Like most voice talent, I've currently got a handful of agents who keep me fairly busy on a weekly basis with auditions. Most of these auditions are for commercial work. While my goal is to build my commercial portfolio, I truly believe that my strengths lie in narration (audio books) and promo. Here's the question: how do I find an agent or two who book a lot of business in these areas? Do I want to be represented by the biggest and baddest booking agents when it comes to narration and promo or am I better off working with an agent who specializes in these areas but won't make me feel like a small fish in a big pond? Does anyone out there know who the "gold standard" agencies are when it comes to booking for narration and promo?? Thanks in advance for your responses. I need help!! :)
The market for the distribution and promotion of Voice Over people has changed beyond all recognition in a relatively short period of time. The so-called Pay to Play sites are less significant than the owners believe them to be and the major VO agencies control the Lion's share of a (for them and the artists they represent) shrinking market.
First step for me in the brave new world of 2012 was to STOP doing something as opposed to continue. What did I stop? Approaching agents in the US for meaningful representation. Why? The numbers didn't stack up. It was more profitable for me to find the work ..NOT AUDITIONS ...I wanted to do and for which I had a proven track record.
Set up your own agency and call it GO FETCH. If you spend as much time promoting yourself and your agency (number of artists 1) as you do trying to find an agent and doing numerous utterly time wasting auditions you will strike gold.
Here's an interesting number for you. My first approach to an LA voice over agent was not that long ago and while looking at my business numbers last week I noticed something so did a little digging. Agent number one said no to me, I respect that decision. Had I placed all my work from the US through them they would have earned exactly $108,000 in commission ...They did'nt, so I spent it. My Mum says I have to write a thank you note.
If you really want to succeed in this business.... first you have to think differently.
Thanks so much for your response. I really appreciate you taking the time to give your opinion. Here's my next question: how do you find the decision makers? Are you going to ad / casting agency executives who are casting for many of the jobs out there? Or do you eliminate that step as well and go right to the corporate world? I love what you have to say and I want more!! What I really want is that $108,000! :) Please go into a bit more detail when you get a chance or...if you feel more comfortable...send me a message directly so we can continue our conversation. Your wisdom and experience are GREATLY appreciated.
All my best,
First you have to think differently so we'll start with changing the way you interpret information.
The number I mentioned above is the amount of commission an agent would have earned. Would you prefer the entire fee or just the commission? If you answered the way I expect you did you have moved from thinking raw numbers to the hidden bigger numbers!
What do you have to do? Talk to the people with the bigger numbers to spend, hopefully on you.
If you talk to 100 VO people and REALLY listen one thing will come across very clearly, what ever it is IT'S all about them. FLIP IT. What ever you talk about make it all about them, that is the people to whom you are selling yourself. It is impossible to be an egotistical bore when talking about what someone else needs. LISTEN LOTS ..TALK LITTLE. Want to see how NOT to do it? Read the posts on this site and read most VO's blogs, tweets and Facebook pages.
Yo DOOD! NETWORKING LIKE SO TOTALLY WORKS. For the most part, it doesn't. Why? Because proper networking is THEM centred not ME (you) centred.
A few years ago I was at a gathering of VOs, producers and creatives. Like most people, I mingled.
I met Peter who was a sound engineer at a post production house and he told me about how he worked, what they did, the problems he encountered, the voices he liked working with and the pains.
"Do you have a card and a demo. Philip?"
"No, sorry" I replied and then we chatted about "stuff".
Fast forward 3 months. I receive a call from the Creative Director of an Ad Agency which results in a job. National TV commercial for the UK - Fee $15,000.
When we did the ISDN session guess the name of the sound engineer? Coincidence? Of course it was. Happens a lot to me, can't think for the life of me why.
I couldn't agree more with Banksy (and always have)...that's why no one likes having me around on the "boards"....I toss out opinions, stances and ideas that don't dance with the cliquey, ants marching comfort they find in conforming. I would love to hear your stance on SAVOA Phillip. haah..I was on Facebook page "Voice Over Camp" and someone was announcing that they were "just accepted to SAVOA as member number ?????"....I just mentioned that I am not so sure putting a badge on your website/card that says "I don't trust my own ears and just paid 75.00 USD to someone to tell me if I sound good or not"....is a good idea...I am of course the turd in the punch bowl for not saying "THAT IS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME"...just curious of your views....and if you are a member at VoiceOverClub you could perhaps chime in?? haha....or maybe spend that time ...marketing
My opinion of SAVOA is genuinely unimportant as the expressed purpose of the organisation is to "get to the people out on the streets". No one I know or for whom I work has ever heard of the organisation.
This takes us neatly back on track to the value of "First you have to think differently". My mother may believe I have a wonderful voice, that's nice but it doesn't impact on my career. Before associating ourselves with any organisation or movement we nned to consider carefully, in order, the following.
1 - What does it bring to the clients?
2 - What does it bring to the business?
3 - How will it benefit me?
When considering each of the above, ignore vague but pleasant sounding concepts or statements. Take in to account things that can be measured.
Where we have to be very careful in ensuring that people understand the evaluations are business NOT personal and do it from a position of knowledge. Anyone is free to rip my business ideas to shreads and that includes the quality of my VO work, I'm fair game. what about ripping Philip Banks to shreads? That's personal and to be honest most people reading this don't know me. To be fair their lives are probably the richer for the latter fact.
On the contrary Philip. I think you bring up some very valid points regarding representation. thank you for sharing
I would like to that Jeff Hagedorn, for starting this discussion. This has been one of the best discussions I have read in a while and the most informative. This topic had stayed with me since I read it a few days back. Philip Banks and Mike Elmore are the glasses I needed to view this business.
Thanks for the education..
I am a bit late to this link, but Jeff, you lost me after the first sentence. I must assume I am not working enough.
But on a more serious note, Philip Banks responses to this thread are SPOT ON! I learned in a very, very, very short time that this is an industry that you do have the power to control your own destiny if you have the awareness of the tools online and offline that you can use to your advantage.
Phil, what's going on? Had no idea you were a member here! Great to see you!