I'm new to VO work. I am NOT new to radio announcing or on-air broadcasting. As I make this transition from previous radio voice talent work to VO/acting work, I am running into the typical roadblocks associated with breaking into career fields that are quite competitive. Some of the roadblocks for noobs like myself are:

1 - Getting current working VO talents to break down the process of actually entering the field and finding actual work. ( we new-comers all realize the reluctance to disclose information that might take work away from you, yet it seems all of you that talk amongst yourselves share this client info readily....)We are not trying to steal your clients, we just want a foot in the door by understanding where to send demos and to whom. We'll figure out the rest.

2 - As fresh VO talent, is Union representation a good thing or a hindrance?

3 - Equipment. Everyone seems to have their very favorite software editors and home studio hardware set-ups. All of this changes, of course, when bigger, better paying work comes in and the equipment gets upgraded. Do you all keep your older hardware or might you consider paying it forward by offering it to new talent at decent prices?

I realize that most here have faced these questions and have had them answered somewhere by someone. And I'm really not trying to be flippant.

Right now I am having a helluva time even getting a straight answer about how to cultivate clients that would accept a demo!
It's the process of getting work that baffles me right now, and I know I'm not the only one. I see site after site of established talent working together at times it seems to keep new talent from finding work and on some sites it is truly prevalent. Doesn't seem like a profession that embraces mentoring at all.
We new-comers also run into very strong....well...personalities in this field as well that seem to puff themselves up by knocking us down....this hurts and reminds me of my recent days working on-set of a couple of motion pictures filming here in Nashville.....it seems the higher up the food chain the actors get, the nicer their personalities. Some of the extras (which is what I am) were really full of themselves and ultra-snobbish....(meanwhile Gwenyth Paltrow is telling me how much she likes my shirt)....

We just want an 'in'....all of us do....so did you when you 1st started...after all...most of you weren't doing this all your lives so, please just give us a hand up and a process like someone gave you in the beginning....we'll let our VO work hang us or help us....promise....

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Comment by Scott V. Palmer on February 17, 2010 at 8:15pm

Well yes,...you made some good points as well and I look forward to your links. Much of the 'puffery' is fear I've come to understand. Many people want what's theirs and forget about helping others. In this economy and especially in this particular industry, it's getting more and more important to hold on to what work you ARE getting without having to worry about pesky new wannabes that might chip away at your earnings. I get it...I really do. Yet, I have always believed that you must be tour brother's keeper...again...especially in this tough economy. Right?
And it must be reiterated that there is a massive support industry surrounding this profession. You have:
- Those that will host your VO demo and promote it
- Those that will produce and arrange your VO demo
- Sites for VO acting classes
- Sites for VO blogging and chats
- Hardware sites to sell you the very best stuff (where did all of their 'old' stuff go anyway?)
- Webinars for everyone to gather and talk about talking.
- Kits and Promotional items for you to spend lotsa money on...etc,
- Agencies ready to accept whatever percentage they deem necessary to take from you
- Software sites dedicated to VO studio applications. Of course, it's necessary even for beginners to be using a MacBook Pro running Pro Tools (insert newest most expensive version here) Yet, software and hardware from 5 or 7 years ago still seems to be running just fine and most clients could never guess what you're using.

Seriously, I could go on and on...it's puffery...for sure. I will never begrudge anyone for making a buck because hey, isn't that what we're ALL trying to accomplish? But, the vanity, the 'branding', and the truly inflated ego is what hurts everyone. They're not 'tired' of answering the same question over and over...they are scared of change. But, alas,..in the end...we will get the answers we need and when that happens I suppose it will simply all come down to the quality of the product....and what the client wants.
Comment by jim schrecengost on February 17, 2010 at 6:39pm

I agree with you on some of the point you make in your post. I have kind of figured out that there are a LOT of places that are willing to take your money and tell you what you need to do to be successful, but not give a clue as to the HOW. I dont know why but in my search for someone to produce my demo, and finding someone to go to for training I get the feeling like I am dealing with a snake oil salesman back in the old west. As you have probably read over and over on blogs and what not, this is a VERY competative industry, more than likely cut throat to a point, especially on some of the pay to play, AKA voice over marketplace sites. I have not come across some of the puffery you have though. I can unserstand the behavior to a degree. I mean how often do the working professionals need to get on a site and answer the questions How do I get an agent, where do I get training. You know the really really basic questions. A lot of these people have been there done that, and really are tired of answering the same questions. I think a good idea would be to find someone about your same experiece level and email with them, or talk. Share information about some of the sites and blogs they have found that are worth while and not a buncha shite.

I will send you a private message lissting some of the sites and you tube things I have come across that I have actually gotten some good information or ideas from.
Comment by AL B Conahan on February 17, 2010 at 1:35pm
Thanks a lot for that Scott. You have helped to confirm what I suspected. It's clear to me that the only way to get work is to promote and market like there is no tomorrow. Being in the right place at the right time is a Planned Event. We can make our own luck. I will in attendance for the conference in LA in June, Voice 2010, Hope to see you there if you can make it happen.
Comment by Scott V. Palmer on February 17, 2010 at 2:15am
Well Al, there are many sites that charge for 'premium' services...Voice123 was the site i I just signed onto and found out about premium levels. Basically, by registering for the basic account, you allow them to flood your email with offers you can't audition for at all. Now, should a client paw their way through 34 pages of desperate demo pieces and happen to land on YOUR voice, you might get work. Otherwise they are simply going to go the easy route and the site knows it. So frankly, other than to have a presence on the web without the expense of a personal website where your friends can be impressed, I see no reason to even bother with 'basic' packages. Most people say they get very little from them in the 1st place even with a premium account. Since there isn't a legit agent on the planet that would charge a pay to play fee, I simply have to suggest talking to one. This market is really, really funny. There is a lot of chummy, feel good blogs, but for the most part, the talent just isn't interested in letting we new-comers know where the goose is that lays the golden egg! And frankly, after seeing how many VO artists have passed away in the last year, I'm debating whether the get into the field or not...LOL~
I imagine since I stir the pot and rock the boat a bit, people will ignore or attack what I say, yet I dare them to prove me wrong. I've learned over the last few months after working on 2 major motion pictures as an 'extra'...the VO industry reminds me a lot of many of the extras I meet on set....lots of personalities to deal with. Oddly, the farther up the 'food chain' you go, it seems the people get nicer for some reason...
But I digress. I can't justify paying to play. I am poor. I am struggling to find work after almost 11 months of no work...I know where you are coming from...and I'll make you this promise...If I find answers about the who, what, where and how to work in this profession, you'll be the 1st person I tell.
I will say that from time to time, craigslist and indeed.com have opportunities to bypass all of the drama and personalities and let you audition directly to the client. It levels out the playing field.
Comment by AL B Conahan on February 17, 2010 at 12:41am
I can't help but to notice you never mentioned the websites that charge a fee to subscribe to audition for work from clients seeking VO actors. I have, in the past, auditioned and got the job including the Dating Game. I read somewhere, in my search for help and information, to never pay to get work. This is relaunch of a career for me after being unemployed for the last 18 months. I can not afford to be someone's fool by paying for their Beemer and skipping my rent. I would like to get your thoughts on the subject of paying these websites for the opportunity to compete for work. They are hard sell on the pro side. Who is ready to point out the con side. NO pun intended.

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