Being a professional Voiceover Artist is a bit of a mysterious job..
You'll notice VO's sharing a few pieces of their work from time to time, the client lists and credits on their websites and even the odd mention of Agents.
But how do Voiceover Artists get their work?
Well, within the voiceover world it's an unwritten rule that you never ask for client contacts. It's a very strong community, we help each other out with pricing up work, sharing tech tips and insights and comparing notes and generally sanity checking. This is all good, but no one ever asks for each other's little black book. Or should that be a view of their CRM these days!
If you are new to voiceover though I recognise that this is of little help (except as an insight into the world into which you venture!).
What can you do to start getting work?
Once you are sure you absolutely need to be a Voiceover Artist, see my blog here on this very subject..
You have a studio, you have demos, you have training and you have some time - let's do this!
"Pay to Play" websites can be a good place to start.. You do have to shell out some cash to sign up and not all sites are created equal.
Do look out for the better ones. Obviously I can't name the ones to avoid here, but please do have a google as there are at least 3 that you really don't want to be part of. Trust me on that.
You can expect to audition quite a lot before you get a sniff of a job. it can be fairly disheartening. Speaking personally here, I used to do OK on these about 10 years ago but these days they do seem very over subscribed and you end up competing more on price than ability in some cases and that's not my bag. Stay classy. However, that said, they can be a good source of repeat clients.
2. Repeat clients
Be excellent to work with, be "low homework", be efficient, sound superb (you and your studio )
Follow these rules and the clients you get will come back to you. We are much more likely to buy from people we have already bought services from you know. These clients have already demonstrated that they like your work - what else can you do for them? What is their need?
Treat them well, they could be with you for years.
Yes, this is the obvious one! Once upon a time working with your agent was the only way to get voiceover work. It's not like that any more and very many superb voiceover artists, who work, aren't represented.
Getting an agent is a blog post in itself (one for my list) but if you do manage to get an agent you need to remember that you are still competing for work and gigs won't be handed to you on a plate.
Do the auditions they send, label them properly, follow the instructions, be good to work with! (noticing that as a pattern yet?)
Update them if you are going to be away, update them if you have new kit in your studio etc
Keep top of mind without being annoying and desperate - a fine line! And be nice to their clients 🙂
Most of us have had a life before Voiceover. For me, my work was in the broadcast media and in learning and development - these are both areas that have synergies with the kind of work I do as a Voiceover. See if there is anything you can do for those you worked well with. Send them updates and a few clips of your work. Even if they don't need you right away, they might do at do at some point soon.
5. Cold calling
I'm not a fan of cold calling, some people are great at it, I'm not. For someone who talks for a living I'm not at my best in that scenario!
So, you know what? I don't do much of it.
If you can turn the heat up on a cold call and turn it into a warm one, then so much the better. Find a way of getting in front of that person / company that works for you and them. I have a strong preference for this method.
What networking groups can you join?
Here's the thing as well - networking as a Voiceover Artist is letting them know that you're a voiceover artist and then not talking about it TOO much. Be a person first and a voiceover second.
If you keep in mind that building relationships is the best way to be on someone's radar then this does need to be something you consider doing to increase your chances of finding work as a Voiceover Artist.
7. Local people
What businesses could use what you do locally to you? You already have a an "in" by being local. Word of mouth is very powerful and in local areas word gets about.
8. Your website
Sometimes work finds you, that's always a good thing right? Websites and branding for Voiceover Artists is always a hot topic, just make sure you have a decent website and can be found by people you might want to work for. This can feel a bit passive but there is always stuff to do to make your website better and a more attractive shop window.
9. Keep your eyes and ears open
I'm never really off duty - I'm constantly looking for opportunities and building contacts. You might hear about something in another part of your life that could really do with a voiceover artist. What about that new company that's opening in your area that your friend is working at? What about that new technical advance you read about online?
10. Play the long game
Just because you didn't get that opportunity from that audition this time - maybe that client could want you for something else. Maybe that thing that you auditioned for last year was still waiting for the go ahead and they will be in touch with you when they are finally ready to record. This EXACT thing happened to me yesterday! Sometimes things just take a while, so it's totally worth knowing that you should take all those opportunities as your future self may well be thanking you!
People don't know you are there unless you tell them.
Go and find your people, and when you work for them, be fantastic to work with and keep them warm with just the right amount of contact and updates.
I regularly provide voiceovers for clients all over the world - have a listen to some of my commercial work here. Feel free to drop me a line to chat about your next project and let's make waves with your words!