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Quit Yer' Bitchin!

In the last several weeks there is a lot of “bitchin” going on in all these VO Groups, on YouTube and elsewhere.  Most of it relates to the P2P’s and how hard it is to book and how the algorithms are screwing people over and wah-wah-wah…. And Marc Scott put his foot down as a follow up to a great speaking point made at VO Atlanta. If you missed it go see it on YouTube and listen to the entirety. Also JMC hit the nail on the head with his “cheese” blog I mentioned in the last blog here… and truthfully I hope some people realize some of the following and here is where people may call me a jerk for being honest…not long ago I was told “people both like you and don’t like you because you tell it like it is in your words” so again… like me or not here I go again!

 

The main takeaway is all this “bitchin” ain’t gonna solve one problem because MONEY TALKS and if you keep throwing money at these P2P’s they are gonna keep doing what they do.  I dropped V123 back to the lowest level and when that expires I am done.  VDC on the other hand for me has been “profitable” but it expires in December and I am playing my “business cards” right I should be able to walk away from them. Transparency of that is I have booked 12 jobs there in 4-1/2 months and only 3 on V123 this year.  The ROI is what I look at not in just $$ but also how many hours a week.  I do VERY FEW auditions on both sites and I would honestly say for me 5 a week on V123 is a lot and on VDC maybe 3-4 a day. In time that is maybe 2 hours a week. I spend my time marketing, researching and doing work.  When that is done I walk away for the day and my mental health is 1000% better for dropping V123, Voice Planet and Upwork. (Yes, Upwork… though in 2021 I made over $20,000 there)

 

Honestly these days anyone taking money from me makes me raw. I shouldn’t be the customer in these transactions. I’ll even go as far to say that I drag Fiverr into this because of all of their changes.  I recently completed my 500th order on Fiverr and being transparent I will say many of these were bundled YouTube narrations early on, 10 in one order at times for $150. I paid my dues. But the last 150 or so were what I can call “at GVAA” or I did not get the work. I continually raised prices until it was “above board”.  However Fiverr is also recently “over-charging” in the form of “promoted gigs” and a “seller plus” program and now doing the “Pro” level (of which I am a member because I want to be seen as a Pro, not a lowball whore.  

 

With that I say that FIVERR is also in the SAME CATEGORY as VDC because an order for $200 takes 20% and if it was a promoted gig, that also is more out of pocket. If you do not promote your gigs you may NEVER be seen in searches and no one goes past page one IMHO. The $39 a month for “SELLER PLUS” gets you a meeting with a “Success Coach” who gives out bland stale advice and tells you how the VO business on the platform has dropped and how AI has taken lower paying jobs (DUH). They give ALL clients the same info and “suggestions” and if we all use that info we stunt the algorithm even more by all copy-catting each other so again, I plan to do “me” and poppycock on the rest of their “crap”.  Here is my gig at my price and you will pay proper usage or I will cancel your order. Done.

 

Firstly I am not Poo-Poo’ing ANYONE on ANY platform.  You do You! How you make a living is no concern of mine as long as you are not doing the “price cutting” life. Some of you are KILLING IT on Fiverr with solid 5 figure months at GVAA rates and are also growing direct business and have agents.  Some of you make $1000’s a week on VDC and V123.  BLESS YOUR HEARTS and I am happy for you but I am a NICHE VOICE and I see very few auditions for my niche so my strength is very “targeted” marketing and some genres where how I sound and how I can bring life to a character make me a living.  I am happy and proud for ALL who are holding rates where you should NO MATTER where you get your business… agents, P2P, Fiverr, Bodalgo, Vo Planet, Backstage, etc.

 

Sometimes in business you have to PIVOT and I have had to swallow some hard pills… most of the US (and even my own local area) do not WANT or LIKE an accent of ANY kind. I sound local to Nashville BUT that is no guarantee of Nashville work… or Birmingham or Dallas or ANYWHERE that I sound like. So what is a natural southern gentleman to do?  You choose the proper targets and dig for those contacts and you hustle.  Where will they LIKE me and for what? Then deliver with a fierce passion and over-serve and hope to rope that client in for more.  Treat them better than family, send a thank you card IN THE MAIL and maybe some swag (coffee mugs, pens) and actually give a crap.  THAT is when you get to know them and truly build a relationship because those clients are GOLD but guess what… they will probably leave later on so you gotta keep mining for more.

