[Originally posted 7 Feb. 2011 at johnmatthew.com/blog]
I see this question frequently in voiceover blogs and discussion groups, and one of my own students just asked me the same, so I thought I’d say a few quick words on the matter.
What you “need” depends on what you want. So strictly speaking, you don’t NEED an agent to get voiceover work. I get a fair amount of work on my own, even network TV commercials. There are a number of online voice casting services (see my previous post, Getting Work - Voiceover Jobs On Voice123), and you can always market yourself directly to the buyers.
But the majority of the good jobs are still cast through the voiceover agencies. By “good” I mean high-profile jobs like TV shows and commercials, union jobs; in general jobs that pay well regardless of type. The agencies provide a valuable service to the buyers – they provide a pre-screened pool of professional-caliber talent that can get the job done quickly, saving the production expensive studio time. And they provide auditions for free. So the buyers have good reasons to use the talent agencies.
So, if you want the better jobs - and lots of them - then YES, you need an agent. And these days, it’s not a bad idea to get as many agents as you can. With competition higher than ever because of the internet and home recording, you need as much opportunity as possible. As of this writing, I’m working with four different voiceover agencies in five different cities – and I get work with all of them.
Though I do get work through internet casting sites and direct marketing, I get my best voiceover jobs through my agents – so you should definitely make getting good representation a priority.
And now, here's a fun “agent moment” courtesy of Friends.
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