A bit of a weird experience that I felt compelled to share.
I am a level two seller on Fiverr, and have been using Fiverr extremely part-time for the last 2 years alongside my acting career in NYC. I have rarely come across scammers like this, but I had this experience just yesterday and wanted to post to hopefully protect other Voiceover sellers from potentially creepy, fake accounts.
After submitting to a very professional looking buyer request, I was asked to audition for a project by a woman offering a great price for a small voiceover role for a young female in a feature film. Her English and punctuation were not entirely perfect, but, seeing as Fiverr has allowed me to work with wonderful buyers from all over the globe, I didn’t think much of it, and submitted to the request. Just a few moments after I submitted, she sent me a well-written message that she would have the audition script sent along that day, asking me to standby.
To be clear: I don’t usually audition for buyers, however, if the project is of a higher caliber: a feature, a video game, a commercial, something that would offer over $100, I generally do, so had no problem doing so for this client.
She didn’t send it along that day, but around 9am the next morning she sent a series of messages saying she apologized for the delay and would send along the script soon. The messages seemed to be a bit worse in punctuation and professionalism, but I thought that perhaps she was rushing/frazzled, and thinking nothing of it (and having just woken up), I told her no problem, and that I would be ready to record in 2 hours. She sent over the script, asking just for a simple line: “I love you”, and asked me when the file might be ready. I let her know the time I would have it in her inbox, went through my morning routine, and then went to record the tiny file, which I did a few takes of, and opened up Fiverr while the mp3 exported.
In between the time it took for me to tell her I was sending along the file and the hour that followed, she sent about 10-12 messages in a row: spam messages that seemed weird and out of character, from, “when will you have recorded??” to “hannnahhh” “what time will this be ready ?” I sent a message in between saying that I would be uploading it soon, “as previously stated”, to which she responded with “ok” - and even though it was strange, because the file was finished, I uploaded it and told her I would be awaiting a word count for the project should she wish to proceed.
The user then told me that that was great, and that she had another audition file, but needed a quicker turnaround time (all sent in three separate messages). She then asked for a second file, literally requesting “2 minutes of surprised noises”.
I was a bit taken aback, but laughed. It sounded strange, sure, but sometimes, as you all know, buyers ask for weird things - and perhaps, because of the language barrier, she didn’t mean what she asked. “Just to clarify, you want…Two full minutes of surprised noises? Do you want any improvised lines? Or just… gasps?” To which she responded, “no lines, just surprised noises”. Clearly, this no longer seemed like a normal project. For any VO sellers who are accustomed to recording gasps and game reaction sounds, etc, this sort of recording can get awkward - so even while giving the buyer the benefit of the doubt, I asked for some clarification on the project in full.
I told her that I could send her 1 or 2 surprised reaction noises, but not two full minutes, and additionally explained that this was the last free audition file I could offer her. If she had any third or fourth lines desired, she could ask me for them now, and I would compile them into one file. She then asked me for an additional 2 minutes of “grunting sounds, like heavy lifting, along with the gasping. this is very important.”
No. No no no no no no no.
It seems to me like this user was trying to get free content, clearly that could be used in an adult context, either for personal or professional use… Veiled as a regular, well-paying job. Of course, if it is for a video game or series, these sorts of reaction noises would be asked for, but not at length, not in this strange, separated file format, and certainly not following a request for the sentence, “i love you”. I sent one more message, saying that I wanted full details on the plot and script of the feature, so as not to waste my time, but the user just responded, “talk about wasting time, bye”, without offering any details whatsoever on the plot of the script or the details of the broadcast. I reported and blocked the user, and about an hour later, “her” profile no longer existed on Fiverr.
I may be overreacting, but it doesn’t seem like I was, especially seeing as Fiverr removed this account. I wanted to post this; there are a lot of ways that I believe scammers can take advantage of sellers offering an entertainment gig, and this one was disguised in a way that even I played along with for awhile. Not even just getting free material - but the fact that this seemed like a sexual request, disguised as a real seller, using a legit opening message and $125 budget… I am hoping that other sellers reported her, and that the user isn’t able to make more accounts/contact women in this way. To all new and old voiceover sellers - especially for women - please be wary and err on the side of protection when red flags crop up like this.
I wish you all lots of success on your gig pages, and hope you have a Happy New Year! May you have more success than I did yesterday!