to the industry. So of course you know our concerns are going to overlap. So we are trying to work together and tout his platform as much as possible because as you know Liz says it’s really about is it operating ethically. That’s what the alliance’s main concern is and it’s always been I mean that’s what we’re formed and based around the concept of you know are our business partners are our clients are our talent are we ourselves. And know a lot of ways are the other agents of the they operating ethically because we do believe that that is what is going to right the ship and just what’s going to turn things around because as soon as you start thinking Well … and I you start twisting here like you’re evil mustache man. If I can maybe get some here and there whatever and then you wind up with you know our friends from Canada you know and they bring everybody else down with them. So you know it’s important I think anybody involved in any aspect of this industry ask themselves that about any of their bedfellows. You know anybody that you’re working with whether it’s a platform it’s an agent it’s a client it’s what you know it’s whoever you’re hiring to take out the trash for God’s sakes. Are they operating in an ethical manner. Because we’re in a situation now where it’s really a must. You know you have to be thinking outside of the walls of your own agency and thinking how are we even going to have an industry in general to operate within. So that to me is paramount. And you know the alliance or members feel the same way. That’s they’re part of the alliance.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:20:07] A lot of flailing around a lot of confusion in the voiceover Marketplace from the talent perspective because voices dot com is now putting out these union jobs through the few agents that are still with voice bank.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:20:21] What what do we tell. What do we tell the talent. What should they do. Should they be talking to their agents and asking them hey are you guys with still voices dot com or are you a switch. I mean what what should we do.
Erik Sheppard: [00:20:32] Yeah absolutely. And talk to your agent. You know it’s amazing. You know I get people ask me questions like through the outspoken or on Facebook or whatever and even phone calls. I mean people that I rep and they’re asking me if I got a thing going on my other agent and like that’s my job. But whatever there’s like this reluctance to talk to your agent. You know scary and really rich and attractive and stuff. But I feel great like it’s like you know this is a two way street. I mean you know we’re in business running in business because of the talent and the talent are getting opportunities because of their agents. So it’s a partnership that’s like the definition of a partnership. So when talent is this kind of fear of speaking to their agent or God forbid speaking up to their agent you know they’re afraid you know they just work whatever and you know one drop. Now listen you going to be a jerk off. You know maybe they won’t drop you but if you’re concerned again about who you know kind of one removed if you’re saying there are people that are unethical that I do not want to be associated with. And now through you I’m associated with them and I have a problem with that. Tell them man. Because otherwise they can’t make an informed decision themselves. They might be thinking well no one’s got a problem with this thing that I’m doing or that thing that I’m doing. Oh by the way as an agency we decide we’re going to raise our percentage to 50 percent. Well nobody said anything. So I guess it’s cool. You know nobody in any sort of business does anything without kind of thinking about most people you know to think about the feedback. How is this going to go over or are people going to like this is this going to be something you know that’s going to create a good relationship with my clients or my talent my customer you know whatever whatever it is. So speak out. Yeah. You know if you’re not happy with the rate on a project and your agent puts it out tell him. So let’s I’m sorry I’m not going out for this one because it’s you know cut some version not doing that or look this rate sucks you know or look at you probably got this from some douche bags over there and I don’t even want to be on their site and now I’m back up even when I it took me two months to get down. So thanks. Get me back off. That’s the agent’s responsibility. So you know put us to work for God’s sakes man. You know we we can earn our keep.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:22:58] I think I think something that was important that was mentioned earlier was education obviously and how you know we can maybe work collaboratively to educate not only the talent in what’s involved but obviously the buyer as well. And my question to you guys would be what what sort of ideas what sort of things would you suggest or recommend.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:23:18] What do you think. I’d actually like to tee it up to Peter for this. WOVO Has been thinking about this for a while and we actually as an industry trade association are prevented by federal law from colluding to set rates. So we’re not ever going to say to our members you can only charge this much but we can encourage our members to in turn do what Erik said which is talk to their agents talk to their clients.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:23:40] Peter you want to talk about.
