When I first started my entertainment career, I felt that getting voice-over agent relationships would be the miracle I was looking for. When I finally landed one, I was surprised that not much had changed! It took me years to realize that having an agent is one very small component of my overall career. They can be an important and valuable tool, but they’re not the “end all.” Voice-over agent relationships are partnerships and the way we communicate with them is very important to keep the relationship healthy. Still, maintaining a good relationship with your agent is crucial and requires that you understand a few key things.
First, agents are people too. They have families, they pay bills and they have social engagements just like us. They know that we hired babysitters, took PTO from work, cancelled our dentist appointment, etc…, in order to attend an audition or get a recording in by deadline. They already know how inconvenient things can be at times. Actors don’t get paid for the massive amount of time they put into auditioning and agents don’t get paid for finding opportunities and pitching their clients all day. In fact, no one gets paid until the actor books work. So trust the process and know that your agent wants you to succeed. Know that you and your voice-over agent relationships are both working toward, and hoping for, the same end goal: your success as a professional voice talent.
Agents are not managers. Don’t expect voice-over agent relationships to mean holding your hand and spending a lot of time coaching you. If you need hand-holding then a manager might be something to consider as well. An agent’s job is to find their clients work. A manager spends more time working on your business: offering advice, and helping with branding, education and marketing materials. Agents expect you to come to them with all marketing materials polished.
Agents rely on you, too. On that note, keep your marketing materials up to date. Demo reels, website, resume, logos/headshots need to be at the competitive level of the market or metro area your voice-over agent relationships are representing you for. They cannot properly represent you if you don’t provide top-notch marketing materials. Whenever they ask you to provide them with updated materials, do it as soon as possible. Let them know when you have taken a new class, attended a showcase or met a casting director. All of this information helps them market you more effectively.
Agents will not provide all of your work opportunities. Remember that it’s your responsibility as an actor to approach your business as a multi-prong process. Voice-over agent relationships will represent one prong, and you, as a voice-over actor, represent another as you find other opportunities for auditions and work. Stay in touch with your agent while you keep busy on your own, and trust that they are working hard on your behalf.
Last but not least, remember to thank them for all of their efforts! It’s so important for them to know how much you appreciate all of their hard work. It’s easy to forget how much they are doing behind the scenes, especially if you’re not hearing from them. But once again, trust the process and thank them. A little gratitude goes a long way!
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Jan has an extensive background in the entertainment field as an actor, voice-over artist, model, and dancer. Her voice work includes numerous national and international commercials, video games, apps, narrations, audio tours, tutorials, and cartoons. Jan has also had a recurring role on a soap opera, acted in two Sundance award-winning films, and modeled for several national and international print campaigns. In an effort to give back to her community, Jan has taught voice-over at continuation high schools in the Bay Area, and worked with autistic teens at Actors for Autism in North Hollywood.