I Work for Talents, not Clients encore

As talent agents, one of our dirty jobs is following up on overdue invoices. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s up to the agent (and the talent if you run your own VO business) to decide on a case by case basis, who is legitimately having issues and who is kind of jerking you around. We have a number of agency clients who are always predictably late in payment and on top of that, aren’t always the best at communicating why they are late or when we can expect payment. In some cases, you have to contact them 3 or 4 times before getting a response.

Here is an exchange hot off the press this morning with one of these types of clients. Always be prepared to fire a client (or annoy them into firing you!). This reminded me yet again of my agency motto: I work for talents, not clients!

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:06:28 -0400
To:
Subject: OVERDUE Invoice 13818 from PN AGENCY

Hi Paul:

This one going back to April was never paid. Please advise.

Thanks.

Roger King

(No response all week)

Sep 25, 2014, at 6:37 PM, Roger King wrote:

Paul – why do I have to spend so much time hounding you guys for these
payments? Every invoice there are like 20 follow-ups. It gets tiresome.

Would someone please give me an answer about this invoice from April???!

C’mon!!!!!

P.S. Leslie – this is probably why I didn’t jump to send you auditions today.
Why bother when it takes so long and so much effort to get paid?

On Sep 26, 2014, at 2:00 AM, Melanie Wright wrote:

Roger I apologize for the delay but there is no need to be nasty. I’m forwarding your email to our owner to let him know your concerns. I personally found you online years ago and have continually referred you to other staff members and clients. I’d like to continue to do so.

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 7:01 AM, Roger King wrote:
Hi Melanie:

I appreciate your referrals.

I don’t see where I am being nasty. Your company is often very late with their payments and I have to go through this routine several times with overdue invoices before I get a response and more importantly a payment. This is business, nothing personal.

I think we make a great effort to respond to your casting requests in a timely manner. My request is the same consideration be given to us when it comes to payment.

Roger King

On Sep 26, 2014, at 8:17 AM, Melanie Wright wrote:

Roger as someone in the customer service industry, your tone came off nasty to me. I would never ever speak that way to a client or anyone for that matter- even if they were behind in billing. If you disagree and don’t see that it has come off very rude, I understand- it is a matter of opinion. As I said I will pass this on to our owner to be resolved and moving forward we can look at other avenues for voiceover needs that share the same ideals in customer service as we do. Thanks for your help over the years. I do appreciate it.

On Sep 26, 2014, at 8:42 AM, Roger King wrote:

Well Melanie, I am trying to make the point that this has been going on for years with your company. Payments are always late and I often have to follow up several times before I get anyone’s attention. So yes, if you are detecting that my tone isn’t all honey sweet and butterflies, that’s the reason. You say you would never talk to a client this way. Well I would never treat a supplier this way. So touché.

My job is to represent talents and to get them paid promptly. I am not trying to win a congeniality contest.

You have always been very pleasant to deal with and my beef of course is not with you. But just politely following up and asking when we will receive payment does not seem to do the job so yes, I am going to come on a little stronger until I see a change in the way your company does business.

Respectfully,

Roger King

And then I re-read her last email and realized she was telling us goodbye so I couldn’t resist this:

From: Roger King
Date: September 26, 2014 at 8:56:54 AM EDT

You wrote: “moving forward we can look at other avenues for voiceover needs that share the same ideals in customer service as we do. ”

You mean the ideals of paying your suppliers months and months late and then passively aggressively criticizing them when they complain? Good luck with that!

Roger King

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Podcasts of a Voice Agent

Over the last couple of years I have done a few podcasts for the fine folks at voices.com as part of their Voice Over Expert series. Such a title – voice over “expert”. But I’ll take it!

They are all listed at the link below and I thought I’d post here because the topics covered seem to be among the most popular in voice over discussions on the web: What Your Agent Should Be Doing For You, Collecting Money from Clients Who Haven’t Paid and Tips on Getting An Agent.

Pour yourself a beverage and have a listen and of course feel free to share and tweet widely:

http://podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts/roger_king/

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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Is the movie trailer voice dead?

