Recently I received an email from someone new to the voice-over biz, asking for some advice. Here is the text of the email sent to me, with the contact information removed to preserve the privacy of the sender:
Thanks for sending your email address so that I could contact you. As a relatively new talent (subscribed early 2005) to Voice 123 and Interactive Voices I am seeking advice as to how to actually get work on these sites! Would you have any tips for me in this arena?
I look forward to your reply,
Hopefully my reply will be valuable to the one who asked, and to you:
I took a few minutes to listen to your demos on Voice123.com before writing back. Clearly you have some real talent. It appears to me that you’ve studied hard and worked to put into practice what you’ve studied. Good for you.
As for actually getting work, I can only tell you what I’m doing. After you read the following, you may not think my advice is worth much. (Indeed, it’s likely not worth much more than you’re paying for it. 😉 ) In the last 2 years I’ve auditioned for about 400 jobs. I’ve booked about a dozen of them. Doesn’t sound like all that much, but I’ve made back my subscription fee both years within a month of making the payment. Indeed, I made back my subscription fee several times over within the first 2 months each year.
Now then, to the specifics: As the public leads come in, I evaluate them on the basis of a few factors: Is the client/project something I’d want to work on? (I don’t voice anything to which I object morally, legally or ethically.) Are they paying enough that it’s worth my time? (I don’t audition for anything that pays less than $100 for a spot, or less than $250 for a narration.) How many people have already auditioned? (If the project is marginal to me in any way, and there are more than 50 auditions already posted, I don’t bother auditioning. If the project is strongly appealing to me, I’ll audition even if there are 300 already posted.)
My reasons for listing all the things I DON’T audition for is because it makes little sense (to me anyway) to audition for stuff that I’m not really right for, or that I’m not that interested in. Most of the time, if I audition for that stuff, I don’t get it anyway. I want to give full measure to every audition I do, giving myself the best possible shot. If the project’s not interesting to me or the money’s too low, it’s going to be hard for me to give full measure to the audition.
Having given the audition my best shot, I move on. I never worry about the projects I don’t book. All that would do is drive me crazy trying to figure out what I did wrong. Did I ask for too much money? Did I pick the wrong approach to the copy? Etc., etc., etc. A complete waste of time and energy. Instead, I concentrate on making those that do hire me as happy as humanly possible. For example, any project, no matter how large or complicated, I do all revisions for free. Even if it’s because they change their mind and want to do different copy. Now, I’m not completely crazy. If the entire script is different, that’s not a revision; that’s a whole new project. But, if it’s a few paragraphs, or even a significant chunk, I’m not finished until the client is ecstatic.
Oh, and the money thing? The reason I don’t audition for projects below those levels is because I don’t want to give anyone the idea that I’m available for less than that. If someone has a good, charitable, cause and can’t afford my rates–they can ask me for a free recording session. I’ve done a number of them over the years. And happily. But, only for causes in which I believe and to which I want to contribute.
Maybe some people are making their living off what they book on Voice123.com. I’m certainly not doing that well. The key thing for you is to find a good agent who can get you auditions there in the New York market. You’re non-union, which limits your options somewhat. But, I believe there’s plenty of work if you can find an agent who will get you auditions. Again, auditions you’re right for.
I’m financial core with both major broadcast unions; but the bulk of my work is non-union, too. My main agent is actually based in Pittsburgh, PA and he gets me a bunch of auditions, not just in Pittsburgh, but lots of places. I do far more work through him than through Voice123.com.
So, I hope this has been helpful. If you have any other questions, I hope you’ll write back. I do have a couple of questions for you: how many different Voice123.com people did you contact and ask for help? How many have responded?
I’m going to post your question and my answer to by voice-over blog (https://bobsouer.com/blog/). I don’t use your name in the blog post unless you give me permission; but I do appreciate the opportunity to write down some of these thoughts.