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another example of voiceover pay-2-play skimming

Canafornia Bad For Voiceover #voicestrongAs a voiceover talent, you are no doubt aware of the discussion regarding the disreputable Canadian pay to play company based in the province of Ontario that bought a major California based voiceover lead generation service in August 2017. The voiceover lead generation service has since taken the name of the disreputable Canadian pay to play company. I’ve dubbed it CANAFORNIA.

For reasons that I can comprehend but (to me) fail the business logic sniff test, there are voice talents who understand the disreputable Canadian pay to play company is skimming money (keeping it for itself) that producers had dedicated to pay male and female voice talents.

These talents also understand that in some other cases, the disreputable Canadian pay to play company is taking the voice talent’s quote and adding a substantial fee (sometimes 3 to 4 times the talent’s asking price).

Talents would NOT know this because the disreputable Canadian pay to play company does not allow ANY communication between talent and client. That’s how the disreputable Canadian pay to play company takes extra money without the talent knowing it.

Yet knowing all these truths, these same voice over talents continue to pay an annual fee to the disreputable Canadian pay to play company and audition (maybe occasionally book) jobs at a lesser fee.

It appears to me these talents (some of whom are my friends and are talented, smart people) are shooting themselves in the foot to pay for a service that might book them a voice job at what promises to be a rate less than what their client thinks they are paying them.

In short, the voice actors working with the disreputable Canadian pay to play company are making less money than they should be.

But it’s their business to manage as they want. They may think I’m nuts (and who is to say they’re wrong!)

Just a quick note, a great way to avoid working with voiceover P2P companies that will scam you is to work with agents in the VO Agent Alliance. That’s my opinion and I get nothing for it.

Are all these discussions just rumors and innuendos against the disreputable Canadian pay to play company by disgruntled voice talents?

Well, no.

The reason so many voice talents and voice agencies will NOT work with the disreputable Canadian pay to play company is because the company’s unethical behavior has been well documented.

But this week, voice talent Rick Riley shared his story about the disreputable Canadian pay to play company on social media.

Facts are facts and the facts indict the disreputable Canadian pay to play company directly.

What follows is Rick’s September 2016 account of what happened. Since that time he notes he has not done any business with “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”.

Rather feature the company name or initials as Rick did in post, I share replace it with “the disreputable Canadian .pay to play company”.

Here are Rick’s words….

Right now, “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” is an extremely heated subject, and rightfully so. I recently replied to Bob Bergen’s post regarding “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”. With that, I feel I should reveal my involvement with “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” and their practices.

I contacted someone in the industry who was compiling a case against “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”. She asked me to relate my experiences. This is the email I wrote to her with names redacted by (_______) lines.

The first case was in regards to an IVR session I was asked to do. As a rule, that’s not what I do, but I have done a lot of commercial work for this company and they wanted me to be on their phone when people called.

“The disreputable Canadian pay to play company” contacted me and asked if I would do the job. I quoted and “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” came back a couple days later saying that my rate was too high, and they would look someplace else. When you read the emails below, you will see that “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” was willing to ace me out of a job if they couldn’t have their exorbitant commission. Below is the email I provided the person doing the research.
Hi ______,

Bullet points for your records:

A “disreputable Canadian pay to play company” managed project in which the client wanted me but didn’t have the budget so they contacted me directly. The following is an email exchange with a client who happened to have my contact information.

Hi Rick,

I just wanted to reach out to apologize of the back and forth on this latest ____ phone tree job, my client(the agency) is not making any progress with their client on the budget and at the current rate i will not be making any money on this job.

We talked last time about going to you directly and i mentioned that i felt it was only fair that i stay loyal to “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”, but now i may back track on this if the price changes so that i can make some money. What would be the cost of this project if i dont go through “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”?

To which I replied…

Just out of curiosity, what is “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” charging you?

And they replied…


And I replied…

You see, that is a bunch of crap. I told them $250, which is my session minimum. I had a feeling they were charging way beyond what an agent would charge. THIS is why they are getting a bad rap and why they won’t allow communication between the client and the talent. “A different pay to play company” charges a subscription fee just like “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”, however “a different pay to play company”, once the client and the talent make a connection, steps out of the equation.

