Voice Over Ideas on Watermarking: ‘Been There Done That’ or ‘Always’?

Posted on March 19, 2010 by

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The question has come up many times before: ‘Should I watermark my auditions?’. There are always varying opinions on whether or not you should, but I believe getting to the root of the problem as to ‘Why people watermark(ed)?’ will give more insight as to how to proceed.

Remember that any creative industry is made up of ‘trends’. It has always been this way. Doing business online means following ‘online business trends’. Remember that working online breeds fear because we do not see each other face to face.

Fear led to watermarking, and at the time, rightly so. ‘Watermarking’ was introduced when auditioning online became a ‘trend’ and a remedy for the fear ‘What if they take my audition!’ was in demand. “Not knowing who to trust’ was common in the online voice over industry. So what changed?

Voice over professionals joined in communities who worked online together.
Voice seekers became voice talent, and voice talent became voice seekers.
They interacted enough times for voice seekers to begin thinking, ‘I have worked online before. Why did he/she watermark? Do they not trust me?’. (It might seem like a sensitive reaction, but knowing that a watermark indicates a fear something may be stolen, it is understandable.)

Finally, watermarks done poorly became a ‘trend’ and great clients were simply tired of them. Voice talent who knew this responded by not using them anymore to meet a buyer’s need. As such, out of any ‘need’ grew a new ‘trend’ to get work… Do not use watermarks.

I will admit there is a great deal of conflicting information out there. I sat in a class in 2008, and heard someone say, ‘Don’t audition online. They steal your auditions.’, which surprised me because I knew the person never even did one online audition. You see, that is the funny thing… compared to 2004… we all know who is who, and what they do, because the online communities and social media makes this possible.

If you are still wondering, ‘WHO DO I BELIEVE!’ Do not fear. Believe the following:

The advice of people who get work online. You can find them in our forums.

If you fear you have to watermark when you see Project Details, Script, and Voice Seeker Details, you should probably pass on the audition.

The Voice123 process is just an audition process. Just like in casting directors’ offices, they never used your in-house audition for final production.

If you fear the seeker will use a 96 kbps compressed audio voice over audition for final production, that is not a job worth the effort.

Fear is the one thing that can be erased through education and experience.

My personal opinion…Do not watermark. Change the phone number, if there is one, or slightly fade out the volume on the end of your audition. Most clients know who they want by that point, but hey…there are no absolutes to this industry.

If something gets you work, keep doing it, until it doesn’t.

Best regards,

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123 Premium Forums
Steven’s BlogTwitter: @stevenNYC123