Could the Upload Limit be causing us to miss jobs?

  • Paul Watt

    Voice Over:English

    Here is an email I have just sent Mandy. This issue really needs to be addressed:

    Hi

    I was a Premium Member of Mandy Voiceover for several months and enjoyed my time on the site; I was even a Finalist in the VO Competition. However, after having applied for about a hundred roles, I never once succeeded. I mentioned this on the forum and many others felt the same. One guy had been a member since 2014 and not had one job!

    This made me wonder as to why this was happening and then I realised that a large part of the cause of this is the 30 file upload limit. I noticed that many employers were looking at my files long after the job deadline. The trouble was, I had to delete many uploads to make way for new job auditions and most likely missing out on many job opportunities.

    Today I received a Black Friday discount offer for annual membership and to be honest, if this issue was addressed, I would have jumped at the offer. I wonder how many other people feel the same way.

    Is there any chance this issue will be addressed? And please don’t tell me that the online demo read function doesn’t count against the 30 file limit. I know this, but the file quality will in no way be the same as a carefully mastered and edited file upload. Clients are looking for quality recordings.

    Looking forward to hearing your response as I would love to come back to Mandy as a Premium Member.

    Many thanks

    Paul Watt

    • 22nd Jan 2021
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  • Angus Scott

    Voice Over:English

    This has been discussed in the forum before - twice actually now - that I can remember.

    Each time we get an anodyne response from Mandy moaning storage costing money.

    Firstly, storage costs very little these days (hell, I pay Google just £25 a year for 2 Gig cloud storage, for heavens sake) so that's no excuse.

    Secondly, actors on other parts of Mandy can upload video reels. I can guarantee that just one video reel alone would be more than 100 voice files.

    I've been here 3-4 years but this, for me, is also now beginning to seriously pee me off. Particularly recently where I'm having to delete files from less than 3 weeks ago when I know clients still want to revisit them.

    Bearing in mind all the other sites have no limit (eg voices) it's pretty poor so I, too, may not renew.

    • 6th Dec 2020
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  • Angus Scott

    Voice Over:English

    Sorry, I meant £25 a year for 2 HUNDRED Gig.

    • 6th Dec 2020
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  • Paul Watt

    Voice Over:English

    It’s really annoying! They emailed me back to say how’s much storage space is used up by their thousands of members and then let out that everyone right across the board; actors, VOs, whatever, have exactly the same allowance of 200MB per file! I explained that voice recording demos/auditions are usually no more than a minute long and only take up a few meg. We don’t need anywhere near 200MB per file! They said that basically it’s a Mandy policy that every member gets 200MB/file regardless of which group they belong to! But why?? Absolutely insane.

    • 7th Dec 2020
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  • Angus Scott

    Voice Over:English

    Yep - it's complete nonsense.

    I did respond to them, ok, give me a 'total' of 200mb storage then... which didn't evoke a response, funnily enough.

    No, I think I may not renew next time it comes around. Their dogged stubbornness on this issue is pretty poor service, particularly as so many different people have raised it independently. And, as I said, no other site has this problem.

    I used to get quite a bit of work on here but I haven't won anything now for many, many months - maybe even the last year. Now I know much of that's down to increased competitiveness with Covid but frankly, if I'm already being hamstrung with this silly having to delete my auditions nonsense before I even start then it's just not worth the subs.

    • 7th Dec 2020
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  • Brendan McCoy

    Voice Over:English

    I don't inow if Mandy are monitoring this discussion, but i've just hit another issuse with the upload limit.

    While the new system no longer stops you auditioning for new castings if you have more than 30 files which is a vast improvement on how it used to be, I was very disappointed to discover when i was contacted by a client via the mailing system for a custom demo for a job that they wanted me to send over to them via the Mandy mail system that i couldn't upload my file until i deleted a load of my audition demos that had been uploaded via the new system. So they do if fact count to our 30 file limit, unlike Mandy keep insissting.

    If you're listening Mandy Admins, could you please try and fix this issue?