And they replied…

Well that settles it then. I will reach out to you directly from now on.

When are you available between today and monday? ____ at “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” mentioned tomorrow, is that still the case?

And how would you like to set up payment?
(end of email exchange)

A 70% commission and “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” was willing to let the client go and ace me out of a job because they couldn’t get it!

NOW, today’s story…

A job booked through “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” that kept getting revisions. I did the second minor revision at a low rate for goodwill towards the client.

The latest revision, before I quoted for it, had me calling the client because I wanted to make sure they were getting the benefit of my goodwill. Turns out “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company’” greed did not let me down.

For the original 30 sec spots for a Canadian company I quoted $1,000.

First round of revisions I quoted $500.

Second round of revisions I quoted $100 as a goodwill effort.

When “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” contacted me for a quote on this latest minor revision, before I gave it to them I decided to call the company and find out what they were paying “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” on what I had quoted them.

When I quoted $1,000 for the original spots, “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” charged $1800.

When I quoted $500 for the revisions, “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” charge $795.

When I quoted $100, “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” charged $155.

80% commission, 60% commission and 55% commission respectively to  “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company”.

THAT is “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” in a nutshell!

Now THIS company will be working with me directly as well.

Thanks ______!

That’s my exchange with the person doing research. Knowledge is key in all aspects of life. Hopefully this knowledge about one person’s experience with “the disreputable Canadian pay to play company” will help you make decisions in your own personal endeavors.

Thanks for reading!


ear blowing audio in durham, nc

Erik Romanowski Peter K OConnell 2018It’s always nice when people come to visit me, especially since I visit so many folks all year.

But having a native BUFFALONIAN come visit – one that works in voiceover – well that just doesn’t happen very often.

So it was a very nice treat to get to have lunch demo producing supah-staaaah Eric Romanowski.

Eric is the proud owner of hot voiceover demo shop Ear Blowing Audio. He was driving through Durham, NC (about a 1/2 hour away from my studio) coming from his studio in Virginia Beach, VA, on his way to Charlotte, NC. He is presenting at the Voxy Summit, a voiceover conference for women.

We talked about most things VO, like demo producers who aren’t really demo producers (Eric is the real deal) and work-life balance (which is tough sometimes working from home) but the conversation really got going when we started reminiscing about Buffalo and, of course sports.

I’ve been gone from Buffalo almost two years but Eric left about twelve years ago. And while he’s followed the Bills somewhat, he has totally lost touch with the Sabres.

I explained to him in great detail why that was completely unacceptable. Somewhere in my rant, he escaped and I assume he made it down to Charlotte. 😉

It was great to see him. If you need a great demo, give him a call. But make it quick, cause he’s booked out for at least 45 days with the demo production work he has right now.


new year, fresh commercial demo

Peter K. O'Connell New Voiceover DemoMedia producers who are on top of their game know that they need to be hiring professional voiceover talents who can offer the most current, bookable voice styles.

Those sound styles that advertising agencies or clients hear elsewhere on TV, radio or the web and want for their audio branding. Or unique vocal styles that actually aren’t heard everywhere and are very new but stand out and break through the audio branding clutter.

For me as a voice talent, I share those bookable and unique vocal styles with my voice demos and in this case, my new commercial voiceover demo for 2018.


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Right click on this link to download the demo here

Combining voiceover work I’ve done with vocal styles and reads recommended by my Los Angeles-based voiceover coach, Mary Lynn Wissner, as well as the legendary demo producing skills of Dan Friedman, my new commercial demo highlights all of those bookable and unique sounds producers are looking for right now.

If I were to tell you my new commercial voiceover demo sounds great, that would be egotistical and self-serving – which would be embarrassing and soooo beneath me.

So I’ll just tell you my 2018 commercial voiceover demo sounds really awesome, which of course is a very different description from great. Right? OK, I’ll just go with that. Awesome. 😉

Hope you enjoy it.

Celia Siegel has a new book – Voiceover Achiever

It is with great pleasure that I share with you that a friend of mine — and a friend to voice talents everywhere — Celia Siegel, is now one of those fancy, pipe-smoking, ascot-wearing author types!!

