Warning! I am a satirist! If you do not have a sense of humor or are easily-offended, these blogs may not be for you. May I interest you in an innocuous episode of Peppa Pig instead?
Getting Hung Up On Principle
There are things in life that just make you want to hurl.
- Michael Bolton music
- Michael Bolton pictures
- Michael Bolton pictures set to music
- Anything with Michael Bolton included in it in any form whatsoever, in any way... ever
But these things are not what this particular blog is about.
By now, you have heard me rant about low-paying jobs and frustrating bargain-basement casting calls. You have wallowed and groveled with me as we have together lamented the downward plunge of fair market rates. We have shed tears together as we have, in solemn unity and faithful solidarity, watched the gentle erosion of the industry pay-scale. And then you have moved on and continued to work, forgetting this whole silly hullabaloo, and resolving to work anyway.
While I have stayed here:
- Shedding tears
…do you mean to say that you have emotionally resolved to shrug your shoulders and move on and accept that which must be, chanting a solemn “Que será, será”?
If you have spent any length of time in voiceovers and knocked heads with any one of a number of established voice talent, you will undoubtedly have had conversations about the insane insipid insidiousness of some jobs out there. I have written various blogs about this, entitled, insultingly:
- What The @!#?@! Is Going On With Rates?
- Full Buyout In Perpetuity For $200? Sure Thing, Pal….
- So You Wanna Be A Voice Actor, Eh? (Part 2)
- Pssst! Hey, Sellout! Yeah, You! Over Here!
- Hey, A Voice Talent’s Gotta Eat…
- I’ll Give You Free Voiceover Work!
- How To Become A Voiceover Gajillionaire
These blogs of mine – which are blessed by God and which you should frankly read right away for your very salvation – are intended to shed light on the fact that something nefarious is going on, and we had best start toeing the line. There is a subtle undercurrent of sinister undercutting.
I am not alone in my musings. Paul Strikwerda frequently blogs about this issue and standing for fair rates. Paul Schmidt does the same. Paul Stefano also does this. As does every other ethical voice talent named Paul, I assume. Naturally, since my name is Josh and I like to buck the system, I will now pretend my name is Paul just so I can fit in. So for this blog, please refer to me as Joshua Paulexander. The 2nd. Esquire. Alternatively, please feel freedom to address me as “His Royal Blogness”. I will not protest.
The point being, this is a point we all cannot move on from.
Take A Stand
It is high time to take a stand in voiceovers for fair rates, if you have not done so already. Rates are eroding. I am seeing more and more casting notices specify the following delightfully eye-rolling lingo which makes me want to harm small animals:
- Full buyout
- Buyout in perpetuity
- Full buyout in perpetuity
- "Full Buyout in Perpetuity with Unlimited Unrestricted Use In All Media Throughout The Known Universe Until The End Of Time."
- Full buyout in perpetuity with a side of fries
- Complete worldwide buyout in perpetuity with cherries on top
- Full and complete worldwide buyout in all forms of media served on a rice pilaf with lobster, whilst being licked by kittens and served a steaming pint of unicorn liquor.
I don't think so, O Cunning and Calculating Conniver.
As a wise man once said, “You cannot have a Porsche for the price of a Pinto. No. You will be getting a Pinto for the price of a Pinto. You cannot have a mansion for the price of a newspaper on a park bench. It simply does not work that way.”
Whoever said that is very, very wise. I am talking extraordinarily wise. By the way, I said it.
Ozzy Osbourne once sang, “they’re goin’ off the rails on a crazy train.” These people want everything for nothing. They are Rumpelstiltskin through and through, just...without the Hervé Villechaize accent. We should not have to open up a casting notice and ask "What fresh hell is this?"
Here is what I still say when I see a job with outlandish usage (after various four-letter colorful metaphors muttered under my breath and permeating all of the recordings that I shall leave behind for my children to remember my profanity by):
Hi! Your stated budget is WAY too low & really unrealistic for your stated usage. Please see the GVAA Rate Guide (gvaarateguide.com) for fair market rates you should be paying for this. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for professional voiceovers with the highest level of quality & turnaround.
But is this whole taking-a-stand practice more than a little draining? Exhausting? Frustrating? And is it even sustainable?
Taking a stand is critical, and on every level. You see, I have been cursed with the knowledge of what is fair pay, and I will continue to stand with this curse.
Ten Steps Forward, One Step Back
This year, will I generate the same amount of revenue or more than I did in 2021? Probably not. It has definitely been a slower year overall Is part of my lower revenue due to my declining low-paying jobs? Partly, sure. I declined a $3000 job this year that was booked, and they were going to use it well beyond the scope of what was posted in the casting notice. Do I feel bad about losing out on this?
Not one bit, and I mean that with every fiber of my being and the fire of a thousand suns.
You see, this curse of knowledge is actually a blessing:
- A blessing knowing I am valued
- A blessing that I can carry myself upright
- A blessing that I can sleep well at night
- A blessing not being taken advantage of
- A blessing knowing that I did not sell out
- A blessing knowing that I am toeing the line for my colleagues, and encouraging them to do the same.
Would I like $3000? Sure. Of course I would. But not when it means that I have been bamboozled.
Every single job I look at now, I make sure that the pay is commensurate with the usage, and that the usage is commensurate with the pay. I gain a few jobs by toeing the line, and I lose a job by toeing the line. It is ten steps forward, and one step back. I can sleep at night with my forward momentum being fueled by integrity.
The coincidental thing? Every single time I decline a foul-paying job out of integrity...I somehow seem to soon after be rewarded with a new job that pays handsomely. Every time.
What fuels your forward momentum? Being full of integrity? Or being a sellout? Will you get hung up on principle, take upon your shoulders this curse of knowledge, and be blessed in the curse?
Integrity, as defined by Merriam Webster, says the following:
Please pay no mind that the word of the day, next to "integrity", is "rapscallion." Pay that no mind, please. A rather unfortunate coincidence.
If you need me, I will be over here wallowing and groveling...and firmly adhering to the quality or state of being complete or undivided.
Mr. Paulexander, Rapscallion of Integrity
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