Part 2…Voice Jockeys: A Pay-To-Play Site You Should Avoid
Here’s more provocative commentary from legendary VO coach Marc Cashman, about VoiceJockeys.com. It certainly says a lot about where the VO industry is heading, and how hazardous it can be if you don’t read the fine print!
Do you think the VO industry is better overall now than it was 10 years ago? 20 years ago? I hope we get some comments on this one!
We’ve got a very interesting subject this month: an exposé on a new online casting or “pay-to-play” website—Voice Jockeys—that’s lowering the low bar already set by these sites. I received an email from this company that was soliciting voice talent. Their rates for payment were utterly ridiculous, and their contract was outrageous. I immediately contacted my colleague, Robert Sciglimpaglia, Jr., (www.robpaglia.com) who is a voice actor and attorney, and author of Voiceover LEGAL (www.voiceoverlegal.com) and asked him if he knew about this company and/or if he’d been contacted by them. He said he’d look into it and get back to me. Soon afterward, he wrote a scathing exposé on them on www.VoiceoverXtra.com.
Here’s Part 2 of 3 (click here for Part 1):
Pay: Voice Actor / Attorney Fumes At Online Casting Company’s Contract:
By Rob Sciglimpaglia Jr., Voice Actor & Attorney
“The Voice Personality will provide such reasonable substantiation regarding time incurred in providing services as may be required by Company.”
So, obviously, delivering the file, with up to three re-reads, is not enough “reasonable substantiation” that you actually completed the work.
“Should a client of Company refuse to remit payment for services rendered by Voice Personality due to dissatisfaction with Voice Personality’s work product, the Company shall not be responsible to compensate Voice personality for said services and the Voice Personality expressly waives the right to compensation for said services which are rejected by a client of the Company.”
I am going to try this one next time I go to a restaurant and am “dissatisfied” with my meal.
I SUE MYSELF?
I personally LOVE this next provision:
“The Voice Personality agrees to indemnify the Company against all liability or loss, and against all claims or actions based on or arising out of damage or injury (including death) to persons or property caused by or sustained in connection with the performance of the Agreement or by conditions created thereby, or based on any violation of any statute, ordinance or regulation, and agrees to indemnify the Company against the cost of defending any such claims of (sic – should say “or”) actions.”
So let me get this straight. On top of the company taking half of my $55 for my national voice-over job, I am also agreeing to pay for their attorneys to defend the company in court should something negative happen that causes the company to get sued! Well, that seems fair to me!
The more likely scenario is that the company will ask me to do a “celebrity impersonation” or a “product endorsement” which will get ME sued, and then, OOOPS, I agreed to indemnify THEM, and not the OTHER WAY around, so guess I’m on my own for my $27.50 job.
NO CLIENT CONTACT
But wait, it gets way better:
“Voice Personality agrees that during the term of this Agreement and for a period of 12 months after the termination of the Agreement, he or she will not directly or indirectly solicit the clients, customers or prospective clients or customers of the Company …or in any way connected with any business in competition with the Company in the following locations: North America.”
So, even when I am done not being compensated properly by this company, I am still tied to them for 12 months because I can’t do any direct work for any of those clients who used me as “their voice.”
THIS IS PROFESSIONAL?
Do the clients hiring this company know that the voice they used to build their brand can be gone at the snap of a finger? Is this really the “service” we wish to provide to our clients? Better yet, is this the company’s definition of being “a professional”?
But we’re just getting started here:
“Time is of the essence with respect to all dates and time periods set forth or referred to in this Agreement.”
So, if you miss the deadline of getting your file back, even if it is only by one second, you:
- have no right to get paid under this contract,
- can be terminated from their roster immediately for breach, and
- any damage that results to them will land you in court (see below).
Of course, there’s more:
“This Agreement shall be interpreted … in accordance with the laws of the State of New York. Additionally, all parties to this Agreement shall submit to the jurisdiction of the State of New York and agree that proper venue shall lie in Nassau County, New York.”
So, if you get stiffed by this company, even though you agree not to compete with them in the territory where they do business (the entire continent of North America), you will have to hop on a plane and get to Nassau County, NY to collect on your $27.50. Or if you missed your deadline by a second, and that caused the company to be sued by the client for missing a deadline, guess who is going to be on the hook for that? A hint: it is not the company!
WHAT A BREACH
It gets SOOO much better:
“The parties agree that the remedy at law for any breach or threatened breach by a party may, by its nature, be inadequate, and that the other parties will be entitled, in addition to damages, to a restraining order, temporary and permanent injunctive relief, specific performance, and other appropriate equitable relief, without showing or proving that any monetary damage has been sustained.”
Are you kidding me? So, not only can this company sue you in Nassau County, NY if they think you breached the contract, but they can also slap an INJUNCTION against you as well, requiring you to perform under the contract, or preventing you from competing against this company.
IT’S A WRAP…
We’re getting to the finale here:
“Voice Personality agrees not to work for any other voice company using his/her … screen name, at lower rates than the Company currently charges.”
OK, so we not only will work for ridiculously low rates, we will violate the good ole capitalistic notion of competition and make sure that no other companies pop up and undercut these rates.
I’ll be bringing you Part III next month.
Marc Cashman © 2012
MARC CASHMAN, President and Creative Director of Cashman Commercials/L.A., creates and produces copy and music advertising for radio and television. Winner of over 150 advertising awards, he’s a guest speaker at Ad Clubs and Broadcasters Associations throughout the U.S. and has been interviewed in trade magazines, newspapers and on radio and television programs. As a voice actor, Marc was named one of the “Best Voices of the Year”—twice—by AudioFile Magazine. He’s also taught voiceover at California Institute of the Arts and instructs all levels of voice acting through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques in Los Angeles, CA, as well as world-wide tele-coaching. Marc has been the Keynote Speaker and Master Class instructor at VOICE 2008, 2010 and 2012, the only international convention for voice actors. He can be contacted at 661-222-9300, firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website, www.cashmancommercials.com.