Celia has just released her new book, entitled Voiceover Achiever – Brand Your VO Career. Change Your Life.

As it’s so new, I have not yet read it. But here is where you might want to grab your copy here.

That’s where I just bought my copy.

Celia Siegel

You may have heard of Celia’s company, Celia Siegel Management, which has been working on establishing brands for voiceover talents for many years.

You might not know that before that, Celia worked as a talent agent with agencies like CESD, JE and Wehmann. She has a great deal of experience in the voiceover business.

In addition to her branding work, Celia is a certified life and business coach, success strategist and talent manager

In this, her first book, Celia shares her winning formula for creating standout brands that ignite standout careers.


VO Agent Alliance Shows What They Are All About

Anyone who reads this blog regularly (which mathematically is equal to 100 x 0) knows that I love great marketing and even more, great graphic design that supports that marketing.

All new organizations fully understand how important it is to make sure your target audience knows who you are, what your name is and what you can do for them.

Marketing people in those new companies know you should never stop doing that. Ever.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sadly, you don’t see that combination of great marketing and graphic design a lot in the voiceover industry…until recently.

The 15 voiceover agencies who comprise the VO Agent Alliance, a new collective of vetted professional voiceover talent agencies operating individually but committed as a group to the highest standards the industry has to offer, understands the importance of audio AND visual marketing

If you haven’t seen their posts on their social media pages like Facebook, you missed some pretty great examples of how to get a voiceover branding message across to your audience in a visually memorable way.


A little background – the VO Agent Alliance was formed after a disreputable Canadian voiceover pay-to-play company secured venture capital money to, among other things, acquire a major California-based voiceover lead generation service in August 2017. The lead generation service was a significant marketing tool for voiceover agents but now with new owners, who have been found to skim money from voice talents to keep for the company coffers as part of their P2P division, Alliance agents did not want to be associated in any way with the voiceover lead generation service’s new owners.

Thus, the VO Agent Alliance was formed bringing together long time voiceover agency owners, smart business professionals, who were not going to take an attack from a disreputable Canadian voiceover pay-to-play company on their voiceover agency businesses sitting down. Well that’s my view on the situation, anyway.

VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Together we can do it

“VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE Together we can do it”

So the war poster motif (a design style most popular in the states during World War II) now seen in these graphics seem really apropos for the VO Agent Alliance. Plus, I just think they are super fun, creative and memorable.







The only critique I have about these WWII-era-like posters is that there should have been some kind of tag or logo tie in either with the #Voicestrong movement or with the VO Agent Alliance wordmark or website address.

For example, I grabbed one of their posters and branded it just a little more and it looks like this.



Just a little extra branding to make the purpose of these posters a little clearer. But again, great overall work on the creative by the VOICEOVER AGENT ALLIANCE .


Most of us have seen the memes with the mid-Century looking clip art. It’s been done, right?

But the reason it’s been done and gets done again is because it gets people’s attention. People look. People read. People react. All of which is a marketer’s and new business owner’s dream.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE No junk auditions

These particular pieces from the VO Agent Alliance score high with me because they tie in the group’s brand and web address, giving people who are unfamiliar with the new group place to search and learn

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Get paid properly



I’m sure most folks understand the purpose of infographics but just by way of brief explanation for those who do not, infographics are a way to share fairly involved messages in a more interesting way than just paragraphs. Inforgraphics help tell the story of message (often times complex but not always) through the creative use of words, typography, graphics and color.

These information style seems to have really become popular in the last 5 years…but that’s just my novice opinion — someone smarter (anyone smarter) can give you better details than me.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Diminishing Returns

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Diminishing Returns

Be that as it may, my friends at the VO Agent Alliance have also used infographics as a way to break down their messages and service in a more understandable way. While a bit of creative whimsy may be taken by the reader in the first two sets of graphic examples, like it’s genre, the VO Agent Alliance infographics are pretty much all business.

