This article features a Voice123 review and summary originally published in late 2003.
In 2002 there were about 150 people on the internet providing voiceover services from a home-based recording studio.
When P2P sites came around, suddenly there was 150,000 people offering the same service.
This has obviously become a problem.
After many years of experience with being a member on several P2P sites, here’s a great Voice123 review; a must read for those considering a membership to any voiceover P2P website
What’s the deal with P2P (Pay-to-Play) Websites?
Decades before the Internet’s inception, VO Talent Agencies reviewed the quality of their “talent” before placing them on their roster. The reason was simple: If their agency didn’t have quality talent that could deliver each and everytime, their clients would go somewhere else and their business would ultimately fail. It’s no different than interviewing someone for a job before you hire them.
Imagine if you will, conducting an interview with a perspective candidate for employ at your company. When you ask them why they think they deserve the job, they respond:
“Well…….I have a credit card! Isn’ that great?!”
Got a credit card? You’re listed. The staff at Voice123 (and voices.com) don’t seem to care if your specialty is voice work or stained glass….regardless of your talent, skill or studio (audio) quality – demo or no demo, you can get posted with your credit card on Voice123 and compete with pros like myself for voiceover work. In reference to the aforementioned (as politically correct as I can be), here’s an example (Hint: Listen to the voice demo).
What You Can Expect in Revenues
I was on Voice123 from June 21, 2003 thru to 2009 as a Premium Member. Over 6 years my Voice123 audition folder accumulated 1258 files or custom auditions.
So….here’s a 6 year breakdown:
1258 Auditions resulted in 18 gigs totalling $6,129.00 in revenue (including return V123 clients)….over 6 years.
Before we break down the numbers, let’s minus the cost for the Premium Membership for Voice123 for 6 years @ $295.00 per year or $1770.00, bringing down total revenue to $4359.00
Based on an average of 5 minutes per submission, that equals roughly 105 hours of labor.
Let’s add another 36 hours to total labor to account for the time to record, deliver and administrate those 18 gigs…..bringing our total hours worked to 141.
$4,359.00 divided by 141 hours = $30.91 per hour.
Not exactly Fame and Fortune, is it?
Remember, this is an average over 6 years…….I went months and months between gigs, so it’s not like I had any kind of reliable, steady income.
So, what’s it good for?
The only truly useful purpose I can determine of Voice123 is, it can act as an on-line learning tool for those who really want to learn the craft of voice acting.
You get a huge variety of sample scripts to practice with and get some insight into the workings of the “on-line” business of voiceovers.
I’ve sent many a student to Voice123 for this reason, not to compete for work….but to practice. You can do this without paying for a membership, but beware the “try us 2 months for free offer.”
As for the talent listed there (and Voices.com), I can tell you that 95% of the talent are anything but professional, mostly ex-broadcasters, rookies and wannabes.
There are very few pros; I know this, because I’ve spent an exhaustive amount of time researching Voice123.
I tell ya, it’s a dog’s breakfast of talent responses to a posting – talent, service, price and marketing methodology. I’m not impressed at all.
Like the rest of the Internet, you have to sift through a lot of garbage to find what you’re looking for. Then, there’s the price issue. Every rate structure imaginable.
There are people who will work for $10.00 and others $1000.00 for the same job.
Yes, you find the odd decent talent. Of the 200+ responses to a single post there’s normally about 2 or 3 who I would consider competition in talent, service, studio and price.
It’s my feeling that Voice123 has done serious damage to a once (smaller) thriving industry…..by simply taking people’s money who have no business competing for the work; much less are able to provide quality audio and service.
V123 and Voices.com have given all these people a sense of entitlement they don’t deserve and in doing so, have made a mess of the whole industry by bringing in competition that didn’t even make it to training camp.
This is why we have hundreds and hundreds of people going to voiceover conferences where there’s a pile of coaches waiting to take their money.
People can’t figure out why they can’t quit their day jobs….because all these coaches have told them that the industry is “lucrative.”
“Yes! You can make $30.00 an hour….!”
It’s painfully obvious to me that Voice123 went after quantity not quality from the get-go.
That being said, don’t expect to make a dime with Voice123, (much less get the money back for your membership)……but do plan to answer many, many leads and get little or nothing in return.
If you’re a pro, well…..you know the story with Voice123 and you probably use it as a tool to sniff out leads and add to your existing client base.
What about the website itself?
They use a system called “Smartcast” that is anything but smart. Based on some really stupid calculations, it distributes leads to the Voice123 membership. How stupid? Here’s an example.
When I calculate my stats, the system compares me to every single North American English VO talent in the membership….including females.
I always sit around the 10% range of auditions submitted vs. invitations. In other words, if I was invited to audition 400 times, I would only answer about 40 of those invitations.
What does Voice123 tell me? Their system states that I have auditioned 300% more than the rest of all the North American English VO talent – including females.
Why is that? Well, I do VO full-time; 80% of the Voice123 membership have day-jobs and by the time they get home, the lead is closed.
Of course, Voice123 wants you to “be picky” about the leads you audition for. I’m at 10%. That’s pretty picky if you ask me. However…..somehow…I manage to audition 300% more than anyone else. Go figure.
Then we have the “ranking system” where, yes……you are ranked by Voice123 clients or “voice seekers” on your audition and overall submission.
That’s right! You too can be ranked by the front desk secretary who is looking for someone to voice their on-hold system, who has never hired a VO talent in her life.
Or perhaps the producer who listens to 20 auditions, hates everything and decides to give all 50 auditions the lowest score – without listening to the rest of them.
This….is how Voice123 “ranks” your ability.
As for the rest of the stuff there, well, they’ve removed their “Voice-over Savvy” forum; once a place where talent would share information.
Most in the industry believe they shut down the forum because there was negative commentary (translation: the truth) about Voice123 being posted. They couldn’t stand the heat, so they closed the kitchen.
This, pissed a lot of people off.
Still to this day, they heavily censor their Premium Forums to the point where it’s almost like being behind the once sturdy Berlin Wall.
Anything even remotely controversial is immediately pounced on and edited, outright deleted or the person posting banned from the forum.
Many have been outright banned from the entire site, their website and membership revoked. Go ahead, give it a try. Post the question:
“Why does Voice123 take money from people who claim to be voice talent when they clearly have no talent at all?”
Closing forums, censoring posts, taking money from people who have no business calling themselves a voice talent (selling dreams), spewing inane propaganda left and right……will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about Voice123.
Their actions speak far louder than their so-called “talent” roster.
If you’re rookie or wannabe, don’t waste your money. If you’re a pro or semi-pro, it might be worthwhile to try it out, but don’t expect fame and fortune.
Outside of that, Voice123 is a useful learning tool for students of the craft.