    • 9th Dec 2020
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  • Bruce Bowden

    Voice Over:English

    Have only ever got one job from this site. Probably won't be renewing this month. I now get work from voicebunny and I don't have to pay. I know that they take the lion's share, but they are motivated to get you work and they pay you through paypal.

    You can also hear the auditions of all the vo's who are going for the same job. It's worth joining just for the education you get from studying the winning auditions.

    • 2nd Jan 2021
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  • Stewart Magrath

    Voice Over:English

    I've just hit some limit on files, stopping me applying for anything else - including one I'd spent time recording. This is a ridiculous situation, limiting storage for voice files. I've had to delete some from 15th December - not even a month ago, and the system still won't let me upload anything else! Mandy do not seem to understand the technology behind the business they're in.

    • 7th Jan 2021
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  • Dan Akers

    Voice Over:English

    Paul, I completely agree with you and have also flagged it up with Mandy.com as an issue. I haven't won any new business via Mandy.com for around 9 months, yet my monthly Bodalgo subscription continues to more-than pay for itself and Voice123.com, where I was one of their Top 10% Preferred Voices for over a year (although this week slipped to Top 20% which I'm gutted about) still accounts for the majority of my income. In addition, every review I've received so far has been rated five stars and I have a number of repeat clients so I know I can't be that bad.

    Having worked as a producer, I know that (especially on agency side) it sometimes takes MONTHS to finalise casting decisions and sometimes months to even listen the audtions, but I'm having to make space all the time and there's just over 1 month of auditions stored on my account so yes, I think we're all losing out on potentially a great deal of work because of Mandy.com's outdated approach to data storage allocation.

    Storage space is ridiculously cheap these days and if Armin at Bodalgo can allow unlimited job applications when he runs a small business based in Munich, I'm sure Mandy.com with its affiliates all over the world, can allow us to do likewise.

    Maybe they can also improve their ad targetting because I'm not a 16 year old of African descent with a Manchester accent, as a recent ad suggested I might be, and maybe give us the opportunity to hide ads we're not interested in because it's frankly a pain in the a*** having to click the ad, see it requires a 16 year old of African descent with a Manchester accent, click back, scroll to the next ad, click, realise it's for a 64 year old woman, click back, scroll down, click the next ad etc. Perhaps also include the end date on the list of current jobs, rather than having to open the ad to see the end date, then close the ad and open the next ad to see its end date etc... having everything in summary view would be so much more helpful because then I can QUICKLY make a list of which auditions can wait until tomorrow or next week.

    In my opinion the site's functionality and approach to data storage is antiquated and far from representing good value for money. If improvements aren't made soon (and should I not receive a booking within the next month - I resubscribed only today) then this will be my last month with Mandy.com. Sorry guys, but it's time to up your game.

    • 14th Jan 2021
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  • Paul Watt

    Voice Over:English

    Well said Dan. Excellent points! If Mandy made the simple changes you suggested, the site would be so much better. I came back for a month to see if things had changed, but I’ve cancelled my subscription again. I’ve never had a single job from them, but I’ve had a fair bit of work elsewhere too. We can only hope they take notice to us; it’s in their best interests to do so.

    • 14th Jan 2021
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  • Declan McHugh

    Voice Over:English

    By pure coincidence I was coming here to ask can Mandy not have a delete button, and I see Dan has alluded to this.

    So in case a mandy staff member reads this, can mandy please have a simple delete button beside the jobs. That should be simple enough to program, and means that we won't have to have jobs in front of us that are of no interest to us, for whatever reason.

    It does make me wonder whether the reason for the delete button not existing is to 'bulk up' the volume of ads. Speaking for myself I would rather see 3 ads that apply to me than 10 ads, 7 of which do not apply to me...

    Declan

    • 19th Jan 2021
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  • Helen Bolitho

    Voice Over:English

    Echoing what Declan has said above, I totally agree about having a ‘delete’ button for jobs.

    Just to add that all P2P’s I know of have this facility and it means we can quickly filter out the postings that aren’t right for us/ we aren’t right for, which makes auditioning a lot more efficient :-)

    Mandy team please can this be implemented?

