How Do you Know When You Are Ready?
So you’ve been working really hard to build your voice over career. You’ve been working with coaches, you’re on pay to plays, you’ve been doing some direct marketing, but now you feel that your moment has come! You want to make your bold move: it’s time for a voice over agent! But how do you get one? Well, before you begin your official outreach, it’s important to make sure you have positioned yourself for success. What does having an agent really mean? Having an agent really means access to increased opportunities, and you want to maximize this potential. Here are some key considerations when preparing to market ourself to an agent.
Demos Are Done…
You want to begin the agent outreach process once your commercial demo and any others that you are seeking representation for are complete. If you intend to work with an agent, and go after the more lucrative work, it is imperative to understand you cannot produce your demo on your own. Having top notch demos that compete and represent current industry trends is essential. Your demos should be ready to go before you begin marketing to agents.
Website is Up
Your website is your virtual storefront. It established your personal brand and why you are unique from other voice over actors. You should not start to market your self to voice over agents until your website is up. By “up” I mean fully operational. I do have a website planning guide under my “free resources,” but you need to make sure that you have downloadable demos and an easy to find contact page at the very least.
Source Connect is ALREADY SET UP
Most agents require you to have the PAID version of Source Connect in order to sign you. You might be thinking, oh, well, I’ll just tell them I have it and then when I book work I’ll add it. I strongly advise against this. When you get Source Connect, you have to have something done called getting your ports mapped. It is done through a service call on their end. You basically schedule the call, download software, give them remote access to your computer, and they map the ports to your router. It must be done from their end to your end, and it must be set up. Sometimes support appointments are harder to get than others, so it is really important to have Source Connect up and running. The other important detail is that once your ports are mapped, they are mapped to a specific location. So my ports are mapped to the iMac in my studio. If I were going out of town, and needed remote access, I would need to have my ports re-mapped to my MacBook Air. The other alternative is to rent studio space. Why does this matter? Reputable agents expect you to have Source Connect up and running so that if you book a gig with them they can schedule you anytime at the clients convenience.
What Should You Say?
It’s best to keep things short and sweet. Tell the agents who you are, why you are reaching out, and why you are qualified. Attach your VO Resume and appropriate demos. Give them your contact info. That’s it. You can follow up a week later to confirm they got it and then based on what they say decide how often to reply.
While it is great to have regional representation, it is also extremely beneficial to have representation abroad as well. As they often need voices of all demographics and accents, it is in your best interest to reach out throughout Europe, Central America, South America, and Asia. The more opportunity you have, the more exposure you will benefit from.
Keeping In Touch
Sometimes agents are kind enough to reply and tell you that the do not have space on their roster at present but they may in the future. This is a great opportunity. This means there is something about you that they like enough to respond, but it is now your responsibility to check in without stalking them! So, you have to decide how often you will pursue this lead and when it is the right time. Such instances include when you have a stellar booking or a very strong month, if you are nominated or win an award, if your earnings start to rise drastically, and if you have been to a conference and met someone from their team. Any of these reasons are great time to circle back and see if anything at all has changed on their end, and to let them know in a fun and casual way about your great successes. The point is to maintain a relationship and keep the possibilities open.
Remember, in the end, there are no guarantees of success in VoiceOver. Having a VO agent does not need that you have made it. It just gives you access to great opportunities. The most direct and sure way to success in voice over is consistent hard work over an extended period of time.