Greetings from a very frigid February morning in Montreal. Right now my Mic is off for a few days as I recover from a cold that my 4 year old couldn't resist giving Daddy (I would've of preferred a drawing or a popsicle stick craft from his school, but there you have it!).
So these few days off have given me the time to think over an issue that has raised the ire and concerns of many VO's from parts far and near.
Understandably it's been the favourite service to hate amongst many professionals including VO's. They drive down the value of the services they offer and only serve to discredit real professionals and again, its not only VO's, there is a large selection of services that people on Fiverr are paying their clients to do....wait, what was that? People on Fiverr are PAYING THEIR CLIENTS FOR WORK?
Mathematically, that's pretty much what it adds up to and those who are on Fiverr (unless they gave themselves lobotomies with a cordless drill), will soon realize that its financially unsustainable even if they do VO as part time thing.
Lets do some quick calculations to see how your 5$ payday divvies up in the greater scheme of things. by using a time line on a project I did recently.
My clients needed about a minutes worth of VO for a corporate video. Since I am a producer and engineer by trade they were able to send the protools sessions complete with the segment of video so I could sync up my script which was time sensitive to the elements on the film, edit, EQ and master.
There was several back and forth emails and conversations about how they wanted the read to sound, plus some required video editing on their end so that my VO would fit better and not have me sounding like Alvin from the Chipmunks.
All of this collaboration and tweaking here and there came out to about 4 hours in total. At the end the product was flawless, My client was happy, and their client was happy.
I invoiced an amount that was on par with industry standards which was fair to everyone. I'm not at a stage in my career where I can consider myself top shelf talent like Joe Cipriano or Marc Graue (people who I highly admire and respect), but I value the quality of my work enough to charge a rate that is fair.
Now lets consider the math first...
If I was to do that job for only 5 bucks per hour it would mean I'd be making 1.25/hr or 0.02$ a minute.... but wait it gets worse.
Now lets consider the amount of hours spent marketing myself, building my website, building my studio, auditioning, developing a marketing and sales strategy and actually carrying it out, that 1.25/hr gets driven down into the negative integers and my time would be better spent fishing around for loose change in my sofa.
We needn't concern ourselves with the bottom feeders of Fiverr and here's why....they won't be around for very long before they realise its a complete waste of time, and as a result clients will soon pick up on that because they will have dropped off the map and figure their level of reliability is such that they can't depend on using their voices for long term projects.
Market yourself every day, make informed cold calls, send informed emails, audition, stay on the minds of your prospects, and for Pete's sake charge what you're worth!! (something people on Fiverr should ponder for a moment). As long as we band together as the professionals that we are, those on Fiverr will either have to follow suit or die on the vine.
Stay Warm and Happy Valentines day!