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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why Did that Newbie Get Picked Over Me?

I’ve been in the voiceover industry 23 years now, and I’ve seen it happen time and again - an inexperienced actor getting chosen for a project over a seasoned veteran. It’s happened to some of my good friends, and it’s happened to me as well. And every time, each of us was left wondering, “How the heck did that happen?”

Well, there are several reasons why a client goes with a new talent over an experienced one. Here are a few:

1.    They’re not up to speed on technology.  Technology is always moving forward, and if  you’re not moving with it, you’re going to get left behind. While younger VO actors who haven’t been in the business quite as long have no problems adapting to technology changes, it’s not as easy for some of us who’ve been at it for awhile. But not keeping up can be very detrimental, especially when clients (young ones in particular) use newer tech tools to advertise work and connect with actors.

2.    Their web presence isn’t what it should be. In a similar vein, creating a strong web presence is important for voice over actors. If your website looks dated or doesn’t function well, people aren’t going to spend a lot of time checking it out. Same goes for social media -  you need to be using it, and you need to be using at least a couple different platforms so you can reach more people.

3.    They rely too much on their resume and reputation. Don’t get me wrong, resumes are good, and you absolutely should be keeping yours updated and using it to get work. However, this shouldn’t be your sole means of letting people know who you are and what you’ve done. You should also be using your demo and other marketing tools.

4.    They let their demo get stale.  Speaking of your demo, you should be updating it at least once a year, maybe two years. You need to keep it fresh, with new content that reflects your evolving talent and skills. 

5.    They let themselves get stale. Ouch. This one is harsh, true. Some actors get content with where they are in their career, and they do little to grow as a professional. When this happens, they become stale, and guess who notices? Everyone but them.

There are a lot of very talented newbies out there who are more than deserving of the work they get, but the same goes for experienced actors - so long as we don’t make the mistakes above.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Networking Tips Every VO Actor Should Remember

Networking is one of the most important things you should be doing in your voice over career, especially if you’re still trying to drum up business. However, it’s something that many actors don’t prioritize, simply because it can be a hassle. Travel expenses, endless small talk with strangers, and time away spent from the studio can make networking a real drag. It’s a necessary evil, but there are a few things you can do to maximize your time spent rubbing shoulders with colleagues and others in the biz.

     Collect business cards - and lots of them. Each business card you get is the start of a possible opportunity to expand your career. It’s a tangible point of contact that may develop into your next big gig, and it’s important that you follow up to explore the possibilities.

     Be selective about handing out your own business cards. While you may be busy stuffing your pockets with others’ cards, be particular about who you gives yours to. You want to give them to folks who you can actually see yourself working with, rather than handing them out as a natural reflex when meeting someone new. 

     Meet as many people as you can. Just because not everyone will get a business card from you, it doesn’t mean you should avoid them. By all means, talk to anyone and everyone you can! It’s kind of the point, after all. Be prepared to give your "elevator speech."

     Keep your brand in mind when talking with others. What are you about as a voice actor? What’s your niche? What do you want people to remember about you? As you interact with others, try to stay consistent with your own brand so that people are more likely to remember you.

     Make friends. Sure, the point of attending any networking event is to grow as a professional, but who says you can’t make friends along the way? In fact, I’d argue that developing and nurturing friendships is just as important as developing and nurturing professional relationships. Not only is this way more fun, but you just might find yourself relying on your friends in the future. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Voice Actor

I’ve been seeing a lot of these “day in the life of…” blogs lately, and I’m always fascinated by them. It’s so interesting to get a glimpse into the everyday life of another person, and see it for what it actually is, without any boasting or grandstanding involved. Just a real, genuine explanation of “hey, this is what I do on a typical Tuesday.”

So I thought I would take a turn at it and share with you what goes on in my day-to-day life as a voice over actor. Mostly it’s pretty mundane, but there are moments of “wow! I LOVE my job!” that make it all worth it. Like getting feedback from a client on a recent project.

Here goes!

5:45 a.m. Wake up feeling refreshed and amazing (most of the time anyway). Then bring in or turnout (depending on the season) my horses, feeding, grooming and treats for my dogs and cats.

7:00 a.m. Breakfast, shower, regular morning stuff that most people do.

