Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

February 2, 2012

The P2P Balancing Act – Do they pay off?

Filed under: Auditioning, Business, Marketing — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 2:50 pm

Some questions were raised recently on one of the social networking sites in my chain about the Pay to Play sites and if they are worth it. I think Online Voiceover Casting Sites are still evolving and will be part of our permanent way of doing things, so figuring out how to make them work is probably a good idea.

Do these sites really produce money for the talent? Well, your mileage may vary, but yes, there is money in them thar electrons. I get work.

I pay for a few of them at this point. Voice123 and eLearning Voices would be the ones that seem to work best for me. Voice 123 is the broad brush and eLearning Voices is the precision instrument.

I have more than several repeat clients now from P2P sites. But, I will say that I am very very picky about what I will audition for. It is not like getting an audition from your agent who expects you to submit.

When you do land a gig from a P2P site, it is just like anything else. If you do a good job, are friendly and funny when doing the job, people will remember you the next time. And despite the admonitions plastered all over Voice123 about not contacting the producer directly, if you have actually worked for the client before, don’t be afraid to ask questions directly about a new job you see posted. In fact, I just finished a job for the new Mob Museum that opens up on Valentine’s Day in Vegas because I was cast through Voice123 on another project for the same company. I saw the lead come up and called my original client to ask about it and he referred me to the other producer.

So, is the “chase” and time spent worth the bucks you pay to be on the sites?

That depends. If you only audition for things that are truly right for you, you have a better chance of ending up on the winning side of the time equation. The better your “ranking” the more direct leads you get which cuts down on the chase time. And seriously, think about the annual fee you are paying to see these leads. If you are only auditioning for jobs that are greater than the fee, then one job would do it!

I am auditioning for fewer and fewer jobs through Voice123 as I get pickier and pickier about what I will audition for.

One time saver for me is that I do not receive email notices of leads. I go to the site when I have time. This way, I may miss an interesting audition or two, but I don’t get interrupted all day by “opportunities” that require me to stop what I am doing and jump over to the website to study the lead.

In order to maximize my P2P ROI, I delete anything under $400. I delete anything from companies that have a bad track record of opening auditions. I delete anything with really badly written scripts. Life is too short to read bad scripts voluntarily!

I don’t spend a lot of time figuring out where every job I do during the course of a month comes from, but my gut is that a pretty small percentage comes from the P2P sites. But the jobs I do get certainly cover the hard costs. When it comes to Voice123, I am always wondering what is going to happen next with the system and want to be able to find out – so that is actually a significant reason why I keep paying the annual fee!

No matter what you do with the online casting sites, spend time building your personal network. People like to work with people they like. Reminds me of the line in an old MASH episode where Frank says, “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”

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9 Comments »

  1. In the real world, when casting directors ruled the land, they kept details about what they thought the various actors strong suits were, and they looked at each individual project to determine who they would call in. Talent agents work similarly. Now, it’s very possible that they may have the actor pigeonholed, or perhaps not know all of their virtues, but by and large, the process is matching the talent to the projects.

    Interestingly, when it comes to the online casting sites, (also unaffectionately called P2P), that process doesn’t happen. Men take a shot at female rolls, women at men and the casting that says “no announcers please” gets a bunch of announcers who are all out to prove the person posting the casting they are wrong.

    I find it amazing how so many peope assume that these sites aren’t any good, simply based on their inability to book. Apparently others, who have good success at renting their talents out at bargain basement rates of $25 – $50 have no problem statingtheir successes with the sites. While the more entitled amongst our ranks seem to think they could andshouldhave a crack at everything and of course, there are the poor misguided souls who have been told to go for everything, because at the very least, it’s good practice.

    I think you’ve got a pretty good handle on things here Connie. Too bad that so many of the members of these sites don’t show the good sense and restraint you do.

