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VoiceJockeys & VO Attorney Negotiate
New Contract On Track To Finish Line
Note: The author stirred a virtual firestorm on May 3 with his VoiceOverXtra article critical of onerous contract terms for voice talent who work with, an online job service. In subsequent articles, VoiceJockeys pledged a willingness to change those terms, and the author offered to negotiate the new contract, pro bono, on behalf of voice actors as a group. Below is an update on the status of that negotiation ...
Read: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
By Robert Sciglimpaglia Jr.
Voice Actor & Attorney
May 27, 2010
I am pleased to update you with the progress of my negotiations with (hereinafter “Company”).
They have accepted all of my suggested changes to the onerous contract, and made it much fairer for the voice-over artist. The new contract has been posted to website.
A summary of the changes includes:
  • TIME. Elimination of the “time is of the essence” requirement, where the voice-over artist no longer has a drop dead time to deliver their work. Now they can deliver their files using their best efforts.
  • SPECS. Add requirement for the Company to notify the talent prior to the job assignment with the technical requirements for the files, i.e., wav, mp3, etc.
  • ANTI-COMPETE. Deletion of any anti-compete clause. The Company is no longer prohibiting Talent from doing work for Company’s clients for 12 months after termination of the contractual relationship between Company and Artist.
  • FREE ADS. Deletion of the requirement for Talent to provide free advertising services to Company by voicing free ads for them.
A couple of provisions I am especially pleased with deal with the pay:
  • Rejection. No longer will the client have the right to reject the Talent’s work because “they don’t like it.” Now, the work can only be rejected if it is unusable, for instance, the quality of the studio is not up to standards.
  • Payment. The Company no longer has the right to withhold payment to the Talent should the Company not receive payment from the client.
  • Lawsuit. If the Talent were to get “stiffed” under the Contract, the Talent would no longer have to travel to New York to sue to recover. The Talent would be allowed to bring an action in a court in their own jurisdiction, AND make a claim for collection of costs as well - or they would have the option to arbitrate.
  • Indemnification. There is no more “indemnification” language in the Contract where the Talent agrees to hold the Company harmless and defend them in Court for something the Talent did.
Also gone are the provisions that the Talent could be “forced” to fulfill the contract by being dragged into Court for “specific performance,” or so the Company could obtain “injunctive relief” against the Talent.
All of these are very positive changes.
As far as the pricing structure and the commission, those are still pending.
Several proposals were exchanged, including:
  • a sliding scale for commissions,
  • charging different rates for Local, Regional and National radio and television spots,
  • different rates for different length narrations, and
  • a proposal where the talent on the site can set their own rates.
I have been informed by representatives of the Company that these payment-related changes require more extensive re-programming of their website to implement, so that they are not prepared to unroll these changes until sometime this summer.
They have represented to me that they are in the process of incorporating these changes and, for the time being, are concentrating on the higher-paying narration work until the fee structure can be revamped.
VoiceJockeys, in my opinion, has acted in good faith so far. So I am willing to take them at their word that the pay will improve in the near future.
For the time being, at least, I can rest assured in knowing the Talent who sign up will not be walking into any legal hornets nests on this site, and that now, they will be able to make an informed choice as to whether they want to work for the stated rates and 50% commission, with no hidden traps.
For me personally, I am not willing to work for so little, as I believe that it undervalues my services. 
But  that is up to individuals to decide.
Robert Sciglimpaglia Jr. is an attorney with the firm of Kerin & Canty, Norwalk, CT. He is also a voice-over artist, on-camera actor, and owner of All in One Voice – a company specializing in voice-over instruction, demos and business services.
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Comments (12)
Mike Coon
7/15/2010 at 2:07 PM
Dear Rob:
Thank you for taking time to negotiate a new agreement with I am not an attorney, and would have never appreciated the pitfalls of the original agreement language!

I have had very positive interactions with the founder over the past two days and find him to be open and honest during our conversations. When asked if a new agreement was available, he produced a copy and even sent me the link to this VoiceOverXtra update of your negotiation ... with all the blogs I follow, I was amazed that I had not already seen your update in the first place!
I have decided to be a "jock" for now and see what comes of it.

Thanks again for your willingness to make it a better situation for all of us!
Sincerely, Mike
Amy Snively
6/27/2010 at 11:33 PM
Outstanding, Rob! Personally, this site is not a good match for me. The rates are just not reasonable and they devalue the time, effort, expertise, talent, and importance of the VO's role in any recorded presentation -- for entertainment or advertising.

But, I'm grateful to you that you've made such huge strides here, ensuring that talents who do work for them don't get into an abusive contract!
Joseph Andrade
6/2/2010 at 6:09 PM
Hi Rob,
I would like to echo the sentiments of others here and applaud you for the outstanding service you have provided the voice over community.

It could have been easy just to look the other way and decide that this website was not for you, however you took them on and as a result, created another option for VO artists to find work. True, it may not be for everyone, but it is an option for all. Thanks again!

Keith Michaels
6/1/2010 at 2:14 PM
I am not a "desperate talent" (frankly I am desperate for downtime), but I have decided to give them a chance. Since it is free to join, I signed up today. I am more interested in seeing how this operation conducts business more so then trying to make a buck here and there. I will give it six months and see what happens. However, I never would have considered it if Robert had not intervened. Thanks for your time and expertise, Robert!
Joe Geoffrey
5/28/2010 at 12:51 PM
Look what I just came across on the web, posted by an influential buyer. The problem is not so much "voicejockeys" as it is those who want to ride such a cheap horse.

