Today’s post is from SAG-AFTRA Voice Actor and Voice123 premium member, Dude Walker. He graciously invited me to attend an online meeting of his voice over group to answer some questions about Voice123. What I found out from this meeting, is that many Union members feel that Voice123 is not a good resource for them due to the lack of union job postings. While, yes, the vast majority of voice over projects posted on Voice123 are marked as non-union, Dude has been able to convert those jobs to meet union requirements. I asked Dude if he could tell us how he does it and I was shocked at how simple his answer was!
Converting Non-Union Voice Over Projects to Union
by Dude Walker
If you’ve ever responded to a Voice123 audition request, you’ve probably noticed the “Union Requirements” heading is many times followed by the phrase, “The voice seeker is willing to hire either union or non-union talents for this project.”
So, if you’re non-union, it’s business as usual. But, what if you are a union member, like in my case, SAG-AFTRA? Many voice seekers indicate they’ll hire Union members, but list a budget well below union rates for their project. Most of the time, clients aren’t trying to coerce members to work non-Union or trying to be cheap, they simply aren’t familiar with what working with Union talent entails. Converting a “non-union job” into a “union job” is really not as difficult as some have made it out to be.
Negotiating the Budget
The first hurdle is the aforementioned budget. Here’s an example: Let’s say the quote is $100 for an Industrial Narration. Honestly, anything that low is probably not worth pursuing. However, if the budget is $500 – now maybe you can talk to this client! As of this writing, the scale for a Category 1 Industrial voice over that requires an hour or less in studio is $401. You should add to that the necessary fees for Pension & Health, Taxes and Paymaster and your total cost to the client totals $563.41 — not that far from original budget the client posted!
Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve never had a client choose my audition and then balk at an additional $63.41. But, you must be honest up front, before production begins, what the full fee will be – no surprises. In your auditioning remarks, it is up to you whether or not you bring up your union membership status. I usually just keep it short and sweet, just my contact info and some info about my capabilities. My fee is what it is and the client really doesn’t even have to know I’m union unless I want them to.
As a Union talent, you should have a good working relationship with at least one signatory paymaster. For most of them, all they need is a contact name and an email address in order to send your client an invoice. The client simply receives and pays this invoice as usual; there’s no production reports or other paperwork to fill out for them. Pretty easy.
Although only a small percentage of Voice123 members are Union, there’s no reason the website can’t be a valuable resource for them as well. I’m proof. Good luck!
You can find out more about Dude and hear his work at http://www.dudewalker.com/