It’s the classic catch-22. You’re new to your field and hunting for work, but every application is met with rejection due to lack of experience. Which makes you want to pull your hair out, because how are you supposed to gain experience if no one is willing to hire you?! This happens in lots of industries, including voice over. Clients want seasoned actors that have experience, so oftentimes fledgling talent is overlooked. So what is a newbie to do? Well, here are a few strategies to try:
Offer Your Services for Free
What?! Free recordings?! Yes, and here’s why - because what you’re currently doing isn’t working. Clients are reluctant to pay you money because they don’t know the quality of your work and have no previous experiences or referrals from others to base it off of. So offer them some free (or seriously discounted, if you just can’t handle giving it away) VO work. This signals to them that you’re willing to do what it takes to build your portfolio and it gives you an opportunity to prove yourself at no cost to them. And who knows? They may love you so much that they’re willing to pay even more than what you asked for future work. Just be careful that, when the time is right, you begin charging a professional rate for your services.
Do Something, ANYTHING
The worst thing you can do when waiting for work is to simply wait. Waiting for clients to get back to you, waiting for auditions to open up, waiting, waiting, waiting. Don’t fall into this dangerous cycle. Instead, be proactive. Get out there and work on other aspects of your business. Attend some networking events, start a meet-up of other actors in your area, take a class, build your website, write some blogs - anything to keep busy and keep your goals in sight. All of this also adds to your level of experience, and you never know what opportunities you may come across along the way.
Make Yourself Marketable
Another strategy is to make yourself as marketable as possible to potential clients. Spend some time getting to know prospective clients and gaining an understanding of their needs. Maybe there’s something in addition to voice over that they have a need for. If you can isolate what this is, you can spend time developing another skillset that would benefit them AND make you a more attractive candidate.
Lack of experience can be challenging to overcome, not to mention unbelievably frustrating. Stay positive and keep these tips in mind to help you meet that challenge head-on.