I thought this was an interesting piece recently in the Globe and Mail. We rarely get calls for voicing movie trailers so what the article is saying has been my experience:

“Summer movie season is in full swing, but one iconic part of the viewing experience is missing in action: the trailer voiceover.

The gravelly voice that narrates previews – you know the one, he often starts with the words “in a world” – has all but vanished, according to a review of more than 200 blockbuster trailers over the past 20 years by The Globe and Mail. ”

Full article:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/in-a-world-without-voiceovers-what-happened-to-the-movie-trailer-voice/article18806436/

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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I Am What I Play

So, in addition to running PN Agency and Ethnic Voice Talent, and keeping the masses entertained with this blog, I have also managed to make a feature length documentary on the side. The subject: rock radio DJ’s. It’s called I Am What I Play and here’s the pitch:

I Am What I Play focuses on four well-known North American radio disc jockeys during the heyday of rock radio, when many disc jockeys were given great freedom on the air, had celebrity status, and had a direct connection to the biggest names in rock and roll. As radio became more commercially-controlled and new media has taken hold, these DJ’s have had to carve out a new career space for themselves. Has free-form radio died, or has it reinvented itself in unexpected spaces?

The aim was not to tell some all-encompassing history of rock radio but rather to present four interesting characters whose lives were symbolic of the era and the medium, and who by telling their stories, would essentially guide us through the arc of rock radio.

The movie features music from Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Joni Mitchell, Rush and The Cars, among others.

The movie site is here:
www.iamwhatiplaythemovie.com

If Facebook is more your style, the film page is here. Lots of updates to come there:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Am-What-I-Play/297875140261718

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Ethnic Voice Talent is 10 Years Old!

In 2003, I was proud to represent a solid roster of English and French oral specialists. Quietly, I added some Spanish voices into the mix. Clients started to inquire: Can I get a German man? How about a Japanese woman? Time passed and I finally clued in that these were business questions and I sprung into action.

I set up some meetings with Chinese TV producers, dropped in to the Portuguese radio station, and called up translation companies. I was on the hunt for people who were fluent in languages besides English & French but who also had broadcast experience. The chartered accountant who happens to speak Arabic may be charming but it doesn’t do much good if he has never been behind a microphone.

Slowly I assembled the Germans and Cantonese and Italians and in 2004, Ethnic Voice Talent was born! I was amazed that the business name and URL were available. It lead me to believe I might be getting out in front of something. Clients started to call with corporate videos that needed to be done in three languages because the company also has offices in Berlin and Hong Kong – and radio spots that needed to reach the Chinese and the Italians as well as the English and the French.

Over the last 10 years, at Ethnic Voice Talent (EVT), we’ve done election campaign spots targeting the vote in various ethnic communities, an audio helicopter tour of Niagara Falls in 12 different languages, narrations for documentaries that played on television and film festivals around the world, and my favorite project to date: a major TV campaign for the NBA playoffs featuring play by play commentators from around the world. A number of our talented ethnic voices playing the part of NBA broadcasters of course.

Okay, I know it’s tough to make out the voices but at $3000 per language, who’s complaining!

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of EVT, I’m reflecting on how cool it has been to get to know all the communities, to learn a bit about different dialects within a language and to see the increased demand for authentic voices and accents of various countries and ethnicities.

In the coming months, I plan to put more energy into growing EVT: more languages, more choices of voice in the languages we do offer, and more outreach to clients who should be open to expanding their message to different audiences. Oral specialists are waiting to serve you in the language of your choice.

For now, thanks to all who have booked a talented ethnic voice these last 10 years and Happy Anniversary EVT!

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Voice Over Canada hits Brazil!

Apparently, we are making an impact in Brazil! An actual comment left on this blog:

“Hello, Roger. I’m a dreaming brazilian boy who is turning 18 this year. I’ve always been passionate about voice-acting and dubbing, I’m finishing my english studies and I’m taking voice-acting/dubbing technique classes this year. I’m willing to live in Canada. Maybe when I get there, i’ll send a demo to you. Love your posts!”

I didn’t set out to capture the imagination of 18 year-old Brazilian boys but it’s nice to have that international reach none the less.

To keep up with the furious pace of the Voice Over industry and get a side order of radio tidbits as well, Follow Voice Over Canada on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/voiceovercanada

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