A forum for those burning business and legal questions that voice-over artists face everyday, like, LLC or S-Corp? What is a non-disclosure agreement and do I need to sign one?, Etc, Etc.
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  • I'm working on planning my demos. It's going well, but there is one section I'm stuck on. The first one I'm composing is an advertisement demo for my account page, but I'm not sure whether I have to make up my own adverts, or if we're allowed to include copyright brand names? Thanks in advance. I hope you understand what I mean, I'm usually not very good at explaining things. :) Rachel
  • Rob, your latest entries on "Voiceovers On Demand" are tremendous!
  • Hi Robert,

    Glad to join the group-- highly informative!!

    May I contact you privately about a personal matter?-- Voice related of course!!!!
  • Helps a lot! Thanks Robert. Time for some study and research.
  • Hi Steve. It certainly is a good idea to join one of the Unions if you feel you are ready to compete with the "big boys". The 2 unions that cover voice over are AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), and SAG (Screen Actors Guild). AFTRA covers Radio, plus many shows shot on Video on TV, plus many other areas like audiobooks, etc. SAG covers anything shot on film, like a movie or a tv show done on film, like Law and Order for example. AFTRA is an open Union, meaning anyone can join by paying the intiation fee of approx $1200, plus yearly dues. To join SAG, you have to "qualify" by having a "speaking" or principle role in an SAG signatory project. You can also qualify doing background work where you are paid Union wages for 3 days (with "vouchers", popularly known as "waivers). Or, you can join if you are a member of AFTRA for a year and had a principle role in an AFTRA project. The initiation fee is approximately $2200 to join SAG, plus yearly dues.

    Once you join the Union, you can NO LONGER do non-union work, unless you declare "financial core" which means you basically "resign" from the Union, but are still allowed to work on Union projects. Financial core status is a controversial topic, so when to join the Unions and when to declare financial core should be a discussion you have with one of your personal advisors, like an agent or manager, before you do it.

    That leads to the question as to how a VO artist should pick an agent. This is a tricky question, but the answer for me is to pick one that you feel most comfortable working with. You want to be sure that the agent is going to be "submitting" you regularly to get auditions. It is pretty common in the voice over world to have multiple agents in different areas of the country, so it may be wise to either "freelance" or work "non exclusively" with different agents because if you sign "exclusively" with one agent, then (in general), you won't be able to work with any other agents.

    Hope this helps!
  • I have read that it is a good idea to join one or two of the unions voicerover artists join. Which ones are they and how do I go about that? And then how does a VO artist pick an agent? Any recommendation? Thanks.
  • Robert,
    Thanks so much for your answer. It was extremely informative. I've had Broadway performers who sought worker's compensation, so I had had some experience with this question.
    Looking forward to the thread.
  • I understand now. You mean for performers that may be doing an extended project or one that may put some strain on their voices, should they put in their contract that the producers are responsible for paying for medical care, or maybe even pay to have some "preventative care" performed.

    I think that is an excellent idea, if the producers are willing to agree to that. I do think that for larger projects, producers would agree to it as being reasonable and in both parties interest. Obviously if a performer "blows out" their voice during a project, the producers can't finish it up, so to have some provision as to payment for medical services up front can prevent many issues.

    As you say though, this would not be something that would be necessary in all agreements and would have to be on a project by project basis.

    In fact, this raises another issue in many States, and that is, if a performer injures his or her voice while doing a job, can the performer file a worker's compensation claim against the producer? I will start a separate post about this because I would love to know if this has ever happened to anyone.

    Thanks for the question.
  • Robert. I apologize for a lack of clarity. I'm referring to a voice talent request a provision in their contract with a client. Certainly, this is not the situation for everyone, but I've seen a number of performers who ran into voice issues during a project and wished they had made provisions for care in their contracts. I'm actually posing the question because I am not sure how often this is done or whether it is something I should suggest patients do.
    Thank you! BTW, I was just in New Haven for my class reunion, it was surreal to be back in Connecticut.
  • Steven: I'm not quite sure what you mean when you ask about "the need to request voice care/vocal coaching as part of a contract?" Are you talking about a contract that you are entering into with a voice talent for your services? Or, are you talking about a voice talent putting a provision in their own contracts with clients? Please elaborate a little. Thanks!
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