Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

May 8, 2010

Round and Round and Round She Goes…

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Negotiating — connieterwilliger @ 7:21 am

The voiceover world is abuzz! Not sure where this ride will stop, but let’s hope a twist on the adage “what goes down, must go up” comes into play.

Less than 10 years ago, a lot of voiceover casting moved to the Internet. The Pay 2 Play sites appeared and suddenly the role of the agent was bypassed and assumed by the talent who entered into a bidding war against other talent – most of it completely blind – with no ability to vet the potential client. Remember the old TV game show “Name That Tune?” That’s what it is like – someone else tells the client that they can do that job for less than you will do the job – much less. Well, at some point we have to be able to say, name that tune and move on.

Is there a bottom to the falling rates? I hope so. And our industry is not the only one being affected by this virtual job market. But because so many people think that what we do is “easy,” we may be affected by this rate slide more than some others. I have not been marketing myself as a writer for many years, but it is my gut feeling that the perceived level of effort for writing seems to be greater than for voiceover work. Am I correct?

Back to how this is affecting the VO biz – many of us received an email to participate in a new P2P website and the VO world started to spin. The contract was so one-sided (favoring the P2P site), the rates (for spot work) so low and the 50% commission (!!!) was unheard of. In my role as a teacher of an introduction to VO class – one class per semester because I work full-time as voice talent – I wanted to understand what, if anything, this site had to offer in order to pass it along to my students, so I signed up.

Technically, the site seems to work pretty well, but the idea of working for HALF of $45 for a radio ro TV spot – with no guarantee of being paid was enough to prompt a phone call to be removed from the site. My vetting was done. About the same time I was poking around – many other voiceover pros were doing the same – including voice actor / attorney Rob Sciglimpaglia Jr. Here is one of a series of articles on the subject on VoiceOverXtra. You might want to sign up to see where this ride ends up.



  1. Connie,
    There are a number of industries that are changing completely and their participants are being affected immensely.

    I have a friend who was a big wig in the travel industry when we first met. He lived like there was no tomorrow. he traveled all over the world, stayed at the best places and enjoyed many perks.

    Sadly, he is now about a half step away from homelessness.

    When one looks at the galaxy of voice-over, we see that it is far more than a single unified industry, but something that presents in many different ways across numerous industries, with varying rules, lingo, needs and requirements.

    Still, I think it would serve us all well to realize that subjectivity rules our business. It is rarely more than a person or person(s) opinion as to who the voice should be and how the decision will be made.

    An industry participant had been enjoying an income of over $200,000 per year for almost 5 years, being hired by a large ad agency to do v.o. for a number of different clients; most often for SAG national commercials.

    The agency person in charge of hiring changed and the new top dog has a different set of priorities as to who should be hired, and as such this voice actor is now broke and with few prospects.

    Nice work while you can get it.

    Who knows how it will shake out? Despite my personal run of good fortune in this business, I do not take anything for granted. There are many forces at work, some good and some not so good.

    I understand the impermanence of things and that inevitably all things do change and/ or end. Keeping yourself firmly planted in the now, with one eye towards the future tends to be my best strategy.

    And remember that the only nice thing about banging your head against the wall is stopping.

    –j.s. gilbert

    Comment by J.S. Gilbert — May 8, 2010 @ 9:43 am

  2. Thanks for the comments J.S. Looking forward to meeting you face-to-face in LA.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — May 8, 2010 @ 10:54 am

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