Entries Tagged as 'voices.com'

the great voices.com experiment – cancelled

Great Voices.com Experiment Cancelled

My choice and my decision, with no external pressure put upon me.


A reasonable question for the many who had been following this journey.

In my mind and in my heart, I thought this was an unbiased, even handed, thoughtful way to look at a voiceover service that I had once used, decided against using for many reasons a long time ago and then recently reconsidered following a special offer email from Voices.com.

I thought ‘maybe I should rethink this and try it again.’ Things can change and improve and I hadn’t recently used the system (Pay to Play) that I have been critical of…take a look with fresh eyes, I decided.

I wasn’t going to write diatribe against Voices.com nor would it be a commercial for them – it would be my experience as I went through it with the resultant thoughts and feelings I encountered.

I also knew it would be interesting blog reading and provoke discussion (one of the hoped for results of any blog). I monitored all of that so that comments were not antagonistic or personally insulting. None were and neither was my content.

One in-depth comment during this series, that I did not agree with, gave me pause this weekend. In brief summary, it was accused that the series and the comments directly and indirectly attacked Stephanie of Voices.com. That accusation was and is flat out wrong.

I’d tried to make it exceedingly clear that I considered Stephanie and her husband David my friends and that in my past criticism of the Voices.com and their competitors, my problem has been with the P2P business model only.

Further, (also stated) this experiment was meant to possibly prove me wrong; I committed to trying the new Voices.com with an open mind – maybe I could increase my voiceover revenue by booking business on Voices.com. (Note: I’ve also stopped auditioning on the site as well – the conceptual fun of it all is over for me.)

But to be sure this commentator was wrong, I sent an email to Stephanie last night explaining my point and making sure that we are all good.

We were not.

While noting that she fully understood that nothing was written with the intention to hurt or misrepresent anyone or anything, the sum of the series was (using my words here) a bit unpleasant for Voices.com.

I made an offer in that same email that if this series caused them any problems, let me know and it would be gone…poof!

She took me up on my offer and I am glad to comply.


Most days I’m not sure what this blog is or what it is supposed to be about but I know absolutely what it is not supposed to be: hurtful. If anything in this series resulted in hurt, stress or agitatation for anybody, I’m sorry about that – it truly wasn’t the intent of the posts. I can be a fairly direct person so if that negativity was my true intent, I promise I could have done a much more effective job.

But I don’t want to be that kind of person. Yes, I have opinions, yes I can and will continue to offer them here (and some of those opinions may rankle David and Stephanie) but the format of a series of posts, as this was, obviously had a kind of “pile on” effect that in no way intended. Communication, I often remind people, is not so much about the transmission as it is about the reception.

I want to reiterate that at no time did anyone at Voices.com reach out to me with a complaint, a whine or even a whimper. I brought the issue to them, I made the offer and I killed the series.

Also worth noting, neither Voices.com nor anyone affiliated with it can have any impact on my business – so I’d no need to worry about repercussions from them had I completed the series. I could have easily carried on here through the end, complete with a wrap up post.

But my company has a code of conduct and I believe in it (hell, I wrote it, I better believe in it). And in this case, after I realized I’d unintentionally hurt some friends, finding the delete button wasn’t a problem at all.

Thanks to all who followed the series and who commented. Your intentions were as pure as mine and your contributions were sincerely appreciated for just that reason.

gaudeamus hodi olivia ciccarelli


I don’t remember after 800+ posts whether I’ve done too many baby announcements and at the moment I am too lazy to look.

The important thing to note is that Olivia Ciccarelli was born into this world on July 27, 2011.

From Facebook posts, I believe mother and daughter are well and speaking as a father, I know nobody cares how the father is doing after the birth (although with three kids at home already and a biz to run, he’s firing on all cylinders at the moment I would imagine).

The O’Connells wish only the best for the Ciccarellis and especially baby Olivia. What happy news!

a recent review of the voice over business

David Ciccarelli from Voices.com sent along to me a summary of his company’s past year in business, including how many voice over jobs were awarded, average payments, highest payments and total voice over earnings for voice talent who secured business all through Voices.com.

A couple of disclaimers here: I consider David and his wife Stephanie to be my friends and that both are highly ethical in their company’s operations. I trust what they say to be true and I think they run an above board operation. I have said in the past that if I subscribed to any pay to play (P2P) service, I would immediately subscribe to Voices.com based on their credibility alone. I respect the owners and their company.

I am not a paying member of Voices.com. I do have a free profile page. There is another service in the P2P industry where I had a free listing but I had it removed because I believed that group’s credibility to be so suspect that I didn’t want my name or brand associated with them in any manner. And there are other companies in this category whose reputation also precedes them and also not in a good way.

In short, the “pay to play” voice over business model does not work for me. I don’t believe or financially support any service in which voice talent “pays to play” i.e. pays a subscription to receive auditions. I believe such services lower the rate expectations of potential clients because so many voice talents who swim in the pay to play pool low ball their rates out of what I feel is a kind of sad desperation for revenue of any kind.

The pay to play model negatively impacts the voice over business and its practitioners, in my opinion.

While each individual has the right to run their business has they see fit (even or especially in desperate times), that low balling adversely affects my business and is degrading to my industry. I choose to play elsewhere.

The results of the Voices.com survey are:

• $39,290,580 in Total Earnings by Voice Talent at Voices.com

• 155,915 Voice Over Jobs – This figure represents the total number of public, private and direct message job opportunities that have been awarded to voice talent at Voices.com.

