A photo of Voices.com CEO and Co-Founder,David Ciccarelli, on a graphic background with the text 'Voices.com and the Union' on it

The following is the second in a series of open letters from David Ciccarelli, CEO and Co-Founder of Voices.com, discussing Voices.com’s products and services, as well as the company’s vision for the future.

As the co-founders of Voices.com, over the last decade both Stephanie and I have appreciated the important role that unions have played in the industry, be they the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA), or the merged entity of SAG-AFTRA.

The role of performing unions extends around the globe to the Alliance of Radio and Television Artists (ACTRA) in Canada, and EQUITY in the UK. There are many other groups – too many to list here – who all play an important role in hiring and compensating performers for productions or various kinds.

We aim to honor this heritage.

Connecting Actors with Work, Whether They Are Union or Non-Union

Voices.com is the largest voice over marketplace in the world, completing hundreds of thousands of jobs for clients in 139 countries, working with professional voice actors who speak more than 100 different languages and dialects.

Historically, the voice talent we worked with have, for the most part, been non-union. Over time, however, and particularly as we’ve grown, we realized that excluding any portion of the voice over community – whether that’s a particular spoken language, those who hailed from a particular country, or, in this case, voice actors belonging to a union (and the agents representing them) – resulted in limiting their opportunity for work.

Moreover, considering Voices.com interacts with clients from all over the world, these immense international opportunities were not being made available to union voice actors.

Ultimately, Voices.com’s goal is to connect clients with the voice actors they want to hire. If clients want to hire non-union voice actors, we want to be able to help them. If clients want to hire union voice actors through their agents, we want to be able to help them, too.

In the spirit of our mission, we want to connect voice actors with work. If a voice actor would like to have access to non-union opportunities, we want to be able to help them. If a voice actor would like to have access to union opportunities, we want to be able to help them through their talent agent.

Through our recent acquisition of Voicebank.net, we’re excited to be able to participate in that space, and continue to better serve the needs of both our talent and client customers.

Voices.com’s Position on Hiring Union or Non-Union Voice Actors

Whether a particular client or voice over actor prefers union or non-union is entirely up to them; Voices.com has no position or interest in that. We simply have an interest in connecting clients with great voice actors, and great voice actors with great jobs, in a way that’s faster and easier.

With respect to talent agents, Voices.com sees union voice actors and talent agents as inseparable. Agents provide a valuable service to both the talent they represent and the clients they work with, and we are excited to welcome them as new customers and members in our community.

Voices.com’s Relationship with Unions, Agents and Agencies

Voices.com has enjoyed a harmonious, ongoing relationship and open communication with SAG-AFTRA, ever since meeting in-person at their headquarters in New York City.

In short, Voices.com and SAG-AFTRA will continue close communication, as they are the  official organizing body of the arts and entertainment industry.

Voices.com is excited to better serve all voice over needs for our global network of clients. We invite union voice actors, through their agents, into our community, where hundreds of thousands of opportunities for work exist.

David

Note: To read other articles in this series, see Voices.com CEO, David Ciccarelli: An Open Letter On the Acquisition of Voicebank.net

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s very very clear that union artists must have an agent, or you won’t work with them – or they’ll have difficulties with Voices.com. Thats not cool. Not every Union artist has a VO agent, or a good one. It’s a special area of representation. It’s limiting for union actors, to be seen as Inseparable from their agents. We are separate. We’re the artist, they’re the agent…
    Please reconsider your perspective on union actors, because we book our own work as well – and our reps, if we have one, appreciate it.

  2. My one question/comment regarding reaching out to unions is how you’d square the fees? By that I mean you already charge a Sure Pay escrow fee for non-union gigs (20% I believe?). If a job is ‘managed’ though, the escrow fee is waived – but the ‘management’ fee taken is often much, MUCH higher than 20% – in some historic cases, as much as 70%-80% of the budget allotted by the client.

    What sort of fees will you take for union jobs – especially if an agent is involved? If an agent takes their cut – and then you take yours, there won’t be a lot for left for the talent.

    Another question that just popped into my head is how you’re going to handle #6 of your “Terms of Service” – Assignment (showing below):

    “6. Assignment: Upon the earlier of the transfer of the audio file to Voices.com or the Client, the Talent assigns to Voices.com all right, title and interest, absolutely, to the copyright and other intellectual property in or relating to the Talent’s work throughout the world, free of all licences, mortgages, charges or other encumbrances, unless agreed otherwise by the parties in writing. The Talent hereby waives their moral rights in the work. Voices.com and its Client assignees or licensees may use the Talent’s work without restriction from the Talent and without any rights of approval by the Talent. Upon payment by the Client, Voices.com assigns the audio file purchased by the Client to the Client. If the Client’s rights to use the work are limited, the limitations will be specified in writing.”

    If you, dear reader, have decided to skip over the above – it simply says that Voices OWNS your submitted audio in perpetuity and not only can they do with it whatever they want – but the client can as well.

    The last time I checked, that falls into direct violation of SAG/AFTRA rules and regs.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks,
    -Mike

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