In my experience, Pay to Play (P2P) sites are a great way for voice artists to find new voiceover clients.
If you’re not familiar with the terminology, “pay to play” refers to websites where there are rosters of professional voice talents who pay an annual fee to have the opportunity to peruse and audition for specific jobs, posted by voiceover clients. These jobs range from production companies, advertising/marketing agencies, and often, end clients.
Two P2P sites I’ve used are:
…and there are more out there but these two keep me plenty busy with auditioning and booking jobs.
Find a Range of Jobs and Voiceover Clients on P2P Sites
The kinds of jobs one can find on a P2P site range from a voicemail recording for a business with a $100 price tag, all the way up to national commercial spots. Voiceover clients run the gamut from users who hire professional voice talent all the time, to one-time users, who may want a professional talent for something like recording their outbound phone message.
I created this video with a client I metd on a P2P site.
The client had a clever idea in mind: take what would have typically been a rather dry and boring topic (how to get your manufacturing plant running more smoothly), and spice it up with some creative silliness around how there’s a scary element skulking about the plant floor, ready to wreak havoc at a moment’s notice and without warning. The video offers a great solution to assist with this… Ta da!
You can probably find all kinds of articles about how to take full advantage of a P2P voiceover site. For voice talent who are not represented in markets by voice talent agencies, or who do not have a stable of regular voiceover clients, sites like these certainly offer the opportunity to practice auditioning skills—and hopefully book a job from time to time.
Cultivating Long Term Voiceover Clients from P2P Connections
The success I’ve had with P2P sites comes mostly from finding a client, and then continuing to work with them well past the one job they’ve booked me for via the P2P site.
Just last week I was chatting with a long time friend and owner of a production company I had worked with many moons ago… He is now doing voiceover work and he asked me if I’d take a listen of his demo and share some feedback. I get that request a lot and, quite honestly, usually the demos of new voice talents are not so hot. But, in this case, his voiceover demo was excellent! He mentioned that he had landed a few rather high profile clients just by doing the P2P approach.
Contrast that story with a blog post I read this week by friend, colleague and successful voiceover talent, Paul Strikwerda, about how he was leaving a major P2P site because it just wasn’t working out for him after over 3 years of trying.
So, it just goes to show you… what works for one person doesn’t work for another person. We each have to find our way on our voiceover talent path. The road is winding, and P2P sites might be a welcome rest stop or even destination for aspiring and also veteran voiceover artists.
Debbie Grattan says
Thanks for the latest comment from Quinn Floor Plan! I appreciate you reading and sharing your compliments!
Debbie Grattan says
thanks for generously offering your very helpful tips!
For the most part, I also follow those same guidelines. The one I differ on is the written greeting/introduction to the client. I guess I’m a bit chattier than you in that respect. Can you blame me…I am a woman!
Which brings me to my other point, which is that I believe that it’s a bit easier to stand out on these sites as a woman, or even as a child (my daughter, Natalie has also been quite successful with bookings from both Voices.com and Voice123). But the pool is considerably smaller, so it makes the competition a bit more manageable. And it helps if you have the goods to back it up.
Make it a great day today and thanks again for contributing your time and valuable insight here.
Paul Quinn says
Thanks Debbie, here are some of the tactics that have been working for me:
1) I generally try to audition when the job is relatively fresh, but I’ve found that “needing to audition right away or you’ll never win the gig” is a fallacy.
2) I only audition for jobs that I feel fall within my strengths…everything else is ignored. Same deal if the copy is poorly written, the word count is not included, directions are vague, etc etc. Essentially, if the post looks like it was written by a 5 year old, then it’s only going to be a headache down the road…86 it and move on.
3) Rather than overworking the read and trying to make it “perfect” (thereby rendering it stiff and clunky in the end) I spend very little time on each audition…I find the intention of the copy and just bust it out (one take, all instinct) and send…no slate, greeting or other unnecessary pleasantry.
4) Audio must sound comparable to broadcast ready…a little eq, comp and maximization. Many clients equate “perceived loudness” with quality, so I make sure that as they scroll thru listening to auditions, my audition will be noticeably louder ( audio wise, not performance) than the auditions that precede and follow me.
5) My personal greeting is short…extremely short. ie: Hi John ~ Thanks for consideration! -Paul. Writing a discertation smacks of desperation. I will however sometimes add that I can be directed live via phone patch or ISDN, this makes the client feel comfortable that they’ll get exactly what they had in mind. I can usually tell by the posting itself whether that matters to the client.
6) I noticed when I used to scout talent on Voices.com, too many were WAY overpricing themselves, so I make sure my price is more than fair. Many of the jobs I audition for are small businesses looking for a solid read at a reasonable price, so thats what I give ’em!
I’m sure you employ your own tried & trusted auditioning techniques, judging by all the work YOU get on Voices.com 🙂 …so lets hear it!
Debbie Grattan says
Thanks Paul for your eloquent reply to this blog.
Yes, I agree, that as in any business, there has to be a plan, and there are certainly ways to go about making a P2P site work better for you, if you spend a little concerted time and energy.
However, we are living in a society these days that has a pretty short attention span, and wants to see immediate results with a minimum amount of effort. So, I think that could be one reason that so many do not have success on sites like this. Just like signing with an agent, and thinking that NOW all the jobs will start rolling in – one has to be realistic about the expectations and also know one’s strengths and weaknesses.
I’d be interested to know what you found out regarding the small tweaks to your auditions that made the night and day difference in booking jobs.
Thanks again for commenting here.
Paul Quinn says
Nice job on the video, Debbie…and interesting article too!
I can say without reservation that Voices.com (my p2p of choice) has been well worth the price of admission.
I could not say that several years back when I first signed up and subsequently left Voices.com after auditioning ALOT with nary a nibble to show for it. I’m not sure what prompted me to give it another try, but I’m glad I did.
What turned it around for me was using Voices.com to SCOUT voice talent on a few occasions (I used to do alot of copywriting & production work) This was an huge eye opener, because I got to see what clients see when the auditions start to roll in. By simply tweaking 6 or 7 areas in my auditioning process (as a voice talent) it made a literal night and day difference.
Two other points I should make about Voices.com, they have great search engine optimization, so if you take the time to build up your profile page, it really makes a difference.
The other thing to note is I’ve made some very nice repeat clients that still seek me out today due to our voices.com introduction in the past…and in many cases, we’ve built a trust so that they can either cut me a check or go direct to my paypal rather than the long, rather excruciating “surepay” process (sorry Voices.com, it’s the only bummer about your service:)
So you could say that p2p membership is the gift that keeps giving…again, if you go about auditioning the right way.
As others have stated, p2p should be looked at as a single tool in a well stocked toolbox. I think if you are relying completely on p2p, you may come up dissapointed…for me, it’s just opportunity to gain some regular clients!
To be honest, I haven’t auditioned much lately, so your article was a reminder that I need to get my ass in gear!