- On October 12, 2018
Voice over artists and pay-to-play services
As voice over artists in 2018, we’re faced with myriad ways to sell our service. Perhaps we go down the route of trying to find an agent; maybe we set up our own website and try to get to the magic place that is the first page of Google (both of which are good ideas); but one of the best ways to find your feet in the industry is to sign up to a ‘pay-to-play’ service such as Mandy, Bodalgo or Voice123.
What are pay-to-play services?
A pay-to-play service is usually (but not always) identified by these features:
- A monthly or yearly fee
- A jobs board open to production companies and ad agencies etc
- A profile page to showcase your experience
- A submission process for voice over artists
On the face of it, showcasing your work on pay-to-play services sounds like a great idea. The exposure you get to potential clients is obviously a big draw, plus being able to apply for lots of jobs in a relatively short period of time is handy as well. The monthly fee is usually fairly small (although it can be quite large depending on the site), so as a first step in to a new industry, it’s a reasonably-risk free approach.
Should I join a pay-to-play service?
Whether these services offer value for money (as well as being worthy of your time) varies from site to site. Each one works slightly different from the other and they each have their own pros and cons. If you’re considering joining, have a think about the following things:
Cost – How much does it cost to join the site and what do you get for that fee?
Traffic – How many productions companies, ad agencies and producers use the site? If there aren’t many job postings, then paying a fee might not be worthwhile.
Pay – This is a contentious point in the voice over community. How much do the jobs pay? This will of course vary from job to job, but you need to set your own rates and decide what you’re worth, as applying for jobs that are constantly low-balling fairly standard industry rates doesn’t help anyone in the long-run. If you’re struggling to decide on what you think you should be charging, take a look at this fairly comprehensive guide.
Reputation – Does the site have a good reputation? It’s worth taking the views of your fellow peers into account and may save you time and money. Hundreds of voice over artists have likely tried any site you come across, so it’s worth doing some research to see what the general consensus is before diving in.
Not all the above points are mutually exclusive. For example, just because a site has less jobs on it, doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t join if all the jobs are well-paid by well-known companies.
The most important thing to take from this is that nobody is right or wrong about what you should or should not be doing to promote yourself. If to you that means having a profile on every single pay-to-pay site on the internet, then so be it. Do take time to research your options and ask questions, so that you can make the most informed decision and maybe save yourself some hassle.