In the last blog here I touched on the importance of research, the time it takes to treat voice over as a business and how to build your niche. But where do you actually go to get work?
Well, good news is there are literally billions of opportunities out there! OK, well maybe not billions, but there is a lot more work out there than you’d first think. Given that any old schlub with a mic can start to claim they’re a voice over artist and start submitting auditions (I include myself here, though I’ve graduated from “schlub” level to at least “seasoned bum”) you’d think the competition would be too fierce to be heard right?
Well, this is partially true, there is a lot of competition out there, but if you spread your net as wide as possible you’ve got a good chance at landing some work. Here’s just a few places I’ve found work and a few places I’ve avoided:
1) Freelance websites
These are the sites where you can slap up a quick profile, bosh some demos in and you’re off, you’ve dived straight into the pool against 1000s of other voice over artists where you can directly audition for jobs or clients can find you, these ones below are also free to sign up with but most will take a cut of any earnings. Some of these include:
Upwork – Good all round site, I’ve gotten a few long term clients from this one
Fiverr – Kind of the black sheep of freelance sites for voice over artists, I’ll explain below…
People Per Hour – Not one I use personally but they do list VO jobs
Voquent – Specifically for voice over and free to join
Voice Bunny – Another VO specific site, not a member myself but I’ve known others who’ve had success here
Casting call club – Character and animation voice over specialists, there’s a lot of fan projects here if you’re looking to build experience but not a site I use much
There’s a whole host of other sites out there but the two I’ve used most are Upwork and Fiverr so a little bit more on them below:
Upwork – I really like Upwork, there’s a lot of freedom here as you can set your own rates right off the bat, the interface is easy to use and its simple to communicate with clients. I’ve had a varied pile of work from here, and recently even one of my biggest paying clients.
The only downsides are really there’s not a massive amount of VO work on here, you won’t be using this for full time income any time soon (although there are a few top rated people on here whose income can run into the £1000s)
Upwork also takes 20% of any gig you land which is a kicker, but you do have added security of knowing you’ll definitely be paid for any work. Perfect place for people starting out in my opinion,n and the key to landing work is all in the quality of the proposal you write, I followed the fine advice of Danny Marguiles here on writing good proposals and saw my jobs increase.
Fiverr – Ooh boy, I may end up on a voice over watch list somewhere for using this one as it can be a little controversial, having the reputation of being a site that massively undercuts professional voice over artists.
This is because there’s an impression that everyone on Fiverr is selling every job for just $5 (This was kind of Fiverr’s original schtick) But this just isn’t the case, you can actually charge whatever rate you want on Fiverr, it’s just that each gig has add-ons. For example, you could decide to charge $40 for 50 words plus an extra $10 per 50 words after that before adding royalty free music for another $20,
It’s entirely up to you and there are all sorts of combinations of charges you can add to your gig.
The industry is also changing, not every client is a production company or big budget client, there are literally thousands of smaller clients out there now who need voice over. A perfect example of a client I found on Fiverr was for a health and safety video I was asked to do for a cathedral tour. Now, they didn’t have mega bucks and we’re putting together a really basic video.
Others can be local schools or small businesses as well as start-ups that you might get more future work from. So, while I do recommend sticking to the standard rates as much as possible, I always remember the world isn’t always black and white and a little bit of leeway can be applied to different situations.
Word or warning though, NEVER record a full script for a client if they ask for a sample, one or two sentences is OK as an example, but never go for the full script, despite making money on Fiverr you’ve got to watch for the cheapos out there.
2) Pay to play sites
These are basically the sites where you pay a fee to get yourself registered for the year. I’d recommend taking a little care when signing up to the pay to plays, I get the impression that once some of them have your money they couldn’t give 2 hoots about you beyond that. I’ve listed some below along with some handy info:
Voices.com – I never signed up with voices when I first started as I couldn’t afford the annual $350. Since then I’ve heard a lot of negative rumblings about voices from other voice over artists I know as well as a plethora of blogs popping up seeming to indicate they’re a bunch of scam artists, creaming off the lion’s share of a job and leaving the voice over artist with a pittance of what the client originally paid.
As I said though, I don’t have much experience with them, there’s a good blog by Todd Schick that goes into a lot more detail here and might help better inform you.
Voices123 – Similar in style to Voices, but without the shoddy reputation. They charge $395 for an annual membership (which I also couldn’t afford!). But, I have had clients ask me to audition through the site in the past.
These were clients I’d found through email marketing but used voices123 as a site to audition talent. The plus side of this is I didn’t need to pay the premium membership, I could audition through client invites.
So, while I have an account, I don’t pay the premium. Which is nice. But, google will bring up plenty of people’s experience with both sites.
For both Voices and Voices123 the biggest down side is they have no vetting process for voice over artists, basically anyone with a mic can sign up, meaning you’re up against more than 100,000 other voice over artists (I think the Voices membership is much higher than this even!). So, I’ve outlined the 2 pay to plays I prefer (and have memberships with) below:
Voice Realm – I’ve recently become a member of the voice realm and so far found them to be great. Solid customer service, regular auditions popping up and most importantly of all they seem to care about the voice over artists! Yay!
They also have an application process you’ll have to pass before being accepted on to the site and they sell themselves much more professionally than many other pay to plays I’ve seen.
Another great thing about the site is that they enforce professional rates, you’re not scrabbling with the competition to undercut them on jobs, I’ve linked to the rates below, these will give you a good idea of general VO professional rates:
Here's a link to apply too if you fancy giving it a go! Bear in mind they can take up to 3 months to get back to you though!
Once in you’ll pay £99 for one year’s membership.
Voices UK – Very similar to the voice realm this one, they have an application process and present as a more professional company, although there is bidding on jobs here.
Overall I recommend doing research on any of the pay to plays, what might work for some doesn’t work for others!
3) Social media
This is by far my weakest area and it’s a key learning area for me in 2019. As I mentioned in my previous blog, this whole voice over game is a massive time sink and I’ve only just started to scratch the surface of this one. All I know is that it’s probably going to become a vital lynch pin of my marketing efforts, hopefully updates to come in future blogs!
4) Local networking
This is a new one for me so I’m really just dipping my feet in the water, but I’ve heard anecdotally that this is one of the best ways to grow your contacts and local businesses can be a real gold mine. Remember, it’s not always necessarily about getting the best audition, just making sure you get in front of people and building relationships is half the battle. So, watch out, North East Chamber of Commerce! I’m coming for you in 2019!