In my opinion, the most difficult part of being a non-union, full-time voice actor living in a right-to-work state is the setting of rates. I have lost work because I am 'too expensive' and I have slapped myself upside the head upon realizing I totally could have charged more. (Union rates, after all, are only a minimum)
That's why, when the occasion arises to simply 'work for food' it can be the most rewarding experience of all.
Let me explain...a few days ago I received a call from one of my favorite local studios, The Groundcrew. A mutual friend of ours at Hot Sake was putting together a series of animations for Charlotte's Addy Awards. He needed voices for the characters, and about 7 of us were asked to come to the studio to 'play'.
The pay would come in the form of food, and fun. Upon arriving at the studio, I found some of the best darn pizza money can buy along with some of my favorite voice actors in the area.
The sky was the limit when we began recording- we could create any silly characters we wanted. I don't want to spoil anything for those attending the awards, so I'll hold off on any specifics for now.
Money is a stress in any business. We all want to be fairly compensated for our unique talents. However, on occasion, it is nice to be reminded why I do this job. It isn't so I can get rich. It is because I love the job, the people, and the experiences it provides.
Given the choice between staying home on a Friday afternoon with my nose to the grindstone earning a few bucks; or spending a few hours laughing, bonding, and creating- in exchange for pizza...I'd just assume work for food.
A note to my wonderful clients: No, this does not mean you can pay me in mozzarella now :)