8:30 a.m. Head to the studio, fire up the computer, spend about 10 minutes going through emails. I’ve found that emails are a huge time-suck, and if you don’t stay on top of them, it gets even worse. So I plan on a few minutes each morning to sift through the junk and read and respond to anything important and record a few choice auditions

8:45 a.m. Schedule my day. I always map out my day, and here’s why: I am much more productive when I have a plan in place, and especially when I include general timeframes for each item I want to accomplish.

9:00 a.m. Script review and record. Could be a phone patch session or two, Skype, iPTDL, Source Connect NOW, answer more email, maybe a phone call or two, more recording

12:00 p.m. Lunch! Usually short, just a quick bite to fuel up.

12:30 p.m. Editing, software treatment, sending audio files. This is where I spent a big chunk of each day, because 2 minutes of recording usually equals about 20 - 30 minutes of editing.

4:00 p.m. Email check again. I pretty much check my email often throughout the day. Since it comes in from so many different sources. No matter what I'm doing I need to stay in touch and reply quickly when necessary. I keep phone calls short in favor of saving my voice for recording. Depending on workload, I'll post, comment, read, blog write or interact in some way with social media.

5:30 p.m. Done for the day! Or at least that's my goal. But, of course, these time slots are approximate and just meant to determine my basic plan for the day. If I have to do a session or have a deadline to meet this whole schedule can change instantly to accommodate a client or two. And it can get hectic since I've only got one mouth to work with!

Then it's off to the gym 3 or 4 days per week or to do the typical household chores most of us do. Or just catch up on my emails or read posts, blogs, etc.

And there ya have it... a day in the life of Rick Lance. Obviously, not every day looks like this. Some days are shorter, some days are longer. But for the most part, this is what it’s like to be a voice over actor; or at least, what it’s like to be me. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Etiquette Breaches that Can Hurt Your VO Career

Most of us voice over actors spend a great deal of time working from home. This is great and all, but it can also leave us a little out-of-touch with what it means to interact with colleagues and behave professionally. Like any other industry, there are certain rules and expectations for when you are working with others in other studios, and not observing these can do serious damage to your reputation as an actor. Here are 10 etiquette-related tips and tricks to keep in mind:

1.    Don’t touch the mic. When you walk into the studio, you had better keep your hands to yourself, or you risk incurring the wrath of the people on the other side of the glass. Seriously, don’t touch the mic.

2.    Keep your volume consistent, unless you’re actively trying to deafen the sound engineer. If your reading calls for a volume change, let him/her know ahead of time when this will happen.

3.    Always assume the mic is on and recording.

4.    Be on time. This does not need further explanation. 

5.    Don’t look like a slob. This also does not require further explanation.

6.    Remember your manners. Please, thank you, hello - these go a long way in making people like you. It shows simple, mutual respect.

7.    Don’t post photos of other cast members, script details, or anything else related to the project to social media without first asking permission. I have seen this turn out badly more than once, with the post-er having no way to undo it.

8.    Don’t wear noisy clothing. What is noisy clothing, you ask? Windbreakers that make that “swoosh” sound every time you move, a stack of bangle bracelets, jingle bell earrings at Christmastime. In the studio, clothing should be silent. I simply empty out my pockets and remove my cell phone from my hip before I go in.

9.    Remember your business cards. You definitely don’t want to be empty-handed if someone asks for your contact info, so keep a stack of cards on you. 

10. Not so much an etiquette thing here, but carry a small bag with you containing some basic items. I keep nasal spray, dry mouth spray, throat spray, Throat Coat tea bags, bottled water, pens and markers, aspirin, Burt's Bees throat lozenges and maybe a few other small items in my bag going into the studio.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soundproofing Tips for Your Home Studio

Any VO actor with a home studio knows how vital it is to ensure it is well insulated and absolutely free of ambient sound. They also know how challenging it can be to accomplish this. Use the acoustic treatment tips below to help you achieve a quiet, professional home studio that will help you deliver the highest quality product possible.

     Don’t put your speakers on your desk or a shelf. Doing this will expose them to vibrations, and thus, noise. Instead, suspend them from the ceiling or mount them to spiked stands which will keep them firmly in place and free from sound vibrations. Or use foam pads specially made to absorb vibration available from your favorite sound or equipment source. 

     Make sure any cracks or gaps are sealed. Electrical outlets, pipes, AC fittings, etc. are common places where ambient sound can leak through and find its way onto your recordings. Doors and windows can spell trouble too, so invest in a door sweep and some acoustical caulk to help minimize leakage in these spaces. Be careful of air vents and the sound of gushing air flow. Hopefully, you have invested in a quiet HVAC system to handle the vibration and/or noise problem at the source.

