Quick Voiceover Tip: Union Vs. Non-Union

Quick Voiceover Tip: Union Vs. Non-Union. This is one of the most common questions we get asked in voice over coaching.

This is the fork in the road, and you get to decide which direction you take.  Both roads will take you on a great journey.  Both roads will have a few bumps along the way.  Both roads offer opportunity.  So, what’s the big deal either way?  Let’s look at the ups and downs of both.

Non-Union Voiceover Work

Non-union means no membership dues and fees, and that equates to less money.  Especially today when voice actors have to compete against pay to play sites and sites like Fiverr, the ultimate slap in the face for voice actors.  Remember, you are the CEO of your VO business, and that means you get to deal with the clients that negotiated a bad deal and somehow forgot to send you the check.  Good luck with that.  Going non-union is the way most VO folks start out.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s just a starting point. It just means you are the ultimate judge of your value and what you will accept regarding rates. Oh…and there is a lot more non-union work out there, than union work (if you live outside of NYC and Los Angeles…which brings us to our next choice).

Union Voiceover Work

Going union has many benefits including more cash in your pocket.  You have a group of peers behind you that will be there for you, every time.  Rates are set. No lowballing voice actors. Did you know that more than 90% of union voice actors are entitled to medical and retirement benefits?  This is sounding pretty good, but it’s a decision not to be made in haste, because once you join a union, accepting non-union side projects is considered a conflict of interest. However, if you don’t live in cities such as NYC and Los Angeles – where there is a larger amount of union work – you might find yourself without a lot of gigs. Even with the development of remote voiceover work, certain projects (i.e. union) tend to stay close to home. You can learn more about union status at the SAG-AFTRA Voiceover page.

Union Vs. Non-Union

Like we said, do your research and don’t rush into a decision you might regret.  Your voice acting career is a journey.  You are free to choose either fork in the road.

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Quick Voiceover Tip: Union Vs. Non-Union

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