Voiceover rates are something that changes from country to country. The nature of the voiceover be it a video game or a telephone prompt dictates the rate as well. We of course do have excellent rate guides such as the GVAA rate guide and the GFTB rate guides. But how does one succeed in navigating rates in the modern-day voiceover industry when there is not one direct rule covering all bases? Let us explore this concept together identifying AI, pay-to-play sites, and marketplaces as a starting point.
Marketplaces refer to companies like Fiverr and Upwork. Companies in which a person can host a job for a ridiculously small fee and a large pool of talent can audition for it. This in theory means someone can work for a few dollars for a job that 'should' be paid in the hundreds. Having free will allows the client and the talent to do this so does that mean marketplaces are inherently bad? No, and let us look at why. Sure, lower rates are damaging for artists globally, but the truth is someone is going to do it the only question remaining is who? That part of the industry is not going to way. But as a voice actor, you can navigate rates on these platforms in alignment with your convictions. Rate guides are tools to utilize but as a business, you can decide your minimum and where you want to cut a deal. In fact, these platforms can be very generous in their payments when navigated correctly. So, it is not the platform, that is bad necessarily, but more a stigma on how the voice actor utilizes it.
Much the same as the above, AI is another field that invites challenge. Perpetuity agreements for a small sum of money is not a good idea. It prohibits your scope with future jobs massively. However, one-off payments with regular residuals are a far better option. Knowing AI is not going away it is important to allow your morals to be your guide but to be open to adapting your long-term standing practice in the industry. Paying the bills and having a rewarding career are two positive driving factors and in the modern-day world, we have seen dozens of businesses go bust due to not adjusting to the times. AI is not going away, your job is to make sure you don't go away either.
The biggest frustration with long-term voice actors was the implementation of pay-to-play sites. They attract the same criticism as marketplaces however they also offer similar opportunities. Voice actors considering all the above need to decide if subscriptions are the right move for their business. Pay-to-play sites demand subscriptions. Some voice actors flourish on these sites and make exceptional amounts of money, whereas others spend more than they earn. From a business perspective, making a profit is always important. Unfortunately, often on these sites, the first to apply is often the first to book the job. This means managing pay-to-play sites can become someone's full-time occupation if they have the time and attention to spend on it.
Navigating rates in the current voiceover industry (Which is ever-changing) can be tricky. You need to lean on the available rate guides for guidance, not for the law. With that, you need to be sensible and seek guidance with complexities like AI. But in the meantime, manage your business how it works for you. Make money, enjoy the craft, and pioneer positively forward. Do not allow yourself to be dictated to by those who are profiting from work done 20 years ago and do not allow someone to undercut you. Charge what you believe to be right on all the above and enjoy the industry. Do not let yourself be replaced because of bad, out-of-date advice. You have worth and value and everyone has something unique to offer.
Navigating Rates by Alan Shires