     Darken the room and look to see if light is coming in anywhere. If it is, so is sound. Fill these gaps as necessary to make your space quieter.

     Install bass traps in the corners of the room to absorb unwanted "boominess" within the room.

     Add mass to the walls if possible. This can be done by adding studs and sheetrock on top of the existing wall, and using a high quality insulation in the space between. If this isn’t possible, hang tapestries or heavy curtains to create additional mass.

     Address any floor issues. Hardwood, concrete or tile floors are bad. Ideally, your space will be carpeted to absorb the most sound, but adding extra rugs can also improve the acoustics in your studio.

These are just a few of the tips I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me improve my home studio. What are some of yours? If you come to a difficult area to soundproof or are just not getting the sound you want from your room, then bring in a professional to set it up for you. It's certainly worth the extra expense... you can set it and forget it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Are You Asking for Reviews from Your Clients? You Should Be!

How important do you think reviews (or client testimonials) are? If you think they’re VERY important, then you are correct. Think about it. What’s the first thing you do when shopping for a new product or service? You look it up online to see if there are any reviews, because you want to know what other people who have tried it think before you buy it. It’s the smart thing to do, after all.

I’m not just talking about looking up reviews when buying a new appliance or finding a good HVAC company, though. This review-searching also goes for voice over actors. I can guarantee you that prospective clients are very interested in what you’ve done before, and more importantly, what people thought of your work. This is why it’s so important for you to get reviews of your VO work.

When you include positive reviews from past clients, you’re letting new potential clients know that you’re legit, professional, and that other people like what you’ve done. This makes the new client much more comfortable in choosing you, and greatly increases your chances of landing the job.

But how do you get reviews? You ask! It’s really that simple. If you know you’ve completed a job that met with a client’s satisfaction, simply ask them to leave a review. This can be done easily on your website so that it’s readily available for anyone browsing your page. A few tweaks to your site, and voila - now there’s a spot for client reviews. And do ask them right at the acceptance of your files while you are HOT on their minds.

Granted, not every client is going to leave a review, and that’s okay. If you’ve really provided an excellent product, most clients will be happy to spend a few minutes leaving some positive feedback. Two things you can do to help make this happen are: 1) make it easy for them, and 2) incentivize them. To make it easy for them, you can email them a link directly to your review page or form, or you can send them a personal card or form to complete. If you think they need a bit of an incentive, you can offer a small discount on their project or offer some free advertising for them by including their link or contact info on your page. Oftentimes, my client will be excited that I exceeded his expectations and will reflect that in and email. That's when I ask, "Can I quote you on that?"

Obviously, positive reviews are the best, but don’t panic if you get some negative feedback. It’s impossible to please everyone, just make sure you handle it like a professional by responding immediately and offering to make it right.

Reviews are an important component of building your brand - and your clientele. If you’re not already asking for voice over reviews, the time to start is now.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What Goes Into Casting Decisions?

Ah, the mysterious world of casting. What is it that makes a casting agent decide to go with one particular actor over another? Is it solely because of talent? Or maybe experience?  There’s actually not just one easy answer to this - big surprise, huh? Casting decisions are made for a multitude of reasons. Let’s go over some of them, shall we?

Ability - Your ability as an actor is one of the most important factors in whether you get hired or not. Obviously, right? Agents want dynamic people who have mastered VO to work for them, so they’re looking for voice over actors that possess both the talent and skillset needed to convey their message. Things like accent, dialect, and other qualities also come into play where casting decisions are concerned.

Experience - How much experience an actor has will also be taken into consideration. While it’s not unheard of for a brand new actor to land a job - clearly this happens or else no one would ever gain experience - most agents look for actors who are a bit more seasoned.

Connection to the Role - If an actor has a connection to the role they’ll be playing, chances are they’ll be able to play it with more authenticity, which will improve the performance and make it more believable for the audience.

Chemistry - The chemistry between the actor and the people he/she will be working with may also be factored in. If an artist can develop a good rapport with the client, the process of completing the project will likely go much smoother. This can also ease communication between actor and client, which is a huge plus as communication difficulties have the potential to cause major problems.

Cost - The actor’s rates are another deciding factor. If an artist gives a quote for a project that the client feels is too much, they may move on to the next actor. Just be fair and firm regarding your rate.

