Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Guaranteed Opportunity Doesn't Equal Guaranteed Work

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 17, 2010

Comments (7)

Woman job huntingWhat are the realities facing today's voice over talent?

As a voice over professional, you have three main ways of getting work:

๏ Self-promotion
๏ Using a voice over marketplace
๏ Being represented by an agent

While that may seem obvious, at times the lines are blurred between how some talent may perceive these separate and unique roles.

Put your business hat on and take a spin with me here as we discuss what having representation or access to auditions really means in today's VOX Daily.

Is Work Ever Guaranteed?

Whether you are promoting yourself to businesses, are represented by an agent, subscribing to a voice over marketplace, or all of the above, you are most likely of the mindset that these channels are specific to generating opportunities with the potential of booking work.

That's right. Guaranteed opportunity, not guaranteed work!

Drumming Up Your Own Business

Trying to get work on your on accounts most likely for the bulk of your marketing efforts. Making your own contacts is integral to a successful business, and although it takes time, research and a significant amount of effort focused on establishing relationships, you will certainly find that it is necessary and fulfilling. You work for yourself and you choose who you contact for work opportunities. That's pretty clear, so let's move on.

From The Agents' POV

When an agent chooses to represent a voice over talent, the agent decides which opportunities they feel you would be best suited for. When and if you book a job, they get paid... but not until then. Being on an agent's roster, although free of charge, does not guarantee that you will be booked or even presented for opportunities if the jobs the agent has access to don't match your voice type, schedule or capabilities.

On the occasions that you do book a job through your agent, they receive a commission fee for getting you the opportunity, booking you and managing the business end of the transaction.

From The Marketplace POV

Paying to promote yourself on a voice over marketplace translates to guaranteed opportunity as you are acting as your own agent and have access to a steady stream of job opportunities that match your profile. To do this well, you'll need to think like an agent.

How selective an agent you are for yourself is up to you, however in order to seize opportunities and get your voice in front of prospective clients, more often than not you will need to pay a modest membership fee to enjoy the full suite of services available to you and your business, of which auditions is just one part of a larger whole.

This is a form of advertising and marketing and should be considered a business expense.

Talent who perceive their membership fee as simply a means to pay for access to individual auditions do not see the big picture. What they are paying for is promotion on the website, higher rankings and a means to present themselves for opportunities to get work. All of our customers also have access to top of the line customer service by phone, live chat, email and may connect with us via our social media channels.

Coming To Terms With Reality

Regardless of how you come to audition or be considered for an opportunity, it is ultimately the client's decision who they decide to hire, and happily, sometimes that person is you! Something else to consider is that the client may not be in direct contact with you until they are ready to move ahead. You can appreciate how having patience comes in handy here. Also, just because they didn't hire you doesn't mean that they aren't considering you for future jobs. There is always hope!

The Ball is in the Client's Court

The client is the only person who determines whether they will develop a positive impression of what was received. The client is also the only person who can act upon their impression.

Ultimately, the client decides who they will be working with. Your job is to give them the best impression possible of who you are and what you can do for them via your audition.

The most important thing that you do is recognize where your job ends and the client's begins! You can't do their job for them. The best advice that I, or any of your peers can give you, is to send it and forget it with the knowledge that this is a process of selection not rejection.

What Can You Do?

There are ways that you can take control of your career. One way is to learn how to prospect and thereby focus on the right people and the opportunities you are best suited for. Trust me, you will get the jobs you are meant to get but you have to show up!

Whenever I hear from people who are dissatisfied with the amount of work they are booking online, it usually comes down to them making a few minor changes that yield dramatically different, and nearly always favorable, results.

Is Your Profile Captivating or Boring? It Matters!

There are a number of common threads that we find when evaluating the profiles of talent who are not booking as much as they could be. The same advice could be given for individual voice talent websites. Here are five pieces of advice that are frequently given to help:

๏ Complete all fields within your profile
๏ Add testimonials and a client list to help build trust
๏ Upload more than one sample of your work (more voice over demos)
๏ Write a description of your voice that better accentuates your gifts and vocal qualities
๏ Personalize all encounters with clients and submit custom demos when necessary

Resources

You may have noticed a number of blue words in this article that link to different resources on VOX Daily that are relevant to what you are presently reading. Here they are in a more obvious setting for your convenience:

๏ Defining ROI (Return on Investment)
๏ Customer Acquisition
๏ How To Think Like an Agent
๏ How to Make People Crave Your Voice
๏ Voice talent Philip Banks Teaches You How to Prospect
๏ For Such A Time As This
๏ Joan Baker and Rudy Gaskins podcast "The Myth of Rejection"

Any Comments?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/knape

Related Topics: Accent, agents, auditions, clients, how to, jobs, rejection, selection, voice acting, voice overs


Comments


    Stephanie:
    VOICES.COM is So GREAT and Caring about
    The VOICE-OVER Biz
    I subscribed to 2 Sites Besides yours
    WHAT a waste of money....Nothing!!!! I MEAN NOTHING!
    Will NEVER do it again!
    They Offer NO JOB LEADS or maybe 3 a week
    Its Sad
    ONE ...they JUST take your MONEY
    Put you on a Site....THATS it...!!
    I've learned.....MOST of these Sites are Not Great at All
    VOICES.COM is REAL!! and CARES!
    You REALLY do...
    Just Check out my Feedback and the work
    I've Done Lately!!
    Joe McMillan

    Posted by:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for writing such a comprehensive article on this topic.

