dream

Daring to Dream

Santa's Nice List’Tis the season, and this season, after another year of really hard work, I’m sure hoping that I made Santa’s nice list! Anyone who is an established professional in voice over will tell you that at some point we were bold enough to chase a dream. I would not be where I am in voiceover today if I didn’t have confidence in myself and passion for voiceover, but ultimately, it all came from a big dream of a career in voice over. Having dreams, or visions of where my career will go has served me well, and what better time of year to think about what I want for myself in 2021 then the week that Santa is getting on his sled!  So Santa, please stuff this VO Mama’s stocking with:

Commercial Campaigns

For the past two years, I have been focussing on booking more campaigns and fewer one-offs. Slowly but surely, it is happening. My hope is that in the coming year, these campaigns continue to bring a blend of tv, radio, and social media. Usage has been a big part of the conversation in most of my bookings recently, so my hope is that as more campaigns come in, the usage for clients is more clear and they are prepared to pay industry standard rates for it! I enjoy working with my clients on these repeat spots, so I sure hope Santa sends some my way! Here is one from a campaign I did in the last few months:

Rosters

Santa, please help me join more rosters this year! Whether they are for eLearning content providers, explainer companies, or commercial producers, here I am! I am already on the rosters for Pandora, Spotify, and iHeart Media, and I love working with their teams and look forward to the repeat business. For my eLearning clients, when the work comes in, it is really exciting to hear from the instructional designers and know that they had my voice in mind specifically. I look forward to building my roster of rosters in 2021!

Website Updates

Photo of Website Homepage Mobile VersionSanta, a website package would be great this holiday! It’s been a while, and I sure need to shake things up! I love working on my website. I look at it as my storefront, and I try to add new content regularly. This year, I think it is time to freshen up my branding. A lot has changed in my business since it was done five years ago, and I would like my website to reflect that. I love the team that I work with, and I want to come up with something that still reflects my brand but also works better with how I want my clients to see me. I want them to know how hard I will work for them and to have confidence when casting me. I still want my bubbly personality to shine through. My dilemma, because of the pandemic, is whether or not to keep my headshots and work with them or to get new ones, so let’s see that Santa suggests!

New Demos

Santa, it is time for some new demos!  In 2020, the only new demo that I did was a Covid-19 demo. I also did a refresh of my commercial demo and added in real, booked work that reflected trends in what I am typically asked for. While I have some demos that are still pretty solid, I think it is time to enhance my sweet of demos at this point. I think in 2021, I will focus on narration. I want to have demos that display the current, bookable reads and show my range. I think my basic narration demo is a little old and could be updated. I also have a medical narration demo in the works.

Demos

Let’s Get Real

Santa's sled and reindeerDo I actually expect Santa to stuff my stocking with all of these treats? In truth, Christmas is not a holiday that my family observes, but as an American I have always LOVED this season. From the decorations to the cookies, I savor this time of year with my family. I enjoy thinking about the idea of Christmas magic. In truth, I have seen many hard working talents on the verge of giving up. A little holiday magic could help us all. What I believe most is that success takes vision, hard work, commitment, talent, and yes, a little luck. So this Christmas, as we eat cookies, drink eggnog lattes, and enjoy time at home, my dream is also for a little holiday luck for all my VO besties.

 

Talking about it all at Sunday Brunch

My friends often remark about how much time my family spends together, but it is something I look forward to all week. Actually, when I travel for work, I have FOMO from being away from my family because we all have so much fun together and are so close. When I say my family is together, I am talking about me, my husband, our twins, my parents, my sister, my husband’s parents, my husband’s sister, and her family. That is a lot of people!  Our time together often involves lengthy conversations about where we should eat, and you can imagine with so much input it is hard to make everyone happy.

Anyway, last Sunday we were at a new South Orange hotspot opened by a well-known Brooklyn restauranteur called the Fox and the Falcon for our brunch. I was in my glory because I got to sit next to my four year old niece Emilia and she is quite precious.

As a small-business owner and professional voiceover actor, people in my family and in truth random acquaintances alike are always making “helpful”suggestions about potential clients I should pursue. So at brunch my dad said, in his heavy Philly accent, “Hey Laur, I was thinking. It would be really great if you could do a car commercial for Mercedes.”  Really dad? I am not a sarcastic person by nature, I am pretty much all rainbows and lollypops. But did he really think it never occurred to me that doing a television or radio commercial for a luxury brand like Mercedes would be a dream come true? Or that I did not already have such ambitions? There is only one way to make such voiceover dreams come true: to pursue them with all the ambition I have in me.

Delivering For Our Clients

The single most important thing to remember is that our clients have a dream. Perhaps vision or goal is more appropriate. They may have a personal career dream, but for the specific project we are supporting them with, they have a vision and it is up to us to bring that vision to life. Any voiceover actor who has had a live session recently can tell you that you will give multiple versions of the same line until your client hears what they need. They know what they are looking for and they want us to match what they have in their head. I have been told over and over that producers don’t know what they want but that is not my experience. We have to give them exactly what they want only better so that they are overjoyed when our session is over. We not only leave our clients feeling over joyed by providing amazing reads, but our studios must be broadcast ready and our sound has to be perfect. That is how we deliver their voiceover dreams.  We make it feel effortless to them so that they are delighted and thrilled and then we thank them for casting us. It’s that simple. We have to be a pleasure to work with and they have to have exactly what they need at the end of the session. So making our client’s dreams come true is entirely about the service that we provide for them.

 

How Do We Make Our VoiceOver Dreams Come True?

Making our voiceover dreams come true is a lot more complex! First, you must know what your dreams and ambitions are. The idea of “success” is far to vague. For me, I have always been extremely passionate about commercial work, so I cast a broad net in other areas of voiceover that were tangentially related, including radio imaging, promos, and telephony. That strategy has worked well for me. My dream is not just as vague as having consistent, sustainable income in this genre. Like my dad suggested, I do dream of specific clients and have been fortunate enough to work with them.

Roll Up our sleeves and work hard: Cold Calling and Cold Emailing

The only way to add new clients to our roster continually is to make cold calls and cold emails regularly. Yes you will have a lot of rejection, speak to a lot of morons who have no idea what you do, and feel like you are waisting a ton of time. But for the past year I have done countless phone messages for Whole Foods Markets. And guess what? That was the result of cold calling. I have been on Pandora Radio’s roster for several years. That was the result of cold emailing. I have more than 15 agents. All of them were from cold emails. Every day I typically email between 30 and 100 radio stations in hope of getting them to sign a retainer for ratio imaging. All of the stations I presently work with I have found this way, and with over 12,000 stations in the United States alone there are a lot to go after. It is imperative that you actively pursue your dream and if you are not willing to do this then you must question how dedicated and determined you really are.

LOTS of auditioning

Auditioning will also help your dreams come true. Whether they are for pay to plays, direct from clients, or for agents, this is your chance to showcase your abilities. I have heard other industry people say that the audition is the job and I could not agree more! You cannot audition too much and if you have a poor audition ratio than you likely need more coaching. Your auditions are a microcosm of your actual work, so you cannot fear auditions.

Sitting and waiting never helped anyone!

In any industry, have you ever heard of anyone who just sat home and waited for success to find them? That never works. In an industry filled with go getters and lots of legitimately talented folks, you must pursue your dreams with all of your ambition. Your dreams can come true, but they can only come true in voiceover with hard work, perseverance, and determination.