Availability - Another logistical component is the actor’s availability. Will he/she be able to turn the project around according to the client’s timeline?

These are just some of the considerations that go into casting decisions. Many of them are subjective and simply come down to the agent’s personal preferences. This can make it more difficult to consistently land roles, but if you’re great at what you do, maintain a professional attitude and can fit all the criteria the client wants, chances are you will succeed.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tips for Getting Into Your Voice Over Character

Getting into character isn’t just for screen or stage actors. Voice over actors also play character roles, and becoming one with that persona can be a challenge. As that character, you have to be sincere, authentic, and most importantly, believable for your audience. Here are tips to help you get into character as a voice over actor.

     Visualize the character. What does he/she look like? What kind of mannerisms would they have? How do they sound? If you can create a picture in your mind of this persona, then it can be easier to become them.

     Observe others. One of the best ways to learn about people, including the fictitious ones you play as a VO actor, is simply to watch them. Go to the mall or the beach or somewhere that has a variety of people, make yourself comfortable, and watch how they behave.

     Choose relatable roles. When you can relate to the character you’re playing, it is far easier to become that character, and do so believably.  Before you accept a role, review the character to see if you can relate to him/her on any level. If you can, great! If not, think carefully about whether or not you’ll be able to play the role with authenticity.

     Remove distractions.  Eliminate anything that could serve as a distraction so you can fully immerse yourself into the character. If you’re focusing on things other than your character and what you’re doing in that moment, you’ll only make things more difficult for yourself. 

     Give it 100%. When you’re assuming an identity other than your own, one of the best ways to make it believable is to invest 100% of yourself into it. It’s not just the words that you’re reading off the script; it’s also your facial expressions and body language. Even though you may not be seen while you are recording. All of these components work together to make a complete character, so incorporate those as well to truly become the character. 

There's a saying in the business, "All acting is character acting." This is true because you are always REACTING to someone or something's action. So you are a character doing that. Of course, you are bringing your particular character traits to the recording. And if you don't think of yourself as a "character" voice actor, just remember to work from the ROOT of your signature sound and manipulate your voice to suite the need keeping the above suggestions in mind.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

5 Must-Ask Questions for New Voice Over Clients

When you’re working with a new voice over client, there are a lot of unknowns at the beginning. It’s very important to fill in these blanks as soon as possible to avoid confusion later on. The easiest way to do this is by arming yourself with a list of standard questions that you pose to each new client, so you can establish some background information about them, their project, and their expectations of you. Here’s what I like to ask all my new clients:

1.    What demographic am I speaking to? It’s critical to know what segment of society you are recording for, as this will dictate the delivery of your VO. Things like tone, pacing, enunciation - all of these should be tailored to match the demographic. For instance, how you record for a product or service marketed to senior men will be different than one intended to reach 20-something females. Match your voice over to your audience.

2.    Do you have any special instructions? From the get-go, you need to know if the client has any specialized instructions. There’s nothing worse than completing a project only to find out they wanted it this way, and not the way you did it. Each recording is unique, and each client will have a different set of expectations. Find out what their's are.

3.    When is the project due? This one doesn’t really need explaining. Find out when they want it completed, and do your best to exceed that expectation. Or underpromise and over deliver.

4.    What format should the recording be in? Different clients want different formats for the final product, so find out in advance what their file type preference is. Do they want mp3, wav, aif what? 

5.    Who are my main points of contact? You may not be working with the same person from start to finish. The person who delivered the project instructions to you may not be the same person who needs the final product. Same goes for edits and invoices, so be sure to get the contact info for every person you’ll be working with. 

In my experience, clients can be notoriously brief with what they need when initially contacting you. They are either in a hurry, new to the business or possibly even testing your knowledge.... or your experience or naivete (especially concerning your pricing/rates). So be upfront and set the precedent from the get go and ASK QUESTIONS. You'll also have an email reference to fall back on should a problem arise with acceptance of your final VO files. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What Agents Really Want

Landing an agent is no small task, as so many voice over actors can tell you. The fact is, most agents already have a sizable pool of VO artists to draw from, and they don’t need you. Sorry to sound so harsh, but this is just how it is in an ultra-competitive industry like voice over. However, if you can make an agent believe that they need you, they will find a place for you, and even better, they’ll find work for you.

There are a few different reasons why agents turn voice over actors away. The most common are:

1.    Their demo is no good.
2.    They are too inexperienced.
3.    They don’t offer anything unique or marketable.
4.    They lack direction and goals.

