Ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s insulting

I’m getting annoyed. Very, very annoyed.

I’m getting annoyed at how some voice seekers have become almost condescending towards voice actors. The tone with which they write their job descriptions and the budgets that they post are down right insulting. Yes, I understand that many voice seekers are ignorant of the voice-over world, its rates, and what voice talent have to go through to get to a level of professionalism. But gimme a break!

Case #1 – Mildly annoying

A recent voice over job I saw posted on the Internet was looking for a professional, high-quality voice over to narrate a 5-minute script. Their budget? A measly $30. That’s it. Their reasoning? Because the voice over would only be used as a mock-up they weren’t looking to spend a lot of money.

Now, while mock-up fees are not as high as the fees for regular, broadcast jobs, $30 for a 5-minute narration is just too low!

Case #2 – You’ve got to be kidding me?!?!

This voice seeker is looking for someone to record articles that range from 300 words (about 3 minutes of narration) to 1,500 words (roughly 15 minutes of narration).

The fee?

$3.60 per article!

You read that correctly: three dollars and sixty cents per article!

The voice seeker also wants each article to recorded and sent within 15 hours after being assigned and reserves the right to ask for revisions too: at this $3.60 per article fee!

Case #3 – talking down from their throne

Have you ever seen this:

“Anyone who knows what they are doing can get this job done quickly”

First of all, it’s insulting and condescending. And why would someone write that anyway? What’s the motivation? To justify their extremely low budget by saying you can get it done fast (provided you know what you’re doing)?

I don’t know about you, but to me, someone who is very good at their job (because of their training or experience or both) deserves to get paid well! Should I tell my doctor “because you know what you are doing, you should be able to get my operation done quickly, professionally, and at a ridiculously low price?”


Case #4 – the bribe

I see this one a lot:

“Our budget is low, but if you do a good job then there may be future work for you as well.”

Some of my friends are freelancers in different fields (website design, graphic design, app programming, etc.) and they see exactly the same thing. And they all say that more often than not there are no future jobs waiting in the wings for them. That “possible future work” line is just a way to get freelancers to accept low pay for quality work. Don’t buy into it!

I’d love to walk into a restaurant and say “I’ll only pay you a small portion of the price of my lunch. But if I like how you cook, then I’ll possibly come back every day to eat lunch here.” I’m sure the waitress would kindly turn me away and seat the next paying customer in line.

Why this continues to happen

The answer is simple:
Because voice talent actually take this kind of abuse and bid on (or audition for) these jobs!

Yes, yes, I know. If you are just breaking into voice acting, then getting your first few jobs is hellish. But accepting this kind of behavior from voice seekers and getting paid such laughingly silly fees is just going to damage you and the voice over field as a whole. (If you haven’t yet, please read my post called: Working for peanuts – not prime rib. It goes into more detail.)

Please remember this:
You teach people how to treat you by how you respond to them.

If you let them treat you badly, then they’ll just keep on doing it.

Am I off base?

I’m curious to know what others out there think. Am I right in my rants? Or am I way off the mark? And if you have seen anything that raises your blood pressure, then please feel free to write it in the comment section below.


  1. Hi there

    Couldn’t agree more. I joined elance recently and have had some great jobs off it. But I noticed some jobs were posted for highly professional voice artist, with own studio to record a 30 second commercial. The fee? $30! Now THAT is insulting!

  2. Many good points David. I’ve learned to just say “no” to the
    low ballers out there. I think the more experienced voice talents develop good instincts about taking on possible jobs. I often pass on jobs that are either too low paying or they want a whole lot of something for very little. Much of my voice work is e learning and I’m fortunate to have clients that “get it.” I pass on the ones who don’t.

  3. Don’t let them get to you, David. It’s part of the free market system: offer and acceptance. Think of these offers not as insults, but as displays of ignorance, and have pity on the poor souls that publish them.

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  1. When it comes to setting budgets for voiceover work, ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s insulting! | Voice Actors Notebook | Inside Voiceover—Cutting-edge Insights + Enlightening, Entertaining News for Voiceover Professionals | Scoop.it
  2. Ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s insulting | Voiceover Daily | Scoop.it

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