Peter Bishop: [00:23:42] The ways we’ve labored long and hard about the wording of some communication because we are constrained by certain laws. It’s just not the rates and the collusion thing. There are question marks about calling out individual players in a marketplace for certain behavior. So what we’re doing is appealing to the members to ask one simple question is what you’re doing right for both your business and the industry. Because if it’s not right for the industry you’re not going to end up with a business. I mean it’s best to take away the that I wrote about that long TLDR are is that law. It’s one simple statement is what you’re doing. Good for both the industry and yourself because they’ve got to go hand-in-hand. And point I’d like to make is everyone is looked at the large northern company as this business that’s almost impenetrable. And it’s like this thing that’s rolling along I really want people to know that I think we all are making a difference and we’re very close to a tipping point when voice bank was taken over a few of us scrambled around and got the list of agents and production houses that were on voice bank came to around two hundred and twenty. That list was obviously taken over one voice bank was bought. If you deep dive in to the website of the new owners you can find that same list. Now I may have miscounted it’s either 84 or 94 which is the way you look at it. Less than half of the list they took over and some of those are the agencies listed twice because they have L.A. and New York offices and a couple were Some agents I know who have said they have asked to get off there but they were still there. So it looks like it may be as difficult for an agent to get off the list as it is for talent to get off the list though. They’ve lost 50 percent of the agents and production houses. We can win this. What everyone is doing now is having an effect and I think if we can send a message to keep on doing what you’re doing that’s supposed to the agents by the Alliance to Matt and anyone with a new alternative platform and to grassroots talent just to make.
[00:26:17] We will make a difference anyway but.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:26:21] You’ve got to have the horsepower to make that conversation. You’ve got to just reach out and open up that dialogue and certainly question ethics.
Peter Bishop: [00:26:28] I mean a question I wanted to ask was where I’m seeing a lot of ambivalence is with the big agencies. It’s almost as if we don’t want to partake of this. Now the CSD the stewards the atlas and that sort of thing who are still on the Voices list it’s almost as if they don’t want to play the politics. I’d really like to see the hub make inroads there. And the only way we can get for example the CSD whatever awful voice is is to call them and say I don’t want to be associated with them. And that’s down to the talent to do that.
[00:27:07] Exactly as Erik says is made money and they’re a little aloof about. Yeah that’s my point.
Liz Atherton: [00:27:14] Ultimately guys I mean we all the voice Our community is very supportive in it’s amazing how supportive it is. But ultimately it comes down to either a person has a relationship and a talent has a relationship with their agent or they don’t. If you have a relationship with your agent as much as I don’t want products to come from people that I don’t think are yummy. My job as an agent is to prepare and to provide work opportunities for my actors. If my actors are doing the right thing they know I’m not going to present something to them. They shouldn’t play it or if it’s questionable I give them the. There are there alternative you know you don’t play if you don’t want to play for the people that are still playing on those platforms where they’re not going through their agent you know if you go through your agent you’ve got some protection that’s the reason you have an agent you’re not going through an agent BRAC all you want or just quit. And I can’t. I mean I well I don’t want CSC and Atlas and all those on there that tool as much as we don’t like it guys at too works for them and it provides them for those units and I’m not you know I’m I’m a cam app and I think to myself a competitor or soon to be but if the work they’re providing we’re gonna be hard pressed to get Atlas and them off because we don’t have an alternative. If the hub becomes a viable alternative is cast voices becomes a viable alternative. But some of the others out there they will they will migrate they will migrate.
[00:28:47] We have a swimming Yeah I just. Go ahead. Go ahead.
Matt Dubois: [00:28:53] Oh the. As to some of the agencies you just mentioned I think you’re in the Nexus maybe next week you’ll see some announcements from them regarding no longer being on two platforms.
[00:29:05] That’s cool. That’s nice. See I have an alternative and it’s a viable alternative in the advice. All of those things.
Liz Atherton: [00:29:15] You know the only thing that I and I would I would caution myself this I’m bringing anybody is just make sure you’re ready because what happens and you know this with any kind of rollout if you’re not ready. But you guys are. And so when they do that it’s okay. Although much on camera but we had a similar situation where a big big studio said I’m no longer using this platform and I’m moving everybody to that platform and when they did that this platform was ill equipped many because this big problem now that we have an alternative platform people will migrate.
