Looking for voice-over work
It’s a large portion of one’s voice-over career pie, so my first piece of advice is to enjoy the search! Make a personal game of how to get voice work by setting up daily or weekly challenges, keeping track of how many people you have contacted in one day, upping that number by the following week, calculating results on follow-ups, etc. Don’t forget to celebrate your successes! Finding ways to stay motivated in the search is a huge part of success.
Most of us do not start our VO careers with agency representation.
Showing an agent you are able to obtain work experience through your own marketing efforts can serve you well when being considered for their talent roster. Even if you are freelancing with a few agents, your search for work never really stops. Why? Because you will get audition opportunities for projects that either come to the agency directly or through casting breakdowns that agents have access to. This leaves several avenues to explore on your own.
This is an option I recommend, especially to voice-over artists just starting out. It’s a good idea to continue keeping an active profile on at least one pay-to-play website, even after you have gained substantial work experience, because you always want to maintain a few good channels of potential VO income streams.
A relationship you definitely want to develop is one with any casting director who books VO talent. I suggest searching for casting directors located in your home state first, so if they reach out to give you an audition or just want to meet you in person first, you can actually get to the physical studio. After exhausting all possibilities locally, then branch out and research how to get voice work elsewhere. Always look up the company website first, checking the menu for anything related to “talent.” Most companies will include a link which specifically directs talent on how to submit demos. If the company doesn’t indicate how to submit your demos on their website, then I suggest contacting them via email or phone call to express interest in sending them your demo. I believe in asking first, not just sending materials to that general contact info@ email address. If you don’t receive a reply after a week, then call the office, stating the date you sent the inquiry and letting them know that you are simply following up on your request. After reading Jillian Nielsen’s article about how to get voice work by following up with voice-over clients and agencies, I have a new mantra: The magic is in the follow-up!
Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to connect with other VO talents.
The first VO job I booked was directly off my first commercial demo and it came through a Facebook connection. I never even met this contact in person, but he listened to the commercial demo I had posted on my Facebook wall. Not long after, one of his business contacts, who owns a commercial video production company, asked him whether he knew anyone who does voice-over work. The job was for a drive-in movie theatre in upstate New York. So post your demos on your Facebook page to start the buzz that you do this work!
Set up a LinkedIn profile and don’t be shy about trying to connect specifically with industry professionals who do the hiring of VO artists. It may take a little research to know who hires for animation features or which advertising companies have an in-house VO department, but once your research has answered these questions for you, hit up new LinkedIn connections. Once someone does accept you request, send a short message thanking them and asking if you can forward them your demo.
VO work from your day job.
Consider if the place where you work may have some voice-over opportunities and pitch your services to your boss. If they have a demo to listen to, it may be easier for them to see your vision. Opportunities about how to get voice work may be right in front of you at your day job!
Your efforts may not show results right away.
One day, I emailed my materials (headshot, resume, and demo) to a long list of production houses in the New York area. A year and a half later, one of those companies contacted me for an audition which I booked. When this company contacted me, I didn’t remember them at first, and asked how they heard about me! They said, “I’m not sure but we have your resume and demo here.” So be professional and remember who you contact by keeping a log. Lesson learned on my part, I now keep an Excel spreadsheet!
Take what you know about your voice and pitch it to the companies and places you feel are a good fit.
It is important to know your sound. If you have an upbeat, perky voice, it’s not likely you’ll get an audition for a Christian Dior perfume campaign, however, your voice may be just perfect for that healthy snack for kids! When you’re searching for work, aligning your sound and services to the product or story can produce results. Start locally. Visit your local retail stores, speak to store managers. Learn to ASK for what you want, and you’ll be amazed at how people just love to let others know that they know someone…
For more inspiration on how to focus your efforts in your own backyard as well as some personal success stories check out Ratana Therakulsathit’s article, How to Get Voice Work: Networking Can Help Kickstart Your Career.
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About the Author
Rosemary Chase is a NY-based SAG-AFTRA union actor and voice-over artist. She has been featured on numerous television and feature film projects, including such hit shows as “Elementary”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, and has appeared in several episodes of “Saturday Night Live”. She has voiced projects for GE Capital, Fidelity, a variety of dubbing projects, and a short film (playing an on-air radio personality). She landed her first feature animation film playing a loveable cow, Theodora, in “Pup 2 No Good”. Rosemary’s long list of diverse acting training from local studios around her NYC neighborhood include stand-up comedy at The Comedy Cellar, improv at Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and Meisner Training, at MN Studio. To learn more about Rosemary’s journey as a voice-over artist, visit www.rosemarychase.com.