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Debunking the myths about online casting sites – Part 3 of 3

Graeme Spicer

Note: This is part 3 of 3 in Graeme’s Pay-to-Play article.

The purpose of this article is not to lobby in favor of the online casting services, nor to malign them. Voice actors are entrepreneurs, and like all small business people they need to make business decisions based on what works best for them in their specific circumstances. But let’s ensure that these business decisions are being made on the basis of correct information.

(In the interest of full disclosure – I’m a paying member of both websites. Edge Studio has good relationships with both organizations, and recommends both.) – Myth #3

“The SurePay escrow fee screws the voice actor – it’s the actor that ends up paying the 10% commission. Why should I pay an expensive annual membership fee AND pay commission? It’s double dipping!”

This is probably the most contentious of the myths about And the one I personally find hardest to rationalize. But, I’ll give it a shot.

First – technically the actor doesn’t pay the 10% escrow fee. When submitting an audition, the voice talent puts in their price and the platform adds 10% to the estimate. Your price is $300? The client sees $330. Really, this isn’t much different from the union voice over world where frequently the casting director or agency lists a project on the casting breakdown at $XXXX + 10% (with the 10% intended for the actor’s agent). Do you feel the 10% escrow fee makes your estimate uncompetitive? The fee is added to every submission. And see the Myth #2 blog entry from last week – voice seekers aren’t typically making casting decisions based on price, anyway.

Second, justifies this fee as reasonable; it supports their guarantee the actor is paid fully and quickly. pays out their voice talent every month. The voice talent never has to worry about chasing accounts receivable.

Is inserting itself into the business transaction in an intrusive way? Many actors say, “Yes, I’ll look after my own accounts receivable, thank you.”

However, my research shows that the SurePay escrow system seems to be a fair and legal business practice – if an actor doesn’t like fulfilling the transaction and extracting a 10% fee from the voice seeker, then use instead. It doesn’t insert itself into the transaction process.

The key lesson:

– err, none, really. It is what it is. If you don’t like the Surepay escrow system, use a different means to find projects.

Coming next week, I’ll take a look at the fallacies circulating in the marketplace about

Comments or questions are welcome – email me at [email protected].