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VOICE OVER PAY
Voice 123 Reports: Online Jobs Paying
The Most Go To Children, Not Adults

By Steven Lowell
Voice Talent & Voice 123 Community Manager

Did you ever look at voice over work on Voice123, a voice over casting website, and ask yourself, "Who gets paid the most?" 

The majority of work posted on Voice 123 falls under the demographic of "middle-age" male or female, but in the past two years, the jobs paying the most go to child voices.

Unfortunately for those who do character voices, I am referring to "real children." Almost every profile created for only a child was set up by a parent who was already on Voice123 as a premium subscriber.

WHAT'S THE PAY?

On average, where the voice age was listed as "child," jobs posted through the automated invite casting system have paid $500 or higher. These automated jobs involve the staff screening a job being posted for a child voice talent, and the talents are invited without direct human intervention.

In another method, jobs in which clients reach out to us directly via Live Chat, email, phone, or social media, have paid above $2000.

These numbers are directly taken from staff communication and emails, in which voice talents were asked, "Do you know anyone who can read for this?" The search feature on Voice123 is used by staff to help clients who opt to not use any automated process.

WHY ARE KIDS PAID MORE?

Why are kids receiving higher pay? For very simple reasons:
  • Disappearing privacy making online work more transparent.
  • Children have become more visible online due to social media.
  • The majority of voice talent you find online that do child voice work are adults.
  • There is a greater demand to find a "real child" voice.
  • Demand is amplified by the simple fact that most child voice talent can only work during the summer months in North America. (Voice123 is 74% North American voice talent).
  • The shortage of supply and greater demand means higher value for a "professional real child voice."
HELP WANTED

In the past two years, we began getting emails directly from agents building a talent stable of child voices. I received one, too. They found I was 39, and never wrote again.

Clients are asking us personally if we know of any real child voices available. These clients were only satisfied by hearing a "real child voice."

Clients are still apprehensive about contacting the child directly, and ask us at times if we know anyone. I believe this happens because:
  • Working with a child as a freelance artist is very new.
  • All states have child labor laws.
  • From country to country, laws differ.
  • It is also up to the parent's discretion as to how much the child will get paid.
In addition, children have more spare time to communicate online, and therefore may be more visible than an adult.

HOW TO HANDLE?

There are still lots of questions to be asked and answered on how to handle this, especially given that we have learned during quality assurance of demos that adults have used child pics to cover their identities and appear "real."

At one point, we did not let children create profiles unless we spoke with their parents first. Every summer, we offer a free trial program for children of voice over talent interested in getting into voice overs, which some have taken advantage of.

We recently learned of a child getting $4,000 and a recurring contract to do a series of children's audiobooks from a Voice123 contact.

Also, a parent expressed to me that her child made more money from Voice123 in the past month than she did - and she was setting up a phone patch for her son. 

Would you be OK with your child working in voice overs online, if you were managing the process?

ABOUT STEVEN ...

Steven Lowell has been a New York City-based voice actor and writer since 1992. Since 2007, he has also been Community Manager for Voice123, a voice over casting website.

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Comments (1)
Kent Ingram
7/18/2012 at 1:10 AM
Ah, yes, Steven, it's the old supply/demand, what-the-market-will-bear scenario and I completely understand it. I don't have to LIKE it, but I understand it. On one hand, it's more disappointment heaped up on us who have done this for awhile, but I understand the changing needs and demands of this business and the clients who shop for talent. I KNOW there's a place for me in this world of voices, so I guess I'll just keep on truckin' the best I can.
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