Liz Atherton: [00:29:48] They’ll be happy and things will flesh out like they’re supposed to. But we you know ultimately as much as I would love all my actors to not be with certain agencies or certain people or ABCDEFG an actor’s job is to work. And our job is to help them find that work and we want to do it in the best way we can and as much as I don’t want us to use some things because they just think it’s icky sticky. It is still a tool.
Liz Atherton: [00:30:16] They’re simply tools. Now if the tool is taking things away from your experience like money or other things find another tool and so that’s what we’re doing and I think you know hats off to Matt for getting getting out there and giving them an alternative quickly because that will that will help the migration quicker as well.
Matt Dubois: [00:30:35] That’s a good point that some people ask us. What more are we doing for family. This has been our senses. We’re just as soft over this it’s over. We support the fight for parents that we’re not. We know we’re not getting involved. We don’t want to do the agents work. We think that’s kind of what the agents should be doing in our art our stance is to be supportive of the agency give them the tools. As you said tools to be able to have some alternative to do right. Yeah because we support it. We just you know we try to just maintain we’re a platform and stay out of the politics of politics and state.
Matt Dubois: [00:31:14] We don’t want to get in the middle of that casting process.
Matt Dubois: [00:31:17] We don’t know if we get make sure all the produce information goes through to the agent. We don’t hide anything. We want to make sure that communication there. You know we’ve had some people ask you know this screening this and that we you want to. We want to start we know you know the agents. They know what they’re doing and they know the industry the best. We don’t want to come in and tell anybody you know how to do it any better.
Liz Atherton: [00:31:43] We’re gonna be a little different than you there because we I mean like I said there’s room for everybody. We we’ve spent a lot of time on it on algorithms to help. Highlight when things are not like where they should be. And you know we have used guidelines for those but those are differences in us that we’ll make. There’s plenty of work for format. There’s plenty of work for tag there’s plenty of work for the actors that use. I mean our cast voices or any other method. You know everybody’s doing voiceover These days it is it is a it’s a good place to be.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:32:21] Let me ask Carol. Have you had conversations with other agents about what various should do you know. CAROL Well are you going to voice casting hub are you’re going to cast voices where you’re you going to. What do you tell your your agent friends.
Carol Rathe: [00:32:35] Well I’m also a founding member of the VO Agent Alliance along with Erik and we in the alliance participate a lot in this kind of conversation.
Carol Rathe: [00:32:45] I am definitely recommending people go to them.
Carol Rathe: [00:32:47] Excuse me. I’m definitely recommending people go to the Hub. I think people’s eyes are going to be really opened when they see what’s available to them there. As Matt mentioned I’ve had a very robust Web site for a long time which is a CRM Web site and I I grew my business because I did that and I can say to other agents take advantage of this amazing new tool that’s available to you because you will grow your business you will streamline your business and you will emerge victorious over these jerks who are trying to steal your business from you.
Matt Dubois: [00:33:32] Do you really feel.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:33:36] Well let me just throw this out. We don’t have a person here who represents the union. But where is this union now.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:33:44] I tried to get Bob Bergen on this call he got a job today so he couldn’t join us but I mean I keep hearing that they’re going to they’re going to open up a voice position.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:33:52] There’s a position opens the door for a director of national voiceover Over director.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:33:57] Doesn’t all the written them. I mean I don’t get why they are reacting more.
[00:34:01] Where’s that coming.
Matt Dubois: [00:34:03] They they are now. Actually I talked to Bob today pretty much most every day for the past we have not evolved but keep the national view chair with presentations and presentations from the you know they’re getting more involved now. They you know the Frank the.
Matt Dubois: [00:34:29] Wild. They didn’t see it as much of the acquisition as much of a threat to them.
