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'The Older I Get, The More I Learn ...'
Happy Birthday, Commercial
September 28, 2010
Twelve years ago, voice actor Rick Gordon had a vision of connecting voice actors with clients through an online service he named Commercial Yes, he was a pioneer in the online voice over marketplace, and VoiceOverXtra asked him to comment (below) on what he's learned while guiding that business and voice talents to success.
BTW: Commercial is giving away more than $3,000 in prizes to celebrate its 12th anniversary. Click here for details.  
By Rick Gordon
Voice Talent & Owner
Commercial & e-Learning
Twelve years seems like a long time running, but it really has been a blast.
I have been blown off the chair by some of the extremely talented people I have heard and met. It is embarrassing to rub shoulders with and think you are in the same category as some of the voices out there.
I have total, total, respect for many, many of our members, both past and present.
Now, VoiceOverXtra asks me to reflect on what I've learned over the years, and two lessons especially come to mind ...
The older I get, the more I learn not to pre-judge the quality and experience of the talent.
You just cannot second guess most producers, even though you strongly feel you have the expertise to know a quality VO talent when you hear one.
As the old saying goes, “You might be the flavour of the month, and then again, maybe you are not.”
This does not mean that you don’t have the talent, not at all. It simply means your voice quality or tone is not right for the project - and all producers are somewhat different.
So I don’t advise client/producers on whom they should choose, no matter how desperate they are.
I send the auditions and wait for their choices. Most times their choices are obvious.
I believe that if you have gone to the pleasure of submitting an audition, I should submit it to the client and keep my opinions personal.

Another thing - about money.

A few years back, I sent six auditions to a client, and one of them did not give me a price.
The project was for an introduction, played once, over a PA system for a large company welcoming the public to a show in Germany.
Most auditioning talents quoted $200 - after all, the script was in plain English and was 55 words, not a big deal, maybe 20 seconds.
Each audition was masterful, experienced, real professional. Personally, I would have a very difficult time to choose.
Of course, you guessed it, they chose the talent who did not give a price.
When I asked the chosen talent what he would charge, he said $850.
I thought this was outrageous! Wow, what gonads! Hahahhahah.
So I told the client the fee. Response: “That is fine, send your invoice.”
I give up! I have listened to this finished project dozens of times to try and figure out what he had, that others did not.
The one and only thing I could detect was that the voice talent was smiling when he recorded the script. Smiling!
How many times have my old PD’s told me that? You too, eh?
Rick Gordon is a veteran voice talent based in Canada, and is also the founder and owner of two major online voice-over marketplaces: Commercial and e-Learning Commercial was created 12 years ago as the web site where voice talents are "hit and heard." e-Learning was introduced in 2008 specifically for e-Learning voice-over projects.
Commercial (Anniversary Prizes):
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Comments (3)
9/29/2010 at 1:50 PM
Internet changed the entire nature of voice-over business. Most current talent couldn't fathom running their butt all over a city to audition for casting directors at (often) inflexible casting time slots ... and performing auditions with line reads & direction from seasoned casting directors or copy writers.

Anyhow, regarding the talent's $850 fee - please bear in mind that most producers begin an assignment with a given $$ to complete their project. This $$ includes payment to all of the various components that create the final piece. If $850 is in the budget, nobody cares whether it's spent. If it isn't in the budget, that's what they call a negotiation!

Of course, many producers don't release the information about the available $$ for a job - and if you don't ask for it, they don't necessarily offer it.
dc goode
9/29/2010 at 11:00 AM
Great posting! AND great to hear from you!
As for the $850.00 dollar talent ...."Perceived value" is perhaps a factor? '-)
Congrats on 12 years!
Paul J> Warwick
9/29/2010 at 8:28 AM
When you're smilin', When you're smilin', Your Voiceover is smilin' too! There's a song in there somewhere!!
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