Today, Shit-For-Brains (he who prefers to be called "my agent") called me and asked if I wanted a quick $200. At first I thought he wanted me to run him out to his cabin in the woods. I'm not proud, and since he lost his license he's got that Mercedes sitting in his garage doing nothing. I run him around occasionally... it's a symbiotic relationship (I have the license and no car, he has the car and no license). He's pissed that I refuse to wear the chauffeur's hat... but there are limits. Anyway, I digress. It was for a VO job. I think I mentioned before that SFB has been looking at the cheaper jobs and started pushing them out to his roster. I've told him that I'm not interested, but he keeps trying. He tells me it'll only take five minutes, and the client really likes my reel... no audition, just knock it out.
I've tried to explain it to him, but he just doesn't get it. Usually, I can walk into a group of peers... that bunch of barflies who consist of other VOs and a good smattering of studio engineers, producers, and casting directors and someone will chime in with something like, "Loved that deodorant spot you did, darling!" "Why thank you... and that restless-leg pharma thing of yours was absolutely divine... mine's a Guinness!" You see how that works? No one tells everyone what they're doing (we're not on bloody Facebook), but believe me, your voice is your trademark. You may think you are anonymous, but if you've been in the business a while, you are recognizable by other VOs, and more importantly, the people who sign the checks!
|The aim is to get big numbers here!|
So, you do a spot for a quick under-the-table $200 and the chances are someone will end up recognizing you... and if they're on the production side, they'll probably know the ad agency, the producer, and more importantly, the budget. The next time your name comes up in connection with a prime job, it will be almost impossible for them not to remember that you sold your soul for half a case of domestic Merlot. They'll either try and get you cheap (remember, you just reset the bar to a lower level) or they'll discount you altogether because you do cheap shit. Of course, SFB doesn't see it that way as all those commissions add up and he's got a cash-flow issue (multiple alimony payments I think... I don't ask... we have boundaries).
My aim in life is to spend as little time in the booth as possible for the maximum return. I do what I do. I do it well... why the hell should I cheapen my brand?