Matt Dubois: [00:34:38] And I told agents this actually too that you know some of the agents that we’re talking to the union. I don’t think they’re using the best angle. Here’s how it’s affecting us. You know this is the feedback I got from that from the union that you know it wasn’t going to the union saying you know here’s here’s how you’re being threatened. This wasn’t the point it was getting across to them and the presentation it kind of laid out. You know Morgan Stanley on Bush’s dot com site examined this and what exactly is a a part owner of the company. If you go to Morgan Stanley site you have to go to the private equity site not the wealth manager the friendly the friendly people that you know the neighborhood that help you get your kids through college and your wealth planning that that isn’t the same people as the private equity people put on their site. This is a site that had this you said that in part this to the union they talk about voice is not common. Having injected the leadership positions there and board and have a two to five year exit strategy and this is on Morgan Stanley sites there’s a difference. And their goal is to convert union jobs to non-union jobs. As you know they only allow union jobs to go to agents now not all the non-union jobs. So when we showed them that this isn’t a battle this is an interesting acquisition. This isn’t a battle against the agents. The agents are nearly caught in the crossfire. They’re just any casualties of war. This is really a they’re really going to take you out if you wake up in the you know join the game in the eighth inning and try to catch up. You’re not going to stand a chance or if you if you do you really want to spend that kind of money to catch up and you have the money and resources to do that. At that time or you know you could stop it now. But you know this is a frank conversation presentation. This is coming from the company not for anybody else. Everybody else is going to be hurt along the way. So there’s we’ve had conversations after that every day and I’m on the phone for quite a.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:37:02] Erik I see some of the auditions you send out and often you’ll say this rate sucks or This is terrible or I’m obsessed to even pass it along to you. Are you seeing this general degradation of the expectation of what voice actors get for their work.
Erik Sheppard: [00:37:18] Well absolutely.
Erik Sheppard: [00:37:19] I mean that you know that’s why we’re having these discussions.
Erik Sheppard: [00:37:25] The question that I get the money. Know I didn’t live with voice actors Syrian audiences a 24 hour thing. And even before this my wife was like Are you getting always there’s a recast for this thing.
Erik Sheppard: [00:37:35] But every time I yeah we add up to it. How do I do it. Why did you pass and you know it’s like I got to explain it to her. We know the tough thing as it is an agent is. You just pass on so many things and you know I kind of like I have to work I to work something out or there’s things to answer your question directly. There are things where I say you know listen man I wouldn’t do it personally because of the conflict. Like I don’t like the conflict and so I wouldn’t do it. I know we have talent but they don’t care. They’re like whatever. Like I’ll do eight car spots and what are they going to do to me. Yeah like they’re going to be you know whatever. So we’ll put it down and we’ll like you know listen this is you know buyer beware but if it’s a crap or you know if the rate is really like come on you know we just say no. But it’s sometimes you know you’ve got to put out the best of crap like the most floating whatever you know and be like well you know maybe we’ll try this. And then sometimes talent eat it up and they know the problem. I think the problem started with town. You know nobody wants to be like a rebel. I’m not going to fight this system. You know you’re a talent you’re supposed to say like you know yes I’ll do another take. What else can I do for you out. I’ll be more purple this time or you know how how do you want me to jump. That’s the talent mindset because I mean that’s what makes a good talent. You know you take direction and you follow the rules so you know I think a lot of folks are a little wary of being you know kind of like a rabble rouser or you know like that one’s troubled and or they’re on public records saying that they want more money and this guy next door is saying like I’ll take less money that’s fine. You know by comparison. So that was happening for it’s such a long time and got us into some of the trouble that we’re in now but then aged and started operating in the exact same. You know we saw that when we started the alliance and all this and hippies you know all the power tea and if you could fix all this stuff for me they’ll be great but I’m gonna be like over here doing whatever the hell it takes and putting out stuff. You know there are agents literally that talk about being proud of sending out the stuff that no one else will send out as well I you know I give my talent opportunities. Do you know there’s two ways of thinking. Possibly three as an agent. There’s an agent that like Peter was saying you know it’s thinking like a talent and is thinking listen you know I have to really weigh the entire industry against this one project and I know it’s just one product and it’s a stupid beer commercial. Is it really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Yeah. And it is. You know if that if that one job that you’re taking is setting a new precedent and they say well now we can go this low and it stuck. Somebody took it. And to me that’s a major problem. And agents started doing that and they all said you listen man. You know I got to keep the lights on so I’m just going to scramble and I’m