When I first got into the voice-over industry, there were several areas of the business that took a long time for me to learn and get through my thick skull. In this blog, I’m only going to be talking about one area of marketing. Many of my friends who are professional voice-over talents ignore this form of marketing, but I personally believe that it’s a great place to find potential new clients.
I’m talking about paid audition sites like Voices.com and Voice123.com. I personally belong to these sites at a cost of about $800 a year, which, of course, is tax-deductible. For that $800, I get anywhere between 60 to 100 audition invitations every single day. That works out to about three or four cents per audition invitation. In any business, that’s an inexpensive cost for a potential lead.
Of course, I don’t do all 20,000 of those auditions I’m offered each year. In fact, I don’t do that many auditions at all, maybe 5 or 6 a week at the most, because fortunately, I have built up a decent repeat client base that takes up most of my time. But knowing I have auditions coming to me every day is a part of my marketing strategy that gives me comfort during the slow times, and many of those repeat clients I’m referring to came from doing these auditions.
Honestly, this auditioning process was very frustrating, and even depressing at first, but when I finally accepted and understood the reality of how they work, my frustrations and depression disappeared. It’s my understanding that the odds for most people to land one of these auditions is 1 out of 60. Those are pretty bad odds and would take a lot of work for very little reward. However, keep in mind that most sites are flooded with amateurs with no training, which is why the averages are so bad. Fortunately, I’ve been able to reduce those odds substantially. How did I do that? By simply understanding a few things and then following some strict rules.
This is my process and how I overcome the odds.
- READ THE AUDITION CAREFULLY. I am very, very picky of what auditions I do. I read the audition carefully to make sure that if I’m going to spend my valuable time working on it, it’s an audition that my voice and style are what the voice seeker is searching for.
- DO TWO-THREE TAKES OF THE SCRIPT. I always do at least two different takes of the script, three most of the time. That alone increases my odds by allowing the voice seeker three different shots to like my audition.
- TAKE YOUR TIME. I never hurry. My main concern is not being one of the first to answer the audition. My objective is to make sure that my audition is the absolute best performance and recording quality I can get. I don’t care if I’m number 1 or number 35. I only care that I’ve sent the best audition possible.
- DO IT AND FORGET IT. This is the most important lesson to learn. Too many potentially great voice-over talents (beginners) become obsessed with a single audition and when they don’t get it and possibly a few others, they get depressed and give up. Never give up! There have been many auditions I’ve done and didn’t get, even when the audition described me exactly. In the beginning, I would be convinced I would get the job because they were looking for my voice and niche, and I knew I nailed the audition. It used to drive me crazy and make me question my ability when it wouldn’t come. Then one day I got a call from a voice seeker who told me that he loved my audition, but because another audition sounded just like the client’s Uncle Earl… he chose him instead. That’s when I realized that I had to stop obsessing over any one specific audition. There were too many deciding factors that were out of my control. From that day on, when I hit the send button and I’m sure it’s the best audition I could possibly have done, I forget it. If I get the job, they’ll let me know. I think of these auditions I do each week as a form of advertising. If I keep advertising my voice, eventually it will work.
I want to make one last point about never giving up and why I’m convinced my process works. I did an audition one day and, although I preach about forgetting it, I do sometimes back slide and at least check to see if they open it. I had taken my time as usual and was number 43 when I finally sent it in. When I checked the next day to see if it had been opened, the project was closed and they had only listened to 42. If I’d only hurried just a bit more, maybe didn’t do that last check of my edits my audition may have been heard. Two weeks later, I got a call from New York.
“Hello, is this Ben Marney?”
“Yes, that’s me. How can I help you?”
“Hi Ben, you did an audition for us a few weeks ago and we’d love to hire you for our project!”
“Great!” I said. “What project was it?”
When he told me what it was, I remembered it was the one I was number 43. “I thought you guys had closed that project and I was too late and missed it.”
He laughed and said, “Yeah, we did, but the client wanted us to go back and see if we could find someone else that fit the project better than our first choice. When we went back, you were the next one we heard.”
That project paid me $1,000 for two 30-second spots. And, they’ve called me back and we’re doing two more next month.
Always remember, quality prevails, and never ever give up!
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Ben Marney has been a studio engineer, singer and musician for over 40 years. Over the last 8 years (as a full time voice-over talent) he has recorded literally thousands of radio and television commercials and has been the narrator for three national television shows airing on the Discovery, Destination America and Sportsman channels. He currently resides in Port St. John, Florida where he (with his wife’s permission) produces voice-overs out of his home studio.