Fortunately, with some time, effort, and dedication to your craft, all of these can be remedied. Let’s break this down one at a time.

Their Demo is No Good

Your demo is your single-most important marketing tool. It's your calling card. This is what people use to get an idea of your sound and your skillset, and if it’s sub-par, they’re not going to hesitate before moving on to the next person. Spend some time listening to other actors’ demos, both good and bad, to get a feel for how yours should sound. Once you know what you want, do what it takes to make it perfect. This may mean having someone else record it, or spending hours of your own time editing it to perfection. Whatever it takes, do it - you want those agents to stay tuned, right?

They are Too Inexperienced

Before you start shopping around for agents, you need to build up your resume and show that you’ve gained some experience as a voice actor. This will require a lot of time and effort because you need to find people who will take a chance on a newbie. If you’re struggling to do this, you need to step up your marketing efforts and consider doing a bit of pro bono work. Just be careful doing pro bono as to not get caught in a trap doing cheap or free work on a regular basis. Trust me, it will be worth it if you can get a few solid references out of it.

NOTE: A word on pricing here. When someone asks you to discount your work because "we have several other projects in mind for you to voice", take that with a "grain of salt." Don't assume that to be a true statement (If I had a dime for every time I've heard that... well, you know... ) Instead REVERSE the strategy. Tell them, "How about I charge you the full price for the first one and I'll discount the "several" others when (or if) they come up?" Kinda hard to argue with this strategy!

They Don’t Anything Unique or Marketable

This one is a bit tougher. If you’re struggling to be unique in an industry that’s already flooded with talent, you need to really stop and think about what you have to offer. Is there an area or skill you can dedicate more time to? Perhaps a market or demographic that you hadn’t considered before? Refine your signature voice. Explore, experiment, and keep at it until you find your niche.

They Lack Direction and Goals

If you don’t know what you want, how can an agent really help you? Figure out what you want out of this career and the things you’ll need to do to attain it. An agent is there to represent YOU, but if you are just wandering aimlessly, going wherever the wind takes you, that makes their job infinitely harder - and they aren’t interested in that anyway, I promise. Set some goals, decide on a course, and make this known to your prospective agent. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Power of Voice Over

Do you mind if I get cheesy for a minute? Good, because I’m about to get cheesy. Sometimes it just hits me how incredible the human voice is and how much power it has. Voices convey so much more than information - just think about how emotion is so intrinsically linked to your voice, and how a voice has the ability to make people laugh, cry, rage, tremble in fear. Honestly, it’s just truly amazing, and every day I am so grateful I get to work in an industry where the voice reigns supreme.

Told you it was going to get cheesy in here. And now you’re probably wondering what in the heck even made me start thinking about all this. I’ll tell you. It’s Morgan Freeman’s fault. That man has one of the most recognizable voices in history, and sometimes when I hear him, I get honest-to-goodness chills - and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

Recently, Vanity Fair posted a video of Freeman narrating a Justin Bieber song called “Love Yourself.”  While I never in a million years thought I would be referencing a Bieber song on my blog, I must say that those lyrics were suddenly made beautiful and exceptionally meaningful once Morgan Freeman got ahold of them.

Hearing Freeman’s dramatic reading of Bieber’s lyrics got me thinking once again about just how powerful voice over can be. The right voice can make you feel things you didn’t think possible. It can sell any product. It can change  your mind. Consider this: people will continue watching a video with poor quality imagery but amazing voice over; however, when the situation is reversed with excellent imagery and poor VO, they turn it off. This just goes to show that the voice is an incredible (and often underrated) tool.

The next time you hear a commercial or watch a video on the internet, listen - and I mean really listen - to the voice. Think about how it’s making you feel, and the emotions that are wrapped up in it. And then marvel at how we’re all equipped with this incredible tool that can do wondrous things. And just keep practicing as I do to make your voice the most attractive, interesting and powerful as  it can be. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Do You Need a Head Shot?

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about whether or not you should include your photo on your website. After going over some of the pros and cons, I concluded by saying that the decision is ultimately yours and you should do what you feel comfortable with. Me, I like having my photo out there because it adds another layer of familiarity.

So let’s say you sided with me on this matter and feel that a photo is something you want to have. Now you have another decision to make. Do you use one of the 500 selfies on your phone’s camera roll or spend the money to get professional head shots done? Depending on where you’re located and who you go with, head shots will run you anywhere from $100 to $400. For most voice over actors, and especially those who are just starting out, this is a sizable chunk of change that may not ever see any return.