going to take whatever I can for as long as I can. They took it. And when we said hey listen the people that you’re in bed with are horrible people and they want to put you out of business and they’re going to make everything go non-union and whatever is. Well the whips. Well we have to wait until something else comes along and really like we didn’t wait till something else came along we said this is absolute nonsense man. We’re out of here. You know what we like because we care about the industry because we represent talent. We care about town. So you know I have a lot less respect for agents. They were all idiots anyway about you know than I had in the past for not stepping up to bat and doing what was right. But if all they wanted in life. You know again the friggin wimps was to wait for something you know an alternative. Well now they have alternatives. You know what. What’s your excuse now. What you don’t have an excuse. Maybe I might get one thing over there and two things over there and you know. So do we call them out by name. Well you know I’m going to call them out by name but at the movies where it’s like a bunch of cadets being trained and then they screw up and then like the whole unit has to do push ups all day so they seek other points at night I would like you know open a sock or something. No it’s not. Boy there needs to be some accountability. People go. These are the people that are still doing this stuff that are still playing this game that are still record things for all of us. Are you still working about that now is ending this time like I just dropped C as D because I’m I don’t like it just as an example. If it’s some huge agency challenge I’m going to just like Exodus and be like not only that like million dollar agency but some accountability. That’s past due now. There’s no more excuses there any excuse that they’ve been throwing out since forever. Talent agents the buyers everybody. You’re out of excuses now.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:42:41] No know at the talent level and at WoVo. We talk a lot about the difference between a voice over job and a voice over career.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:42:48] We see the hobbyist and the amateurs and the people looking for work as those who are ruining it for those of us who use it as a career. I think it’s the same for a lot of different professions now and of course there has been a disruptor for that. Anne you’re nodding What do you see in that regard.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:43:05] Well I’m not in because I have a lot of I work with talent who will kind of quietly say to me Oh I’m still on that side because you know I need to work. And so I think that the education like what Eric was the agents and from the top down that that mentality of is it ethical and is it you know is it good for the industry. I think that needs to be kind of implanted far and wide. So whoever comes in contact with talent because again the talent that are just starting and maybe the ones that you know they’re not union or they’re not you know don’t have an agent yet they’re the ones taking a lot of that work and and accepting it because they need to work and they want us to be their full time dream and you know the full time careers reality sort of thing. So I think as as educators and coaches too and people that are that are responsible social media leaders really need to help in this. You know it’s it’s a big it’s a big job to educate. It really is. And I think it it’s it’s up to all of us. And I’m glad that you know Volvo is sponsoring these roundtables to help in that part. And I think if if we can get more people more people that are leaders in social media and working with talent and reaching new talent to kind of implement that will vote strategy of of ethical and is it good for the industry and is it good for my my my business. I think that’s a great. I think we need to have a mantra that just is catchy and is out there on social media to really help because I see it all the time with the talent to that are just you know you go in there.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:44:41] Like Liz said it’s a really supportive community and I love that.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:44:46] But there’s always going to be these lone wolves that say I don’t care about the community I’m just end it for myself.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:44:51] You guys are stupid for Drano uphold these high rates and you know you always got these guys that are just an island and they’re not going to have them as your agent.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:45:00] You know they’re not going to join in. And it does it hurts us all. I was gonna ask Matt.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:45:04] Have you had to market the hub or are people just coming to you in droves.
Matt Dubois: [00:45:10] We’ve done very little marketing or kind of our original strategy was talked a lot about relationship equity. We’re just going to go marketing head to head start comedy kind of tool as ever. Eighteen million dollars to burn and so we’ve done some guerilla grassroots marketing and the kind of the deal we made was if we build this with the agents and work with a lot of agencies to build this platform that we build it that they would share the responsibility of helping attract producers. So we’ve been we have to two goals here that are reaching out to producers on a daily basis in signing up more and more each day. But you know it’s stuff we can’t we can’t do it alone really.
Matt Dubois: [00:45:58] The one of the things we talked about was the relationship is it I can I can hear you ladies here and then call a producer or email them 10 times and they won’t respond or they won’t care.
