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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. 

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