I ran across a couple of blogs today about P2P sites or Pay-to-Play sites in voice over. When I first thought about getting into voice acting, this was a real shiny nugget glimmering in a sea of pebbles in what I should do to get started. They are constantly put in your face as ways to generate a lot of income doing voiceover work. I am not going to tell you whether there is any validity to this or not because I only have my own experience (which is still pretty immature) but I would have liked to see some blogs on this before I started.
So, there are now quite a few of these P2P sites: Voices.com, Voice123, Fiverr, VOPlanet, Bodalgo, Casting Call Club, Backstage(now owned by Voices), and a few more. Many of them have a yearly fee, some of them have membership tiers(basic, gold, platinum), some of them allow you to have a free limited membership, and some of them also require money from any project you do through their site.
There is much debate on the ethicality of some of these sites. Mostly to the tune of they are not paying voice over actors what is deserved. Yet, I have spoken with and heard about numerous people who generate a good income from the P2P sites. Some companies I have spoken with will only post jobs through a P2P site. I have personally been a member of Voices.com, Voice123, VOPlanet, Boldago, Backstage, and Casting Call Club.
The first thing that I learned is that you should be trained before going on to these sites. I have learned the some of the bigger sites that don’t screen their talent before hand have tens of thousands of members applying for the jobs. Some of them have no experience and/or training in Voice acting and some have had years of experience and training. I can’t say that having training is a requirement, because some people are just naturally good at voice over. However, the majority of the voice actors that I have talked to and read blogs from say that coaching is necessary and many of them still get coaching (even the ones that coach). You don’t usually get feedback on how your audition went. So it is hard to distinguish between knowing if your auditions are well and your are just not the right voice or you are auditioning all wrong. So having a coach listen to your auditions is helpful.
Another thing I learned was that you have to be careful how much you audition and what you audition for. I went in expecting that I would just get jobs. I figure if I audition enough, it would just be a numbers game, and I would be able to pull jobs here or there at least. Some of these sites will actually punish you for auditioning too much by lessening the amount of auditions you get. Especially if you audition for jobs that your voice doesn’t match what they are looking for. Some sites will even cancel your membership. So look out for that. Just be aware of what the jobs are looking for. If they are looking for an African American female voice and you sound like an British older male, then they are going to take note of that.
The sites that I currently use that I love are CastingCallClub, VOPlanet and Bodalgo. Bodalgo screens their talent before allowing them to become members which means it is not as flooded with talent as some of the other sites. VOPlanet sets pretty good prices for the jobs helping to make sure that both the client and the talent are happy. CastingCallClub has a lot of independent projects like animation or audio stories. They tend to not pay much but it is a cheaper site to be a member of, they want to showcase their talent, and the people who run the site are very easy to communicate with.
Just do some research before deciding to drop $300-$1000 onto one of these sites. If you don’t feel confident that your auditions will get you enough gigs to get that money back, then find someone in the industry that will help you figure that out. Get feedback on your auditions. Also know that coaches can help you find others ways of landing jobs too. you can learn about branding, marketing, talent agencies, and where to find jobs outside of the P2P sites as well. I have spoken with many people who don’t use these sites at all and make a comfortable living. Final note, just be thorough in your research and have a plan before pulling the trigger on these sites.