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Gimme A Break: You Want The
Corporate VO ASAP? For $30?

By Rob Marley
Voice Actor

I love getting voice-over job offers in my inbox, but there are times when you just have to say "no thank you."  

For example, the one I got the other night - A Friday night, at the start of a holiday weekend: 
A 2-minute corporate voice-over for one of the largest telecommunication companies in the known universe. Using a truly horrible English translation. And they want it as soon as I can possibly send it to them. (Like seriously: the next hour or so would be good.)  And the offer? Thirty US dollars. 
Now yeah, I know some of you are going to say,
"But Rob, it would take you less than 5 minutes to record and send this to them. And hey, it would probably pay for that big bottle of Gin you just purchased. Take the money and run!"  
And you would be right.

It would take me realistically about 5 minutes to record and send this off. And because it's such a big name company, it would look good on the ol "curriculum vitae" (which might impress the one person other than my wife that may actually read my CV.) 

  • if you value what you do as a voice-over artist,
  • if you respect the amount of confidence and training it takes to be able to confidently translate native gibberish into English American techno-nonsense, 
  • if you understand the amount of money invested in the gear, the time designing and building the recording space,
  • if you appreciate the magical dance between hardware, software and two little flaps of mucus-covered skin that usually (but not always) does what your brain tells it to do,
  • if you value yourself as a business owner, an entrepreneur and someone emotionally invested and passionately driven toward running a profitable and sustainable small business ...
... then you can understand why (after I finished laughing), I respectfully passed on the job opportunity. 

"Working for exposure" and "working for free" are the same thing. Prove to the world that you're better than that. 
A Los Angeles native, Rob Marley is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the hill country of Austin TX.



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Comments (4)
Debby Barnes
9/10/2019 at 12:23 PM
Rah-Rah!, RM. I’ve done this very thing myself; and more than once. Sigh...
Karen Allen
9/5/2019 at 3:37 AM
Well said, sir.
I get requests like this and as I’m in the U.K., $30 is equivalent of about £22, so it’s even worse for me.
You’re not paying for the minutes, you’re paying for the years it took to get to that level of expertise.
It’s disrespectful to offer a rate that low. I’m not the most expensive VO in the world, but I know my worth.
The age old argument is that ‘someone’ will. Well, good for them. Not me.
Stand by your principles. The cream will rise to the top!
Best regards
Karen Allen
Deb Stamp
9/4/2019 at 8:46 PM
(fist bump) Fun to read too
Paul Payton
9/4/2019 at 4:30 PM
I agree! I don't mind doing freebies OF MY CHOICE for clients/friends I believe in - but $30 wonders went out after the cable spots I was doing to get a foot in the door 30+ years ago. (And that $30 was worth more back then!)

Thanks for the reminder of how grateful I am for a career I can be proud of.

Paul Payton
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