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Online Casting – Unraveling the Mysteries

Tom Dheere

Let’s play a game about online VO casting.

I’m going to say a word (well, four words actually) and you’re going to tell me the first thing that pops in your head.


Pay-to-Play sites.

What was the first thing you thought of?


“They’re awesome!”

“I never book anything on them. What am I doing wrong?”

“Non-Union scumbags. They ruined the industry.”

“It’s the only way I know to find work.”

“What’s a Pay-to-Play-Site?”

Let’s say one of the above more or less line up with your initial reaction. How closely do your feelings about Pay-to-Play sites align with reality? Do your assumptions and expectations match the truth?

Some voice actors assume their only way to get into the voiceover industry is to use Pay-to-Play voiceover sites.

Some veteran voice talents whose voiceover careers pre-date the advent of the Pay-to-Play business model assume that if you use Pay-to-Play voiceover sites to find work, you are unethical.

Neither of these assumptions are accurate. This is coming from someone who used Pay-to-Play sites successfully for a few years then abandoned them thinking they were unethical, full stop. At the end of the day, Pay-To-Play sites are more like guns, fire, or polka music. It’s not what they are, it’s how they are used that make them an instrument of good or evil.

What is the truth about online casting sites in general, and Pay-to-Play sites in particular?

First off, what exactly is an online casting site?

An online casting site is pretty much what it sounds like: an online service designed to connect voice seekers with voice talent.

Some online casting sites charge a fee to audition for projects (Pay-to-Play sites) but many do not. There are dozens and dozens of free online casting sites out there that can be quite a boon to your voiceover career. How do they make money? By charging the voice seeker for curating the talent pool and offering quality voice talent for consideration. Google any combination of voiceover, casting, and company to find many, many, many of them.

To quote from Wikipedia

“Pay-to-Play, sometimes pay-for-play or P2P, is a phrase used for a variety of situations in which money is exchanged for services or the privilege to engage (play) in certain activities. The common denominator of all forms of pay-to-play is that one must pay to ‘get in the game,’ with the sports analogy frequently arising.”

In the voiceover world, Pay-to-Play companies are subscription-based businesses. If subscribers don’t pay, the company doesn’t have a revenue stream. It’s also known as a “voiceover marketplace” where you pay for access to said marketplace.

There is no question that online casting sites are an ever-growing part of the voiceover industry. But how do they fit in? How do online casting sites compare to each other? Which one is right for your business? How much work can you get from them? What is the best way to navigate the audition process?

In my class Success in Online Casting, I will cover these questions and much more in a webinar designed to demystify some of the confusion around online casting. I’ll do my best to explain the history of online casting sites, how they work, how they don’t work, why they work, and what you can do to set yourself up for success in the world of online casting.  If the class isn’t currently being offered, feel free to book a Private Coaching Session with me and we’ll discuss these same topics.

In this webinar or a Private Coaching Session with me, you will learn …

  • The world of voice-over online casting
  • What an online casting site is – and does
  • The Pay-to-Play model
  • How a Pay-to-Play model works
  • How voice seekers use Pay-to-Play sites
  • How voice talent use Pay-to-Play sites
  • The pros & cons of using Pay-to-Play sites
  • The ethics of Pay-to-Play sites
  • How to use online casting sites effectively

I hope to see you soon!