“Everybody’s got a price.”
– “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase
Here’s Part II of my interview with a group of Fiverr VO actors. I originally was going to edit these responses down, but asking a group of Fiverr talent about Fiverr’s main criticism proved (predictably) to be very interesting. I bolded a few interesting bits here & there, but these are their answers in full. In Part III, I’ll wrap the whole piece up, sharing my thoughts on the whole thing.
What do you say to those who think that Fiverr devalues the voiceover industry?
- Rever B. Domina: I say times are changing… and you have to change with them as well. Don’t make excuses and stop being lazy. It’s not just the voiceover industry… it’s everything that’s changing. I also say, “get off your high horse, voice over people”… like radio people are the lowest form of life on the entertainment industry food chain. Just be glad you aren’t digging ditches or shoveling manure for a living…. I’ve done both.” 🙂
- “Lerobindesvoix”: The market is flooded. Anyone can set up a ‘recording studio’ in a closet and produce voice overs with little to no training which is what I did actually. I’m a teacher by trade but got into this business because my husband is a professional voice over artist. I ended up working much more than he ever did and was able to take off a year from teaching to focus on voice over work. Fiverr doesn’t devalue the voice over industry. Technology and accessibility do. I’ve had clients ask me to record something on an iPhone really quickly and that’s good enough for them. We have a studio worth thousands of dollars but some people don’t really care. They just need a fast, cheap, relatively professional voice over. They can get that anywhere really. A lot of people have purchased mics and do voice overs for their own company without having to hire someone else do it for them. It’s hard to make a lot of money in this field because the market is flooded. When I started voice overs on Fiverr there were about 200 other voice over artists in my specific field: American English Voice Overs/Spanish. Now there are over 500 and every day there are more joining the fray. It’s basic economics really. Tons of people offering the same service, equals cheaper pricing for the same amount of work. It’s happening on every platform and is worse on other sites. At least on Fiverr there are very few professionally trained voice over artists. The vast majority of voice over artists on Fiverr are amateurs that work on Fiverr part time to help pay for school, etc. Most professionals are on sites that you need to pay to be on and are exclusive to voice over artists. Others are on freelancing sites and compete with thousands of other artists for the same gig. Fiverr doesn’t devalue the voice over industry all by itself.
- Mark Christiansen: Well this one is all over the place, as there are those who have huge egos, and believe that they should only work for X amount and only help X companies. I have taken some slack for it, but in response to that, I have a client base of over 15,000 clients on and off Fiverr, just alone on Fiverr I do a 6 figure yearly income. I am busy daily with my off Fiverr and on Fiverr projects, so I have steady work. If you ask a lot of the people who put their nose up at places like Fiverr and others, if they are busy every day, or if they are sitting in front of their computers playing the hoping game, cold calling businesses, etc… ask then how much they made last year. A friend of mine, a very prominent voice actor and voice coach in LA told me once, that there are 100% of voice actors, voice overs, voice talents, call them what you want- and yes there are differences- 100% of them say they are one of those, but in reality, only 1 to 2% make a good enough living off of it to sustain their life style.
In all my businesses, I have always believed in giving back, in whatever way I can.
Warren Buffet, the successful billionaire once said, “Figure out what you’re good at and play that game. You don’t have to be good at everything. I get to do what I love doing every day, and I get to have everything I want.”
Making myself available on Fiverr and other forums is my way of giving back, to help the small and mid sized companies, and those who don’t have the huge budgets. I do what I am good at, I get to do what I love for everyone who needs my services, and I get to have everything I want. Think of it this way also, if there are a billion businesses out there in the world, then there are a billion projects that need a voice. Why not make yourself available?
- Jeff Martin: I know that a lot of VO people think that this devalues the VO industry. Truth is most not all but most of the clients I get on Fiverr could never afford nor would pay the normal rates some VO’s charge, especially the college student who needs a VO for a project or a new entrepreneur who is launching a new business. I don’t feel this clients would ever be able to go the regular route because of the cost factor.
- Linnea Sage: I’ve never heard that…so I don’t know what I would say.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
- Rever B. Domina: When it comes to Fiverr, I have few complaints… and a heck of a lot of praise for the platform and all of the Fiverr folks I’ve interacted with. Fiverr isn’t making me rich, but it does allow me to work from home, set my own hours, and make a better living than 80 percent of the people who live in my rural area.
In less than a year, I went from zero overseas business to now making $4,000-$5,000 monthly from those clients whom I would have never been able to connect with outside of Fiverr.
- “Lerobindesvoix”: Voice over acting is a great career but it’s a better second career choice or hobby. It’s as competitive as acting or pro sports. You have to be in the right place, at the right time, with a lot of talent to really make it big in this business anymore. The days of Don LaFontaine are long gone- now you can find YouTube stars that sound exactly like him. I make decent money but I also don’t have a life. As a freelance voice over I have to be available 24/7 including holidays and weekends if I want to make enough to pay the bills. Last month I worked non stop for 4-8 hours a day every single day with no breaks and I made almost as much as I made teaching in a rural area. My eyesight is worse from sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time, my throat is constantly sore from vocal chord issues, and I’ve gained weight from inactivity. Plus if you are prone to allergies like I am, you lose a lot of work while you battle sinusitis or a cold or anything that changes your voice in any way. If you don’t record, you don’t make money.
I’m actually leaving voice over work soon to go back to teaching full time. I have no life as a voice over artist and I’m constantly rushing home to deal with emergency voice overs, or fixing orders that were rejected, or honoring the extra fast delivery time frame. At least with teaching my job was over at 3 p.m. and I had weekends, holidays, and summer free. Also, I could always expect a pay check and I knew how much it would be every month.
- Jeff Martin: I think Fiverr is a great vehicle for doing a wide array of projects, I do everything from animation, to video games, to corporate narrations and voice messages. It keeps you diverse and for new VO artists it can be paid practice.
- Linnea Sage: Check out the blog posts Fiverr has done on me- they go far more into detail.