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Voice Coaches Radio #442 – Paperwork and other questions

Voice Coaches, radio, everything voiceover.

And welcome to this week's edition of Voice Coaches Radio. I am Josh. How delighted to have you joining me as we do each and every week right here at Voice Coaches. So what we've been doing recently, we're going to continue doing for a little bit is, is taking a look back in time.

Right. We're going to be taking a look back at some of the previous episodes, previous iterations of voice coaches. Radio voice coaches radio has been on for, oh geez, 10 plus years now. So there's quite a bit in the archives and I certainly don't expect, uh, you know, you to have a chance to, to call through all those and, uh, and find some of the gems, but.

That's my job. That's what I've done. Uh, and so I, I've been going through those and there's a lot of really great stuff in there that, uh, that had been discussed previously. So we're kind of taking a look back at some of those. And, and this week is, uh, is going to be a conversation. Uh, it's actually a, a, a question that was sent in by a student.

You always hear we, we, we talk about here at voice coaches radio that it's, it's not just our show, it's yours as well. And so you can always reach out. Well, uh, back in 2016, that's exactly what a former student named Mary did. She actually reached out. Uh, two at the time, the hosts, which were, uh, Tom Robinson and Warren Garling to ask him some questions.

And the questions really centered around two main things. The first was paperwork, paperwork, the different types of paperwork that goes into, uh, you know, to being a voice actor, whether it's invoicing, whether it's non disclosure agreements, whether it's non compete clauses, things like that. How to.

approach that, how to deal with those types of things. And the other has to do with unions, union work, whether or not it would be advisable to look into joining, potentially becoming part of a union. And certainly this is something, you know, questions that we get asked quite a bit, and I certainly see on a regular basis people asking about that type of thing when we're talking about taking that next step after the demo, moving forward.

It's stuff we don't necessarily think about. Too, too much, especially when it comes to that paperwork. But it is, it's extremely important. Uh, you know, when it comes to, uh, getting paid, obviously that's, uh, that's the goal. But then you have to deal with things like taxes. I know, I know we do have to pay them, uh, but, uh, you know, we, we wanna make sure that, uh, that we have all our ducks in a row.

So, uh, you know, Warren and Tom had a chance to kind of discuss that in depth and, uh, and, and certainly wanted to, uh, to give you a chance to take a listen into that. So this is back from December of 2016. So take a listen.

But let's jump in and see if we can help Mary out. Her first question is about paperwork.

She asks if we could discuss any documents we might be required to sign in our work as voice actors. So you want to tackle that one first?

Well, sure. You know, Mary, it hasn't happened very often. Most voiceover work starts with an email. phone call soliciting your talent, and it doesn't usually get more formal than that, okay?

Of course, this varies from client to client, depends upon who you're working with. Now if a company is hiring you to be the voice of their phone system in the office, that's not a very complicated task, and you'll just bill them for the hours it took you to complete the project. That's pretty simple, pretty much the paperwork there.

But then there's also a chance they may want you to avoid doing the same work for other similar businesses in town, right? Okay. So in that case, you may be asked to sign a non compete contract that will keep you from being the voice of one of their competitors for a given amount of time.

Yes. Now in that case, you're probably going to want to charge them a little bit more for that concession because it's going to prevent you obviously from, you know, getting business from other widget companies for a while. Okay. Right. Uh, we had a student call us last year, actually, she did a commercial, uh, or two for a large bank in New England.

All right. And she wasn't sure what to do because, uh, they, you know, she wanted to be open for this type of work, you know, from, from other banks, but the bank had no problem paying her extra for her exclusivity. So she did sign the contract, she called and said, what do you think? And I said, yeah, I'd sign the contract.

They're offering you more money. you know, not to do this elsewhere.

That's completely acceptable. Now, most of the paperwork I've been exposed to over the years is the kind that deals with getting paid for your work. Okay. Some organizations will send you papers to fill out and sign so they can request a check from the bookkeeping department.

Uh, anything from, uh, you know, like a, what do they call it? A 10 40 or, or, or, uh,

Probably a W2, right. Or is it a W4? I don't know. All these, all these different tax forms. Yeah, exactly.

Or, or, uh, there's a, what do they call it? A business ID, that kind of thing. Social security number will, will suffice in most cases.

So if you'll fill, if you fill out tax forms and purchase orders and the like, uh, before they, they start the process of getting you paid in these cases, you don't expect to see payment for at least 30 days, usually a bit more. do to that process.

That'll keep things from getting to you perhaps as fast as you want.

Uh, I just finished a very short five page narration for a local university here. Okay. And I think it took me longer to get the paperwork signed and sent back and forth than it did to do the voice work. Really? It really did. Okay. It's just the way larger organizations work. Lots of T's to be crossed and I's to be dotted.

Yeah. But if you do regular work for folks like this, they'll obviously keep The important information on file, and it gets easier as you do more work.

Oh, no, no doubt. Yeah. Once you've, uh, you've tread that road, you won't have to go down it again with the same client. Now you may also run into a situation where you've, uh, where you're working on a project that the company wants to keep private.

