Voice-over agents are a great way to build and help supplement your voice-over career. They are there to help find you auditions for prospective jobs and offer you support. They research trends in the industry, negotiate client contracts, and act as a liaison between you and the client. So how do you acquire a voice-over agent and start auditioning with them? Here is a guide to working with agents in voice-over.
Acquiring an Agent or Multiple Agents
You are able to seek voice-over representation in every county nationwide. Some agencies cover multiple counties and markets, so you could have one agent for multiple counties.
Start by compiling a list of voice-over agencies. You can search for voice-over agents by city or market. Find agencies that have a voice-over department, which can be found on their website. Make sure that they represent your union status, whether you are union or non-union.
On each agency website, they will have instructions on how to apply for representation. With some agencies, you will submit through email and some will have an online form. Make sure that you read the instructions for each agency’s process carefully to ensure you are submitting material in the format they prefer.
The main items needed when submitting to an agent include your professional demos and a description of your voice. Make sure that the demos you are submitting are of professional quality and up to industry standards. You do not want to submit demos that you created yourself without any prior training. If you do not have professional demos, training and demo production would be your first step before submitting to agencies. You also want to get some footing in the field on your own before you start submitting to agencies -agents want to make sure that you are able to book work with them once they sign you. They want to feel confident in your abilities before taking you on their roster since they earn their income based on a percentage of the work that you book with them.
Keep your correspondence brief as agents are very busy. Let your demos do most of the talking, but do describe briefly your voice type or voice-over brand. Is your voice smooth, friendly, relatable, quirky, or youthful? Let them know how your voice fits into the industry.
You do not pay your agents up front. If they ask you for money up front in exchange for representation, walk away. The agents receive a percentage of the income that you make through the work that they get you. This will be outlined in the agreement. It will usually say “+ or -” a certain percentage. This will entail whether the percentage is taken out of the talent’s fee or added on. The agent fee is usually between 10-20%.
If you do not hear back from an agency, don’t take it personally. They may not work with a lot of clients who are looking for a voice like yours or their roster may already include similar talent.
If you do hear back and they decide to bring you aboard, congratulations! Make sure you ask any questions you need to, and feel that they are a good fit for you and your career.
Auditioning for Your Agent
Once you sign with an agency, you will start receiving auditions from them that match your voice.
When you receive an audition from an agent it will include information about how to submit the audition back to them, due date, length of time the project will be used, the locations it will air, and the rate you will be paid.
Make sure you follow all guidelines when submitting your auditions back to the agency. Slate your name at the beginning of all auditions unless otherwise instructed in your audition email. Make sure to also label your file audition as instructed.
You will also want to ensure that your audition files are cleaned up. Make sure there isn’t any background noise and edit out any mistakes or unnecessary audible breaths. Your audition file should sound like a clean sample of the final product.
If you book the job, get a callback, or are on a short list for it, your agent will reach out to you with further details and check your availability to record the final project. They will handle the correspondence with the client and pay you when your project is complete.
Agents are a great tool to help you obtain work in voice-over. Utilizing them will help boost the number of projects that you can audition and be considered for. Show your agent that you are professional, take your career seriously, and are respectful of their time and the work they bring in for you.
As always, have fun!