• Rob Marley

Freelance Isn't Free

Would you work for 68% below minimum wage just to build your skills as a voiceover artist?

Me neither.

I occasionally trawl for jobs on some of the freelance sites out there. Sometimes you can find voiceover work that, while it may not pay the greatest, will still pay a fair rate for the work involved. It doesn't happen that often, however, and freelance sites like this are known among voiceover circles as "Dollar-a-holler sites." The other day I noticed this job offer and couldn't believe my eyes:

This guy wanted someone to record 300,000 words, split across 100 different recordings and was willing to pay $100 for the effort.

Knowing I was not in the running (and completely unwilling to work for this rate,) I proceeded to bid $30,000 on the project - which is about the middle of the scale for what this much work should pay. And then (because I am not always the most diplomatic of individuals with stuff like this) told the voice seeker that their job posting was the single most ridiculous offer I had ever seen.

I was going to just leave it at that, and shared it with my followers on Twitter as an object lesson for new voiceover artists.

Much to my surprise, the voice-seeker replied back:

With my give-a-f*** circuit now having fully melted down, I replied back:

The voice seeker tried to impress upon me that what they were doing was providing an opportunity for new voiceover talent to gain valuable experience and add to their resume. Really?

Let's do the math: According to the script timer provided by Edge Studio, averaging about 3 words spoken per second, a 3,000 word script would take roughly 16 minutes to record. This is assuming you're able to read the entire script perfectly on the first shot without having to do any re-takes. How long would it take to edit the breaths between words, save the file and move on to the next recording? Realistically, (as if ANYTHING about this job could be seen as realistic) let's figure 10 minutes of editing per recording.

With 100 scripts to record and edit, that works out to about 43 HOURS of work.

And based off of the rate that the client wants to pay, this means you are working for about $2.32 per hour.

Look: It doesn't matter if you're brand new in the world of voiceover or not: YOUR TIME AND EFFORT HAVE WORTH.

Don't get suckered into believing that this one job will help you develop your skills and add to your resume. The client is making money off your work, which you would be giving to them at a third of what minimum wage is.

Don't work for slave wages: Freelance isn't free.


About Rob Marley -

A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, coach, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin, Texas. Find out more here.