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Continual Decline in Rates for Voice Work?

bbakersvoice
Ace Contributor
Bobby B Member Since: May 21, 2017
1 of 25

I'm just seeing if others have seemed to notice a drastic drop in rates/budgets for voice work in the last month or so?   There seems to be a trend where clients are asking for increased amounts of work (i.e. Voice Overs, etc.) but offering less compensation.   

 

It almost seems like the clients are feeding off one another...almost a "Well if we all drop rates then they sort of have no choice but to take the work" mentallity.  

 

The other thing I am seeing is more Voice Over gigs where I am even hesitent to bid because of the project descriptions.  Mispelled words, lack of information, harsh tones and basically read these 1000 words for $10.   

 

Any other Voice Talents noticing this trend?   I enjoy doing work here on Upwork but find myself wondering if there are better options out there for professional Voice Talents.  

 

Best Regards,

 

Bobby 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 25

Don't you guys have it pretty good though? It's the only thing where someone can say "female Brit" or something like that and not get banned for discrimination. You also eliminate 99% of the "hire me plz" people.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
3 of 25

@Jennifer M wrote:

Don't you guys have it pretty good though? It's the only thing where someone can say "female Brit" or something like that and not get banned for discrimination. You also eliminate 99% of the "hire me plz" people.


 I'm biased, due to being a writer on Upwork, but I've often wondered how difficult it is to do voice over work?

 

My daughter just attended a voice over class; she's interested in the field. 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
4 of 25

I know you need sound equipment and all that, but I'm thinking the competition must be low and it's not like some $3/hour anybody can come around and steal your business unless they happen to be the same nationality/accent/gender.

bbakersvoice
Ace Contributor
Bobby B Member Since: May 21, 2017
5 of 25

Believe it or not it can be very competitive even when the field is narrowed down (i.e. male, female voice etc.).   I sort of thought the same thing "how hard could it be" until I started doing it full time about 7 months ago.   You would be suprised at how much work/investment goes into honing the skill (both vocally & sound editing).    

 

As a writer it might be similar to...."Everyone can write how hard could it be to be a writer?"  (no offense meant)   Everyone can talk, and may even have a decent voice so how hard could it be to be a Voice Talent?   Again...very difficult as with the other areas of expertise.

 

I was hoping to see if some other Voice Talents/Artist respond to see if they have noticed this trend but maybe they don't frequent these forums.

 

Good luck to your daughter by the way!

 

 

renata101
Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
6 of 25

@Bobby B wrote:

Believe it or not it can be very competitive even when the field is narrowed down (i.e. male, female voice etc.).   I sort of thought the same thing "how hard could it be" until I started doing it full time about 7 months ago.   You would be suprised at how much work/investment goes into honing the skill (both vocally & sound editing).    

 

As a writer it might be similar to...."Everyone can write how hard could it be to be a writer?"  (no offense meant)   Everyone can talk, and may even have a decent voice so how hard could it be to be a Voice Talent?   Again...very difficult as with the other areas of expertise.

 


Thanks for this. Your comments really hit home for me.

I deal with this a lot with people haven't hired language editors before. The other part of people assuming what I do is easy is that people often think I can "fix" anything they send me. Even otherwise smart people have that assumption.

I think audio guys have the "you can fix anything" problem a lot because more people are doing podcasts, and they do stupid things like record interviews in the subway on their iPhones. Then they post job adds for sound restoration (actually, I like to fool around with this kind of stuff, so it means I have an endless source of samples to work with because people post links to them). In some cases there's only so much you can realistically do.

I know a lot of graphic designers get the "anyone can do it thing." I sometimes wonder if it's because of all those Adobe videos that show Adobe experts doing stuff like 100-page product catalogues in 3 minutes -- it's something I think of as the "Martha Stewart effect." Martha has something like 400 people running around so she can produce these spots where everything she does looks effortless. Real projects in the real world often come with a range of whacky variables that you need to troubleshoot. That takes time.

Maybe people assume sound recording work is easy because the basic equipment for the job looks simple, and they don't realize how incredibly easy it is to record bad sound.

As for the decline in rates, I've heard a variety of people saying this about a variety of different kinds of work. I think the ODesk/Elance merger created an enviornment in which there's a lot more competition.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
7 of 25

@Bobby B wrote:

Believe it or not it can be very competitive even when the field is narrowed down (i.e. male, female voice etc.).   I sort of thought the same thing "how hard could it be" until I started doing it full time about 7 months ago.   You would be suprised at how much work/investment goes into honing the skill (both vocally & sound editing).    

 

As a writer it might be similar to...."Everyone can write how hard could it be to be a writer?"  (no offense meant)   Everyone can talk, and may even have a decent voice so how hard could it be to be a Voice Talent?   Again...very difficult as with the other areas of expertise.

 

I was hoping to see if some other Voice Talents/Artist respond to see if they have noticed this trend but maybe they don't frequent these forums.

 

Good luck to your daughter by the way!

 

 


 No offense taken. But, writing is hard work -- particularly in my field, as it isn't just writing down your thoughts such as can be found within a journal entry or a 500 word "blahg."

 

I'm a former singer, so in terms of tonal quality of voice, equipment etc., I have a firsthand understanding.

 

If you're predicating "difficulty" on the competition feature, well writing is far more competitive because of the misapprehension you accurately stated: "Oh I can put a simple sentence together. I CAN WRITE!" 

 

Yeah, you can write a simple sentence, but can you write to fit the audience AND client specifications? And there's even more to it than that.

 

But, my intention wasn't to convey "Oh voice over, that's easy smeasy." I was sincerely asking about the difficulty level of the work.

bbakersvoice
Ace Contributor
Bobby B Member Since: May 21, 2017
8 of 25

Well I think "difficult" obviously is a relative term.  Part of the challenge with producing high quality voice work is equipment/setting.   You can start out (like I did) with the blankets over your head and a decent mic but as you go for more lucrative (expert level) opportunities you have to up your game.   

 

Creating a space that provides the right acoustics/sound proofing can be quite challenging and expensive.  Throw in a good microphone and interface and you could be looking at several thousands of dollars.   

 

Now you have your setting/equipment what more could be to it?  Well now it's time to become a sound engineer (unless you have one at your disposal and can afford their rates) and learn the overwhelming amount of information about your DAW (digital audio workstation).   How loud should you record, how to improve your soundfloor, don't forget our friend compression, how much EQ to use....on and on.   

 

Now that we have gone through all that...what about the ability to read something in a way that is going to catch the client's ear over the competition?   Do you sound natural?  Are you emphasising at the right moments?  Are you clear on every word?   Recording done?  Well you better get in there now and scrub that audio...breaths, mouth clicks/pops, etc.

 

You get the idea...it's the difference between being "good/okay" and being "great" at it...

 

Cheers!

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
9 of 25

Bobby, two totally unrelated comments: I saw your video and you're really talented. Also, what are those No feedback given jobs on your profile? Such a pattern can really hit your JSS, you need to pay attention to no having too much of those, as far as possible.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
renata101
Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
10 of 25

@Rene K wrote:

 I saw your video and you're really talented. 


I watched it too, and I thought the same thing. You have the timing down and it doesn't sound unnatural or self-aware. That's a really hard thing to pull off. 

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