Simone Weil said, “Attention is the rarest & purest form of generosity.”
No one will hire you if they don’t know who you are. Out of work vo artist’s lack self promotion. Just for the remaining days of summer, why don’t you decide to put yourself out there? Pivot talent to the business of voice over. Align yourself with folks who need your skill set. What would happen if you shifted your view from self to them? Making someone feel special is code for Marketing 101 because people remember who inspired them. Give yourself permission to cultivate your own leads by introducing yourself directly to those who buy what you sell. Cut out the middleman and go say hello to local studios, editors or production companies to generate future business opportunities for yourself. Unlike on camera, there are very few vo casting directors therefore you can be your own lead. Allow yourself to be extravagant enough to share who you are so they know where you go in their future vo. Who knows, your salutation might set your name on their rosters: typecast yourself! If you think about it, someone who holds an audition has a problem. If the buyer can rely on you, your voice solves their dilemma plus saving them time and money. Removing their guesswork, makes it a breeze for them to book you direct. Imagine how phenomenal it feels for your client to experience this fabled service? Big branding clue? Be you. Stretch your range to drop into whatever change of self (authoritative, humorous, flat, empathetic, playful) the tone needs. Typecast doesn’t mean one trick pony out to pasture waiting for the next gig exactly like the one airing to stick after the current has run its cycle. Your vocal diversity frees you up to speak for other industries avoiding conflict of interest limitations. Resist the urge to guess what they want! They’ll dig you as you are if you’re genuine. Sharing you can do more than one thing will give them options.
Never not on brand.
Exhibit A. On my sleeve, my big heart’s the spot I speak from at work. Whether it’s printed stationary or my blouse, I always knew my career’s funnel was a heart you can hear. I incorporated a classic peppermint candy pattern for the cd labels to represent that I was fresh and sweet. I wanted what was coming out of my mouth (VO) to be like candy. I switched out red heart confetti for XO confetti inside my demo jewel box cd cases after booking the XO campaign. I smile (with my ♥️ ) all these years later every time I see the remnants of these very sparkles in dust on my garage floor or random drawers.
How does this have anything to do with booking voice overs? It reveals WHO I am (ridiculous with a passion problem). More so than what you know or who you know is — who knows you? Clients will follow you, not your representation. I call this the goose that laid a golden egg. If you do one job well, people will ask who’s delicious voice is that? One job multiplies into a fortune! A good habit: establish a minimum 10 leads to stay occupied continuously and residually. You only need an agent if a) you’re not industrious or b) you’re so known you need a receptionist.
Agents are another lead, not your provider.
The Nordstrom family opened a shoe store in my home state. Their return policy is legendary. In fact, new employee training they are taught firsthand via the example set when an unsatisfied gentleman who rolled four tires into Nordy’s demanding a full refund. As you probably figured out, the retailer doesn’t sell tires however they do sell grace. The story goes, employee asked the man how much he paid and joyfully gave him his money back. Unknown to that worker, prior to Nordstrom, the store that was existed sold tires. You may not get cast in the spot you went out for yet if you make your audition memorable, they’ll remember you and bring you back for something else until you are cast. The goal is to build a fan (customer of life). In acting concept is called ‘booking the office.’ Gaining a customer’s (ad agencies, agents, producers, directors, engineers, studio owners, businesses, products or the person who answers the phone) trust is huge. As you expand your reach your representation only needs to be an additional lead, instead of the source for your sustainable revenue. Anyone can cold read it. Longevity demands you LIVE it and no one else can do that for you. For those of you not familiar with my story, commercials are my thing. I accidentally booked a Hyundai campaign after I moved to LA, chased by a telecommunication re-brand national tv, radio & IVR campaign for XO Communications (formerly Nextlink), now —
VO TIP #3: MAKE MARKETING MEMORABLE.
It’s astonishing how many people want the harvest without the labor. Work is called work because it is NOT vacation. You can tell a ton about a person’s character by how they react to an activity called WORK. Isn’t your hashtag speak #lovemyjob your brand of ‘feel good marketing’ to pitch job security?
Upon request, here’s a vocab list. Having a knowledge of these common sayings is not a requirement to rock your session. VO is self explanatory! Expect to learn on the job. Be flexible and translate direction with a smile. Each producer, engineer or director has his or her own style. Get great at trusting your ability to decipher their flow as it goes. This process is much faster than on camera or stage (no rehearsals). Think about it, in a commercial you have 3.5, 15, 20 or 30 seconds to express your arch not the entire trilogy of the Lord of The Rings so use the Ladies room prior to not interrupt the sess!
Remind yourself how well you recorded the scratch for a major movie and how much fun you had without a demo, vo agent or formal training by being known. I’ve experienced your sunny vibe in the booth and you are a dream to work with! Keep listening, making keen adjustments and they’ll adore your delivery. The key is to a) get out of your head and b) timing. There is no time for common or hidden directions. They expect you to do what you did to get the gig in the first place. They will usually play back your read (audition for reference – to match) or request a particular read from your demo (‘we want your Hyundai read’). This is your template for how they want you to perform. There is rarely any creative feedback. They want to sound like that spot so do what you did before: use the same intention/inflection/tone/phrasing now with their copy. Direction will be very direct. Capeesh?
Break a Lip,
P.S. Manners. Are. Marketable. Manners. Are. Memorable. Clients hire joyful, enthusiastic & flexible folks.
P.P.S. What are some of the clever ways you promote your biz? Can’t wait to read your creative comments!