• The Highest Paying Voice Over Job awarded via Voices.com that the company is aware of was $37,000

• $252.97 Average Payment for a Voice Over Job (among all possible VO job categories): David noted that projects posted at Voices.com range between $100 and $500, thus resulting in average payments of $252.97.

This last figure illustrates my point better than anything else I might say regarding how ALL pay to play services lower the rate expectations of potential clients. I also have a sense that at other services, that average fee might even be lower.

Taking the Voices.com figure ($252.97) though, as a P2P industry average – that figure, I believe, doesn’t reflect what the voice over customer market “dictates”.

I believe it reflects what the voice over customer market “can get away with” with the help of the pay to play (P2P) business model.

There is no filter of voice over quality or talent abilities within the P2P model – legally I don’t think there can be and as a business model I don’t know why the P2P owners would want there to be. Anyone can sign up, pay the subscription fee and audition with P2P companies. It’s assumed that if someone has no talent, that fact will be reflected in their audition submissions and therefore the talentless won’t get the work (survival of the fittest).

But the nasty truth is, regardless of any supposed audition filter or cut off limit a P2P service may ascribe to, the sheer volume of auditions combined with lower average quality of the combined auditioners (note: they ARE talented and highly compensated voice talents in the P2P mix…somewhere…I guess) means that all the power is in the client’s hands…they can smell the desperation in the auditioning herd and they capitalize on it…to the determent of the voice over industry as a whole.

Think about not just the local or regional radio commercials…but the 10-20 minute narrations, e-learning projects, sales and marketing videos. These long form pieces are a vital part of the industry. Take a minute to do some average calculations on what those fees should be in addition to the local and regional spots.

Then add national commercials, TV promos, radio imaging fees, bigger message on hold projects.

By my calculations, $252.97 is well below what I would expect an overall average fee to be. And for those who would say that’s on par with “my” fee structure or that “I’d” be lucky to get that for a fee, I guess I’d ask you to take a long hard look at your business model. And even dare to say – self worth as a voice over talent.

To mis-quote the old hair commercial, I’d say, “You’re ‘not’ worth it. You’re worth more.”

And for those who’d say it’s none of my damn business – I’d say on that count, you’re probably right. We all have to choose our own paths and mine may not be right for you.

terry daniel and dave courvoisier star on voice over experts

This week on Voices.com’s Voice Over Experts, Terry Daniel and Dave Courvoisier discuss how social media and the use of online social networking tools can promote your voice over services and help you to get work.

embarrassed, humbled or jealous?

I learned one thing about the internet early on – unless you are a savant at making viral videos, you had better be good at promoting yourself cause as much as they might like you, others will never promote you as well as you can promote yourself.

Well, I must change my opinion of that, having now been distilled through the Voices.com PR machine. Others, it turns out, can promote you as well as you can promote yourself…in this case, better.

Hubris or ego or savvy marketer (I’ve been accused of all three), I was never really comfortable with having to directly promote myself as much as the internet dictated I would have to, if I was to help my business. I did it (and do it) strictly because it does help my presence on the web – period. But it is awkward to do it – that’s truly how it feels to me. I offer that as background.

So fast forward to recent times, having been hounded (maybe just “asked” a number of times) for a few years by Stephanie Ciccarelli at Voices.com to do a podcast for them, I sent her “The First 15 Seconds” (about voice talents should approach their voice over auditions) before Christmas, 2010. Stephanie published my podcast the first week of January, 2011.

Then their public relations flood gates opened. It was torrential and impressive.

First Voices.com was kind enough to say in their release “Peter K. O’Connell is one of North America’s top voice over coaches and voice talents.”

As God as my witness, I never, ever recall claiming that in any of the stuff I’ve written about my work ever (send me a document I wrote if you can prove otherwise and I’ll admit my mistake…cause I don’t think I did so). I think Voices.com wrote that on their own (thank you for your kind words, folks). I’m also thinking all the really good voice over teachers are pretty pissed at me right now for soiling their talent pool…but I didn’t say that, Voices.com did.

Then I was sorting through some of my normal Google Alerts to see what if anyone is saying about me, my business or my industry. There I realized that Voices.com flushed their press release about my podcast through every public relations pipe the web has!

Truly, I thought I had this web promo thing worked out but now I see I am a pathetic rookie compared to these crazy (in a good way) Canadians (I can say that because I am part Canadian, which explains my affinity for Tim Horton’s donuts).

So thanks to Stephanie and her team for the plugs and good on them for their web marketing machine. If you’re going to go – go all out or go home!

voice over experts with peter k. o’connell

Well I bet of all those seven words, you never thought you’d see “expert” near my name.

Me neither.

But I am this week’s Voice Over Expert on Voices.com‘s regular podcast.

Stephanie had been after me for almost a year and maybe longer to host one of their podcasts and there was no good excuse for not having gotten around to it except to say life got in the way.

But I look at it this way: THIS was the time the podcast was supposed to come out and so it did. Fate now, explanations later.

The topic is “The First 15 Seconds” and while you might think it a review of my wedding night, it is, rather, an overview of how to look at voice over auditions in a more critical way.

Specifically, to try and tie in all that you can about every aspect of the script and your performance into the first 15 seconds of your audition; that’s likely the amount of time it will take for a producer to listen to your audition and know if your voice is the right voice for the project the producer is working on.

This is stuff I work on all the time with folks at the Voice Over Workshop but the overview in the podcast will give you a good start if you want to work on this on your own.

Voices.com was very nice to include me and while I don’t believe listenership to my podcast will be so large as to fry their servers, I hope it gives the Voice Over Experts podcast a good start to the new year…please give it a listen. Thanks!