Pay to Play sites, love them or hate them are rife within the industry.
For those who may not be aware a Pay to Play site is a website where you pay a yearly fee (usually between $200 and $400) and in return get a profile page and invites to auditions, or a client may engage with you about a booking directly. Further into my VO career work now comes to me from many different avenues; direct marketing, pay to play, cold calls, websites and fellow voiceover artists…
Actually I’m just going to go off on a tangent on that last one, receiving work from other voiceover artists. Unless for some reason you have a slightly maniacal personality, you should always treat other voiceover artists with respect and professional courtesy as this industry is extremely unique. Whilst it’s easy to label other voiceover artists as competition, the reality is that they’re your colleagues. Why? Well it’s because ALL voiceover artists are selling a 100% unique product, my voice sounds entirely individual and is my own to sell. I have a couple of clients who provide me with regular income that have come to me via other voiceover artists that recommended me, in fact some have been as nice to say “No, you don’t want me for this, Jay is the voice you need” so always be considerate of your “competition”. My last point on this comes from the masterful voice talent Rob Paulsen who sums up competition in VO by simply saying “A high tide raises all boats” so keep that in mind!
Now back to P2P……I started on Pay to Play sites so they’ve always been part of my voiceover world. I’ve been on all the major ones; voice123.com, voices.com etc. but something struck me recently that I wanted to share, particularly with people new to voiceover who may be starting out on these sites as I did.
What I wanted to share was that if you manage to book a job on one of these sites…WELL DONE!
Why do I feel that landing a job on a Pay to Play site needs singling out for congratulatory high fives all round? Well, it’s because of the demographic of the people you are up against for the gigs. When you audition for a gig on a Pay to Play site you aren’t just up against the 10 people on your agents books, or the 20 people who found out about the casting call and were free that day, you’re potentially up against 100’s of potential talents (a very quick search on Voices.com for British, Male, Middle Aged voice talent throws up 234 results). Also you’re not only up against people local to you, you’re up against the global stage of voice talent and that means only one thing….. the client WILL find the perfect voice so for you to book it you must be the PERFECT voice!
For example, I do a pretty mean Ian Mckellan impersonation (“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!!” see sounded great right?) so if you want an older gentleman with a Shakespearean edge to deliver a story opening I’m your man! Except on a Pay to Play site with 100’s of talent the client will find someone who actually is an older gentleman and naturally sounds like Ian McKellan which means I either have to nail the script fantastically or I need to make the wiser decision and pass on that particular audition and save my voice.
It’s easy to get disheartened when auditioning on Pay to Play sites (I know, I’ve been there!) as you may well only book 1 job for every 10 auditions but if you get the right training you can bump that up significantly.
Just remember that you’re never going to be the perfect voice for every job and Pay to Play sites can be a great place to find jobs and get contacts so stick at it!
All the best