Lessons To Learn From the Voiceovers.com Debacle

by | Feb 15, 2021 | Subscription Services

 

Trust. 

Without it, relationships mean nothing, a business can’t survive, and reputations are squandered in a flash.

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To me, Matt Dubois seemed to be a genius.

He emerged on the VO scene when VoiceBank sold out…whipping up a pretty slick working replacement in no time.

He had a special suite of skills that included coding, business savvy, a flair for promotion, and a deep understanding of website mechanics.

What he apparently ALSO had, was a short fuse, a shaky understanding of the VO marketplace, and some unrealistic expectations about relationships.

Of the many recent claims against Matt Dubois lately are accusations that he was misleading (intentionally or naively); of over-promising and breaking promises.  Some believe he should be held accountable for lying, omission, evasivness, and  irresponsibility.

 

ANYBODY HERE NOT HUMAN?

 

But this is not meant to be an indictment of Matt Dubois.  He is human, and makes mistakes and misjudgments like we all do. He was only playing on his skills to make the best opportunities for himself.  

Similarly, this is not a re-hash of the supposed Rise and Fall of Voiceovers.com, not a litany of who did what/when, or how many have been wronged.

Almost all of us made classic mistakes of trust in believing that Matt Dubois could bring some semblance of business integrity to voiceover.

I’m among them.  I’d still like to believe the best of Matt, because that’s my make-up.  

But in cases like this, I’d like to trot out the old (even hackneyed) motto of President Reagan when dealing with the Russians:  TRUST, BUT VERIFY.

We all were impressed with VoiceCasting Hub as a nearly pop-up replacement for VoiceBank.  How did he do that?  He did it very well…and it lead to a solid belief that Matt was onto something and worthy of our trust.  However, replacing VoiceBank was not the same challenge as taking on VDC and V123.  That was a cat of a whole different color, and yet, we believed.

Matt came on as a major supporter of our last in-person WoVOCon. He made a huge splash. There was obviously a big outlay of effort, cash, marketing, client appropriation, and voice-talent recruiting.

All signs were that Matt was doing it right.  His energy and planning were impressive and convincing.  The staff was helpful and responsive.  I did something I never did with any other P2P…I signed at the top tier, which meant that I got the first crack at jobs.  I had more work from Voiceovers.com than any other other major P2P’s in my time…but that’s still not saying a lot, honestly (more about that below).

 

SOMEWHERE, THE WORM TURNED

 

Maybe we should’ve all wondered what was going on when Matt had a incredibly public flame-out with Talent Agent Marc Guss in a FB Group.  There are plenty who are no big fan of Marc Guss either, so that might’ve obfuscated some character flaws that we were starting to see in Matt.

Again, we all have character flaws, but most of us don’t own/run a major online marketplace where hundreds (thousands?) are depending on the efficacy of our personal integrity.

No, our own flaw — as a collective band of VO brothers and sisters — was that we trusted too much. We failed to do our homework. We didn’t verify. We didn’t dig, and we didn’t do our due diligence.

  • With Matt, we put a big “N/A” on the application form where you’re supposed to provide a reference
  • With Matt, we put a line through all the maladies in the doctor’s office admission paperwork.
  • With Matt, we failed to check work history.
  • With Matt, we didn’t ask for a resume, CV, Driver’s License, or Birth Certificate.
  • With Matt, we gave a pass, and that’s a lesson we should all learn from.

 

OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE BUSINESS:

 

Those of us who understand the challenges of the VO freelance marketplace are quick to admonish newcomers to do their due-diligence, or else possibly be taken-in by scammers, scoundrels, charlatans, predators, and bad players.

…but we failed ourselves in doing so this time around.

Frankly, I’ll never again make the mistake of seeking to be a part of ANY online casting site that demands someone pay for the privilege of getting an unfair chance at an audition before others.  Let the marketplace decide who should win the audition.  Throw it out there, and let people’s own endeavours win or lose the audition.  That’s my two-cents anyway.

There are those among us in the VO community who expressed misgivings about Matt.  To you, I tip my hat.  I learned something.  It’s not your duty to be the conscience for the rest of us, but  your quiet leadership is duly noted.  Thank you.

In a blind rash of optimism, you might even thank Matt for this lesson.   

Trust is a precious thing, earned – not bestowed.

 

CourVO

 

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