Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Union or Non-Union, is that the voiceover question?

Earlier this week I received an email from an active Non-Union voice talent. Let's call this voiceover person, Terry, to cover all the gender bases. Terry felt that since they've been Non-Union, (not a member of SAG/AFTRA) that they could make more money by being a Union member exclusively. In Terry's mind movie trailers, National Retailer TV and Radio accounts, the biggest of the big voiceover jobs are just sitting there ripe for the picking. Terry's very experienced with 15 years of full-time freelance voiceovers behind the microphone. Like dreams of those dancing sugarplums Terry's thinking that the bump "up" to Union status is the way to go to advance Terry's career.

But is it true? Would Terry make more as a Union voiceover talent?

My opinion...it depends. Timing, meaning right place and right time are important, Terry's vocal skill set, Terry's physical location may also make a difference.

What about Financial Core? Doesn't Fi-Core allow you to do BOTH Union and Non-Union work? Sometimes being Fi-Core can be a great benefit if you're in the right location, conversely you can become a vo pariah if you live somewhere else.

These are questions I'd love to have discussed by those of you in the know about such things. I'm Fi-Core myself. I lost my agent in NYC because I was Fi-Core, yet for years outside of NYC, I was the voice of Circuit City (RIP), Nissan and Lenscrafters. Those gigs provided enough income to...well...to be life changing.

My bread and butter, the day in day out gigs are always non-union. Sometimes they pay very well, even above Union voice rates, most of the time not. I've always looked at this as a volume game and with volume one can become very financially successful.

What are your thoughts? Are you an experienced talent who has done both as Financial Core or previously one now the other? Are you a full-time Union voiceover talent? With the internet the tables have more than turned, they've been flipped over and it's anyone's game anymore.

We'd love to hear what you have to say on the issue.

Also, if you're searching for professional union and non-union voiceover talent please visit us at SunSpots. Search here for voice talent.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Recording equipment category at GuitarCenter.com


  1. Hi Tom, long time no speak. Being "Union" does not always guarantee you're dealing with the best of the best, either. In my 18+ years as a producer the one and only time I had to stop a session and "fire" a talent was with a very well-paid Union guy from LA.

    Dar Heikes

  2. Hey Dar!

    Good to see you stop by. Thanks for posting up a response. Now, I wonder, where can you find those professional voice talent you need....hmmmmm ;-)
    Good to hear from you!