Uh, they, they, they don't want their competitors to know what they're working on. So you'll be asked to sign what's called a non disclosure agreement. And that's very important. You'll not only be asked to not discuss what you've done with any of their competitors, but also they'll ask you to keep it out of social media, by the way, and maybe not even share it with anyone else, even your spouse.

It happens. Yeah. Wow. And you can't blame them because, you know, this is, this is a very competitive world. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Tipping off the competition can mean real money will be lost. Yeah. And then try getting a job with them again. Yeah. If they find out where that came from. Yeah. And I've come across one other time when I had to, to sign a contract once I did some work a few years back for p b s in New York City, uh, W N E T.

Oh, cool. And, and yeah, it was fun. And in addition to signing some tax forms and releases to get paid, they suggested that, uh, I should actually join the staff as a part-time employee. Nice. Yeah, they said that and, and they told me this had something to do with making it easier on the income tax side of the agreement, so I, I had no problem doing that.

you know, to keep the payment process, you know, simple and fast. My wife was waiting for that money and it was, it was nice to get paid the going rate in New York city as well. Um, you know, compared to what I usually get from my, the B markets that I usually work in and where I live.

Yeah. Yeah. Very nice.

Now, speaking of which Mary had, uh, another question or two, she sent us about joining the union.

Yeah, we, we get, you get this question a lot in your, uh, The union. Should I put, yeah. And should I put echo behind that when you say it? Please. Okay.

Now, if you're a regular listener to this podcast, you may have noticed we haven't broached this subject very much over the years.

And there's a good reason for this. Most of the work Warren and I have done over the years has been non union work. Okay. Now that's for a couple of reasons. First, we've found there's plenty of non union work out there. And. Pay's pretty good.

Oh yeah, yeah. And remember, both Tom and I are part time voice actors, okay?

The jobs we're doing are often done outside the normal business hours since we have full time jobs. Yep. So I haven't even thought about joining SAG AFTRA, which is the Screen Actors Guild slash American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. That's easy for you to say. Yeah, because I don't have time at this juncture in my life to really seek work that would be union related.

Right, exactly. Now, you're not seeking work in... New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas, or other larger metropolitan areas where the work is meant for national consumption through large union oriented ad agencies. Okay. Uh, if you're looking to build your full time voiceover business and you're near a large market, fine.

Then the union is the way to go. There are a lot of benefits that you get for your union dues dues. Yeah, you got to pay dues and you can really grow your business and build a good career in voiceover this way as well.

Yeah, what we usually suggest to our students is to work your way up to union work.

Yes. Okay, just like you would in seeking out an agent. Okay, you'll want some experience first to see where your talent can take you. Yes. And as you start getting busier, you'll find it easier to make. that transition. Yeah. And you don't have to be a member of the union to land good voice acting jobs. Uh, you know, Tom and I are perfect examples of this.

Uh, audio books, video games, e learning, documentaries, even commercial work. I've done it all and I've never been a member of the union. Yeah. Okay. That's kind of work that's available in all corners of North America for non union voices.

And keep in mind, you know, just, just an aside, if you are a member of the union, you cannot go backwards.

Yeah, you won't be able to do be market work again or nonunion work. I believe it's limited to two or three times a year that you can do nonunion work. I think that's that's what the contract says if it last time I looked at it anyway, and it's not encouraged.

Yeah, so it's not a decision to tend to be taken lightly.

As with anything in life, do your due diligence before taking a step in that direction. While it's not for everyone, it could very well be a goal you want to set for yourself to reach your full potential as a voice actor. Yeah.

In a case where you're thinking about doing this, I would reach out to folks that have done it.

I would, you know, you can find folks online that are union members. You know who they are. You'll figure it out. I mean. If the person is doing, you know, regularly doing the voice of a cartoon character out of Hollywood, then there's a good chance that person is a member of the union. So get in touch with them.

So again, Mary, thank you for your questions. I hope the answers were helpful.

So there you have it, a quick discussion about, uh, uh, different types of paperwork that are necessary as we're moving on in our careers. And also, a little bit about the union, which I know is a question that a lot of people, uh, do bring up.

But, uh, you know, one thing also I want you to take away from this is that, uh, Mary had a question. She sent it in. And it was answered right here on Voice Coaches Radio, and you can do just that same thing. You can reach out to me, podcast at voicecoaches. com is the best way to do that. Podcast at voicecoaches.

com, and uh, and let me know any topics or discussions you would like to have us discuss here on Voice Coaches, any guests you would like to have us bring in. But again, as we say, it's not just, uh, it's not just my show. So, uh, definitely feel free to reach on out. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, or anything you want us to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach on out again, [email protected], just like Mary did. And we might be answering your question as well. Well, hopefully you enjoyed today's flashback in time to back in 2016 with Tom Robinson and Warren Garling. We'll continue doing this next week, and hopefully you'll be here as well. So... Until next time, thanks so much for tuning in.

So long, everyone. Visit voicecoaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

Voice Coaches producer Josh digs through the archives to find an episode in which team members Tom and Warren answer questions about paperwork and union membership for professional voice actors.