But I think you should still do it, and here’s why:

     Much more professional looking
     An experienced photographer will have a sense of what look works best for you
     It shows you take your business seriously
     It will create a better first impression
     It will help solidify your brand

There’s a lot that goes into capturing the perfect photo - lighting, angle, background, etc. Unless you have a background in photography, you’re not going to understand any of this, and that will come through in your photos.

If you are truly serious about your voice over career and want to put your best foot forward, I strongly recommend letting a professional handle your photo. This is the image that people will see when they google you, it’s what they will associate with your name, and it’s another component in your unique brand. You don't want to appear to be hiding behind one of those male/female shadow boxes in place of a photo. This is money well spent, because it’s money invested in YOU.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Stress Less Series: Get Your To-Do List Under Control

I’m starting a new series, if you will, where I’m going to focus on some the things you can do to make your life as a voice over actor just a little bit easier. I’m calling it “Stress Less” because the ultimate goal is reducing your stress level. Plus, Stress Less rhymes, and I like that!

Today’s inaugural Stress Less post is about managing your to-do list. Now, I know that not everyone uses this method to keep on top of things, but I am a big list maker. I like lists because they keep me organized, on track, and every time I’m able to cross something off, I feel pretty amazing. If you’re not a list maker, well, you know what they say - no time like the present to start!

Here’s the bad thing that can happen with to-do lists though: they can very quickly get out of control. You start a list, and before you know it you’ve got 25 things that HAVE to be done today! Instead of stressing less, now you’re stressing more. Here’s how to simplify your list and make it more useful:

Step 1 - Pick a format. Whether you use the old-fashioned pen and paper method or a task management website or app, pick one you like and keep with it.

Step 2 - Add your tasks. Try breaking up bigger tasks into smaller ones that are more manageable, and be sure to include any extra info you may need to get the job done (i.e., a web link or someone’s contact info).

Step 3 - Categorize tasks. As you’re inputting your tasks, be sure to organize them into specific categories. These might be things like marketing, recording, editing, or personal.

Step 4 - Prioritize tasks. Some tasks are more important than others. Mark the more important jobs as “high priority” to remind yourself to focus on them first. A numbering system works great for this, where you rank tasks 1-4 depending on their priority.

Step 5 - Don’t overdo it. If you write down every little thing that needs to be done, your list is going to be a mile long. Stick to the important stuff or things that you need a reminder for. You don’t need to put regular, everyday tasks such as getting the mail on there.

Step 6 - Plan for the present. It may be tempting to put longer term tasks or goals on your list, but save yourself the headache of having to wait forever to cross it off. Focus on what you have today, tomorrow, later in the week, and update your list as you go.

These are just a few of the strategies that I use when planning my day. I find that a to-do list works wonders for my productivity, but I have also struggled in the past with the list getting out of control. So do like me and use the steps above to help you organize your tasks, stay on top of things, and stress less!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Agents: Do You Need One, How to Get One, and What to Watch For

So, you’re wondering whether or not you need an agent. Well, let me start by asking  you this: how much voice over work have you done? If you’re answer is: I’m brand new at this!, then no, you don’t need an agent. At least not yet.

Let me explain. Talent agents are interested in people who they believe are marketable. The only way to know if you’re marketable - and to prove this to agents - is to have actually done some work. They’re also interested in people who can add something extra to their talent pool. They don’t want 10 people who sound the same; they want unique talents so they have diversity among their resources.

Now, let’s say you’re a bit more experienced, and you’re ready to have some representation. Start by scouting out some reputable agents in your area, and then listening to some of the demos of artists they represent. Think about your sound, and how your voice would be an asset to the agent. This is what you want to focus on, because this is what you’re going to need to sell to the agent. Once you’ve found several who you think you would be a good fit with, start contacting them and sending them your demo.

One more thing about agents: just because one acts like your best friend, it doesn’t mean they are. When you’re shopping around, make sure you use a reputable company that has a dedicated voice over department. You want a person who cares about you and your success, and will work with you as a team. And it’s not necessary to limit yourself to just one agent, either. It’s not uncommon for voice actors to have multiple people representing them, because this increases their chances of landing work. However, you certainly don’t want a conflict of interest, so if you decide to utilize the services of more than one agent, it might be best to make sure your agents are located in different cities or regions.