This morning (2/16/21) I attended a Zoom webinar hosted by the VO Dojo presenting the upcoming voice over casting resource, CastVoices.com, launching on March 20th, 2021 (for voice actors to start setting up profiles).
I’ll highlight some of the features and notes I took although most of the questions asked are also answered on their current IndieGoGo campaign page here. The IndieGoGo campaign seems to be both an early marketing effort and a fundraiser for a couple of worthy charities, as opposed to seed money for the development. You will get 14 months instead of 12 if you sign on via the IndieGoGo campaign as a sign up bonus.
WHY is the site/service being launched?
The site is being built on the needs that Liz Atherton‘s saw in her 20+ years of voice agent experience. They’re trying to match the official casting process (between casting director/agent/vo person) in an online version.
“We are coming from a place of complete transparency. … We want this to feel like your home … We are you”
WHO is behind it:
Liz Atherton, Nick Krause, Adam Creighton, Bobby and Elizabeth Alcott have 20+ years of their agent/marketing/gaming careers and it’s their contacts that they will be inviting to the platform first when it launches for agents/casting directors.
So what is it?
Essentially, it’s a job board.
They’re hoping to appeal to “all types of projects” (not just corporate/e-learning/explainers but SAG and Non-Union film/tv/animation/video game and more).
Is it another Pay to Play site?
Their answer is “No” for the following reasons:
- You can have a free basic membership
- There’s no algorithm that will weight your audition, demos or profiles higher based on your subscription
- There’s no project bidding (therefore no “race to the bottom” as on other P2Ps). The rate of the job is set by the casting directors and THAT’S THE RATE.
- CastVoices is considering themselves as a job board (e.g. Indeed or Monster) and will be not taking a cut from the projects. They won’t be holding money in escrow. They won’t be facilitating the project’s payments at all. Their operating costs will be coming from the subscriptions that voice actors and agents are paying for.
There will be three levels of subscription for voice actors. FREE, STANDARD ($150 annual or a monthly option) and PRO ($250 annually or a monthly option). You can also sign up for a Standard membership and upgrade later at a pro-rated price.
The Free level (as I understood it) can still audition for anything that gets posted and that is visible to you (meaning that you match the specs the casting director requested).
Standard gives you extra features like more demos, video features, bookout calendar, agent access.
Pro – even more demos and media storage, archives, re-buy reminders and the opportunity to get feedback on your auditions (though the actual feedback would be up to the casting directors/agents to provide… it’s not guaranteed feedback). Pro subscribers also get a feature called a “soundbite” which is an icon of a microphone that shows up wherever your profile shows up on the site. When clicked it will play something like 30 seconds of audio which can be treated like a cover letter (i.e. “Hi, my name is Erin and I have a home studio…”) or a mini demo.
How will a job posting/audition work?
Here’s how I understood it:
- A casting director will post a job and set a number of auditions they’d like to receive.
- The casting directors will be setting the rate. It won’t be a bid-based “race to the bottom” style.
- They can then ask agents to submit from their rosters AND/OR ask for a number of auditions from the site.
- If posted to the site, you will see the job if you fit the specs (based on the profile you set up for yourself and the specs the casting directors entered). Sidenote: If you’re in the Union but don’t have an agent, you won’t see Union job postings unless the casting director
has specifically invited you or opened it up to all.
- At that point you’ll need to get your audition in as soon as possible because it is FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. (Yes, this will
give some advantage to people in earlier time zones.)
- You will be uploading an MP3 – it’ll be your choice whether that MP3 is a demo or a custom audition for the project. (Custom
- If the casting director hasn’t found the right voice in the submissions they get they can re-open the job and it will be first
come first serve again to get an audition in.
If you are an AGENT and you are on the site your features will include creating rosters of your clients, tagging them with your own notes, cloud storage for audition files, the opportunity to review/reject auditions when they come in, and to add notes on any auditions before you submit your batch to the casting director.
From their IndieGoGo page: “Talent then auditions through our proprietary file-sharing, review, and callback process, and (of course) book projects.”
SOME ADDITIONAL DETAILS:
Casting directors/Ad agencies will NOT be charged to use the site.
Their goal is to make this site your go to voice over home/hub to operate from. They want to supply enough resources and tools so that even when the auditions are sparse there are still tools on the site that you can use for your freelance business.
They want to be as transparent as possible in their business (which also translates to your full name being on your profile including options to list/link up your social media accounts). You can also ask your agents to put your under their rosters when they create their accounts.
QUESTIONS ASKED/ANSWERED DURING THE WEBINAR:
Can talent request to be added to a casting director’s roster?
No, talent can’t reach out to CDs but CDs can search, find and add you to their own lists (and then send auditions to just their custom lists).
Will new voice actors be vetted for experience/sound quality?
No, any voice actor with any level of experience will be able to create a profile.
ON THE ROADMAP:
They want to create a series of video tutorials on how to set up your profiles and their recommendations but it won’t be a one on one hand-holding experience.
Eventually they plan to add “on camera” resources with another set of tools and features but that is further down the line.