Jerry MacKaySimply...a great voice.

Pay to play Part 3: Are they for you?

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So after reading Part 1 and Part 2, we now know what makes pay to play sites like Voices.com and Voice123.com tick. But are they a good fit for you? Here’s some questions you need to ask yourself when deciding if you should join. By the way, these are questions to consider not just for pay-to-play sites, but for voice acting in general.

How flexible are you?
No, I don’t mean can you touch your toes (if you’re wondering, I can’t) Most audition notices on P2P sites come in Monday to Friday during the work day. So if you have a traditional 9 to 5 at the office, you might not be able to audition for anything except before or after work. That means you’ll have fewer opportunities to audition for projects, or after a long day of work in front of your computer you’ll have to spend a couple hours ...in front of your computer. Hey, I said this job is fun...not easy.

Got gear?
Do you have the equipment you need? Sure, you can pick up any microphone you want, but you’ll be up against voice actors with five-figure Neumanns in their booth. And speaking of booths, they’ll have one. If your audition sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom on your Blackberry, you’ll have a hard time winning any gigs. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment, but you’ll want to have a decent mic and a sound-treated space to put it in. Most computers are fast enough to work with basic audio recording software, but a fast internet connection will help you upload your auditions faster.

There are a ton of wannabe voice actors on P2P sites with lousy gear...don’t be one of them.

Are you fast?
It’s not just how much gear you have, it’s how you use it. Do you know how to use yours? You’ll need to get your auditions in fast if you want to ensure that you’ll be heard. But as I’ve said, that’s one of the benefits of the P2P sites...you’ll learn pretty quickly how to crank out those auditions.

So should I join?
My recommendation is, no matter what, create a free profile on both sites. Get your profile information on there, upload all your demos and head shots, pick all the tags that describe your voice, etc. It doesn’t cost anything to get a free profile, so if you’ve got any interest in voice acting, start with this step. Who knows, a client may find your profile and contact you to do a custom audition for them...that’s free too.

Next step...wait. Give it a week or two. Someone from a site may contact you about a free trial. You may receive an e-mail with a discounted trial rate. One way or another, it’s likely that you’ll be able to try out one or both sites without paying for a full year. This will give you the chance to not only decide if you like one or both sites, but also figure out if you think a career in voice acting is something you’re really interested in.

And if nobody calls you? Call them! If you’re gonna be in business for yourself, you need to be proactive. So use those amazing narration skills you got and sweet talk them into giving you a deal.

I’ve even done the leg work for you...the phone numbers for both sites are at the bottom of this post.

Okay, I’m going for it! Which one should I join?
Is $300 a big deal for you? If not, sign up for a year and go for it. It only takes one or two jobs to pay for the fee. Plus, you can claim the fee as a business expense on your taxes (in that case, heck, sign up for both!)

But if I had to choose one over the other? I think that depends on you. Here’s what I think about each site:

Voice123 doesn’t have as many projects as Voices.com, but there are fewer voice actors auditioning. So if you have a very busy schedule and can’t sit in front of your computer all day, I think Voice123 is a good choice. You can audition for projects before or after the work day, and you’ll have a better chance of your audition being heard. And the site is much more forgiving if you can’t bang out an audition in five minutes.

Voice123 also sets a defined budget for most projects, while most projects on Voices.com fall into ranges ($100-250, $250-$500, etc.) And the majority of Voices.com projects are in the $100-250 range. So if you win a project on Voice123, you’re likely to make a little more money on it.

The biggest benefit to Voices.com is volume...there are a lot more audition notices. And the voice acting business is definitely a numbers game. It’s like the PGA. Even the best golfer in the world has a pretty low percentage chance of winning an event...there’s a lot of excellent golfers on the tour. So the more projects you audition for, the better your chances of landing a gig.

Also, the Voices.com feedback system is a little “friendlier” for voice acting newbies. A client can give your audition a thumbs up if they like it, which is a great ego boost when you’ve been auditioning for dozens of projects (“they like me, they really like me!”) If they hate your audition, you’ll never know it. On Voice123, they use number rankings, so you know exactly where you rank. This means that if you come in second or lower, you absolutely know that you won’t get the job. They can also rank you as “Finalist”, “Considering”, “Maybe”, and other endearing terms like “Not Likely” and “Hell No”...okay, I made that last one up. Still, it’s honest feedback, and it can sting if you’re new to the business.

Plus, Voices.com has their own escrow service they use to pay you for jobs that you win. They take a percentage of the total that you're paid, but they handle all of the payment details of the project. With Voice123, you handle all of that on your own. I like that when I win a gig on Voices.com, my demo shows up in the recently hired section of the website, and I've found that they get listened to A LOT after I get gigs.

If you’re really interested in making a go of it, I think either site is an excellent way to jump in head first (aside from packing up your things and moving to New York or LA...which is what a lot of voice actors do). If you can get a trial period on one and a reduced or monthly rate on the other, take them both for a test drive and see which one works best for you (maybe they BOTH will).

So there’s an overview of the world of pay to play audition sites. I can’t guarantee that joining one will work out for you. All I can tell you is...they’ve worked for me.

P2P Contact Info

Voices.com 1-888-359-3472 X384

Voice123.com 1-212-461-1873

Check back with my blog for a more in-depth review of both sites...coming soon!