I'm a non-union VO actor who currently does not have a home studio - hoping to be able to afford setting one up in the next few months/year, but finances are tight as I only do VO part time and the last year or so I've had very few vo gigs.

But I just signed with my first local agent, a bit over two months ago. As I've never had anyone representing me before, I want to learn from the experience of VO community on this site as to what your experiences with having a local agent have been...

This may be typical of agents, but one thing they made clear in their paperwork when I signed was to basically "leave them alone" and let them do their jobs. This was communicated in a direct, yet appropriate fashion, and I completely understand - it's hard when jobs aren't coming in the door, and I am sure actors think any old reason to get in touch with their agents when the true motivation is to stay in front of them, and as a way of checking in without having to say, "Soo....any work for me?" So I understand this and have been following the rules - I don't want to be a pest, and one of the reasons I signed with a smaller agency is I think there's a greater likelihood that I won't get "lost in the shuffle", like perhaps I would at a larger agency with tons of VO talent. The one I'm at now used to be bigger but now focus on only about 15 voice actors, plus on-camera talent...

Some of my questions:

-What are some ways to strengthen my relationship with my agent, while still respecting their need to focus on their work and not be bugged by actors in need of work (which is all of their clients, I know!)?

-Do you have any experience on how to get your agent to consider you for more auditions?

I've been doing VO work since 2002 so I don't consider myself really new to the game, as I've done a considerable amount of work for many clients, but this year is the first time I've been focusing on networking, trying to really go out and market myself, etc.

-So would it make sense to try to expand and get other representation now, perhaps other state agents, or even national representation, or realistically should I wait until I've got more experience under my belt?

Since I've never had an agent, I want to have correct expectations of what they can and should be doing for me, so that I can evaluate how it's working over time, and consider when and if I should try and expand to sign with other agencies, etc.

Any thoughts or advice would be helpful.

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Hi CJ,

This is a fascinating topic as it essentially goes to the heart of being self employed. My very little time but not so little experience in this industry has taught me the following:

1. What are some ways to strengthen my relationship with my agent, while still respecting their need to focus on their work and not be bugged by actors in need of work (which is all of their clients, I know!)?

Whenever you book work through your agent, remember to THANK them. They are human and need to be loved and often feel very unloved especially by talent who believe that 500 rather than 150 should have been the negotiated rate. A thank you note and a basket of sweet treats should be delivered to your agency within a few days of the booking and should aim to arrive in the late afternoon when the agents are winding down, clock watching and blood sugar levels are low. This is appreciated and remembered.

A similar gift arriving when you are not booking work looks as though you are trying to book work and is not remembered in the same way, if it's remembered at all.

2. Do you have any experience on how to get your agent to consider you for more auditions?

Once (or twice but no more) a year, make an appointment with your agent as if you were a client and book out an hour of their time - very early January or the summer is a good time for this. Go to their office and discuss your wants and needs for the coming year - who you think you are and what you would like to do and why - perhaps you've developed a character demo and would like to be considered for animation auditions.

3. So would it make sense to try to expand and get other representation now, perhaps other state agents, or even national representation, or realistically should I wait until I've got more experience under my belt?

Never wait for anything. One thing i learned when my mother passed away back in 2000 was that time is short and the world continues to spin no matter what. My mother doesn't have the opportunity to physically explore the grand canyons or fly in a helicopter or dive down to a coral reef anymore. If you're not a newbie and you have an idea of who you are in the VO world (people will always try and pigeon hole you, especially agents) then go out and sell your message. This is where you the business person comes to the fore.

YOU SHOULD NEVER WAIT FOR YOUR AGENT TO CALL.

Take classes to improve your VO skills and market yourself whenever and wherever you can. The more agents you have the better i.e. the more tentacles you have out there selling your skills as a VO artist.

Just my thoughts

James Clamp
I would find out if this agency actually selects who do send the auditions to...of if they just send their clients to voicebank or to their website and let THEM pick who auditions. This can play a huge role in determining whether or not you ever even see an audition...or how MANY you actually see....
Agent and client: It's the personal relationship -- which will always vary with the individual.
If you develop a rapor -- it's likely you will be selected to audition when one comes up that suits you.
It's no favor if it doesn't suit you.
I have had half a dozen differerent agents and they were all very different -- and the experience was very different in each case.
Bottom line -- winning auditions that you do get will always go a long way to improving the relationship!

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