Category Archives: Reviews

Mini Review of the Voices.com SurePay system

Just got my first SurePay gig at Voices.com. While the whole transaction isn’t complete yet, I’m going to give a partial review of the system and then update once the whole thing is done.

How it works

  1. You submit one of many auditions
  2. You get an email from the client saying you’ve been hired
  3. take a few minutes to do the happy dance because out of hundreds of auditions, you were the right voice for the job
  4. Go the the Jobs tab at Voices.com
  5. Accept or reject the offer
  6. wait for another mail saying that the client has deposited the money into the Voices.com escrow account
  7. Record the gig and upload it through Voices.com
  8. Wait for the client to accept it
  9. Get paid, baby

My Experiences

I have to say that the system is very easy to use. You are given email steps the entire way with mostly clear directions. I did get on the on-line chat once with voices.com and spoke to a very nice person named Lin who dictated what the next step was. Then I looked in my mail and saw an email detailing exactly what she had said. If I had just read that, I wouldn’t have needed the chat.

An interesting part of the offer the client makes details the number of edits you will include in the project. For mine, this was 3. I doubt that many will be needed, but I’m OK with it if it does. If for some reason, you want to change your original bid, you can make a counter offer and wait for it to be accepted or rejected. All haggling seems to be done via the Voices.com SurePay system.

One of the things I didn’t like was that the client either didn’t include the final script or SurePay doesn’t display it. And there’s no mechanism to send a message to the client asking for it. At least not that I could see. So I had to go all the way back to the answered audition and pull the script there. And I had no indication if this was even the final script. So if the client doesn’t include their phone number, you have no way of getting clarification.

However, the lines of communication are not completely dark in the process. Every time you make an offer or accept or reject or upload, you can leave a comment. This is added to the list of comments prior so that you have a veritable message board of comments back and forth. While this is very handy, there’s something very impersonal about the whole thing. I prefer the freedom of email exchange or even a phone call to iron things out. I would suggest to Voices.com that they expand the messaging a little to give more breathing room for making the personal connections that are important in this business.

There’s a bit of confusion and I hope Stephanie will comment on this, but in the original blog post announcing the SurePay system there is supposed to be a “Done uploading” button to indicate that you have completed the recording and want approval. This button doesn’t seem to exist and while I’ve uploaded my files, the status of the job is “upload another”. Thankfully, I got an email saying the client has been notified of my upload, but I’m a little concerned that something is amiss.

So aside from a few small usability issues, I’m very satisfied with the SurePay system. I no longer need to worry about getting paid upfront. I know I’m going to get paid. I don’t record until the client puts money in Escrow and if they decided to run off with out “accepting” my recording, then I get paid anyway. This also gives assurances to the client that they’ll get a recording and not get stiffed by me. It’s a win-win situation for all, despite a few minor quibbles.


Internet Marketing Plans for Voice Actors

As everyone knows, marketing your services is a daunting task. Most of us know how to get in front of a mic and deliver solid performances. But when it comes to getting our names out and selling our services, we often come up blank.

Stephanie Ciccarelli of Voices.com has put together a 35 page e-book called Internet Marketing Plans for Voice Actors. If you’re new to the business or are an old hat who needs some new marketing tricks, this book might just be of use to you.

The book covers most internet tools including Search engine marketing, branding, and social media. As well, there are a few worksheets to help get you going.

There are a few things are vague and need some deeper delving into. Example:

"… Your logo should… not take up more than the normal allotted dimensions for logos."

I don’t know what that means because there is no definition for "normal allotted dimensions". The book has a few of those head-scratchers, but they are few.

The book really hits its stride with the search engine optimization and social networking sections. Here, solid advice is given about getting your site more search-friendly as well as utilizing the many social networking sites out there.

The rest of the book is a potpourri of mostly useful advice. I really wish some of the topics were hit a little harder such as Google Adwords. Certainly there are plenty of people with experience in these areas who would have been happy to be interviewed for the book.

Internet Marketing Plans for Voice Actors is a good jump-start for those new to the business or those who need some new ideas. While I would have liked a longer book that gets into more details, this is an excellent jumping-point for internet marketing.

 

Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this e-book for review in exchange for an unbiased review


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