Author Archives: johndrew

Voice Booth Window

The Ethics of Performing Voice Talent

Halting the Race to the Bottom of the Barrel

The voice talent industry was set on its ear this week (Agust 9, 2017) when Voices.com, a Canadian subscription-based, online voice talent site, announced the acquisition of Voicebank.net, a heretofore ethical voice casting service that connected voice actors, talent agencies, ad agencies, and production companies worldwide.

Until this announcement, many professional voice talent agencies subscribed to Voicebank, and a significant number of the audition opportunities those agencies passed on to their talent pools came from Voicebank. Now, however, all subscriptions to Voicebank by agencies, talent, ad agencies and production companies will be paid to Voices.com.

So what’s the problem?

Voices.com has only one motive: To make money coming and going, from both the voice talents and agencies through subscriptions, and by taking sizable commissions and service fees — often apparently hidden from talent — while driving down rates for voice talents. This merger constitutes a race to the bottom of the barrel.

As one of my voice talent agents wrote:

“Please know that as an agency we will not be able to continue using Voicebank while writing our checks to VDC (Voices.com). While we are very disappointed in these developments, we book the vast majority of our work directly, and will be reaching out to our clients to keep the auditions coming.

“We have always stood firm against unfair rates, and are actively working with other ethical talent agencies to better our industry and stand together. This is unprecedented, and an amazing amount of work has been done behind the scenes. We are asking something of you as well…

“If you have a paid or non-paid VDC profile, please call them and ask them to take your profile down.

“VDC is one of the primary causes of rate erosion in our industry, and until professional talent like you leave that site for good, they are able to feel justified in their unethical business practices. The very nature of P2P (pay-to-play) websites ensures that talent are forced to offer lowball quotes to help their booking rate. This race to the bottom is encouraged by VDC.

“Stand up for yourself, your industry, and your craft. Please, take five minutes this coming week to call and take your profile down.”

I removed my Voices.com profile some time back because of their unethical business practices, and I encourage my fellow professional voice actors to do the same.

Along the same lines, I will not discount my voice talent rates to compete with amateur voice talents, just as professional graphic artists and illustrators should not discount their rates in order to compete with Fiver.com “artists.” I only discount my rates to producers with whom I have long-standing relationships and who send me significant repeat business.

My answer to the producer who says, “We can get that voice over for $50 online,” is “Go for it. You’ll eventually get what you pay for, and I’ll still be here when that guy quits and goes to work at an appliance store.”

To my fellow professional voice talents: You cannot be acquired without your consent. Withdraw from Voices.com now! You hold all the cards. This grande scheme of monopolization and its accompanying diminishment of voice talent rates and reduction in quality doesn’t happen without you. We are not the victims; we drive this industry. Band together with your professional talent agents — many of whom are terminating their relationships with Voicebank — to elevate the quality of voice talent offerings and to maintain a fair rate structure.


So, what are my rates? My voice talent rates conform to standards set by the GVAA (Global Voice Acting Academy), which is widely-recognized as the industry authority and is used by most professional voice talent agents. These rates can be found at the below Voice Over Industry Standard Rate Guide:

Defenders of Wildlife Wins for Wildlife Video

I’m so honored to have been chosen as the voice for Defenders’ 2016 end-of-year video. This is the sort of work about which I am most passionate.

John Drew and Holli - Chicken Coop - Lander, Wyoming

Gettin’ Back to My Roots

Ever since my family moved from Georgia to England when I was fourteen years old, I’ve worked on not sounding too Southern. Recently, however, due to industry demand, my good friend and agent Carol Rathe of GoVoices in Denver requested a Southern Voice Demo from me.

Thanks, Carol. I just hope I don’t get stuck in this accent and, like Gary Oldman, have to get voice coaching to get me back to my regular “neutral” voice.

Click on the Soundcloud link below and have a listen.

Voice Talent John Drew standing at Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado.

A Voice in the Wilderness

After eighteen years as a writer, producer and director in a stellar advertising agency, as well as at least as many years in broadcasting, film and video production and the performing arts, I chose to depart from traditional consumer product marketing.

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Flag of Puerto Rico

In an election year…

I’m picky about candidates for whom I’m willing to speak. I have to actually support them, but I recently had the honor of writing and producing a four-spot radio campaign for the Jubilee USA Network, the largest non-partisan human rights coalition in Washington, DC.

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