Matt Dubois: [00:46:12] But you know like Carol or Eric group or no that’s known and respected in the industry that work with these producers for years it takes one call when you go for them saying hey you know here’s where here’s what we’re going to be this week to find our talent is a great platform and that goes a lot farther than you know hundreds of thousand dollars and thousands of dollars and it’s much more than we can do and that’s kind of been our strategy is just you know we’re in no way trying to compete with any.
Matt Dubois: [00:46:44] It’s just one of the we want to be there will be support and you know we do what we set up on the 22nd wasn’t clear. It wasn’t like you know this is it. You’re welcome. See you later in your credit card. There was there was the beginning it was it was like hey here’s here’s what we start with. We have got four months here’s what we started with. Let us know what else you need going to come out with you virgin releases every month. You know we’re kind of like how the Hollywood how start maturing live in front of everybody and it’s an interesting process. Yeah that’s it. We’re working we’re getting a lot of feedback and you just had a minor version released yesterday. We’ll have another. Another releases some more features. The Pixies come out March 1st. And we had a long talk with David.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:47:40] And when is Cast Voices going to launch or has it already launched lives and is it just for agents and not for talent. Am I right in that.
Liz Atherton: [00:47:47] No. It’s an agent software a talent a software guy voice casting software in an on camera software it’s an enterprise system it’s 4 tiers. We’ll get there when we get there. OK.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:48:01] I know you’re going to be a voice over Atlanta. And you were planning something. So we’ll wait. Well we’ll wait to hear the stuff.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:48:07] You only get one chance at first impression right. So you got one of the first. Peter what am I missing here in this conversation.
Peter Bishop: [00:48:14] I think most bases have been covered. I do have one general question though Anne was talking about the fact that we educate we persuade we I mean bobos always on about enabling people to make sound business decisions. We’re going down this road and it’s splitting into camps. So we’re pushing people to make the right decision. When do we shove when do we know it goes on. We know people don’t get picked up on picked up on rosters because they’re in BDC or whatever. But when does it become or will they ever become a place where an agent turns around and says I’d love to catch you on the roster you’ve got to move yourself off that site. When does push become shove.
[00:49:03] Wherever there is that’s been discussed quite a few ways. OK.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:49:10] I just said you no longer take anybody who’s on that side. Well that’s nice right.
Peter Bishop: [00:49:16] That’s a clear statement.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:49:19] We have asked all our talent to get off it. Some have some haven’t.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:49:23] And we have some valuable talent with long term relationships with them and we are not at this point taking them off our roster for being on that site. But I’m not ruling that out in the future.
[00:49:35] Thanks a lot.
Erik Sheppard: [00:49:37] Bowden won’t even teach you now. For God sakes if you’re affiliated with that even a coach who you know. Yeah except it’s becoming a little more acceptable. You know I haven’t told my talent. They have to be off. I’m uncomfortable telling talent. They have to do anything else. It just kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth. You know as far as our relationship goes I’ll try to educate you. You know I’ve read a few people here. You know that I’ve sent out information and sent out links to videos and blogs and all that kind of stuff so we get the word out. But you know as far as taking on somebody new. Now now when more people start saying that you know listen we’re not all of these conversations to me in my head are all distills down to down to one thing. You know we’re saying we need like a catch phrase or whatever. I don’t know it has been taken or anyone ever use it before but just saying look it’s like maybe using something every night and then they just think well you do our project. You think if we think that the alliance has seen it that we would do it. I would do and I wouldn’t do it and I wouldn’t do it. And then they come back with like amazingly they pulled 10 grand more out of their ass because you would see that stuff on voice bank back in the day. You know where did they put something out. Not like you don’t even bother getting back on because you know they I consulted you with the rate and then they start sending you these desperate e-mails. Listen we’re gonna extend the deadline if anybody’s interested and can you let us know you’re submitting and they start panicking because people say no it’s the same thing with talent. Talent if you’re getting something direct and I know you want to take everything and you don’t want to be a jerk. No that’s it. And you just say so how do you educate somebody. I talked about having to you know why how do you educate the clients. It’s difficult to educate a client. That’s it. That’s the best way to educate them you tell them no and you tell them what you don’t know because the rates too low you tell them no and this is a huge huge huge thing lately. It includes cuts inversions man you’re trying to do an entire theme with the price of one spot. And you know that you’re doing it. This is. Yes. No. And these are the reasons I am staying. No. It’s the most powerful tool that we have. And if the culture itself Peter seems to think we’re you know we’re starting to move the needle here which is also the culture itself is now embracing that. And now you’re not like a rebel or a weirdo. And it becomes normal and expected and cool to say no man I got something down and I said no. You’re welcome. I take it all for everybody. Great. It’s such a powerful tool in our tool box. You just have to be brave enough to whip it out.
