from the voice-over mailbag

“Paul, if these weren’t actually letters from actual viewers, would I be able to do this (flap, flap, flap)” – D. Letterman

“Peter, I’m a voice talent (and) I’m considering becoming a premium member of voice123 (as I see you already are). But, I’m wondering about recovering the 195.00 fee.

Does voice123 really turn into work? I’m capable of my own production work, and would put the time into doing many auditions per week. But, does it really pay? Do you get often stiffed by clients? Do you end up doing endless auditions with few results, or is it really all they say it is? I appreciate your time in answering.

Thanks in advance

Hi Doug:

Voice over job sites are like any investment.

Are you ready to lose $195?

That’s the question you have to ask yourself when you invest in a site like Voices 123 or or those like them.

Here’s another question: how much is an hour of your time worth? You’re going to do a lot of custom auditions and hear nothing back. Likely 90% of the time you won’t get the job. When you dollarize your time, that’s a lot of money wasted. Are you ok with that?

Want another question?

Are you ready to bid on often significantly low balled voice projects created by people who often care less about your voice and more about your price?

Are you willing to join a process where an announcer who sounds like crap will get the job because he’ll do a five page narration for $50 and “the experience”?

Whittling it all down to the naked truth as I see it, past the marketing hyperbole, I believe these questions are the questions YOU have to answer for yourself.

The answer for me was ok, I can swim here. If the water’s too cold (a project with a lousy fee, too many bidders, even poorly written) then I don’t swim there on that day.

I’ve made enough money to cover my expenses on these sites and then some. I also have enough other business from other sources (thank you God!) that I don’t have to rely on these sites. And because of that busier schedule, I may look at not joining back up because I don’t have the time to do custom auditions for these voice-over Wal-Marts.

Does that sound a bit jaded? Maybe I’m guilty as charged but everybody who’s ever worked in broadcasting has a dash of that sprinkled on them.

I recently had the good fortune to meet the owners of and they are sincere people trying to run a challenging business in an honest manner. So then in fairness I will refer to them as the Target of voice overs (a retailer I visit far too frequently in my accountant’s opinion).

A shorter, even more curt way to answer this might have been “you’ll have to answer that for yourself.” Or as my Mom said on occasion “you won’t know unless you try.”

Good luck.

– Peter

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