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BUYERS - how much time do you spend looking for the "perfect" seller?

There are hundreds of sellers offering the same product/service. So how much time do you spend sifting through all of them? How much time do you spend watching/reviewing each portfolio? What do you specifically look for? What stands out?


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Hiho. Random buyer here.

How much time I spend depends on what I’m hiring for. If I need someone to do a transcription that I know I’m going to be editing anyway, I’ll probably choose the first newbie on the search results who has a decent gig description. That gives a new seller a chance, and I’m not risking much.

Sometimes, I choose someone because of what they’ve written in the forums. And sometimes, I’ll make a note not to hire someone based on what they’ve written in (or, more likely, copy-pasted into) the forums.

I don’t remember how I found my go-to designer-guy for ebook covers, but I doubt I’ll ever be looking for anyone else for that type of project.

When I am running an actual search…?

In a text-based medium, grammatical errors look bad, and text-speak is worse. When reading gig descriptions by people who speak English as a second (or third, or twelvth) language, I try to overlook grammatical errors and spelling problems. For people who claim English as their main language, though, any error makes you look as though you don’t pay attention to details. Any seller who doesn’t care about his or her first impression probably doesn’t care about the quality of the product, either.

As for videos, the only time I pay any attention to the videos is if the gig is voice- or video-related. I’ve heard that gig videos affect the search results, however, so they may be worth having.

For example, I bought a cute “happy birthday” video for a family member a couple months ago. For that one, I watched all of the available portfolio pieces on the gig.

More recently, I was searching for voice artists who do “news-clip”-style videos. I went through the first six or seven pages of search results, and read the descriptions of every one that had a coherent “I will…” statement and a presentable thumbnail gig picture (the graphic that shows up in the search results - not the little personal picture). From there, I short-listed five and watched their sample videos. That search probably took an hour and a half or so, before I started contacting sellers.

The gig picture I mentioned a moment ago can be more influential than you’d expect. The picture that comes up for your “youthful voice over” gig is pleasant enough, and your character-voicing pic seems perfect for the gig. (In both cases, they are the pictures that start off the first video in your portfolio, in case it shows up differently to you.) If you look at some other pictures that show up in the gig search results, you’ll find that some of them are “loud” and “busy”, like they are trying to recreate the impression of a hundred blinking neon signs. Apparently, I’m not their target audience, because I find them so repulsive that I won’t even read the “I will…” statement on those gigs.

Does that help?



Hi, Talethia.

You’re welcome. I’m glad to help.

Re added text on gig images: If the text is very carefully thought out and the font doesn’t clash with the background/picture, it can be helpful. However, in reality, probably nine times out of ten it is not.

The text on your character-acting gig is neutral, in my opinion: it doesn’t hurt your case, but it doesn’t really add anything, either. The words you chose for your other gig are useful in making your case for why I as a buyer should choose your gig, and the text doesn’t detract from the overall impression. I barely noticed it, until I brought it up in another tab just now. It’s a difficult background to choose a font for, though.

My neon-sign comparison was not (quite) hyperbole: Some people splash slime green and hot pink text across an already-colourful graphic, with contrasting “shadows” and reflections and the like on the text. It’s as though the seller just discovered “Text Art”.

Re reading before viewing video: Presuming decent reading skills, adults read and process what they read faster than they can interpret spoken words. So, weeding through descriptions before taking the time to view the videos saves time and effort.

For voice-overs, the description doesn’t necessarily show what the quality will be, but it does give an idea of whether the actor will be more likely to pay attention to the words and inflection. To be honest, it’s not really a deliberate thing. It’s more of a background impression.

What I am looking for in a description is, first of all, what are you offering? Do you do the type of voice-over I’m looking for, do you do the lengths I need, and can you deliver by my deadline? Also, if I’m writing a script for one of my clients, are you willing to do a voice-over as what amounts to a subcontractor? If that’s all good, then I’ll listen to the demos and check prices.

For clarification on the question of length, it’s alright if the length requires the use of extras or multiple gigs or whatever. But I recognize that the longer the script, the more difficult the gig is going to be, and some voice actors might not want to do longer scripts at any price. It’s one thing to do a 90-second commercial ad, but quite another to read a chapter for an audio-book or the script of a ten-minute instructional video.

If the seller would like to introduce him- or herself in the video, and talk a little about the gig, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s fine, too. I chalk that up to personal preference on the seller’s part.

The way you have the audio equivalent of a montage as your primary demo piece is very effective, by the way. You’ve made clever use of your best portfolio space.

And, of course, there is the ongoing debate about whether the seller wants buyers to contact him or her before ordering. If the seller wants prior contact, please say so. Responding to inquiries of potential buyers takes time and effort, so at least some of us tend to presume that you’d rather we don’t waste your valuable time. It can be difficult to know how to conduct a nice, smooth transaction on a site like this, even after buying a handful of gigs. First-time buyers are often just guessing about what to do.



I actually always read the profile of a seller as well when i am deciding who to buy from. I prefer a seller with a real photo for their icon as well. Although in you case I assume that photo is of you so I can get that from your gig.

However for audio production I would rather see a photo of you inside a studio or something, as when I see you laying there outdoors, my first thought is, does she just speak into her computer? How good a quality is that?

Reply to @catsquirrel: Thanks for the thoughtful answer! You’ve made a lot of great points, and some I hadn’t considered before. Mainly the influence a seller can have on the forums. I knew buyers were active here, but I never considred this a place to actually find more work.

I’d like to pick your brian a bit further if you don’t mind. Regarding the thumbnail images, do you find the added text to be helpful or more “neon sign” like? Are there things you look for in a gig photo, or are you mainly just weeding out the bad ones?

You mention you read the gig description before you watch a video. I find that particularly interesting as I feel a video of their example work would communicate more quickly what they can do. What is in the gig description that is more telling of their quality? Or is it more of a way to find the right price and gig extras?

Regarding the video themselves. Do you personally like having the seller introduce themselves and talk a little about the gig before showing examples of their work? Or would you consider that “fluff” and would rather skip right to the work?


Reply to @catsquirrel: Thanks again for your insightful response! It’s been extremely helpful. :slight_smile:

Reply to @sincere18: Interesting thoughts, thank you! I chose that image because I saw lots of people standing in front a mic for their image. So I wanted to stand out a bit and have some bright color. As for the quality of the recordings, people can always watch my video and listen to my samples to confirm it’s a high end studio. Although perhaps I could add an image to my portfolio of my set up… Something to think about. :slight_smile:

Reply to @talethia: Yes, that is true, clearly your talent is displayed once anyone starts playing the video, but if the main image shows up when people are in a search, they haven’t yet heard your voice yet. But if you are getting steady sales I would not worry too much about any of this.

I agree though, it’s good to be different and stand out a little bit…maybe take a cool outdoor shot with you and a microphone?