January of this year, I signed up for my first “pay to play” site ever…Voice123. So many students that come through AVS ask us about pay to play sites, so I wanted to test it out so I could help you navigate it. 
1| Set rate standards 
    I didn’t do this at first and quickly became annoyed at the amount of emails. Honestly, there are very few voiceover jobs (according to industry standard rates) that will pay under $150, so you can start there if you’re not sure where to start. Keep in mind that if you DON’T have a professional home studio, booking a studio will come out of your pocket. We charge $125/hour, so set your price range beginning at a rate you’d feel comfortable shelling out money for a studio. 

2| Know your sweet spots
    Don’t submit for anything and everything. Know your sweet spots and range. Only submit for things you know you’re really right for. We go over this during our Beginner Intensive Class one night. 

3| Bookmark GVAA Rate Guide
    On your computer, bookmark https://globalvoiceacademy.com/gvaa-rate-guide-2/.That way, you can quickly check the rate. I don’t submit for A LOT of things due to the rates. It’s hard to say no sometimes, but if you want to truly build a career out of this that “NO” is saying “YES” to a great career. 

4| Create your own V123 schedule (get in under the allotted auditions they ask for) 
   It’s really important to get in under the number of auditions they ask for. For instance, you’ll see number of auditions requested and number of auditions received under the project. If they asked for 30 auditions and they’ve received 41, I wouldn’t submit. You have a better chance of booking it if you’re one of the first 30 or 50 or whatever number they requested. Because of that, I’d figure out what blocks of time you have during your week and set that aside for whatever Voice123 auditions come up. That way you can be the first in the gate. The good news is there are a lot of auditions that are posted on the weekend, so if you have a 9-5, you can devote some of your weekend to voiceover. 

5| Use “Additional Proposal Details” 
   Many times, the project will have a rate budgeted. You may be able to tell if the project is an industrial, for TV, radio, etc but usage isn’t always included. That’s not fair to ask you to submit an “in stone” proposal not based on all the facts. For some projects without all the details, I’d include something like, “Budget agreed to with proper usage.” If they email you to book you, just have them email you the intended usage. That way you can make sure they’re not intending to pay you $300 for a radio commercial that will run for 3 years. 

6| Bring in the Big Guns 
   This leads me to the last tip…you can always bring in an agent. I weigh the scope of the project, the budget of the project and the complexity of the project. I booked a big text to speech job through Voice123 recently. The original budget was large but without a lot of information, it was hard to know if it was the appropriate rate. Plus, text to speech is still a tricky genre to figure out rates for. So I brought an agent in to help me. We tried to negotiate the rate, which didn’t happen, BUT he created a contract for me so I’m protected.  His commission was at least significant enough for that and I didn’t worry about being taken advantage of. 

This is a lot of info, I know! Hope this helps you a little bit. I’ll keep navigating things and help you when I can. 

Have a great week!

-Mike Stoudt & Heidi Rew

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