Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

October 15, 2009

Casting Reality in the 00’s

P2P is here to stay. Well, it’s here now and is such a “new” reality that no one really knows where it will evolve. But as with anything new, there are lots of growing pains – for everyone involved.

I’ve linked to the Double Dutch Blog before (Paul Strikwerda) because he pretty much always has something interesting to say and the past few days he has been blogging about P2P sites – low balling rates, etc.

One question that he has been asked prompts me to respond here. Here is the question – “How about the unions? Isn’t it their job to deal with remuneration? If you’re so unhappy with the current rates or the lowballing bidders, why not join AFTRA?”

Simple answer? Yes, the unions have established scale rates if you are so lucky as to get a job under a union contract. However, AFTRA has never been able to get you work. That is up to you.

If you join AFTRA and there are no signatories to work for you earn NOTHING. AFTRA will suggest that you wait tables to make ends meet. Even if there are signatories and union castings, we are performers – in a very subjective business. We are not carpenters who can stand in line at the union hall and get the next job.  

Times are tough – I had a retail client a few months back ask me to roll back my prices a bit. This is a long time regular monthly client, so I agreed to a temporary roll back. I’ve lost a few jobs recently because my prices were too high. Am I tempted to cut my rates? Yes. Will I? That depends on the job. If I do, does that mean that the cut is then permanent? Hard to know the answer to that isn’t it and probably the primary reason that I usually say no to a lower rate.

Everyone is sensative to the economy right now. Even some agents are apologizing for lower than normal rates when asking for auditions. While I don’t know this for a fact (and if someone does, please chime in one way or the other), I would imagine that most of the “almost” stars – the over-scale actors – are finding that the rates they are being offered is not quite as good as it once was.

June 26, 2009

Former Student Facing the “Union” Question

Filed under: Unions — Tags: , — connieterwilliger @ 6:05 pm

One of my former students stopped by today to record a couple of auditions. His setup was on the fritz, so I let him use my wireless laptop studio in my ISDN space. I couldn’t let him use my main studio because those darn roofers are still across the alley pounding away (yeah – they’ll be finished by noon – yesterday! Ha!).

Anyway, this kid is very talented and is the voice of a new video game that is using AFTRA talent and now he is a “must join” and has to fork over the $1,400 initiation fee. Because this is a video game, he is not being afforded the opportunity to pay in increments. I don’t have all the facts, but with unions losing ground day-by-day, you would THINK they would be open to this option.

Because he does on-camera, comedy, stage and voice work, and is planning to move to Los Angeles, he thinks that joining AFTRA (and ultimately then SAG) is the right thing to do. I don’t disagree with this. As long as he is in a town with signatories and can land auditions and compete with the rest of the talent, then he should go for it. Being young and single has its advantages.

What I grow increasingly dissatisfied about with the unions is the lack of understanding of the evolving nature of our business. As more and more of our work is performed in our own studios, with our own tools, on our own time, without anyone telling us how to do our jobs, we move away from the traditional employee model that the unions were based on.

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