Pay to Plays Sites... a brief guide for 2023.
Now, there is many a blog, vlog, discussion site, and article about the many ways to get voice-over work. But in this blog, we're going to break down the main pay-to-play sites in the UK, and discuss how they work. While sprinkling a little bit of my personal opinion about each one.
In my time, I've used many of them, and now, like lots of VOs, I diversify my business by using some pay to plays, some freelancing sites, and a lot of direct marketing and social media interaction. It took investment and time to understand which ones suited me, and which ones didn't feel right.
So let's get down to business, but remember, I'm not here to advertise or endorse them, this is a more factual guide along with some personal thoughts.
Despite many changes and ongoing discussions around rates, voices.com still seems to be the most used and favored of the pay-to-play sites. Offering global access to voice work, the site does not limit you from auditioning for any job you think you're right for. And as long as the accent is listed in your skills, you'll be invited to audition.
Recent developments have been the introduction of lower than usual job fees, and the new Top Talent Status Launch.
Anyone who uses voices will know that they take a 20% fee from the overall quote, so this has to be kept in mind when pitching yourself for auditions. The pessimist in me thinks that most clients are going to go for the cheapest talents, however, the realist in me knows that not only have I obtained work through voices, but it's been paid at the going rate, if not exceeding it.
Another string to your bow perhaps?
Currently priced at $499 for 1-year premium membership.
A quick sidebar about all pay to plays:
Just before we go any further, I think its important to mention something that applies to all of these sites - the commitment to auditioning (for which many of the jobs your vocal style will not be right regardless of how well you audition) takes up a lot of time that could be spent on building connections with long term clients, marketing your specific style and areas of the industry, and fostering relationships with people who will employ you again and again. So think about that in terms of your time management.
Another massive site when it comes to voice work is voice123. Now this one works slightly differently, in that you are invited to jobs based on your algorithm. And there are tiers of membership, which seem to buy you a better chance of higher-paid work, although that's never been confirmed.
The site is designed to match you with the best possible jobs, and clients can get in touch with you directly, even if you haven't auditioned for them. I believe voice123 does charge clients on top of the quote that you yourself receive, however, that is not included in the fee the voice actor gets, that is on top.
This, more so than voices, requires dedication, the algorithm works by gaining likes and favorites from clients, which then ranks you higher, and allows you to get more auditions and more jobs. It's not a perfect system, you often hear of people being invited to jobs that they just aren't right for. I'd recommend talking to some other VOs and doing some research before you commit.
However, I have worked using voice123 and gained clients simply through the search factor, meaning they found me without me even auditioning, so having a free profile can also be beneficial.
Currently, the memberships range from as low as $49 per year to $4950 per year.
Considered by many to be a platform more in favor of the voice artist, bodalgo works in a similar way. Jobs are posted via the platform with a budget range, and anyone can audition and submit a proposal. The platform does state that you shouldn't be auditioning for work unless you are particularly skilled in that area.
Bodalgo also requires an audition, whereby you have to submit your voice reels for approval to become a member of the site, something that the others don't do, this technically means your competing against the highest level.
Unfortunately, they don't seem to have the quantity that some of the other sites do, however, the work is predominantly paid in accordance with the going rate for VOs.
Bodalgo has three pricing options : €39.90 a month, €199.90 for six months at the price of five or €349.90 for the year and save 25%.
Mandy is a slightly different beast, although it does have a VoiceOver site, it is also a work platform for many other sectors of the creative industry, including acting, film crew, dancers, and singers. As well as listing voice-over jobs it also comes with resources such as an agency directory and a list of potential employers.
Mandy also lists what they call opportunities, which are unpaid, so if you're still training as a voice actor, or looking to try different things, this might be worth checking out.
Currently, the membership is set at £17.00 per month.
However, in early 2021 Mandy.com was acquired by...
Similar to Mandy, Backstage covers more than just voice acting, being a place where crew, actors, models, and content creators can all source work. The search function is customizable to allow you to search for work that is local to your area, as well as global jobs, and of course, you can filter out the ones that are paid versus the ones that are not.
Many of Backstage's work posts are for voice actor-based jobs, as opposed to voice-over-based jobs, so if you're looking to do more animation, gaming, or short film, then this might be the place to check out.
Currently Backstage is on sale at £24.99 for the year.
Although voplanet is well regarded in the US, most of the work on the site is for that marketplace, meaning there aren't many jobs in other accents or languages requested other than North American. Despite this, the quality of the jobs seems to be of a professional standard and rate. The platform works much like voices, without the 20% fee, and allows you to audition for any job you feel you are right for.
VOPlanet is currently priced at $199.00 per year.
A UK-based site, as its name would suggest, voices.co.uk is like bodalgo, in that you have to submit your demo reels for an audition or approval before you can become a member. After which you can apply for any of the auditions they post, and set your individual rates for each job.
Although the number of jobs posted is less than on other sites, the quality of the jobs is always high.
Voicesuk costs a one-off fee of £99.
And of course, there are other platforms such as the voice realm (maybe do some research about that one first) outspoken, cast voices, and casting call club, if you're interested in gaming and animation, as well as many others.
There is also a plethora of voice rosters to talk about, but we'll do another blog post about those at a later date.
Remember that the voice industry is growing, so many sites are popping up and hoping for their piece of the pie, but before you take the plunge and delve into high monthly and yearly fees, look into each site and ask around to find out what the consensus is.
Happy Voicing Folks
Singing out, SBVO.