    Thanks,

    Helen

    • 20th Jan 2021
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  • Dan Akers

    Voice Over:English

    Apologies for wandering off-topic here, and thank you Paul (and Mandy.com) for your comments.

    This is for the attention of "The Mandy Team" (really, actual names would be far nicer and make "the team" appear a far more personable bunch)...

    I have to take Mandy to task over this: "If you are concerned about your Job alerts and their suitability, please do contact us at [email protected] and we would be happy to advise on how to optimize your profile selections to ensure you receive the right job alerts for you. If you are searching directly via our Jobs boards please remember that you are able to use our Gender filter and can search by keywords if there is anything specific you are looking for."

    As a voice artist using a job site that supposedly offers ads directly linked to my preferences data, I want those jobs to come looking for me, rather than me go looking for them, not only because it's a poor use of my time, but because it's what I'm paying my subscription for and because I'm not looking FOR anyting specific - I just want to be able to apply for VOICE JOBS!

    Like many of the subscribers to Mandy.com, I know my way around a search form, especially one as simple as this. I don't need help on how to navigate my way around the woefully few options of "job type", "counties" and "gender".

    I think I speak for a large majority of us when I say I don't care about narrowing down the job type. So long as it's something I'm capable of, I'm interested.

    I have to keep "all counties" selected because this will narrow my options and presumably remove any ads requiring a home counties, BBC English, Queens Englsh, RP or a light southern accent.

    So the only usable search terms available to me are gender and search, although what on earth am I meant to type into "search" when all I need is voiceover and voice acting jobs, the primary function of Mandy,com!

    For example, with "male" selected under the only useful search term available to me, this morning I was presented with (just one example from many): "Voice Over - Bus Service Video - Spark Media - £150 flat fee - remote home recording", a corporate job posted o 21 Jan.

    When you click on the ad, you get this (under "Description"): "A down to earth teenager (16 - 26 year old), sounds quite streetwise/regular but warm and friendly too. Must have a North Kent accent. You must be able to record the audio yourself and send on as an MP3 or WAV file."

    At least half a dozen 'timewasting' ads that require me to click on the job title before I can find out it's not for me, have been posted just this morning. When we're all busy robbing Peter to pay Paul and desperately trying to find new business during these times of lockdown, the last thing we need is for (what should be) one of our main sources of income underserving us by providing lacklustre (at best, rubbish at worst) functionality.

    What WOULD have been useful in the above example, would have been: "Job: North Kent Bus Service | Job Type: Corporate Narration | Performing Age Range: 16-26 | Accent: North Kent | Fee: £150 | Closing Date: 27 Jan 2021 | Recording location: Home".

    You coud then expand your search terms to include:

    Job Type (checklist, no selection lists all jobs of every type)

    Performing Age (user-input range, no selection lists jobs for all ages)

    Accent (checklist for multiple selection, include RP/no accent option, no selection lists jobs of every accent)

    Fee (checkbox with options £0-50, £50-100, £150-249, £250-499, £500-999 and £1,000+, no selection list all)

    Recording Location (radio button: Home, Studio or Both)

    As default, list ads in order of closing date (soonest first).

    Finally, instead of putting the search options on the job page, include them in the user settings so we consistently receive only jobs that include the right job types, ages, accents, fee expectations and recording location.

    At the moment, I'm sorry to say, the search functionality on Mandy.com (for voices) is frankly rubbish. Good search functionality isn't only about excluding data, but focussing in on including more of the right data, and right now there aren't enough options to achieve the level of focus we need.

    Along with more storage space (which I'm glad to hear you're addressing), these relatively easy-to-achieve improvements would make navigating the Mandy platform less of a trudge through treacle, and more of a walk in the park.

    • 22nd Jan 2021
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  • Angus Scott

    Voice Over:English

    One comment on 'being able to star a job to view later' - pointless.

    Unless you submit shortly after the ad first appears, you're wasting your time. If it's like any other site (and I'm sure it is) as it's become so competitive, unless you're in the first dozen or so applicants it's likely you won't even get listened to, never mind win it.