Liz Atherton: [00:52:31] Hey Ben at it at the voiceover agency alliance we have a hashtag we use that calls. It’s called voice as strong.
[00:52:39] I would highly recommend. That’s a that’s a real raise his voice is strong.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:52:45] You know we started using voice strong with wolves too and then the folks over at fiber started using it you know.
[00:52:50] Yeah yeah. They still get so bogged down there.
Erik Sheppard: [00:52:54] I’ve got paperwork in a trade market but we’re having all kinds of problems because they want they get to follow up like. Yeah and it works. Yes slimey. They got paid a place they grabbed it and I said Dude this is where talk. This anti you.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:53:10] Yes sure you’re getting close to the end of our hour I just want to give you know Carol or Liz anybody else a chance to say a final word on where you see this all going.
Carol Rathe: [00:53:20] I would like to say we at our agency say no. Numerous times a week to projects but what we do is we don’t just say no. We always say we can’t do it for these rates and terms but if you were to offer this if you were to change the terms this way we can do it.
[00:53:42] And that helps rescue some of these things for us.
[00:53:48] And we say it to the casting directors over and over and over again and it does it takes a number of voices doing that and it has to come from both the and the talent because I can’t tell you how many things I’ve turned down and then I find that my talent are auditioning constantly.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:54:12] I would love to see more of that from the talent as well and if they know we’re doing it on your behalf we’re doing it for you know right there with you.
[00:54:20] We want you along with us.
[00:54:23] I’m part of another organization that’s a similar organization for an on camera group of talent agents and I literally just left a meeting where their report came to this.
Liz Atherton: [00:54:34] Ultimately it’s education ultimately because if our actors don’t understand or don’t know whether they’re our actors are non actors that working in selling your your talent for that rate is not cool until they know that they won’t notice stand up whether they know whatever tool they book it through. And when you won’t work on a project when everyone won’t work on a project that project has to change. And that’s how we begin to raise the bar. And until we all do that and educate everybody about what is right go to the world Voice’s page go look at the rates go to said Page go look at the rates go see what you has been negotiated by really smart people on your behalf. Pay attention to that stuff. And if those rates are if they’re trying to pay you something within that range. Knock yourself out but if they’re not. Walk away. No one wins. No one wins.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:55:31] Any final words.
Anne Ganguzza: [00:55:33] Well I would like to first of all say thank you to all of you who have worked so hard you know to help us to change the industry. I mean I I’m just like I’m overwhelmed like I think you guys are just fabulous and I have such appreciation as a voice talent myself for all the work that you are doing to to help us to improve this industry. So really kudos to all of you. It takes you know it’s it’s brave and it’s and I love it. And thank you really all of you.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:56:02] thank you Anne for helping me organize this event today and for hosting it with me Peter who will soon be the president of World Voices.
Dave Courvoisier: [00:56:09] Thank you for coming on and bringing all your great ideas. Erik you the man you know you always contribute to these conversations and you’re always very outspoken because that’s the name of your episode. You know Liz looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being on board with this conversation. Same goes to you Carol. You guys are just awesome. Doing for the community and for us voice actors and talent and I want to underscore to the talent that it is a conversation with your agent and with your clients so keep on having those dialogues. And Matt I know you are one busy guy. So God bless you for all you’re doing for this community and for this and for this profession then just keep on holiday it was awesome. Thanks for having me. Yep. That will conclude this February 2018 version of Race Round Table want to thank all you for watching and for those of you who participate in this panel. Man was awesome. Thank you so much.
[00:57:05] Thank you.
[00:57:06] Thank you guys.