With great knowledge, comes great responsibility.
Updated: Feb 27, 2021
Why do most people write blogs? Is it for a general sense of internal wellbeing? Maybe. To help others become successful? Could be. To assert themselves as an influencer? Getting warmer. To create business or monetize something? Ding, ding ding, we have a winner! Full disclosure (as if you didn’t know already), I write my blog to increase the SEO of my website and to position myself as a knowledgeable person on the subject of voice over.
Does that make us bad people? Well, I suppose that depends. Do you enjoy the content? Is there information that you can use to become a better person or more successful entrepreneur? Was it time well spent? If any of these apply, then the answer is no, we’re not bad people, well not in regards to writing blogs! Knowing the motive of someone writing a blog shouldn’t really affect your decision to read it unless it goes against deep values that you hold true.
OK Craig, where the hell are you going with this? Jeez, I never know the answer to that when starting blogs! Recently I have noticed more and more new people posting the ubiquitous “how do I get started in voice over?” question. Does this question annoy the crap out of me – YES! Why? Well, any good question should always be prefixed with a statement like “I have spent the last two weeks doing some rigorous searching of groups and Forums and would like to ask this specific question…..”. It lets people know that you are not lazy and are prepared to put in some groundwork before asking a specific question. But I digress. That’s not the point of today’s blog. It is the answers that have been a concern.
Here are two of most common questions:
· Can I make my own demo? A chorus (yes, that is my made-up word for a group of voice overs) of voiceovers make it absolutely clear that this is sacrilege. How dare you even ask the question in the first place? EVERYONE knows that you shouldn’t make your own demo. Whoa their horsey! What gives you the right to offer that advice? Are you just espousing what you were told when you first started out in voice over? Do you have unequivocal evidence to back up your claims? Yes, the general consensus is that you should not make your own demo but there are many caveats and nuances to that. If you are not using your home-made demo to get agency representation, you have some basic production skills and you have compared your demo to other successful voiceovers, then there is absolutely no reason why you can’t use a home-made demo to start your journey. NONE. I am living proof. I didn’t get a professional demo made until I was in my 4th year and it didn’t stop me from reaching my financial goals for those 4 years. Did my home made demo sound as good as a J. Michael Collin’s production? Hell no. Did it stand up well against many other voice over demos that I researched intensely – Yes. Did it book work? Absolutely.
· Should I use Voices dot com? For some people, the mention of most P2P’s is like farting in an elevator. Once again, the chorus will tell you to build your client list from the ground up. Use direct marketing. That there is a special place in hell for those who support the P2P’s, especially Voices. Are you just going to take their advice without questioning it? Good luck with your business if that’s how you operate. You should challenge everything you read. Who is giving this advice? Is it someone who has been in the business for many years (prior to the rise of P2P’s) that used to work in radio or production? They had the advantage of making connections in their previous line of work. People who were buying spots and therefore known good leads. The advice doesn’t come from a place of malice. To them, the P2P’s are completely unnecessary. Is it someone who used to book on the P2P’s and has weened themselves off them by cultivating relationships and converting them to direct clients? How dare they tell you that you shouldn’t do the same thing. Is it someone who is just passing on the information that they were told when they started? They think it is the right thing to do but do they have any evidence to back it up? I could go on. Here is the truth. P2P’s are only going to get bigger. It is the nature of human’s and technology. Amazon is a prime example of how convenience drives our buying habits. And if you want to live in a world where you don’t think media buyers love the ease the P2P’s make hiring voices, then be it on your own head. SERIOUSLY – what makes a voice seeker any different from any other buyer of products and services? If there is an online service that makes solving their problem easier, people will use it. FACT. Oh, and on that note. Many people hate Voices dot com. For good reason. They have partaken in some really dubious business practices over the years. Are they a great company? No. Are they the biggest player in the online casting world? Yes. Does Uber, Amazon, Tesla always do the right thing to the people that matter most – their workers? No. Do we still use their services on a regular basis? Yes. The important thing to do is set your rates. Once you have that done, you can make business decisions about where you find your work. If you decide that Voices dot com is worth the investment and pays at or above your rate, even if the platform charges a fee above that, then why would you need to justify that to anyone?
I didn’t intend this to be a rant! I truly never know where my blogs will lead me. I thought I was just going to have a gentle conversation about being very careful where you get your information from. Do your due diligence. It may turn out that it is very good advice coming from someone who is clearly successful in the industry. And it may come from a snake oil sleaze bag who is cashing in on the hopes and dreams of an aspiring voice over. It’s your job to figure out which one it is.