There’s a discussion going on over a Voiceover Universe about whether or not having an agent is important for getting voiceover work. One of my favorite agents is Elynne Dale. She’s sent me the following comments, which I share with you here because I think these are very cogent thoughts, well worth some of your time to read.
A little agent perspective.
First, you can get work without an agent, though it begs the question my Dad used to ask, do you want to date a million men who have a dollar, or 1 man with a million dollars?
Can you have an agent while living remotely? yes you can, the business is virtual now, this is de rigueur. Wide open rosters, non-exclusive for the most part, a vast expanse for talent and agents alike, few boundaries left on the wild vo frontier.
You can have as many agents as you like, you can live wherever you like if you have crack broadcast studio capability in-house or nearby. Dear talent, you really are the masters of your own destiny unlike ever before, nothing is out of reach as far as your breadth of opportunities.
Can you book the work?
Ahh, there’s the rub. You will book all day long if you can compete with the top 10% of world talent, since state lines and oceans no longer separate clients from talent and there are only a few clients left (holdouts, mostly in NYC) who will not consider an ISDN session if it will give their project the edge critical for them to also remain competitive.
Regional work, yes there is some to be had, but everyday I hear from new local clients (we are in NY, Chicago, Denver & Seattle ) who want to dip their toes into out of town waters. I continue seeing any vestigial local/ regional mindset being replaced swiftly by the global market sensibility.
Therefore, the idea of having many regional agents to cover your bases in my potentially biased 🙂 yet extremely educated and well studied opinion is fast becoming a concept only. Liken it to saying you live in, let’s say Omaha, therefore you are an Omahanian voice talent.
Or, is it that you are a talent that works in any market you can compete in, but you’ve chosen to live in Omaha. This is much how we perceive and represent talent today, on your merits alone, your geographics are a ‘free swim’ and irrelevant. Clients choose the voice they like for the project, we relay SPIDS and dial-in patch numbers, done and done. Except for time zone, it’s your talent of concern and not your whereabouts. (there are the exceptions to this scenario, much TV series VO and ADR is done where the writers and producers reside)
So where does that leave us besides anywhere the climate, townsfolk and pizza crusts are to our liking? I say find the agent (or more than one but not a baseball team!) who truly believe in YOU and understand the big picture, that alone will open the most doors for you. It will also keep rates much healthier if you cannot be found somewhere for two worn nickels. Also, you’ll keep your agent(s) happier with you if they are not made to race to get you the same project every other agent is privy to.
For those of you who do book, you already know it is your talent that that keeps you on the radar and not your proximity. Staying a little exclusive in my opinion is a privilege that you have earned at this point. While many new ‘voice huts’ may spring up today, the actual number of real and bookable voice talent (for the better projects) stays small & pretty static. You are the ones large and in charge now I tell ya’, so don’t ever sell yourself short.
Trust me, this one action alone will be the one that can keep our industry proud.