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Business: Always Saying 'Yes' 
Leads To VO OPUP ('Oh Poop') 
By Bobbin Beam
Voice Actor

Put your finger to the wind and you might notice a subtle shift in the weather.
Feel it?
In this economy, there is a whiff of desperation in the air. Put your ear to the ground and you might just hear a new mantra. It sounds like this:

"Yes" ... "Certainly" ... "No problem" ... "Absolutely" ... "Whatever you want." 


When times get tough, the not-so-tough start saying "yes."
This is what one can call the "Yes Man Syndrome," and it has afflicted many economic sectors with a vengeance.
This syndrome is also known by the acronym OPUP (pronounced Oh, Poop), which stands for Over Promising and Under Performing.

Voice over actors infected with "OPUP" or "Yes Man Syndrome" are easily recognizable by the fact that they don’t consider the value they bring to a project, and agree to almost anything the potential client asks - even if it is not in the client's best interest.

The reasons are as many as the individuals involved.
  • Perhaps the voice actor is extremely new to the business, has never run his/her own business before, or work is slow and they’re scared.
  • They are eager to price a job so low, just to join or sustain membership the club that call themselves “professional voice actors”.
  • Or, maybe it’s the client that believes it doesn’t matter, and just wants to get the cheapest rate possible.
Wanting anything of value and getting it cheap, fast and of high quality just doesn’t happen.
In the end, both parties get what they’ve bargained for.
The fast fix mindset can create the “band-aid effect,” an unsatisfactory result with unfortunate longer-term implications.
It's not very fun or fulfilling for anyone involved in the deal.

While we would all LOVE to say "yes" to everything and mean it, I believe that approach is neither practical nor in keeping with the commitment to be an advocate for the best interests of our clients and the business images they project to the world.
I would also be remiss to not mention the respect I have for the interests of the many talented and skilled voice actors who have invested their lives in their craft.

Our approach is one of professional evaluation and clear communication with each client, so that we can better understand their needs.
We support an open and informative dialog so that the client will know what is needed and appropriate for the jo, as well as convey the value that’s being brought to the table.
Self-education of and taking the time to understand what resonates with the client is key.
And you know what? Sometimes you may just need to walk away, and not say “yes.”

A voice over project is built upon:
  • who you are, which comes out in your voice,
  • past experiences, in and out of the booth,
  • your critical skills,
  • a script,
  • training and education,
  • studio gear and a microphone.
And a healthy, professional and fruitful working relationship is built with honesty, trust and integrity.
Time and experience have proven that if I treat my clients right - which may mean occasionally saying "no," they will be ecstatic with not only the stunning results we achieve together, but also with the fabulous experience and journey that we took to reach them.

You just might create a loyal and valuable customer for life.
Bobbin Beam is a very active voice talent, based in the San Diego - Los Angeles area, who specializes in projects for broadcast and business. She also writes a very entertaining and informative blog, Bobbin's Blog.




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Comments (9)
3/8/2011 at 3:35 PM
Any kind of "creative" career goes thru stages. When you're new, you say "Yes" a lot. When you get good, you can be picky. As former president of a writers' club, I used to tell fellow writers, "Never write free, not even your church bulletin; make them pay you $1." As a voiceover guy, when a client asks about a project, I present him with the "FGC-factor"..."Fast, Good, Cheap. Pick any two!"
brian mills
2/16/2011 at 8:03 PM
A very well written article. Thank you for sharing such heartfelt thought. Not a bad template for life. There again, what am I saying, it's all life isn't it. I say, have as much fun as possible and shoot for telling a great story every time and know your words are valuable ? Brian

David Menashe
2/14/2011 at 5:31 PM
Fast, Cheap, and Good. You can have any two from three ... but (as I'm fond of telling producers looking for cheap talent) good talent is not cheap, and cheap talent is seldom good.
Brian Page
2/13/2011 at 8:17 PM
Well said, Bobbin. As I responded in another blog, along time ago I gave myself permission to say "NO" when necessary, and it has served me well.
Paul Strikwerda
2/13/2011 at 1:51 PM
Thanks for that, Bobbin. That's why so many of us are pooped out. There is tremendous power in saying "No," but for some, it's the hardest word in any language. My mantra:

Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to!
Vanessa Hart
2/13/2011 at 1:20 PM
Well said, Bobbin - thank you for sharing this :)
Rick Lance
2/13/2011 at 12:17 PM
YES, YES .... Good article, Bobbin!

Over the past few years I've found myself saying NO more often. Especially concerning my rates. Or more than one revision. Speaking of revisions, I posted my Revisions Policy in couple of LinkedIn groups lately. I have a minimum, non-broadcast rate that I fall back on often, avoiding ridiculously cheap jobs. Sometimes after my NO or my proposed rate I'll secure the job!

As a result of good business practices, 2010 was my best year ever in VO!

Utilizing fair and balanced business practices will always win out.

It worked for me for many years as a Commercial Photographer and it's working now as a Voice Actor.
Dan Lenard/The Home Studio Master
2/13/2011 at 10:53 AM
The cheaper the client, the more demanding they are. Let some other sucker deal with these guys. Never think desperate. To eager to please, you'll eat government cheese.

(ooo, I like that one)
Amy Taylor
2/13/2011 at 9:51 AM

I couldn't agree more. Cheap and high quality just don't go together. This is true with pretty much everything. Sometimes we need to just say no!

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