In this webinar, VoiceBunny’s Angela Serrano (Head of Talent Management) and Juan Santiago Mendoza (Quality Control Manager) was joined by Katie Gaskin, who has been a VoiceBunny Pro for the last three years and boasts over 2000 completed projects to date. We wanted to look at Katie’s growth from a hopeful, optimistic — but inexperienced and untrained —voice actor into a successful and established member of the VoiceBunny community, and hear her advice on how to make the most of the Voice Bunny experience. Katie joined us from her insulated studio in southern New York state and talked us through the journey from zero experience to Bunny Pro.
The most important trait in determining success
Katie came to VoiceBunny with no training or experience — beyond the odd videogame live stream — and she explained that initially, her lack of knowledge of the industry helped her find her voice. “Initially,” she explained, “I tried everything. Every speedy, every contest.” With no preconceived notion of what her sound and preferred genre of voice acting were, she was able to turn her hand to everything and see what worked best for her voice.
Being open to new challenges and facing them with an open mind is essential, but she explained to us that the single most important factor in her success was diligence. For new and fledgling Bunny Pros, the most important thing is to answer bookings as soon as possible and dive into as many speedies and contests as you feel able to manage. “Be a ‘first-responder’, especially when it comes to your own stats and revisions — that’s very important”, Katie advised us, and explained that having your phone or computer close to hand — to check for communications from VoiceBunny whenever you’re available to work — is a key part of being a diligent VoiceBunny Pro.
Organise and manage your time
Katie is a highly dedicated Voice Bunny Pro and described how she maximises her productivity on a daily basis, starting from checking her emails and receiving a new booking, to submitting a finished project. After receiving a new project notification, she accepts the project immediately after checking the remarks and ensuring she is a good fit for the project and begins warming up her voice for a new recording session (nothing technical here, just good old-fashioned walk around talking to yourself!). She stresses the importance “checking the project remarks!”, as even experienced voice actors like Katie can record a full script only to find she has missed out a key detail such as an accent or suggested tone. After recording, she edits the audio and submits the completed work to the quality-control team for approval.
Auditioning for contests can be a real test of the diligence Katie emphasizes as speed can be a determining factor in success. Katie suggests ensuring you respond to contests as soon as the audition compensation is at an acceptable level but also emphasizes that for newer VoiceBunny Pros, working on as many projects as possible is the best way to increase stats — and better stats means more bookings.
Katie has a long history with VoiceBunny and has built a strong profile and sample library, but she still remembers her early days and the hard work required to build that track record. “When I first started I would get up in the middle of the night to audition for every contest I could!” she says, and explains that while speed and being a first-responder is always important, it has to work within a healthy work-life balance. “I’m not quite as antsy to jump on every project!”, she explains, “but If it’s overnight, it depends how long I’ve got to do the work. If I have 5 hours and I just went to bed, I’ll probably just do it”, but it can be worth considering accepting the project later and taking a well-earned sleep if the deadline permits.
Wrangling revisions and rates
Revisions can be a tricky subject to tackle, but Katie, Angela, and Juan explain how best to deal with changes to your work. VoiceBunny operates on an honor system where Pros can set their own rates for revisions depending on the size scope of the changes requested by the client, and the majority of these are automatically approved (except in the rare case that the revision is priced unusually high, in which case the rate will be discussed). If a submission is approved by quality control, it is because the original brief has been met — and any changes to the brief from the client should be priced accordingly. Katie charges a few dollars for the odd rewritten sentence, and may not charge anything if she feels like the revision is to correct her mistake, but if the script changed entirely and required a full re-recording, she would charge an amount similar to the original to accommodate the new work.
Setting rates can also be a tricky business for new voice actors, and balancing being competitive and attractive to clients with receiving fair compensation for talent and time is no easy feat. “I view my rates as very fluid,” Katie says and adds that she is constantly readjusting her compensation based on the rates of other Pros. Although she started with the lowest possible rates, she explained after 100 or so projects, she felt able to justify an increase based on her strong sample base and review scores. Every VoiceBunny Pro has to strike their own balance, and see if changing their rates affects their stats and workload.
Equipment and software: find whatever works
When Katie started her VoiceBunny journey, she did so using an old videogame headset in a large echoey room— and the sound quality reflected that: “I got rejected over, and over, and over!”. VoiceBunny quality control does not expect every budding voice actor to be a sound engineer — Katie still uses Audacity and an inexpensive microphone — but achieving high-quality sound does not mean soundproofing the entire neighborhood. Learning from other VoiceBunny Pros through the community page, or even just listening to samples from successful voice actors, can help budding Pros achieve the sound quality our clients expect. And for those looking to upgrade their rig, VoiceBunny has articles detailing the best equipment and software for your needs.
Earning an income
Katie responded to a host of questions from viewers, and many were keen to know whether she used VoiceBunny as her sole source of income. For a long time, she explained, her VoiceBunny income was supplemented by other services and platforms, but as her profile increased and bookings increased, she stopped looking elsewhere and focused her attention on being a VoiceBunny Pro. “VoiceBunny has become pretty much my source of income.”
She also explained that her prior experience and training in the voice acting industry was zero when she first joined VoiceBunny and watching interviews with professional voice actors on a Netflix show taught her how to “get into the zone” for character voice acting. “If you’ve never seen ‘Behind the Voice,' I would recommend checking it out.”
VoiceBunny: the best bits
Katie’s experience in the voice acting industry offers new Pros a valuable insight into the journey and how to be successful with VoiceBunny. Above all, she recommends the platform due to the reliable support network, the speed of receiving, reviewing and submitting work, and the transparency we offer our Pros when choosing their rates and compensation.
Check out the full video of the webinar on YouTube, and please do let us know if you have any questions for Katie or for us! We'll be here to help and your insights will always be super welcome. See you soon for our next webinar!
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