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Pain Scale

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Pain Scale

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Choices

VO AGENT ALLIANCE Voiceover Choices

There are some others that are also swell, but I just wanted to share some of my favorites as a way to maybe help you rethink some of your visual branding. Not so much to steal any ideas here but maybe as an inspiration for an idea to help you convey your voiceover business messages to your clients across a spectrum of marketing channels.

Hope this helps.

The FCC Begins 2018 By Failing To Protect Local Communities

FCC LogoOn January 8, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission will remove the almost 80 year-old rule that required broadcasters to have a physical studio in or near the areas where they have a license to transmit TV or radio signals.  With that rule no longer in place, the FCC has issued a likely fatal blow to the tradition of local broadcasting in radio and TV.

I’m not talking about the syndication of a program, which has been a profitable and long standing broadcast practice (that’s how the world first heard about Oprah Winfrey). Rather, with the elimination of the rule requiring broadcast owners maintain a main studio in or near the local coverage area of their license …owners can rent an office somewhere, sell ads locally, while all non-network broadcasts emanate from one central location…some place else, anywhere else really.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who took a leadership role on this ruling, said “Continuing to require a main studio would detract from, rather than promote, a broadcaster’s ability and incentive to keep people informed and serve the public interest.”

Chairman Pai’s professional background is that of a lawyer, administrator and bureaucrat. He had only a brief career as a lawyer in the telecommunications industry. His resume references no work in broadcasting. None.

The only winner with the elimination of this rule is anyone with a large broadcasting company (about ½ dozen or more companies) who can now create centralized hub studios any single place in the country and simply send out a signal to a city or town’s transmitter.

If you go to the web site of your local TV and radio station, you’ll see the station’s corporate owner name. Click on the web site link…see how many other stations they own and where.

Then think about how much money they will save their company by shuttering all their local TV and radio stations, laying off a sizable portion (if not all) of their local staffs at those stations, putting their stations’ local sales departments in small rented local buildings while all broadcast operations emanate and are transmitted from a far-away US city.

They will try and make the broadcast look and sound local, maybe, but (as an example) a Los Angeles broadcast hub for scores of stations isn’t going to be able to truly share the local news and community feel of (say for example) Sioux Falls, SD or insert your town or city name here.

Cost cutting at local stations has been happening for some time at broadcast stations. Some radio stations broadcast only satellite programming, with maybe someone reading local news in the morning and a local TV meteorologist pre-recording a weather forecast throughout the day (or just using a national weather service…again, not local).

Many TV stations within an ownership group have their news programs actually directed from a regional production hub nowhere physically near the station. And in some markets, a TV station in one city or state will actually create a newscast in their city for a station and viewers in totally different and unrelated city…sometimes fairly far away. Or TV stations just forego a news operation all together. Too much time, effort and money….you understand.

Some will ask why it matters to have a station physically in a market. The Internet, YouTube, and iPhones have changed how we all consume news and programing. Satellite radio is more popular than ever as are Internet radio outlets.

I understand all that but…BECAUSE of those new channels — the need for local coverage is more important than ever and cannot be executed effectively by well-meaning people in a building hundreds or thousands of miles away who have no ties to a community.

A Winter Storm Whips Across Lake Erie South of Buffalo, NY

If you’ve ever been through a tornado, blizzard, forest fire, flood or other horrible disaster, that would be just one prime example of how news…live and local, will be almost completely lost either immediately or over a slow, imperceptible transition to viewers and listeners. Local meteorologists? Oh, they can just put those weather computers any place and see the readouts.

Oh, and the job losses at all these local stations? Well those are a big part of how ownership groups will save money, which is why broadcast lobbyists put immense political pressure on the executive and legislative branches of the US government (and thus the FCC) to get this rule eliminated. Just because they own broadcast outlets doesn’t necessarily make these TV and radio station group owners true broadcasters. Owners answer to revenue and profits and it matters little how those are achieved.

I understand and respect cost savings as a business owner. I get it.

But as a broadcaster, who understands the immense value that a radio and TV station bring to a community, I see a dangerous and probably irreversible change. Change whose resultant problems will be dramatically felt at a local level while its national implementers are safely ensconced in their vaults.

It may be a slow demise, but it will likely be local broadcasting’s demise nonetheless.