Craig's List and The Expectation of Working for Free

Part of my marketing strategy involves combing Craig's List on a daily basis for leads on gigs. Big thanks to Bill DeWees for that tip, by the way. While I have indeed gotten gigs that were worth doing this way, and met (over the phone, at least) enough oddballs to supply an anecdote or two up my sleeve for dinner parties, the vast, VAST majority of what's posted there is total crap. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone who's used the site to look for jobs, or gigs, or hookups, or anything else, really. But it's hard not to yell at my screen every time I see an ad that wants to offer only credit and a copy of the project, like that's some sort of incentive. Pro tip, assholes. If you can't pay for work, don't ask people to do it. A copy of your project is not payment. Credit on a project nobody is ever going to see or hear is not payment. You're stealing work from people, and that's not cool.

I'm not saying you need to pay a union rate for your zero-budget grad student movie. But as a content creator myself, it is absolutely bewildering to me how people expect complete strangers to work for them for nothing. Oh, I'm sorry, for the "fun" of it. Fuck you. Recording in my own studio that I've put thousands of dollars into, never mind what I've paid in coaching sessions, books, singing/elocution lessons, seminars, marketing, and on and on and on, for your stupid project that you don't have enough faith in to put ANY MONEY INTO is not "fun". Yes, voiceovers are fun, but only because I get to continue not starving to death afterwards.

If you want an actual voice actor to do anything for you, pay something. I don't care if it's $25, at least that makes you look like you have any respect at all for what you're doing and what you're asking of others. Just because recording setups are way less expensive than they used to be doesn't mean voice acting has become worthless. If you can't put a single dollar toward your project, then it's worth nothing, especially not my time.

And for the love of God, if you're trying to work in this industry and not just screw around because you like doing goofy voices, don't support this garbage. Demand to be paid for your work, or else you're just a hobbyist.


PS - This rant is not aimed at passion projects or working with friends, which I do for free all the time because my friends are amazing and we have a mutual vested interest in the art and presenting that art to our community. This came about because of today was like the fiftieth time I saw an ad to do a spec commercial for free. Nobody should ever do commercial work for free. It is absolutely insane that anyone has the balls to even ask for that.