Pay: Lowballing Your Bids Hurts
Everyone - Peanuts Vs. Prime Rib
By David Radtke
August 8, 2011
This isn't a detailed scientific study. This isn't even a controlled experiment. It's just an observation of a single occurrence.
And yet every voice actor in the industry has seen something similar.
They know this is going on and they know it's causing the slow decline of the voice actor's salary and the cheapening of our image as highly-trained professionals.
It's called 'lowballing" - the practice of bidding extremely low on a project in the hopes of landing the gig - and it really does hurt!
RECENT EXAMPLE ...
Here's the latest occurrence I stumbled across.
On a voice over job website (which shall go unnamed) a client (who shall also go unnamed) posted a job for a 1-hour narration. The budget listed was between $350 and $500.
About one week later, that same client posted another 1-hour narration job. But this time: a budget of $50 to $100!
Think about it from the client's point of view.
If you (as a voice seeker) post a job with a budget of, let's say $350, and then you get offers to do the job for as cheap as $50, wouldn't you then set the budget of your next job to only about $50?
I don't know about you, but I certainly would!
PEANUTS OR PRIME RIB?
If everyone is willing to work for peanuts, then why would a voice seeker offer prime rib?
It’s really sad how so many spend the time and energy to become trained voice actors only to sell themselves way too short.
People in other fields spend years studying in college, then gain experience on the job.
These people usually can get paid pretty well. And if they work and study more, then raises, promotions, and more benefits come along.
But what does the working, striving, and constantly training VO actor have to look forward to these days?
If voice actors are always quoting a low price, then why wouldn't voice seekers start stating that their budgets are smaller than they actually are?
Unfortunately, those undercutting don’t realize the destruction they are causing. It may be beer money to them, but for many of us it’s a solid career just like any other.
This is one reason why I treasure my steady clients. We both have a professional understanding of what quality means and the value quality brings to the both of us.
YOU ARE IMPORTANT
For MANY projects, the voice over is just as important as any of the visual elements. And some projects don't even have the visual elements!
Your voice will help companies sell thousands and sometimes millions of dollars worth of their product or service. And they'll be laughing all the way to the bank at the great deal they got from the voice actor.
Come on, people! Why would anyone take our profession seriously when we ourselves are willing to accept table scraps as payment for professional jobs?
ABOUT DAVID ...
David Radtke is a voice actor, on-screen actor, musician, writer, blogger, graphic designer, website developer, father of two and ... WHEW! Isn't that enough? Nope. Give him time and he'll add something else (but he's pretty sure two kids is his limit). Also, he writes a highly informative VO blog, Voice Actor's Notebook.
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