A blog about knowing the right information to rely on when making business decisions to grow your career
Those logos we see
This blog was strangely inspired by a trip to a McDonald’s that involved passing a construction site in the midst of a union battle. We have been blunt about our support for union voice-over work on Realtime Casting, and with a base of operations in New York City, we are happy to be surrounded by all sorts of unions related to several industries. Yet, something struck me today as I passed this protest today, and it is an image I have seen before in NYC:
“Are people aware how truly pointless logos can be, without an understanding of the data and reality that led to the creation of the logo?”
I was maybe inspired to think this by the one man in that picture, who stood alone on a chilly Monday morning, standing up for what he believed in all by himself; the very anti-thesis of what it means to be united. Even then, being “united” is never enough. The united group must be smart enough to pay attention to “data and reality”. In the case of this image, the data is that one man showed and the reality is this plan will not work. The more practical types may look at it as an advertisement for pest control.
Company and brand logos are a funny thing. They have to make sense. They were put in place to build a nice association with a product, as if to say, “Since the product makes me feel good, every time I see that logo it will remind me of something positive.” This also reminded me quickly of the very reasons I put horrible food like McDonald’s in my body. It may be because the logo reminded me of “happy times”, but the data and reality now shows in 2014 how most fast food from such places is “built for sales” and hardly safe for human consumption. The “golden arches” then take on a whole new meaning. Don’t they?
Indeed, there are times that logos are so awful or laughable, and maybe scary, they can chase away any opportunity for anyone to give an idea support or love a product.
The Danger in Loving a Logo Over Data and Reality for Voice Actors
These are strange times for voice actors. Now they must measure things like return of investment, cost of operations, and on top of all that…they must remain a creative artist behind the mic. For one to simply say, “I love that website and want to use it because it looks cool.”, could be a tragic waste of money, time and effort.
The danger in loving a logo over a data and reality becomes the behavior of ignoring if something is truly hurting or helping the greater good. A logo can trick a person into making harmful business decisions and even unhealthy lifestyle habits. Even the cutest logo can be a representation of “fear and evil”, if the data and reality tells a different story. (a scenario constantly used in horror movies)
What every voice actor must do is evaluate themselves from a practical point of view and ask themselves, “What are the key factors influencing my business decisions?”. They need to find out if every business decision is chosen through symbolic guideposts or the data and reality that is their “career”. They must know if they are in control of their own business decisions. A great video to watch is this TED talk by Dan Ariely
Some Data and Reality
In the last 10 years certain communities geared towards helping voice actors create careers have come under attack. It has led many to believe such institutions created with the intention of helping artists, were in fact done so “only for the money”. You can say it is easy to use a logo to explain how “fear of greed” creates change. Yet, if all you do is pay attention to logos, maybe even Facebook memes or emotional social media rhetoric, you will have a different point of view until you pay attention to the “data and reality”. Some data and reality about websites in the form of options:
Option A: Websites created in 2004, which openly stated they would disrupt the Agent/Union traditional market:
- 100,000 – 125,000 = Amount of created website voice talent profiles on casting sites created in 2004 that served as a disruption to the traditional industry.
- 40,000 – 60,000 = Amount of duplicate or blank profiles
- 4000 – 5000 = Amount of voice actors paying to use such websites
- $250 = Average posted budget as buy-out
- 2000 – 2500 = Amount of voice actors working from websites full-time
- 1500 – 2000 = Amount of voice actors who create online content
- 500 – 600 = Amount of union voice actors paying to use such websites
- 14,000 – 15,000 = Amount of non-union work being posted on such sites
- $350 – $400 = Approx. cost of subscription
- 0 = Amount of locations offering audio production and offline connections
Option B: Realtime Casting, a pro-union voiceover casting service
- 160,000 = Reported amount of members in SAG-AFTRA
- 250 = Amount of subscribers to Realtime casting
- 250 = Amount of people working full-time in voiceovers
- 1000 = Amount of profiles (750 unsubscribed)
- 10 = Average amount of SAG-AFTRA members (no duplicates or empty profiles)
- Union Scale = The amount paid on every job posted
- 1 = Amount of paymasters on staff
- 152 = Amount of agent profiles on Realtime Casting
- $200 = Amount of subscription
- 1 = physical location offering audio production and offline connections
The reality of this matter is that these markets are entirely different. Instead stop and ask yourself these questions:
- Would you rather pay $400 for a 50% chance of making a career of $250 buyout jobs on websites filled with massive opportunities with massive amounts of wasted profiles?
- Would you rather pay $200 for the ability to be on a website with 100% subscribed full-time voice actors, no wasted profiles, union work, a paymaster, offline connections, all personally handled jobs, and an online transference of the traditional industry, which is still the most coveted work?
The choice is truly up to the voice actor as to what market they want their career associated with and that is a good thing. However, the more something grows in size, the more it becomes a target because it has to cater to more people leading to the possibility of more and more failed customer experiences.
Therefore, as a voice actor, you must recognize when your market has become to much like a fast food business. You must make sure you are not making the mistake of “going to McDonalds too often because the golden arches remind you of happy times”.
When new markets open that promise more of what people really want, with less competition, it is a good idea to get in on it fast. Pay attention to data and reality, voice actors. Don’t be sold because the logo or website looks cute and fun.
Be smarter than that and recognize your true potential as a voice actor!