To Pay 2 Play or Not To Pay 2 Play
I wanted to make a comment in regards to an article I recently read:http://www.voiceoverherald.com/why-you-should-be-listed-on…/ I see the need and convenience of being a member of a Pay 2 Play site – I myself am on Voice123 and based on this article, I think I will switch to Voice Realm when my year is up – but the reasons they provided are a bit faulty…
Now, their main reason why one should have a Pay 2 Play site is actually a slight at the other ways to go about being successful within the business. They state that designing your own website and running your own marketing plan (and SEO Strategy) takes too much time, money and effort. And I have to disagree.
First, the website: you do not need to be, as they put it, a “web developer” to have your own site. There are numerous user-friendly website hosting businesses out there designed specifically for the small businessman in mind. I spent approximately $125 on my website and a total of 6hrs building it. The money was solely for my domain name; the hosting & building itself was free. I also initially designed the website and then updated the look a few months after. And now, instead of telling people to visit www.voice123.com/favole, I can tell them to visit www.carifavole.com. On this site, I can list my actual contact information and go into detail about my services in the way that benefits me. I am in no way confined to the pre-designed look of someone else’s site.
Having your own domain name shows that you are in the game in a professional manner. Remember, both Voice123 and voices.com are open to inexperienced talent i.e. anyone who wants to pay the fee. Not everyone is going to spend the time (& money) on creating their own website & because of that, you are likely to stand out more.
Secondly, you still need to market yourself. Even the most successful people on the Pay 2 Play sites have to go after auditions. Through Voice123,I found an Advertising Agency that signed me as their talent. I now get a commercial to record about once every three weeks from them, no audition necessary. THESE are the types of jobs you get through marketing. Yes, it is a numbers game – for every 100 you submit to, 99 will say ‘No’. But how are those odds any worse than the P2P sites where you can be “underbid” and only get a “limited amount of auditions”. Freelancer.com is ridiculous b/c people will offer to do a $500 job for $40. And don’t get me started on Fiverr.
Third (& this connects with Marketing) is SEO: Search Engine Optimization… you mean Google? Is it really that difficult to google “Production company” and send a pre-written cover letter along with your demo to all the links that pop up? Time consuming, definitely. So is sending custom auditions but the difference is, this is a simple “Copy & Paste” process that can be done mindlessly on the couch watching TV.
The thing that Voice Talents often ignore is that we are not just artists, we are now a business; we are salesman and our product is our voice. Freelance work is 90% marketing and 10% actually doing the job. People forget what’s not constantly in their face (out of sight, out of mind). Having a presence on Social Media and reaching out to casting directors – THAT leaves an impression. In fact, that’s what the majority of talent does – can you think of any names of voice over artists? I bet if you can, you either (1) read a book/blog/article that they wrote about the business or (2) saw their presence on social media, such as Twitter/Facebook or if you follow voice actors, saw them at an anime convention. Even movie stars market their work – that’s why they book interviews on Late night Talk Shows, in case you were wondering.
Those who are successful with ONLY working through P2P sites are the exception to the rule. In fact, in all of the articles and books that I’ve read that were written by successful talent themselves, it is recommended that you book several agencies, market yourself AND be on at least one of these sites. Because nothing is guaranteed and you need to be willing to fight for it.
Most of my work comes from returning clients. THAT is where success lies. Where you find these clients doesn’t matter and THAT is why one needs a P2P site; it’s a numbers game and you need to weed through the quantity to find the quality. And that’s the reason I am still with a P2P site and will continue to do so.
Because if you read this article: http://marcscottvoiceover.com/why-i-didnt-renew-a-single-pay-to-play-membership/ it very clearly discusses, with actual facts, why P2P sites are NOT beneficial.
However, I will walk down every avenue; leave no stone unturned.