I was at the Voices Anonymous (yep, that’s the group’s name) meetup here in LA recently, and one of the topics that came up was pricing.
More precisely, what do you do about the fact that union and non-union rates are different?
I say, to change your game, change the rules.
Hope this helps!
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You are absolutely correct, David. I was a board member of the Cleveland local of AFTRA before the merger (before they dissolved the office.) As a result of the 2000 union strike, when producers started going non-union, we tried to turn as much non-union work into union work, without a lot of success. That horse was let out of the barn and will never come back. But we encouraged our non-union colleagues to at least start charging union rates as their absolute starting point. They get better rates and everyone is on a more even playing field. It just made a whole lotta sense. But…not many performers followed our advice. They went for quantity ($50 to $100 bucks a pop) instead of quality rates.
BTW I was a Cleveland radio personality and production director for close to 30 years. Born and raised on the NorthCoast, or The Land, as it’s now referred to. My first cousin was Cleveland radio legend and host of the prize movie on channel 43, Jack Reynolds, who went on to do TV work for the WWE. I would love to talk with you some time about your days in CLE if you had the time for a quality cup of coffee.
That would be great! Send me an email and let’s do it!
This was very helpful! i will use the SAG-AFTRA rate as a point of reference.Why not use the standard? Previously I used the GVAA rate guide.
Pricing is definitely a tricky subject in my mind. I understand the psychological desire to charge less to get more work. My previous employer went from using a union voice actor for web-based training videos to a local nonunion VO guy who, according to another VO friend of mine, is undercutting himself on pricing. I’m going to keep an eye on GVAA/SAGAFTRA.org/your pricing class for guidance. Thanks for the video David.
Pricing is a hard thing for me. Yes, I want the gig but I don’t want to do it for pennies because it ALWAYS costs me more when I do. More time, more energy, more frustration in the end. I find the low ball clients are much harder to deal with. So I start with union rates and go from there. The union works their butts off to figure out reasonable rates for talent and so it makes sense to start there. If there is a lot of work or a bulk order then I give them a slight break. I find that pricing starts with how you value yourself. I’m always working on that aspect so I can feel good about what I charge. I find I have to have my head straight and know my value so I don’t undercharge.