In reply to a thread on Facebook about a freelancer being contacted for a job:

Her story:

So this guy just contacted me out of the blue about some programming for a project.

I told him that I don’t do that anymore, but asked him what his budget was, to see if I could refer him to some of my contacts.

He mentioned hourly rates between $18-30. I told him that my contacts charge around $75, and wished him the best of luck with his project.

He responded with a long tirade calling me rude and the worst negotiator ever.

My response:

It’s their attempt at guilting us by making us feel like we’re “stuck up bitches” for asking what we believe to be a fair wage.

Example: My favorite was a man who approached me very early on when I started doing VO, years ago. I still had a full-time job and was just starting to take classes and tinker. Because I was still learning, I was happy to do whatever just for the practice, it wasn’t how I made my living yet. This particular casting guy would give me spots to do in Spanish, which was great practice for me since I don’t get to speak it often enough. The spots were for large corporations, like Wells Fargo. He would pay me all of $15 – $30 per spot, tops. Not including Paypal fees. You read that right, $15-$30. Again, I didn’t mind it at all, I just wanted access to the copy for practice.

I’m in college deciding on a major. I was thinking about going into game design but know that it’s an incredibly difficult industry and very hard for women in general. I was hoping you could share your insight with me to maybe help me chose whether or not this major, this lifestyle, is the right decision. I love video games, creating art, writing stories, and have since I was five but I sometimes feel that passion with a little bit of talent won’t be enough to push me through into the gaming industry which I sometimes hate.

My response:

I’d say that in life, in general, women have it tougher. That’s certainly no reason to not pursue your interests. If you want a career badly enough, you’ll have it, regardless of the environment. For advice on how to navigate in male-dominated arenas, I’d recommend these books:

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I wrote the following in response to a friend who’s a Sound Designer for video games, like I used to be. His letter:

Hey so other than getting a demo reel of my VO talents together, what would you say is the next step in actually getting work? Do I need to get an agent? Getting a SAG card or something? Move to LA?

I’ve got the setup to record VO, the acting chops, and a fairly unique and powerful speaking voice. Just wondering, once I have something to showcase my talent, how I move forward from there to actually start booking work.

This is a letter I wrote in response to someone asking what their chances of working in games and animation were locally, outside of Los Angeles:

I would say there is no work for games or animation where you are, only because the perception with clients is that all the talent resides in Los Angeles. Usually the first piece of advice a voice actor gives someone is “move to LA,” because that’s what you’re going to end up having to do.

Are you making a video game? Would you like some voice overs in it? Here are some ways you can go about it:

Your cast must either be all union actors or all non-union actors. (Side note: Actors can simultaneously do union and non-union work if they are financial core. However your project must cast actors only as all union or non-union.) That also means if you have a union-only cast, you can’t have yourself or fellow developers perform in the game, not even as creatures (though it’s obviously more difficult to detect with creatures when they’re sound designed), unless you and the devs are SAG-AFTRA members as well.