The World is going Online,
and so are Voice-Overs!
By Bridget Brady
Have you ever wished you could hire voice-over talent online? Are you a voice-over actor looking for more jobs? Via web or mobile app, Voices.com has you covered! Right in-line with how the world is continuing to go online, David and Stephanie Ciccarelli founded Voices.com in 2004. This voice-over matchmaking service has voice-over jobs and clients all over the world. I sit down with their talent services manager, Jennifer Smith to learn more!
Voices.com...Super Interesting!! What an incredible concept!
David [Co-Founder of Voices.com] was in school, and graduated as a sound engineer. He started his own recording studio and was recording music and voice-overs. Stephanie [Co-Founder with David] went to school for music, as a classically trained singer. Her mom saw an article about David in the paper, and put it out on her bed for her. Stephanie saw it, and went into his studio to get a demo recorded. David was getting more and more requests for voice-over projects, thought Stephanie would be good for them, started asking her to come into the studio...and as they like to say, "It got romantic from there." Now they are married with four kids!
I LOVE that story!!
With so many requests for voice-over projects, they started having other voice-over talent chime in. They realized there was a need for somebody to connect the talent with the businesses. They designed the website on the back of a napkin, as cliché as that sounds. They first started working from home, and then moved into a University research park in London, Ontario [Canada]. We just passed the three year anniversary of moving to our new office in downtown London, Ontario. We've been expanding, renovating, and growing quite a bit. We're up to 52 employees! We have a lot of clients in the US, but also have an International client base.
So you provide services to both clients who are looking for voice talent, as well as the voice-over actors themselves.
We're the online marketplace that connects businesses with professional voice actors. A client can come to our website, do a search through our VO demo database, or post a job publicly, with the stats they're looking for. The job posting invites people to audition. The talent reads 20 - 30 seconds of a script from their home studio, and replies back to the client with the recording, a proposal, and quote for how much they'd like to charge. The client is given a list of all the auditions and talent they can choose from; they can hire and pay the talent directly through our site.
This is awesome! Is there a cost for either the client or the talent to join your service?
The voice talent pays a membership fee. They can get started with a free membership, and once they're ready to start auditioning, they get one of our paid membership options. [Starting at $40 per month, or $349 for the year]
When an artist books a job, are they recording from their home studio for the actual voice-over job?
Almost all of the time, they're recording from their home studio. We usually have 100 - 150 jobs posted to our site every day. The talent has a lot of audition opportunities. You're not going to want [to] have to pay for studio time. It's the main reason the talent wants to work from a home studio.
So, it wouldn't make sense for an artist who doesn't have a home studio to register with you.
Not really, unless they have easy access to a free studio.
Are these primarily AFTRA and/or Union jobs?
Most of the time it's non-union work, but there's a variety: cartoons, television commercials, movie trailers, how-to videos for a new product, corporate trainings, YouTube video narration, etc.
Who's your ideal client?
People who are looking for an easy way to get in touch with talent. We have a lot of Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Kaiser Permanente, ABC, ESPN, the list goes on. However, the bulk of companies that work with us are small businesses, and ad agencies; people who don't want to go through the traditional methods of going through a voice-over agent.
Do you work with voice-over agents? If someone has a VO agent, how does that relationship work with you?
Every agent is a little different. Some restrict their talent to work within a certain geographical area. Some will let their talent do online jobs. They all have their own individual rules in place. Our talent often has several agents, and will work with a company like us as well. With our service, they have a lot more control and choice.
Do the clients pay to post jobs?
They pay a 10% escrow fee to us. [Based on how much they are paying for the job.]
Does the talent get to see the client’s budget?
Yes. The talent sees the budget amount, or range. Then the client only pays the escrow fee if they actually hire the voice talent.
Do you work with any famous voice-over talent?
We recently had people do the voices for the Transformers app and My Little Pony. [Brittany Lauda, Kira Buckland, Amber Lee Connors, and Sunni Westbrook]
This is an exciting service, right in-line with how the world continues to go online. I would imagine it’s really useful to both clients and talent alike.
We are constantly growing. We recently translated our site into Spanish [Mx.Voices.com]. This year was our 10th year in business and we posted our 100-thousandth job this year! Right now we're putting an aggressive expansion plan into action and have been hiring five people a month for the last six months. We have referral programs, and love to help clients and talent find each other and work together!