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Would You Take This $1,500 Voice
Over Job? Or Hold Out For More $$$?
September 14, 2016

By Dave Courvoisier

Voice Actor & TV News Anchor

Interested in making $1,500? Sure!

But what if you knew for a fact that the $1,500 voice over job being posted was for:
  • a major national advertiser
  • all media use for 1 year
  • and included multiple versions
In other words, what if you knew that recording the spot was actually worth much more than the rate quoted when you consider the following?
  • the pay comparable advertisers are offering for same
  • any number of published baseline rate sheets
  • SAG-AFTRA minimums
  • your own self-worth
  • your cost of being a pro

Nobody wants to get "taken." So in light of all those factors, would you still be willing to do the VO job for $1,500?

I'll agree. It's tempting. $1,500 for a half-hour's work in the studio looks pretty good. 

But considering that any respectable rate sheet has this priced at $25,000 or more (depending on how you figure it) ... why not hold out for the best compensation?

Why? Because ...
  • While you're dithering with the agent or the client ... they've gone and found someone to do it for $1,500.
  • Someone doesn't care about VO as a career, and is taking the low-hanging fruit.
  • Someone desperately needs to pay the bills. 
  • Someone doesn't see that they're ruining compensation expectations for  themselves and all the rest of us; doing harm to the VO business.
  • The union apparently doesn't really take notice of the plight of voice-actors (beyond LA, maybe). 
  • Industry rates have been disrupted by digital and Internet forces, and clients are taking advantage of the confusion.
  • It's a global economy more than ever, and capitalism rules.
  • Unscrupulous "coaches" are telling their students they should accept anything just to "get a start".
I could go on.

$25 PER HOUR ...

Wanna know where this all ends?

In my mailbox on Monday from a Google alert for the keyword "VoiceOver":
Need voice over work asap. If you can come in today that is great. Pay is $25/hr, estimating 3 hours. Please send any samples and availability.
Wow! How 'bout that! $75 for three hours!

I don't know about you, but my time is worth more than that.


Good, honorable clients/producers/advertisers/voice-seekers ARE OUT THERE, who understand what they're paying for. 

They're paying for a partner:
  • An ethical businessperson.
  • A proven, reliable performer. 
  • Someone who respects their craft, and the culture it comes from.
  • A professional who truly understands their worth.
  • Someone with enough chutzpah and self-respect to say "no" when they see an insulting rate, and exploitative business practices, pitting voice actors against each other in a bidding war.
Ours is a dynamic and creative profession, but until we all begin taking ourselves more seriously, no one else will. 

$1500 is a lot of money if you don't mind that the next job will be $1,000, then $600, then $225, then $100.

Decide carefully. You don't work in a vacuum.
Dave Courvoisier is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, writer, producer, voice actor, and the main weeknight news anchor on KLAS-TV, Channel 8, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate. He also writes Voice-Acting in Vegas, a daily blog of voice over adventures, observations and technology, and is author and publisher of the book, More Than Just A Voice: The Real Secret To VoiceOver Success.

More Than Just A Voice:

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Comments (2)
j. valentino
9/14/2016 at 2:52 PM
Excellent points made in this article. Unfortunately, to use what's become a cliche now: Everybody with a bluetooth mic and a cheap laptop with free editing software now thinks he's/she's a voiceover artist. Many of these people who have joined the pay for play sites have taught seekers of voiceovers that it's like eBay or craigslist. They ask for 50 people to audition for a 500,000 word audiobook for $500, and when they get 50 auditions, are probably laughing hysterically. One of the pay for play sites now allows people to advertise their Fiverr services on the forum! Imagine that. Companies like ACX or audible don't care about vo talent either. As they've learned that most of the authors now can get talent for FREE (actually offering royalties, but if you ain't narrating Stephen King's new book, good luck with that!)
Ron Whittemore
9/14/2016 at 12:56 PM
Always good Dave...thanks!
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