When The Voice Realm, a site that has promoted itself for having the best professional talent and the best rates, announced it’s new QUICKcast system, a lot of voice actors were immediately turned off. Offering voice overs for as little as $55 is hardly the way to sustain a business or earn a decent living for a professional doing this work full-time.
I decided to reach out to the operators and give them a chance to share their side of the story on QUICKcast. My hope was that some of the questions many talents are asking would be answered. Here is what they had to say.
Marc: The Voice Realm has always touted itself as a site strictly for professionals and frequently promotes having the best rates. So how do you respond to talent who question the rates of your new QUICKcast system, which are $55 for a :30 and $85 for a :60? To many it seems to be a total reversal of the rates position you’ve always taken.
Kurt: The Voice Realm came into the marketplace with a goal to stop voice talent from bidding in auction-like job postings. No matter how anyone tries to spin it, with so many voice talent flooding other sites you are going to get them underbidding their peers to get the job. We wanted to offer both voice talent and clients set rates that were affordable and that most voice talent would agree are workable.
From our research and honest conversations and feedback from many clients who visited our site looking for a professional voice talent, we realised that many would baulk at anything over $100, especially for a short recording that was going to have a limited audience.
The QUICKcast feature cuts out the audition process entirely. The talent gets the script, records and sends it back to the client for approval. The audio cannot be used for anything that is going to be broadcast on radio or TV. So in reality this really only leaves clients that are looking for a voice recording for their phone system, a welcome message to their website, or any other application where the client just wants a pro sounding recording.
The feature would never be used by anyone wanting to select the voice for their script, or who wants to direct the session.
So with all of the above in mind, there is no way a client can come along and get a voice for a national TV commercial and choose that voice for $55. QUICKcast is purposely marketed to clients with low budgets, for small non-broadcast projects and limited knowledge of giving a voice over direction.
The client can also request music to be added under the voice for an extra $20. So we are constantly trying to offer add-ons to increase the rate.
The QUICKcast feature is OPT-IN. If a talent does not want to be a part of it they don’t need to. It is also anonymous, no one can come to the site and see who is participating in it.
It’s important to note that in the past three months some of our rates have actually gone up, and others are going up next month.
Marc: Is there anything in place to stop clients from booking local, regional or even national commercials for radio and television using this system, knowing they can get a professional talent for a fraction of the industry standard prices for these projects?
Kurt: Part of the terms and conditions of QUICKcast is that it is not used for radio or TV broadcast jobs. I would find it highly unlikely anyway that any production company or ad agency would use this feature, with only being able to give the voice limited direction.
You mention that booking work this way, “the client will need to hire the same voice again in the future if scripts are updated or revised.” Are talent now locked in at the $55 or $85 rate?
Kurt: The client would need to pay the regular rates, as set out on the VOICE OVER RATES page. During the QUICKcast booking they are shown only the voice talent’s first name and a link to their profile. So they can save them to their ‘favorites’ list.
Marc: What happens if a client decides they don’t like the voice that is cast for their project after the recording has taken place?
Kurt: If a client does not like the voice, they will need to go through the process again and pay a second fee to get a new voice. However, after receiving the first recording they are able to ask for a second recording and give more direction to get the read right.
Marc: Will The Voice Realm take a commission on QUICKcast bookings?
Kurt: The Voice Realm only takes the same commission as with other jobs. Each voice can see their commission rate in their settings. Commission covers our offering of superior customer support to clients 7 days a week, 365 days a year, marketing to bring new clients, and fees associated with accepting credit cards from clients.
(Note from Marc: My commission rate on the site is set at 20%. Therefore, a $55 job only pays about $44. Check your commission rate.)
Marc: Are you concerned that this could lead to more clients taking advantage of the QUICKcast system, knowing they get a professional talent at a reduced rate, leading to less projects posted at regular site rates?
Kurt: No we are not. As explained above the only person that would use QUICKcast is someone that would come to our site looking for a professional voice to record a short script with a limited budget. From our research this sort of person would never pay over $100. They would go to another site and get their recording done for even less than $55.
Marc: How do you reply to a talent that says The Voice Realm has now just become like “all the other casting sites” hurting the industry by giving away work at such deeply discounted rates?
Kurt: We are still so different to other casting websites. All our rates are set, there is no bidding for jobs. We don’t accept anyone who comes along with a credit card, so this means a significantly less number of voice talent listed on the site. We also don’t limit the amount of auditions you can do. If you match the criteria set by a client, you can choose to accept it or decline it.
Marc: Is there anything else that you’d like to clear up regarding the system and how it works?
Kurt: The site is constantly evolving. The industry is changing. Clients can now source their voice actors from a number of outlets. We see things from a completely different perspective than a voice talent. It’s far too easy to say something is a stupid idea. We have spent months and months debating this feature and how it can be done without hurting the professional rates already on the site. We did not just say “oh lets drop our rates for some jobs” That makes no sense to us from a business perspective. As we work for commission it’s in our best interest to also get the higher rates for as many jobs as possible.
We are going to monitor the feature and if it does start taking away from any of the other set rate jobs, then it will be canned.
Almost every single client that has used The Voice Realm that we have spoken to has told us how superior the site is to other site’s they’ve used in the past. From customer service, to ease of use, through to the professionalism of the voice talent.
I’d like to thank Kurt Myers, Business Development Manager, of The Voice Realm for taking some time to answer my questions.