Three things for your VO weekend….
1.) For years the talk has been about the trend away from brick and mortar VO casting into the online space. Agents and casting directors are fighting hard and having some success in reclaiming part of that business, but lately I’ve seen a surge in a new type of client. I call them Curators. Curators tend to be younger buyers who, like online casting buyers of the last ten years, are rejecting the processes of traditional casting. However, Curators are different in one important respect: They are also rejecting pay to play sites. These clients don’t want to deal with what they see as the byzantine world of old school VO, but they look at casting sites as low rent and instinctively turn away from them. Curators instead focus on methodical internet searches to put together a shortlist of favorite talent by finding talent websites and listening to demos. These buyers tend to have strong budgets and are very open to the concept of licensing and residuals. They are the anti-establishment fair traders who relish all things organically creative and reject corporate structures and exploitation of freelancers. In other words, they are damn good clients. You want them. But are you ready for them? What are you doing to ensure you rank highly in search for whatever types of VO you specialize in? Do you have a reliable web person, or the knowledge to do it yourself? Ask yourself these questions, because the Curators are the next wave in the evolution of casting, and you want to be ready to ride that wave.
2.) Don’t be afraid to tell companies to cross out or remove silly stipulations from boilerplate contracts or vendor agreements. Many companies just use a standard agreement and aren’t used to being challenged on it. There is no need for you to carry a million dollar business insurance policy as a VO, or to agree to drug tests or interviews with your friends and family, (seriously, I’ve seen all of these.) Politely inform them that they need to remove unacceptably onerous terms from their form documents, and don’t bend if they push back. And if you do agree to pee in a cup, get residuals. Or don’t. Gross.
3.) TRENDING GENRE ALERT: Gaming & Gambling. With the end of America’s gambling prohibition, there’s about to be an explosion of new gaming, betting, and fantasy sports establishments both online and offline. The VO jobs in this sector are already taking off, and they are going to become even more prevalent. It might be time to consider the idea of Gaming & Gambling Commercial Demos as a stand-alone thing.
Have a great weekend!