True stories of obsessive community management in voice overs

Posted on December 27, 2011 by


I am writing today about something, never written before by any online casting site…I hope you read through it all. This is for any voice talent who has had several skills outside of voice overs, but knew not what to do with all of them.

I have worked at Voice123 since 2007, but had several other jobs prior that included acting, writing, drug counseling, fraud investigation, legal claims, trade-shows, production assistant work, marketing, and toy salesman. I did not know how these “other real jobs” would help me, once I started at Voice123. At one point, I was managing customer service, community, quality assurance and PR. You cannot do all of that at once, and not come away with some cool stories! I share with you now my personal tales of obsessive community management and customer service. Some of these tales may cause you to think differently about who works at Voice123 (hopefully in a good way). 😀

Tale #1: The Underground

Back in 2008, like many voice over talent, I had seen how many jobs were being posted across multiple casting websites. What I knew from assisting with non-payment matters, and being in charge of job postings, was that I knew who was doing it. My brilliant idea was to start an ‘underground’ of sorts, whereby all online casting sites share with each other via email alert, when a scammer has posted on one site, and was now jumping to another. In short, the premise was “If talent know, the websites should know, too.” I did get the ok to work together with other sites, but one important site said no, and unfortunately it killed the idea. Without naming what casting site it was, a better clue to give you is…It wasn’t us. This was my first lesson in realizing, “It’s a competition for everyone, no matter where you go. Idealistic thinking is not always ideal.” The nice thing is that I connected with people who owned websites, and that is always positive. The research to find an answer led to many improvements in protecting voice talent from such issues.

Tale #2: “The Murder Alibi!”

Did you ever look at the top of a Voice123 profile, where a message appears that tells you when you joined the site? Back in 2009, I received a subpoena from an attorney in Arizona stating I had to appear in court to testify in a murder case. The acronyms “WTF! OMG!” followed. Luckily, I was allowed to do it via telephone from New York City. I was questioned by an attorney for a defendant. He asked me what that message at the top of each profile meant, and I had to explain the technology behind it. Basically, a person who had created a profile on a certain date,  provided an alibi and proof that the person was not a “killer voice talent” (haha). To date, this has to be the strangest experience…I got someone off.

Tale #3: “The Kidnapping”

There is not much to say on this, but my personal connections helped one day when a voice talent wrote me that their child had been abducted. I called in an Amber Alert, which led to the child being found hours later. Why they thought to ask me? I have absolutely no clue.

Tale #4:  “Getting Exposure Through Embarrassment”

Out of all the tales, this one has probably been the one that has left many asking, “Why did you do that? Aren’t you afraid of what people will say?” Life is too short to care about image, and the power of vulnerability is much stronger than the power of a perfectionist. Think I am crazy? I have been mentioned on MSN, the USA Today, Crain’s Business Magazine, and even have a few viral videos floating around on Youtube. Of course, I have some of my bad days out there, too, and I have done some serious apologizing in the past for my mistakes. In all of it, Voice123 (staff and community) has been great to me…I believe…because I love what I do, and I am hardly shy about it.

As the wife says, “Why? Steven… Why?”

To that question, I reply…”Why not?”. If you know you can help someone, shouldn’t you do it to the best of your ability? I think the measuring stick of any human effort is “intent”, yet the greatest of intent leads to many simply not believing it can be true. I understand it is easier to believe negative reasoning. I just believe more problems are solved with proper dosages of humility and vulnerability.

Obsessive about results!

The staff, and myself, are proud of the fact that we have reached as high as:

  • 97% customer service satisfaction
  • More than 60% of premium voice talent book work once a month on Voice123
  • Since 2007, we have experienced job growth of 1600%.

Unfortunately though, for Google and social media marketing, “intent” does not translate into SEO, so the intent must be shown through actions that translate into what works in their playground. So be it. When you break it down, all that this company obsesses about eventually leads to people working. I have a great time helping, and so does staff. I do not mind sharing what I am thinking, if I know it will help others. If I crash and burn, my wife and I will be ok because we are smart, work hard, and love each other. Work, love, and acknowledgement will always be key ingredients to success. If you do not love what you do, it may be time to change.

I come to the end of my personal tales of obsessive community management and customer service…for now. You will see and hear more of Voice123 soon, and we will bump into each other in places you did not expect! Stay positive, and be serious about seriously enjoying life! You can only do what you know, until you know better!

What do you think of the above? Any comments or questions? It will be great to discuss!