 

I am likely guilty of the “Bitchin” train also at times because I have felt like some people in large companies feel when they are “harassed”. I felt singled out. So I took the first pivot and coached to try and reduce/control my accent versus just embrace “me” as I am. It made me a better VO for doing that.  I reduced probably 30-50 words that were “overly southern” but still… I SOUND LIKE ME… so now what? You did not pull that off well enough to even fake a great GenAm read did you? NO I did not…but it made me a better VO overall.  EVERY TRAINING AVENUE can make you better even if it shows you that you DO NOT need to chase that genre or avenue.

 

I decided to follow what I was told early on… “YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH” and I began to embrace what I could do as me and target how to get as much market share in that genre and voice that I could.  Will I make six-figures now? I think so. Mid-6 figures? Nope. Not unless some crazy national campaign for a major brand grabs me up and hey, it COULD happen, but I am a realist. Will I stress over all the auditions that say GEN-AM? Never again, just pass and go. Will I waste hours a day on things I am not suited for? Not anymore.  The goal as a VO is less hours/more return/more work/more money. And that equals less stress and less BITCHIN.

 

I want every reach out to have a good chance of a new contact that needs me. I want every audition to be me at my best for what I am suited for. I want to be the person everyone thinks of when they hear “southern’, “Nashville”, Texas” and the like.  I want them to see my credentials and think “he’s booked a lot of video games…I had no idea. Maybe we should add him”.  Why waste time fishing in a pond full of catfish if you don’t eat catfish? For the fun of fishing!?! Maybe if you fish… but I see not being productive in all manners of my business as a FAILURE of my time and investment.

 

So I am putting my money where my mouth is … literally… as a voice actor. I am investing that p2p money in genres I am booking in but have not really coached much in (Video Games).  I am investing in a new CRM (Nimble) to up my direct marketing. I am getting a business coach lined up to help me market stronger and to my strength not to some program (not that those are bad but not for me… I am not a normal VO).  I will offer more to the community (demos).

 

However… and I know this is VERY BLUNT…. some of you need to fold the tent and move on.  You played around with this for a few years, it’s not really making any money and you love hanging out at a conference or in the Facebook groups, but traction is not happening. Go part time, settle down and maybe later. This is easy for me to say because I do not make money off of people who are trying to get into VO… so my honesty is crass and not motivated by anything other than “what results are you having and is this REALLY worth it for you”.

 

If you are ok being part time and spending more than you make, that is your call.  If you truly love the industry and just wanna hang out, I guess that’s okay too. You have a spouse who is doctor or lawyer or entrepreneur and they SUPPORT YOUR VENTURE and this is something for you to do while they rake it all in… heck can I move in with ya’ll???   But if all you do is complain and it is not working for you and you have had the coaching and training and it is JUST NOT COMING TOGETHER… it may be time to pull the plug and find a new creative outlet or hobby.  This industry is not for everyone and as I have said before if it is a hobby, let it be that and don’t be so engrained in the rest.  Have fun and do you.

 

People drop out of classes every day.  People start and quit jobs every week. People try new things and they don’t work out.  There are tons of things on sale daily because people TRY THINGS and it was not for them. There is no shame in it! You gave it a go and it was not as easy as you thought and there’s no time left for anything else when you do this and your spouse is all in your grill because you are never around for family and it’s not making money… pull the plug.  Family first, sanity second. Divorce is not cheap and it sure ain’t any fun to deal with. Ask yourself “Is this really worth the (time away) (money invested) (losing my family).  Is this affecting your day job? Are you losing focus because you are FRUSTRATED that you can’t make it work and your REAL JOB that pays your bills is in jeopardy?  Are you up all hours just “trying to make it work” versus “making a lot of money”?   Truly take a real and hard look at all of this and make a good decision!

 

This is not a “ALL OF YOU PART TIMERS NEED TO GET OUT” thing.  It is just that SOME do. Sometimes it is very hard to admit defeat… and who knows… I myself may have to do it down the road and I will certainly know when that day comes. But as I pivot based on my results and focus where I am strongest and up the game where I am solid… I do have a plan and I am making a living as of now.  I have no PLAN B.  I am afraid if I did have a PLAN B I may have taken it a year ago. It has been HARD and I was in a place I did not want to turn back to what I used to be good at… I wanted to be good at THIS.

 

I wish you all the best in whatever decisions you face in this business and if I can help, I’m here!

 

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