In the last week or so, many of us in the voiceover industry have heard about the big brouhaha going on over at Voices-dot-com. Founder & CEO David Ciccarelli, in an attempt to bring about some good PR, did two webinars- one with Edge Studio Managing Director Graeme Spicer, and the other with VO renaissance man Bill DeWees.
The attempt at good PR totally backfired, as the pitchforks pointed at Voices have never been sharper than they are now. Voice talent are leaving the platform in what seems like droves, even requesting that their free accounts be removed from the site.
I have been a paying member of Voices for a year now, and this week, I made the decision to discontinue my paid subscription. I had already been planning on doing this before last week’s PR debacle, but it was something said in Mr. Ciccarelli’s interview with Graeme Spicer that confirmed that I was making the right choice:
“We [Voices-dot-com] view them [voice seekers] as being our clients.”
That was the knockout blow worthy of a shaky iPhone video and someone yelling “Worldstar!” in the background.
Earlier this year, I made the decision that, in order for me to advance my VO business, I was gonna have to start procuring my own clients from scratch. This meant going beyond the reach of pay-to-play, but maybe keeping a site like Voices in my back pocket.
After hearing those seven words last week, I now know, from the CEO himself, that Voices no longer fits my business model.
For the curious, here are my final numbers from being a Voices member for 13 months. In that time, I did 630 auditions (some days spending as many as 6-8 hours on the site), and received 4 jobs. While I technically made enough money to make back my subscription fees, the time, energy spent weren’t nearly worth the 0.006% success rate. And let’s remember, those weren’t my clients according to the Voices CEO, but his.
In the month of September alone (just a few months into my revamped business strategy), I worked five VO jobs. Not a huge number by any means, but I’m proud of that five. Those are five relationships that I have now made directly with clients- there’s no middleman. I didn’t have to pay a dime in order to have those opportunities; all I had to do was put in the legwork. And the best part? They’re my clients.
I’m not sharing this in order to point you one way or the other. We’ve all got to make the decision for ourselves, and I’ll never fault anyone for making the choice that’s best for their business. But for me, it came down to one simple question: