Another P2P?

mypostproductionIn my mailbox last week:  an invitation to MyPostProduction.com.

The schpeel mentioned 3 current VO jobs, and offered a brief description of the service:

_______________

Hello everybody,
I would like to inform you about 3 new VO jobs atwww.mypostproduction.com : 
Skills Required: Voice-over artist 
Projects’ names are “Monuments-English Voive Over”, “Monuments-Italian Voive Over” and “Monuments-German Voive Over”
The projects will be open for 5 days 
if any voice-over artist is interested, he/she can register and bid on it.
MyPostProduction.com, is a unique, specialised online marketplace for audio and video post production services, owned and operated by BestPostProduction.com LLC, based in the USA.
It’s connecting Post Production Professionals with Clients looking for them.
Clients and Audio-video freelancers from all over the world, have already created their profiles and offer their services for all kinds of production needs.
Clients are radio stations, tv channels, production companies, audio or video producers, freelancers need other freelancers to complete a project and anyone who needs post production services of any kind.
Please share
Thank you

______________
I had not heard of MyPostProduction before, but apparently a few of you have (see below).
It’s a no-brainer to sign-up using your FaceBook credentials.  Similarly, choosing the free account for freelancers is probably the best option for starters.
From the “projects” page, you seek the VO jobs, answer the listing with an audition, and a bid, and wait to see if you’re chosen for the job.  Many other professions are represented at this site:  video editors, graphics, audio editors, artists, animators, script-writers,on-camera technicians, etc…so in that sense, it kinda feels like O-Desk, Thumbtack, or Guru.
Browsing through the freelancer list, I see several voice-actors already on-board, so I’m a little late to this party… but now you know too!  Good luck!
CourVO

VO Market Research

marketresearch‘Not sure where you stand on the issue of P2P’s or one of the biggest entities in that realm, but wherever you stand — pro or con — put it aside for a few minutes.

The innovative business mind behind Voices.com starts with its founder, David Ciccarelli.  He’s the person who tracks the market numbers at this P2P leader.  Ciccarelli’s analysis of the business of voice-overs leads to a yearly “state of the VO industry” report card.  Again, regardless of  how you feel about P2P’s, you can find plenty of information in Ciccarelli’s report  that may help you set the course for your voice-acting business in 2014.

The report is clear, concise, and not lengthy or full of difficult concepts or indecipherable formulas. You may find yourself leaning toward the logic of joining Voices.com after reading it, but that’s your decision.

Here’s the link:  http://www.voices.com/resources/articles/market-research/2013-report-on-the-industry

Thanks, David for once again plumbing the numbers for a revealing look at the trends.

CourVO

The Voice Realm PR Machine

voicerealm-aSee?  This is the problem with modern journalism.  It has no defenses.  It’s under attack from the NSA, the White House, Bloggers, its own excesses, and PR machines.

There never was, and probably never will be a certification for journalism.  We’re all so much better than nurses, teachers, accountants and lawyers…we don’t want to stoop to anything that limits our profession I guess.

This is the TV guy in me speaking.  30+ years of broadcast journalism, and I’ve never taken a journalism class in my life.  That should never happen!

Anyway…because I know and see what’s going on in (so-called) journalism today, I’m appalled.  TV news anyway is… well I’d better watch what I say.  Nothing is a secret that’s published on the internet these days, and I just want to go down as saying I think I work for one of the few solid investigative broadcast journalism outlets in the country, and I can show you a bunch of Duponts, Emmy’s, and a few Edward R. Murrow awards to boot.

But the day-to-day efficacy of broadcast news struggles against viewer erosion, sensationalism, over-simplification of complicated stories, and lack of balance.

Here’s an excellent example.  The DIGITAL JOURNAL — you would think by it’s name — would have some semblance of journalistic integrity.  But the article: Multi-Billion Dollar, Relatively Unknown Hollywood Industry Is Moving Away from Studios and Into Suburbia. Voice Over Actors Making Big Bucks Online.  The article is just a regurgitation of a Press (press?….really?  Shouldn’t that be NEWS Release?) Release from Voice Realm.  And I DO take issue with the “Big Bucks” reference as it relates to Voice Realm.  They’re a pretty good service…but I don’t get “big bucks” jobs there… at least not many that I see.

Two immediate comments:

1)  I have no issues with Voice Realm putting out News Releases…I am a subscriber, and I want them to turn as many jobs as possible
2)  I have no issues with The Digital Journal being  a mouthpiece for News Releases.

BUT… don’t call yourself a digital journal if you’re just going to re-publish News Releases.  That’s not journalism.

RANT OVER

Kudos to Voice Realm for being such an active user of News Release services…  I see their stuff crossing my screen all the time!  They are keeping their name in front of prospects.

For those many nice persons who reacted to my Friday blog about my daughter’s last senior soccer game, I have only to post this picture of the pre-game ceremony to show you my pride.  We came, we watched, we supported, we had a wonderful time in the DFW area… in fact, you may want to come back again tomorrow, and I’ll tell you about  my conversation with the amazing Cliff Zellman!

Waytago Maddie!

CourVO

 

Senior Night

Lowell Talks Bodalgo

bodalgoFor years Steven Lowell was the voice and the face of Voice123.  Sure Alex Torrenegra ran the place, and a bevy of Columbian expatriates made up 99% of the staff, but Steven was the guy out front.

He took a lot of flak for some of V123′s actions, and (in my estimation) did a good job of explaining the realities of a pay-to-play business, while straddling the line of the needs and interests of voice talent.

Without getting into specifics, Steve felt it was time to leave V123 early this year.  Now he’s surfaced as a paid employee of one of Europe’s most hi-profile and prolific pay-to-play sites:  BODALGO.

We talked on Skype the other day, and I invite you to watch the video recording of that chat, below.  Try to pay special attention to the points Steve makes about foreign studios &rates, and the demands of a European-based P2P.  He also makes suggestions for how to best use the Bodalgo site.

Thanks, Steve!

CourVO

Steven Lowell talks Bodalgo from Dave Courvoisier on Vimeo.

A 10-Yr-Old Lightning Rod

v123-cSome might say Alex Torrenegra is a genius.

There are certainly many arguments in his favor.  He’s got incredible entrepreneurial, innovation, and savvy business skills.  He knows how to create and perpetuate a very profitable online product.  He certainly has brought a sea-change to the world of voiceovers, and many predicted the demise of Voice123.com well before its current 10-year anniversary.

  • Talent agencies have cursed the site but now quietly use it.
  • Voice Talent get jobs, get paid, and get legitimacy on the listings, although many criticize the cattle-call “dumbing-down” of the marketplace it prompts.
  • Voice-seekers (a term virtually invented by this turn in the business) love it.  Their listings get oodles of responses, and they go to one place for their many projects.

Voice123 became an immediate lightning rod with it’s creative new business model.  If Alex didn’t do it, someone else would have…and did.  Torrenegra capitalized on the new frontier of online immediacy to build something ripe for the picking.  The fact that it’s still running, and running strong 10 years later, deserves credit…’cause Lord knows, along the way there has been plenty of criticism.

V123 has spawned innumerable copycat pay-to-play sites (affectionately known among the voice-acting rabble as “P2P” sites). Only Voices.com reaches the level of a peer/challenger to the clearinghouse Torrenegra has built.  Ya gotta give it to him (and the Ciccarelli’s).

Over the years, I’ve been close enough to V123′s dealings, and the people who work there to have formed my own opinion about how much Mr. Torrenegra cares about the population of actors and talent-seekers who have made him rich.  On this occasion of his 10th anniversary, I’ll spare him the editorial feedback and character analysis.

So here’s to Voice123.com:  a prototype and a plodding juggernaut…a catalyst and a cauldron of controversy….a burgeoning marketplace and a blundering bull in a rate/scale china shop.

Happy 10th Voice123.com!!!

Below is the infographic V123 has released on the occasion of their anniversary (double click on the graphic for a better look).  It came with this message from Torrenegra:

Thanks to you, Voice123 is celebrating our 10th birthday this month! When we started Voice123 out of our Queens, New York apartment in 2003, we had no idea it would grow to be the largest voice over casting website on the planet with over 120,000 projects posted from companies like Pixar, MTV, and Warner Brothers. We recently surveyed all Voice123 members to find the heart of our success and to plan for future improvements. Check out some of the cool discoveries we made in our “10 years of voiceover” infographic!

CourVO

DESCRIPTION OF THE IMAGE

VoiceZam Slam Dunk

voicezamBob Merkel is the founder and force behind VoiceZam.  He and I have  never met in person.  That unfortunate circumstance will likely be remedied at FaffCon6 in San Antonio this October, but until then, there exists this comfortable fellowship that results in today’s exclusive announcement here on this blog.

VoiceZam — as many of you know — is an innovation that blossomed from Merkel’s experience & creativity, and developed into a useful voice-actor’s tool, thanks to his equally savvy business acumen.  Visit the VoiceZam website, or revisit my interview with Bob to discover how this software can display/play your demo in such a unique way as to make VoiceZam a head-and-shoulders solution above any other player on the market.  Bob didn’t reinvent the wheel, but other embedded mp3 players appear  like  the wooden rim of a Roman chariot compared to VoiceZam’s wide-tracked polymer latex on today’s Indy racecars.

Bob’s been reconsidering the price-point of VoiceZam lately, though.  All his research shows that the vast majority of voice talent think VoiceZam is the best thing since the toaster oven, but they balk at the pricetag.

Hence today’s announcement.  You can read the official word here: VOICEZAM PR 2013

In short, Merkel is henceforth cutting the cost of his excellent product in half…  Yup, in half!

Merkel told me:  “‘…I realized by making the product more affordable, I’d help my dream come true—to help voice artists achieve theirs…”

The only conceivable rub in such a development is the possible question from early adopters who’ve been paying the (ahem) original price all this time.  I’m among them, and see no merit in this concern whatsoever.  Here’s why:  virtually every supporter of trend-setting technology knows of the added cost (and advantage) of being on the vanguard of new ideas.  Heck, I remember purchasing my first hand-held calculator from Sears for $79 dollars in 1973 (?)… and it didn’t even have a square-root key! Recall buying your first laptop?  Clunky, floppy-drive contraptions with green characters, and an almost prohibitive price-tag.

Congratulations!  The early-adopters have made it possible for Merkel to now offer this new price-point, and let’s face it…anyone who has already purchased VoiceZam knows of the clear benefits of the service so far and purchased it with their eyes open.

Please log into your account today and check your billing.  You should see the reflection of this new pricing structure in your next cycle.

Those of you waiting to join, or who have not heard of the incredibleness of VoiceZam can visit http://www.voicezam.com to begin your sign-up.

Also, There is now a landing page for the new price announcement, located here: http://www.voicezam.com/public/Latest-news.aspx

If you get a chance, you might want to drop Bob a line and let him know of your appreciation.  Merkel continues to innovate and improve this useful service, and you will see new features incorporated into VoiceZam in the near future.

Also, please see Paul Strikwerda’s excellent extension and development of this story on his blog, here:  http://www.nethervoice.com/2013/07/02/voicezam/.  If you have not added Paul’s blog to your RSS feed, please do so, or just subscribe on his blogsite.

CourVO

P2P Proliferation

proliferateName one topic that generates more interest in VO circles than P2P’s.  (ISDN, SAG-AFTRA, and Den Lenard’s moustache all run a distant second)

I honestly couldn’t tell you who started this internet-enabled business model, but certainly Voices.com (originally InteractiveVoices.com) and Voice123.com were the almost simultaneous originators of its general awareness.  Those two remain at the top of the heap in marketplace traffic and money changing hands.

But there is no shortage of pretenders to the throne.  Some have come and gone, some are still workin’ it (with various degrees of success), and others are in incubation or about to launch.  Bottom Line:  This marketplace paradigm is not likely to go away soon.

Here’s my short list that I know about:

VO Planet
Bodalgo
Voice Realm
ACX
DirectVoices
Voice Archive
Commercial Voices
VoicesPro
AllStarVoices
KingdomVoices
SmartVoices
VoiceandStudio
E-Learning Voices
VoiceBunny
ProComm Voices?
SunSpots?

I’m sure I’ve overlooked some…especially studios or services outside of the U.S.

It’s probably not fair to corral all these enterprises under the heading “P2P”.  Some would argue against that moniker.  Some are more private than others, limiting membership.  I include a couple of services that don’t require you to pay, but still involves an investment of time to work the site, thus, you’re still “paying” with your investment of time. One claims to be directly related to a talent agency in a complex business model, and another resembles “Fiver” more than a fair clearinghouse for voice talent and voice-seekers.

Still others (Sunspots and ProComm) are more along the lines of a production studio model than a P2P… and there are a TON of businesses in this category.

Please take the time to read Paul Strikwerda’s Blog explaining why he’s dropping one of these services.  It generated more traffic than just about any other article he’s written.  So did his follow-up blog, explaining-away opposing viewpoints.

LEAVING VOICES.COM

AS THE DUST SETTLES

I think Paul is more comfortable being opinionated than I am.  I do appreciate that he expresses himself this way as a style of journalism, and his analysis of the situation struck a harmonic chord with many readers.  Of course, there is no shortage of debate about P2P’s in other forums.

I was recently added to Voice Realm’s roster.  The company is NYC-based (with offices in UK and Spain), but appeals to a global audience of voice talent and voice-seekers.  Since I have no experience as of yet with their service, I can’t offer much of a review.  Their service asks a small up-front fee for being listed, but does require a percentage take of the successful completion of a job.

It’s great that VoiceRealm has reached 3K VO opportunities in a year’s time according to their News Release.  Much like a quote of hundreds of thousands of subscribers by another service, though….it’s the quality of jobs, and the level of pay that are more likely to entice voice talent prospects than sheer numbers.

CourVO

Constant Contact vs. Mail Chimp

constantcontactTraditional online services that helped you create and send newsletters have morphed into such multi-use platforms, that I’m not sure what to call them anymore.

Constant Contact – one of the oldest and most successful of the services, now offers marketing, surveys, metrics, social media interaction, email monitoring, and integration with a whole host of other providers (see link below).

The up-and-comer:  MailChimp — a Google Product — carries with it all the nimble interaction with the many other Google products, but even as a standalone product, MailChimp lately has been really turning up the heat.mailchimp

Why?  ‘Cause it’s mongo full-featured, and it’s FREE.

Constant Contact, by comparison, has what I will call and “aggressive” fee structure.  It’s hard to say you’re not getting what you pay for.  The question is:  do you NEED all those services?

I use both, and find value in them both.  But let’s face it.  That’s redundant.  I was leaning towards MailChimp as my sole service, until I began rummaging around Constant Contact’s always-changing interface, and found a list of all the services, apps, and integrations they share with other partners.

There are over 11oo services (OMG, you name it:  everything from graphics, to marketing, to writing, to SEO).

There are also over 200 apps and integrations.  Under THIS category, you will find an amazing list of the most innovative entrepreneurial offerings on the planet.  Seriously.

You DO NOT have to be a subscriber of Constant Contact to see these lists.
You DO NOT have to be a subscriber of Constant Contact to use these vendors.

I am recommending you go to the Constant Contact Marketplace today, and run through these listings.

Why?

Remember the other day I tried to hammer home the idea of delegating tasks you’re not good at?  (OutSource Options) It’s Freelancers hiring freelancers to get things done fast and well.  That’s what WE do for others… now here’s a master list of what others can do for you.

Would I steer you wrong?  Seriously, even if you never use any of these apps, integrations, or services, the sheer variation and number of creative ideas will inspire and astound you.  This is truly a list of “what’s out there”.

So, did I decide between Constant Contact and MailChimp?

No.

I’m trying desperately to convince myself that the redundancy is worth it (and my mild hoarding complex is kicking in, too!)

CourVO

DirectVoices

directvoicesYou wanna talk the global nature of the voice over business?

I found the ultimate example (and it’s not Bodalgo).

Meet DirectVoices.com…a site that has yet to reach full functionality.

So, why would I say it’s a global site?  Because even in development, the team producing the site works from France, Ecduador, the Phillipines, and North America (maybe other countries).

What is DirectVoices?  A new way to connect voice talent to voice seekers, but its founder and visionary — Constantino de Miguel –  NOT on the P2P model, rather, voice talents will have DIRECT contact with voice seekers, that’s why the name DirectVoices.

To me, Constantino is a kindred spirit.  He is a tri-lingual news broadcaster operating out of Lyon, France, providing stories to Latin America, China, and the U.S.  He is a coach, and a producer, and of late has discovered the side-career of voice acting (sound familiar?), and in his peripatetic creativeness… launched into DirectVoices.com some months ago.  It’s an ambitious undertaking.

You can go to the site right now and sign-up for the eventual true launch.  There’s already quite a bit of good information on the site, and merely from a web-production standpoint, the DirectVoices seems quite professional.

I sat down for a one-on-one with Constan just the other day on Skype, and I must say his unassuming and confident style makes me even more of a believer in his vision.

I asked him a lot about DirectVoices, yes, but in this interview you will also find out much about the changing nature of the international VO market, and Constan also discusses the challenges of remote recording in European countries with a mobile set-up.  It’s really a very engaging interview.

Thanks, Constantino!

Here’s the interview:

DirectVoices from Dave Courvoisier on Vimeo.

CourVO

VoiceJockied?

voicejockeysThe last time I heard about VoiceJockeys (an online site matching voice seekers with voice talent) was in early 2010.

Back then, site made a splash in the world of voice-acting, and it wasn’t necessarily a good one.

If you’d like to refresh, here is a list of the blogs I wrote on the subject…one-after-another:

Must Read Article on Compensation

VoiceJockeys Response

VoiceJockeys Debate, Part 3

New “Fair Treatment” Blog

At the time, everyone’s favorite Voice Actor/Attorney — Robert Sciglimpaglia — was negotiating with VoiceJockeys to achieve a more realistic compensation arrangement.  I’m not exactly sure where those talks ended up, but Robert seemed to indicate to me later that he felt he’d made some progress.

Since that time, nothing much has come across my radar with VoiceJockeys.  My radar screen is not as good as NORAD’s… but it casts a fairly wide net.

But then, last week, I heard from a VP/Production Manager at an East-Coast firm that specializes in marketing, R & D, Public Relations, Radio & TV, programming, videos, telemarketing, commercials, interactive websites, Online infomercials, and more.  Much more.  Legit folks.  I won’t name names, but I have their permission to excerpt some of their comments here in this blog.

‘Seems this Production Manager did a little research on VoiceJockeys after utilizing their services.  He found links to my above blogs, and was…well…er…candid with me…about  his experience with VoiceJockeys.  Actually he was “outraged and disappointed”.

Maybe his case will serve as an eye-opener for those of us in the business of voice-overs, and put us all on alert a little.  I have not sought reaction from VoiceJockeys, but will be happy to offer a rebuttal if they reach out to me.

The producer’s comments:  “…Not only have they raised their rates, now they charge by the word instead of by the second.  I gave them a script that was timed for 30 sec, they said it had too many words and that they would have to charge me for a 1 min spot. So I took out enough words to fit into their standard.  Guess what?  the audio they cut came back at 22 sec.  When I told them this they had the guy read it slower – it came out to 24 sec.  

After that, they said he tried but it would read too slow so they would have to charge me for a 1 min.  So I told them I was very disappointed in this, my time has been wasted on a trivial matter (to me anyway), they lost a customer because of it, and either give me my audio cut at the original script or refund my money.

Then they finally said they would make a “one time” exception where I can have my original script cut at the 30 sec. price. – so when he finally cut my original script, guess what, it came out to 30 sec.

VoiceJockey.com is by far the worst company I have ever dealt with in my 20 yrs. of production.  This definitely shows the stupidity and, most of all, greed that is rotting this country…”

Is this just a bunch of sour grapes?…a spat between disagreeing sides of a job?…a deal gone bad?.  Or is their experience a true indication of how crummy the market is getting?

Anybody else had a similar experience?…not necessarily with VoiceJockeys, but other online voice clearinghouses engaging in similar alleged actions?

I welcome any and all comments and reaction to this real-world lament.  Perhaps VoiceJockeys will notice and offer me a response.  I will be happy to post it.

In the meantime, I felt it was worthwhile to share with my readers, and I hope you have been spared a similar experience.

CourVO