      Laurynda

      Posted by:

        Hello from South Australia, Stephanie.

        Excellent, incredibly comprehensive article...well said.

        Despite appreciating 'where' you are coming from, the only part I tend to question is the "send it and forget it" advice. The reason I raise this point is this. My full time job is in radio advertising sales which is not for the faint hearted. We have to continually follow up prospects for their final decision as reality is, if you waited for the call back, in most cases you'd go broke waiting. As a generalisation, business people (big & small) are either (1) incredibly busy (meaning time poor) dealing with the short term and long term business challenges, (2) incredibly 'under the pump' dealing with priorities which change daily & (3) in some cases incredibly disorganized. Therefore, at least in the radio ad game, we can't afford for them to forget us & our proposal before them.

        At the end of the process, I simply want to know how my proposal is viewed and if it's a "no" for whatever their reason, that's fine I can then leave them alone & move on. I HATE with a passion being in a position of not knowing & I also HATE procrastination with a passion.

        It's a number game in ad sales and we only make our commission when a proposal is successful. I welcome your thoughts from the voiceover business perspective.

        Regards,
        IAN in Oz.

        Posted by:
        • Ian in Oz
        • March 18, 2010 3:33 PM

          Hi Ian,

          Thank you for sharing your perspective and also for a glimpse into radio advertising sales. I'd be happy to go into more detail with regard to the send it and forget it concept.

          This practice seems to be industry encouraged as people in a position to cast or audition often don't take the time to contact people who applied for roles should they not have been hired. Actors wonder if they got the part and because that information is rarely forthcoming on a personal level, they tend to find out after the fact when a peer shares their good news or a cast list has been made public. The best way to cope then is to audition and let that audition go. Chasing down the casting director, your agent or a client can be less beneficial to the artist's image than one would think. By following up too much, actors can unfortunately get a reputation for being needy, insecure or annoying.

          Please note that I fully understand and respect where you are coming from in the business you are in.

          While you may be able to accept a "no," there are also people out there, particularly in the arts, for whom "no" is insufficient and they need reasons to justify why it wasn't them, or in some cases, a justification for why the person who was selected got the job, how much they bid, what their audition sounded like, etc.

          It is perhaps because of such behavior that people are likely not given more information than they need from the person who has done the casting.

          Does that make sense to you? Thank you for contributing to the conversation!

          Looking forward to your reply.

          Best wishes,

          Stephanie

          Posted by:

            Thanks for your response Stephanie, it does make it clearer 'why' the send & forget mind set is normally accepted in the voiceover business.

            An afterthought I had after posting my piece on radio ad sales & the voiceover business highlights a glaring difference. With radio ad sales we are normally prospecting for customers and believe me it IS a day-in day-out discipline, which can make you feel totally wrung out on occasions. In the voicover business from the talent's viewpoint, you are normally responding to the customer coming to you either directly or through an intermediary. So the former is looking for clients and the latter is responding to clients, hence the different end result scenarios.

            Well, it's Friday night as I write in South Australia and I'm sure as hell glad the weekend is here. Enjoy yours !

            Regards,
            IAN in Oz.

            Posted by:
            • IAN WRIGHT
            • March 19, 2010 8:19 AM

              Stephanie---terribly true and very helpful. I have had my share of agents in 15 or 20 years-some good-some worthless. Mostly I have had much better success combing the woods on my own---and merchandising myself in any and every way I can. This is MY business- and I retain control of what and when I do,

              Thanks—and love to Vox Daily,
              Del Roy---aka Methuselah!

              Posted by:
              • Del Roy
              • March 19, 2010 8:42 AM

                Such great points! In the early stages of my voice acting career, I craved feedback and information far more than I do now. Part of it comes from being more secure now that I'm doing all I can to connect with a prospect, give them the information and performance (in cases of custom demos) that I need to, and being mindful of their time.

                The other part comes from being a studio owner, and working with and being prospected by other talents. Most of my experiences have been great, even in cases where I receive unsolicited contact that may or may not be my preference (I really hate getting large mp3 or pdf files in my inbox out of nowhere!). But there have been a few times where I've been totally turned off by someone based on their pushiness, like I "owe" them something (and I don't even know who they are!).

                It *is* a fine line sometimes. Walking into a relationship slowly with a prospect is always a better choice than potentially disrespecting them right out of the gate.

                Posted by:

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