These are basic challenges facing the voice over industry and the future of better paying work
If you did not know, the voice over work posted on Realtime Casting is always SAG-AFTRA. We have explained in previous blogs why we believe this should be the future of the voice over industry. We are fully aware of unions like ACTRA and of course invite such work as well. However, Realtime Casting faces certain challenges to provide better paying work in the future from SAG-AFTRA. This blog may explain things many know already, but they are not discussed enough.
Challenges for the Future
1. The fact using the word “challenge” scares people away immediately:
Voice actors, by trade, aim to please people. This is what makes them fun to be around when they discuss the voice over industry. But they do not wish to come across as a “challenge” to work with. Unfortunately, association with the word makes one think they are somehow being difficult. This means the voice over talent immediately fears a job will go to the next person, who is not appearing to be a challenge. This challenge spills into our next point.
2. The hatred and fear that every job not won went to someone else who worked for less:
The mind can play tricks on people. There is so much discussion online about poor paying voice over jobs, while Facebook groups often provide a venue for some to unleash hatred towards things they have never even proven to be true. The problem with hatred and fear is that it often works as the servant to prove a point, even if the point is not true. The basic truths of voice over work online is this:
a. In the last 10 years, many websites have provided a crowdsource of non-union work.
b. Because there will ALWAYS be non-union work in abundance, it is easier to market on a website.
c. Websites focus on numbers and market data.
d. As a result, voice talent fear the abundant marketing of non-union data means everyone is working for cheaper rates
e. Union voice over work from SAG-AFTRA still exists and remains the most coveted, best paying work.
f. In an environment where the best paying work appears to be outnumbered, it is easy to fear it is in danger.
g. However…the industry has ALWAYS been this way. The imbalance is that the “most coveted work” is not being marketed well enough.
h. Voice talent are being marketed into the belief that something has gone away.
i. Their belief in such a thing is forcing them to make nervous business decisions that they must follow the crowd, or they won’t get work.
3. The belief that every voice over job online can pay major market rates:
The world is quickly finding out why a “global economy” is not possible. Look at the graph below and ask yourself, “Where do you live and where does your client live?”.
Think about it for a moment: If you live in a country with a high per capita income, is it fair to expect a small business in Peru to pay union rates because you choose to live in NYC or Los Angeles, paying between 1000-4000 USD in monthly rent? You may think they should, but realistically, no one is going to pay a full year’s salary in his/her small country just to hire your voice. These types of jobs exist online and the only way you can avoid them is to not be involved with them.
This same reasoning also has much to do with why voice actors have left major markets or the United States completely. They do so to work from a home studio in their small, low per-capita income town or country, while their clients live and work in major markets. Realistically, 84% of the world’s media is created in North America. If that is where you want to live and work, you had better work with people who live there, if you want to get paid better. You cannot have a reverse expectation of someone to have something you want, just because you think it is fair. Be fair to your career. Work with people who you decided can afford you.
4. The abundance of criticism outweighing the support for positive change:
Do you know why something dysfunctional, that everyone seems to have a complaint about, can last as long as it does? Because beyond all the public criticism there is a support group keeping something dysfunctional “plugged in” and for good reasons. In addition, the community/union/website/group may have been first to stumble onto something great that works for so many it is worth the fight.
SAG-AFTRA was founded on very positive ideals. The work is worth fighting for, yet the amount of criticism online with the advent of casting websites offering changes, makes something positive appear like a weaker idea. Still, this work has not gone away and people want it now more than ever. There is good in everything created on positive ideals, but it takes work to keep things positive. “People” are very smart and know what is right. The “online general public” can turn into a massive outcry of confusion and fear, making those smart “people” look like optimistic hopefuls. Online activity is filled with so much random criticism, it makes positive change for everyone almost impossible, which leads to my last point…
5. Not understanding or getting “how the Internet works”
I am going to say something new and fresh: The Internet is a load of nonsense.
I say this because all of the technology, websites, debates, discussions, etc. has done nothing to change the people in the voice over industry or who gets work. The only change is that we now have placed importance on something that is not important. All the Internet provides is a way to get information and connect with people faster. The people building websites, just like voice actors, need to be paid to do what they do. This makes the “Internet” a place to find work; one place of many.
However, because people are using websites to find solutions, a SAG-AFTRA solution is mandatory, and that is what Realtime Casting aims to be.
In the past 10 years I have come across people, who still work with SAG-AFTRA voice over jobs, have a great career, and you could not pay them to get on Facebook. They use websites only to find work that suits them and for the most part, understand nothing about what it means to work online. They do not care. Maybe, if you are convinced the Internet is killing a certain type of great paying voice over job, the problem is simply what you are allowing yourself to believe? The greatest secret out there among web entrepreneurs is that they know websites are not necessary. Life would go on without them.
What voice actors, especially SAG-AFTRA, should learn from this is that web designers are doing a better job of inventing want.
Could you imagine what the voice over industry would be like, if people placed the same importance on hiring union voice actors, that they do on websites? How do you shift this and are things always about money? We do know one thing…
“Vision without action is just a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel A. Barker