Here's the post:

"Voice Talent for the Web - For the past 12+ years we have worked with Digital Waterworx for our audio and Message On-Hold needs …. Dave and his team are simply the best! It doesn’t matter if we need a script created, a jingle, audio for the web or a video … Digital Waterworx delivers!!

"This week I came across a great, inexpensive, resource for voice over talent – …. as you may know we are working on the launch of the official Michael Jackson bobblehead and creating a TV spot with Creative Taco … .Digital Waterworx is doing some work and we also tested out, their pricing is extremely reasonable check them out …. we were very happy with the :15 second voice over we paid $45 for!"


This entry was posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 9:24 pm and is filed under Internet Marketing, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Voice Talent for the Web”

Duane says on May 28th, 2010 at 4:36 am :

"Andrew, I think voice over is realy big and expanding on the net. We also started jumping on this and worked a deal with one of the U.S. famous voices and he is recognized worldwide.

"If you are interested in a top quality voice with recognition for an outrages good offer send me a message.

"The voice which I am talking about is the Mastervoice of all the big Tennis championships like the “U.S Open”. He is the voice you here in the Stadium on TV and Radio. He also does all the “USTA spots” and much more.

"This is about as good as you can get when it comes to voice over with great recognition.

"Like I mentioned If you have a client that wants top notch for a good price, give me a shout. I’ll be happy to help out."
Linda Ristig
5/28/2010 at 10:32 AM
I just ran across this quote today by Tom Brokaw, and I thought of you, Rob. "It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference."

Thanks for dedicating your time and expertise to help make a difference for the VO talents in regards to Voice Jockeys. You've opened dialogue, and begun a process that has already yielded some positive results.

Naturally, the larger discussion of rate variables will be an important deciding factor for VO talents willing to work for this company.

Thanks, Rob and John, for sharing this update.
5/28/2010 at 10:09 AM
First, I am so new to VO you can smell it, however, in reading the first article that you posted exposing the VO talent contract of VoiceJockeys, I was taken aback that such a contract could even exist in today’s VO market, but I guess if you're not in a union it's the wild wild west.

There were so many landmines in the contract it was unbelievable that anyone would sign up with them, or still will. I mean, 50% commissions, free ads, the VO talent could be sued, dragged into court, and the beatings went on. Well, you don't have to be a VO pro to see the red flags.

Although I am a newbie, I strongly believe that accepting work under conditions that lowers the value and standards of any business is not good practice. Also, being a newb, I want to work to have fun, be great, AND be paid a respectable fee commensurate with the time, effort, experience, and talent that I have worked hard to develop. I mean what’s next!

Point being, that all VO talent out there needs to think about how low they will go just to get the work, as it affects everyone in the business by demeaning the craft, AND they are selling themselves short in the process.

Thanks again Robert; your efforts are appreciated even at my newb level.
Paul Strikwerda
5/28/2010 at 8:02 AM
The Dutch term for attorney is “advocaat,” which literally means “advocate”. Thanks for being an advocate for voice-over talent, Rob! Hopefully, you’re not betting on a losing horse…

I’m glad to hear that VoiceJockeys seems to be responsive. Now they should go beyond damage control and reputation management to repair their tarnished image.

There are a few things VoiceJockeys can and should consider:

1. Reach out to the voice-over community and be open and accountable. Don’t leave it up to an attorney to bring us up to date on the latest developments. Posting changes on a website that most people who’ve read the previous articles won’t visit, is not enough.

You messed up. You should own up, and you should live up to your promises and do whatever you can to earn our respect, our trust and our money. Start by stepping on to the stage and take ownership.

Realize that you have a long way to go, and that you really need to give talent compelling reasons as to why they should become one of your jockeys. You’re not the only game in town!

Unlike jockeys, we don’t want to starve ourselves to stay lightweight and win a race. That’s why you have to:

2. Offer first-class jobs at rates above what we tend to find on voice-over casting sites; otherwise you’ll just end up being one of many Pay to Plays, fighting for a share of a saturated and weak market;

3. Implement rigorous quality control that filters out non-professional talent; this would be a service to clients and voice-over pros alike;

4. Prove to us that you truly value talent. Treat people the way you expect to be treated. If your talent does well, you will do well.
Marcus Weems
5/28/2010 at 3:35 AM
Bravo! Thank you for taking the time, for watching our backs and for embracing the odious task of jousting with radio towers. To have the astuteness to not only recognize the problem but to also have the fortitude to offer solutions and the generosity to participate in the reformation process ON YOUR OWN TIME makes you “Aces” in my book. Once they get that fee situation taken care of, I may give them another look.
J. Christopher Dunn
5/28/2010 at 2:00 AM
When I first heard of this site and the requirements that the admins were making, I thought it would never work. Now, thanks to Rob, the site has removed several painful roadblocks that may have prevented it from being a successful business. There are a number of talent sites offering opportunities to anyone who wants to pay. Perhaps a little competition will filter out those which are more in it for themselves and less so for the talent. Time will tell. Thanks, Rob!
rowell gormon
5/28/2010 at 1:01 AM
well done, rob.

a classic (and too rare) example of someone doing more than just sitting back and griping about unfairness, but actually doing something to make a change for the better.

Julie Williams
5/27/2010 at 8:15 PM
I'm glad to see they've been willing to give on so many issues. I can't believe they actually had that contract to begin with. Honestly, for now, I'll pass ... the huge commissions, and extremely low pay will only bring them desperate talent who can't work elsewhere ... but this is a start! Thanks for representing talent, Rob!
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