Now More than Ever…
I think we can all agree that 2020 has presented us with some challenges. For those of us who enjoy the close knit voice over community, from the myriad of conferences each year to traditional events like Uncle Roy’s BBQ and Christmas Parties in NYC, when you work alone in a padded foam booth, interacting with others in voiceover is so much more than a chance to network. Any of us who go to these events will tell you about the gooey sweet bonding that happens between the karaoke and the shop talk. So the lack of face time in 2020 has been hard, but for me, the presence of social media groups, especially on Facebook (as much as I hate to admit it) has helped fill the gap. I feel like I still “see” my dear friends and have a sense of how they are and what’s going on. More than that, I crave the interaction, look for their posts, and try to be responsive. For me, these voice over groups on social media are not a distraction, they continue to give me a sense of connection when we are all forced to be distanced at the moment. This week, these connections in my Facebook voice over community genuinely helped me through an experience from a pay to play that had me feeling pretty exasperated.
The Frustrating Experience of this Week
On Thursday I got one of those messages we all love: I had been cast in a national spot. Spoiler: wait before you start celebrating for me, it does not end well. The initial offer was low and it needed negotiating, which in no way scared me off, negotiating is part of the job, right? But the good news was that they wanted me and I was available. The message came through Voice123 and the client asked me to call him right away. I called the client back immediately. I spent a long time chatting with the client. The spot was actually more regional in use but the client wanted national rights to not have to deal with his client more later. Fine. We also discussed pricing for web and social media. He was pleasant and very specific. He wanted a zoom session Friday morning. I gave him a choice of times and he said he would get back to me. I had a 5 pm zoom on Thursday and I was in a really good mood during that call. When I got off of that call, I got an email from the client. He said his client no longer had the budget and was going to use an in-house voice. They were going to use an in-house voice for a national spot? Are you kidding me? And he wasted so much of my time. I was really annoyed. I was aggravated. Frankly, I was pissed off.
I Was NOT Alone….
One of my VO besties suggested I post it on Facebook. We have a VO Red Flags group, and I also decided to post in our V123 Platinum members group. My wheels were turning and I was curious if he had interacted with anyone else. I wanted to see how others would have reacted and if this had happened to anyone else recently.
I got an immediate response in the V123 group. This guy had been making his rounds to other top voiceover talents. He had been negotiating with one male talent all week, since Monday! He had contacted other female voice actors at my level who also book a lot on that platform to negotiate with them! For some reason I have not seen my post go up in the Red Flags group yet. Sometimes that happens.
The point, though, is that I felt much better having a community to discuss this with. I was not alone in my booth, or alone in my kitchen talking it through with my husband. I was part of a pretty awesome group of talents dealing with this together. I went from feeling angry to being thankful for having such awesome people. I realized this guy was outnumbered. He had heard over and over and over that his budget was too low. We were all in sync. The reason that there are industry standard rates and that we can all work so hard to maintain them is because those of us in the industry are such a cohesive, tight knit network.
So to be clear, the response that I got on Facebook this week had both an emotional impact on my stability and also, at the same time, showed the impact of the VO bond on our business. By communicating and remaining close, we all benefit. It is so so important that we stick together!
So cheers to a better 2021, and to seeing you all in person, so that I can give you all a big hug and we can have some fun together again! I am so profoundly thankful for this community.