Voice-over marketing is really the poor stepchild of voice-over. I don’t know anyone who enjoys the process. Yet, if you have two people in the industry – and one is super talented but does very little marketing of themselves – and the other is so-so, but markets the heck out of themselves – who do you think will be successful?
If you look at your time each day as a pie cut into quarters, the theory goes that one quarter should go to auditioning on pay- to play- sites, one to seeking out auditions in other publications like Variety and Backstage (there are many others – even Craig’s List), one to cold-calling companies, and the last to contacting studios and advertising agencies. If you do this, you will need to develop an efficient record-keeping system!
Where most people lose steam is when they don’t get immediate pay-back from their efforts. It can seem like you are doing all this work for nothing – when you don’t hear anything back, or worse, you hear “no.” So what’s the answer?
First, understand that you have no idea what’s really happening with those auditions you’ve sent out to pay- to-play sites like Voices.com. I can’t tell you how many times I finally booked a gig months after I initially auditioned. There is so much going on behind the scenes; these agency folks are extremely busy, and you are not the only thing on their minds. There are late copy changes and other projects that are consuming their time. Also, it gets very confusing listening to hundreds of folks, and it takes time to weed people out (that’s why I preach about taking risks in auditions and standing out from the crowd).
The principle behind following the “pie” chart is kind of like scattering seeds. You are literally throwing thousands out in the form of auditions, cold-calls, emails and letters each year… and there’s no way to tell which will bloom into a gig for you. Patience and faith is key.
I still get calls for voice-over work from “seeds” I scattered years ago.
For years I have described my voice-over career as coming at me “out of left field.” But really, it’s been a result of the “planting” and energy I’ve put in all this time!
In addition to using the “pie” model as a marketing tool, try incorporating creative marketing you really enjoy! It’s amazing the serendipitous ways we can find voice-over work. Here are some ideas:
Look for v/o opportunities at your current survival job. Almost all companies today, big and small, produce corporate videos and need voices for their websites. Yet very few voice-over folks think to ask their workplaces for the opportunity to voice their projects.
Take acting and improv classes. Not only is this imperative to keep your voice-acting skills honed, but it’s necessary to get out there and network! You’ll make friends, and, you will keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the business.
Get involved with associations. Almost every industry has an association that serves it. There is World Voices (WoVo), for the voice-actor, Audio Publishers Association (if you are interested in doing audiobooks), various unions (like SAG/AFTRA) tied to the voice-over industry, and even the Library Book Association! You just never know what opportunities will come your way when you spend your time around folks associated to your business.
Create your own opportunities.
Podcast listenership is growing by leaps and bounds; write about something you are passionate about and record a snappy podcast each week!
Web Series production is booming. Many folks are being “discovered” on web series! In fact, networks are now assigning some of their staff to hunt for talent on YouTube and other venues!
Technological advances have created opportunities for almost everyone to pursue their acting dreams. Find the way you enjoy! There’s no reason you can’t be seen and heard, in today’s marketplace.
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Nancy Wilson is a Producer and Coach. She will be directing the SAG/AFTRA Radio Players in the upcoming performance of the old time radio broadcast of The Whistler, at The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.