The following was slipped over the virtual transom at the offices of The Voiceover Boblog recently. It makes for some interesting reading and addresses something I’ve posted about a number of times before, in a somewhat oblique way, and gives me an opportunity to post about that subject again. I’ll offer my thoughts after you read this missive.
It has been holiday slow and I’ve been able to spend some quality time ‘market researching’ the voice savvy boards over on 123. It’s always helpful for me to see what talent are talking about.
I see our name pop up a lot and see some concerns I wanted to address. Yes, we do post on 123. and I’ll explain here when and why.
Don’t we have enough talent on board to be able to nail every job ? The answer should be emphatically yes. Unfortunately the answer is no, the old school agency roster has become obsolete for us.
While we will always present our top people in-house and always give those as well as Nancy [Wolfson]‘s people our first look and priority, we are well aware that our clients still expect more and then, even more.
Typically the more ‘saavy’ agency clientÃ¨le, want to scour the nation when they cast their vo, as the better and bigger market sounding stuff they can produce, the more likely they can keep their client happy in a competitive virtual marketplace. The regionalism of yesteryear has given way to the virtual globalism today. No spot has to sound like it was created in Farmington, New Mexico ..they can all sound like they were produced in major markets, thanks to the open access to great talent and a wide affordable bandwidth.
People love to gripe and I love it, in fact, I am captain of my own ‘bitch about dem bitches’ squad. Gripe about Big Fish though and I’ll defend us to our open borders, that is my honor and this is my baby.
We have changed with the times, to survive, just as talent have, so we must reach out now to meet our clients needs despite how much more ground we must cover or how much extra labor is involved. We understand that if we cast to the universe for talent, then perhaps some of our clients, at some point, will not feel that they have to. We’ve been successful with that strategy, though we have to put in 3X as many hrs, only so our clients won’t feel the need to list in 100 places.
This is exactly the reason why we post outside our agency in various places at times, only when we know our client will otherwise not feel ‘serviced’, to ultimately bring them around to the idea that we can provide whatever they could possibly need. Next time they may well consider coming to us directly and we can shut down our broadcast systems and do what we do best.
Our intention is not to replace or bury our top talent in a sea of applicants for the same $400 gig, but we know that with 123 and other VoiceBAY subscription outlets in the picture to stay, and talent with representation overlapping X10 in some cases, that unless we keep pace and innovate, we’re among a dying breed.
Our time-honored professional casting and representation and negotiating services now wholesaled to you and voice seekers on searchable Internet database sites. Our ability to get you top dollar, now replaced by your ability to offer services for much less. Exclusivity is gone and in it’s place, the opposite of exclusivity and the bargaining power that goes with it, talent have become a commodity
Who are we competing with now?
With you (the talent) frankly.
But we’re still kicking and quite hard, we have only changed our ways for the seasons.
Happe New Year.
HATE the HATE in ’08.
owner. The Big Fish Voice Company
I’m sure at least one reason this note was slipped over my virtual transom is because there’s been a certain amount of controversy on the various boards about this matter. This note was not sent to me directly by Elynne Dale, though I am posting it here with her explicit and direct permission.
My point of view on this matter is somewhat different from other’s I’ve seen. I don’t see this as a big deal. I understand that some folks are really upset. I understand most of the reasons why they are upset. I just see things from a different point of view.
The world of voiceover has changed from when I started getting serious about it in 1983. And the pace of change is accelerating. Elynne’s point above that now she and her agency are competing with us, the voice talent, is spot on. I’m very impressed with the brilliant marketing efforts that I see by many of my friends and by other voiceover talent I don’t yet know personally. While I’m sure there are folks who still run everything through their agent, I’m equally sure that number is small and falling rapidly.
For good or ill, we who do voiceover work now are often our own agents and managers; doing not only the marketing, but the negotiation of terms, the editing and delivery of the audio, the billing, the collections and everything else. What we’ve gained in greater independence, we’ve lost in being shielded from these details and routine. You know what I’m saying is true, especially if you’ve been around long enough to remember the way things used to be.
I’m not lamenting here for the old days. I’m just trying to underscore what I see as a valid comment.
All of which brings me to the point to which I alluded at the beginning of this post. There is no competition in voiceover. Oh, there are lots and lots of very talented people. But, none are my competition. Because I am the world exclusive source for voiceovers by Bob Souer. The relationships I’m building are with people who are looking for my voice. I hope you’re doing the same with yours. Because you are the world exclusive source for your voice. Now, in any given year, am I going to book more work and collect more money that you? I have no idea. My focus is on super-serving my clients, providing for my family and keeping my promises. I can’t allow myself to wonder how I’m doing compared to you or anyone else.
This is ultimately why I’m not worried about whether I see an audition I’ve received from Big Fish also posted on Voice123.com. It doesn’t matter how wide the net is cast. If the client is looking for my voice, they’re going to pick me whether I’m in a group of 5, 10, 500 or 11,000. On the other side of the coin, I use the same set of criteria for auditions that come to me from my agents as I do for auditions that come from Voices.com or Voice123.com. It has to be right for me. It has to be something I’m interested in doing. It has to be at a budget level high enough to be worth my time. I hope you apply a similar filter, because without it you’re just setting yourself up for a bunch more effort than necessary…much of it unproductive at best.
Thanks for reading. Comments are open if you’d like to respond. And, my best wishes to you and all whom you love for a very happy and successful New Year.