Maybe that used to be the way, in the “olden days” of voice-over, which now means, maybe, a few months ago. Things are changing fast, and will continue to. Still, a great agent (which means a good match for you, and your skills), can help you get access to opportunities you might never have seen otherwise.
Sure, at the tip of the iceberg of VO success, getting signed with a powerful agency is a real coup. That is still true. But getting to that level- if that’s part of your business plan – means you must take the journey to become a talent the agent feels he/she can make money with! And, these days, many of us have “an agent in every port” until we put all our eggs in one agency’s basket – if we do. And know this: you are not going to just sit back and wait for the phone to ring (or the e-mails to arrive), even with the best agent ever. You are partners!
But – if you are ready – you’ll need some basic info as to how to begin to connect with an agent. So, let’s get some facts – from my Guest Bloggers, Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli, the founders of Voices.com, from their new book Voice Acting for Dummies.
Is Voice Acting for “Dummies”? Certainly not! Nor is running a business for the faint of heart. But from the brand new VO-dreamer to the most experienced among us, it’s still a good idea to learn, or review, the basics.
But here’s one more tip from me, before you start your search – be worthy of an agent’s time before you contact them! What does that mean?
- You are an experienced Voice Talent -you are already making some bucks at this.
- You know how to deliver what the client wants – and when it’s needed.
- You have some kind of proven track record.
- You can take direction.
- Your demo is awesome – and you can deliver what it promises!
Remember, it will be your job to make your agent look great, not the other way around. Just my two extra cents to the great advice below. So, take it away Stephanie and David!
“What Can an Agent Do For You?
Before you go looking for an agent, you need to know what an agent does and what an agent expects of his voice actors. An agent manages relationships between voice actors and the end client, including the auditioning process, casting to a degree, and the billing related to the job. An agent’s role is to qualify voice actors for opportunities to reach a successful end. Agents can have relationships with companies they directly work with as well as pursue opportunities through online marketplaces where they can promote their voice actors.
Most agents work hard to maintain good relationships with their voice actors as they strive to get them work. That being said, you may not hear from your agent as often as you may like, but don’t be too discouraged by that fact. So long as you’re happy with the stream of opportunities you receive and work you book through your agent, working with an agent is usually smooth sailing.
Among their other responsibilities, agents only submit auditions from voice actors on their roster who they feel best meet a prospective client’s overall needs. When an opportunity arises, they refer to their roster of actors, consider their options, and then settle on a select person or a select few that they believe stand the best chance of being hired to interpret copy and perform the voice-over.
Finding an agent
Locating an agent who can represent you and promote your voice and increase the amount of auditions you get is more than just flipping through a phonebook or doing a quick online search. This person or people can ultimately help you make it or break it in the voice acting business.
Try the following tips:
* Ask a friend or colleague for a referral. Sometimes word of mouth referrals are the best option. If you know people who have agency representation, ask them if their agent may have an opening. If your friend thinks you’re a good fit, she can personally recommend you to her agent for consideration.
* Attend conferences, workshops, or mixers where an agent may be present. You can introduce yourself, discuss your skills with the agent, and network.
After you find some prospective agents, you need to follow up on your research and see if you’re a good fit for their agency and vice versa.
At a conference called VOICE, Joyce Castellanos shared some tips on what works and what doesn’t when trying to get a talent agent. She has worked for more than 25 years as an audio director/producer for promo departments at NBC, Disney Channel, Warner Marketing, and The WB Television Network.
If you’re in the process of pitching your voice to agents and want some direction, keep these insights in mind and carefully think them through before you pound the proverbial pavement for representation.
Here are some of Joyce’s tips for what works when approaching talent agents. We’ve added some explanatory information to help you.
* Introduce yourself by email or phone. Introduce yourself depending on the agent’s preference. Do some research to see which mode of communications the agent prefers.
* Have professionally recorded demos at the ready. An agent may want to listen to your demo on the spot. Make sure you have something representative of your work with you whether it’s a CD or something online.
* Know what you can offer to the agent or agency. Research the voice actors that the agent already represents and see if you can fill in a hole on the agent’s roster.
* Express what your needs are. Let the agent know what you’re looking for and what your expectations of a voice actor–agent relationship are.
* Describe how you would fit in on the agent’s roster. After you research the agent’s roster, identify where your voice can fit in and highlight particular areas where you can shine and be an asset to the agent.
* Conduct yourself honestly. Always tell the truth and act with integrity. Honesty is the best policy, which includes anything from how your business is doing to the kind of auditions and work you’re willing to do.
* Have enough personality to shine. Be yourself! Share who you really are with the agent so that she can appreciate your unique gifts and attributes.
* Be honest about where your talents lie. Know your voice and capabilities. Be sure to represent yourself well when describing what you can do. Agents will likely book your signature voice.
* Don’t sound needy. One of the last things an agent wants to hear is how badly you need her representation. Voice actors who get represented by agents are usually able to book their own work in addition to booking with agents.
* Don’t second guess yourself. Interacting with agents can be intimidating, but that shouldn’t affect how you see yourself. Be confident in your abilities and approach getting an agent as another part of your overall business and marketing strategy.”
Knowing how to get an agent is important. Are you ready to learn more about voice acting? To discover more about this exciting field and the book, visit VoiceActingForDummies.com.
About The Authors
Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past 9 years Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.