    Comment by J.S. Gilbert — February 2, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  2. Had something interesting happen in the past few days. Saw a lead on a P2P site from a company that I have worked for in the past. The budget seemed low, so I emailed my contact to see if that was the top. Got a message back that she wasn’t my contact anymore and had forwarded my note to the new person. That person emailed me back saying that the budget was topped out. A few minutes later I get the same lead from two of my agents with the same fee (although one had a + sign next to the dollar figure (presumably, plus agent fee) and then a few minutes after that I get another email from one of those agents saying that the fee had just been negotiated up by more than 50%.

    It was an in-person or ISDN project. Perhaps enough people questioned the rate?

    Comment by connieterwilliger — February 2, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  3. I’m glad to see that others are refining their criteria regarding whether or not to audition and how much time they’re willing to put in auditioning for the P2P sites. I too have gotten pickier and pickier. I’ve lost patience with poorly written scripts, demanding voice seekers who just ask too much for an audition, ridiculously low budgets for what they’re asking, national TV spots disguised as “business” projects and many other irritating reasons NOT to audition. I think most of us who are working pros have taken this direction. I haven’t moved away from the 3 main P2P sites I use… at least not yet…but I’ve “refined” my auditioning criteria. If we all would do this, the managements of these sites would also be inclined to “refine” their posting criteria!

    Thanks, Connie!

    Comment by Rick Lance — February 4, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  4. Just yesterday I found time (for the first time this week) to look at leads on V123 – I was pleasantly surprised to see so many leads at $400+. By the time I had vetted them, I ended up submitting 3 auditions.

    One got deleted because it was another low dollar infomercial. One was deleted because they were looking for an Afro-American voice. Another was deleted because the copy was just silly. A couple more because they just were not “me.” Another was deleted because the lead simply looked like a scam. The copy was so specific and self-contained that it could definitely have been used. And the budget was simply too high for what they were asking. Just make my radar beep.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — February 4, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  5. How does one determine ROI on a P2P? Some Pay-to-Plays will tell you: “One job could easily pay for your annual membership!” But how many auditions does one have to do before finally landing that coveted job? How much time did that take? Most people don’t do the math because it can be depressing.

    I’ve been working with Pay-to-Plays for a number of years now and they’re part of my pipeline. If it were up to me, I’d rather see a Play-to-Pay model, whereby the money a talent makes as he or she is booking a job, will be applied toward the annual membership fee until it is paid off in full. In other words: no cure, no pay for the Pay-to-Play.

    Comment by Paul Strikwerda — February 4, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  6. Interesting idea Paul. With the escrow system in place at Voices.com, they could easily do that. Although they don’t require you to use the escrow system. And V123 may be instituting an escrow system too, I read somewhere.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — February 4, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  7. Connie, in your opening comment, you mentioned, “……are friendly and funny when doing the job.” My question pertains to “funny.” I wanted to find out if that comment is part of the “slating” when submitting an audition? For example, this is something I keep wondering about………….what do VO talents do when they slate an audition? Do they simply say their name, do they say their name AND say something like, “I’m happy to submit my audition for your project,” or do they perhaps inject a bit of humor into their slating? Is this what you’re referring to when you mentioned the word, “funny” by chance? I used to be more wordy in my slating, then changed it to just simply saying my name. I haven’t noticed any difference in the results, so I’m very curious to learn what others do when they slate their audition.

    Comment by Kurt Feldner — February 15, 2012 @ 4:50 am

  8. Kurt, the “be funny” part refers to the actual session. Don’t add much of anything to your slate except for your name and whatever else the instructions say. Sometimes the instructions say no slate. The only extra stuff I’ll add to a slate other than my name is the agency I am submitting through. Then the only thing I might add is “2 reads” or something like that.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — February 15, 2012 @ 7:15 am

  9. Thanks, Connie. Ah, okay, that makes sense regarding where the “funny” part comes in. : ) Good to hear I’m on the right track regarding keeping it simple and sweet in the slating. : )

    Comment by Kurt Feldner — February 15, 2012 @ 7:24 am


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