    I did actually win a job last week on here for the first time in a long time but to be honest I've stopped auditioning now on all the P2P sites and won't be renewing here, Voices etc.. Waste of time/money if you have other marketing avenues to exploit.

    • 22nd Jan 2021
    • 13
  • Dan Akers

    Voice Over:English

    I agree with you completely, Angus, about the p2p sites being a waste of money, especially now.

    I get the feeling there has been a huge surge in lapsed and new voices joining all of the sites, mostly made up of people bored at home on furlough, desperate for something to do during these never-ending lockdowns.

    Problem is the voiceover industry reached saturation point a long time ago and now those of us trying to make a living out of voice work are struggling to survive and living way below the poverty line.

    December and January are generally the quietest months of the year for us, compounded this year by the UK being locked down for a third time. Lockdown #1 saw my best month since going freelance turn into my worst month ever, with not a single booking received. Then, just as things were starting to improve, we had the rug pulled from beneath our feet again with lockdown #2 and now, with lockdown #3 in place, it looks like I'll have to shut up shop completely, dashing my life-long dream of running my own voiceover and production business. I'm devastated already, because I know it's almost certainly going to happen.

    I've auditioned for around 60 jobs this week - less than half the number usually available - and I've won just 1 of them, and that won't pay out for another couple of weeks.

    I'm ending the week with a packet of noodles, rice, pasta, cooking sauce and minced beef in my kitchen and not a penny in my bank account. Saturday morning will be spent queuing for free food, rubbing shoulders with the homeless at the local food bank in Penge, southeast London.

    Why has this happened and why are seasoned pros of many years being forced out of business, having to go back to 9-5 office jobs or even shelf-stacking in Tesco?

    One reason is that voiceover work has never been of less value, and the P2P sites are in no small part responsible for driving fees way down so we end up doing many jobs for little more than beer money, the only exception being Armin Hierstetter's Bodalgo,, which appears to still put voice talent first by vetting every voice they sign up and not screwing us on price.

    The furloughed newcomers who are still receiving at least some of their regular wage, are hurting us even more in the pocket by diluting the number of opportunities we have still further, whilst most of us don't even qualify for Government aid.

    There are also some (and thankfully very few) new producers who wouldn't know a decent voice if one spat in their face and screamed "I AM A DECENT VOICE, FOR GOD'S SAKE HIRE ME"!

    Then there's the current 'trend' of booking only voices with accents, from specific backgrounds, who "don't sound like voice artists or actors" and voices who "sound a bit rough around the edges". At this rate it won't be long until we're reading a job ad calling for a "blind actor with a chronic speech impediment (or even better no voice at all) who can neither act nor read braille". Seems no crazier than the prospect of us being replaced by TTS voices. Of course a few of our colleagues will profit from having their voices digitised, signing away their careers for £250 and a 100% in-perpetuity buyout licence.

    Along with the ever-increasing subscription fees, the P2P sites are accepting more and more voices and not giving a second's thought to how they're effectively ruining the lives of those of us who have no other income, those of us to whom voice work IS THEIR ONE AND ONLY JOB.

    I spent over 20 years as a producer and always believed I had a duty of care to the voices I hired, especially those without agents or other revenue streams. Essentially i was forced into becoming a freelance voice artist after my former employer landed me with a settlement agreement after just under 15 years of often gruelling commitment and dedicated service, 12 annual reviews rated excellent or outstanding, and 2 years almost to the day since I was diagnosed with severe, work stress-related depression, but because they own most of the market in which I used to work, my options for voice work in the UK are severely restricted and, as a result, my depression continues to not only linger, but get markedly worse.

    The industry I desperately yearned to be a part of for years, has been all-but destroyed by ever-decreasing setup costs, corporate greed, a reluctance to invest in decent talent and by technology companies, so I don't think it's unfair of any of us to ask those to whom we pay increasingly extortionate subscription fees, to at least provide us with the tools to make our increasingly impossible job searches that little bit easier, thereby freeing up some time so we can all start applying for shelf-stacking jobs in Tesco.

    • 22nd Jan 2021
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