A few years ago I blogged about a "landing an agent" checklist. Since the voiceover industry has changed so much in just a few short years, I thought it would be a good idea to update the checklist.
What has changed in the voiceover industry since that blog post? COVID-19 and AI. They will have a major influence on the industry for years to come, but we've discussed these before so we don't need to go into detail here.
My understanding of the voiceover industry have changed as well so my thoughts have evolved on the subject of agents. For one thing, I've come to realize that different voice actors of different experience levels need different things to get their careers to different places. Voice actors at certain points in their journey need to do, be, and use certain things that voice actors at other points in their journey don't.
Do all voice actors need an agent? No.
Are all agents the same? No.
TIP OF THE WEEK
With all that in mind, here is my updated “landing an agent” checklist:
Which genres do you want to be successful in? Agents work in certain genres: most commonly commercials, network promos, cartoons, and video games. They cast other genres but not as often. If you want to be successful in genres like audio books or eLearning, you do not need an agent.
Do you need an agent at this point in your career? Most aspiring voice actors think they need an agent right out of the gate and that is almost never the case. You need an agent once you achieve a certain level of success and want to be considered for projects you can’t access on your own.
Which tier of agent should you pursue? There are "tiers" of agents based on their status, location, roster, and how they get their casting notices. We touched upon this in a recent blog. If you are looking for your first agent, do your research and look for an "entry-level" agent. This may increase your chances of getting repped.
Which part of the country/world do you need an agent? Usually you’re only allowed to have one agent in a 50-mile radius. Make sure that geography lines up with your genre needs, too. For example, if you want high-end animation work, landing an agent in the Los Angeles area is probably a good idea.
Are you willing to sign with an agent? If you do, often you’re not allowed to be submitted for projects by other agents. Read the exclusivity clause VERY CAREFULLY.
Are you willing to travel for auditions & recording sessions? COVID-19 has moved most auditions and many recording sessions to your home studio so this is not as important as it was pre-pandemic.
Are you union, non-union, or Fi-Core? Many agents represent union talent, non-union talent, or both. Don’t submit to an agent who casts projects that don't line up with your current union status.
Did you follow ALL of the submission criteria in the Call Sheet? The best way to never be considered by an agent is to ignore the submission criteria. That will prove to them immediately that you can’t take direction and are therefore useless to them.
Are you willing to take no for an answer? This is not the part when I say “don’t give up” or “don’t take no for an answer” cliché crap. I have submitted to agents before who loved me & my demos, but they had too many people on their roster who sound like me. That is not a bad thing! That just means there isn’t room for you on their roster right now. Be sure to stay in touch and follow-up in six months or so. Pinning your hopes on one particular agent is, in my opinion, starving-artist-like and unrealistic. There are many small agencies out there who can get you good work and ensure you are paid well.
Once you've gone through this checklist, NOW you can look for an agent. Be sure to read the "How to Vet an Agent" blog next so you can ask them the right questions to ensure they will suit your needs.
RESOURCES & RECOMMENDATIONS
Here is where I occasionally suggest stuff that may help your voiceover business. Some of these suggestions may include an Amazon Affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you click on the link and purchase the item in question, I get a few cents at no extra cost to you.
Today's recommendation: books! The Right-Brain Business Plan was recommended to me by my buddy and fabulous voice actor Lauren McCullough. Voice actors are human and have different ways of navigating the world in general and the voiceover industry in particular. Books like The Right-Brain Business Plan can help you build your voiceover business with an intuitive, imaginative approach.
NEWS AND NOTES
Thursday, October 14th @8PM ET: The Edge Studio Business and Money 201 webinar, "Workflow". This class will give students an understanding of how to utilize 21st century tools and software to stay organized and on task.
SOLD OUT Monday, October 18th-21st: New England Narrator Retreat.
Friday, October 22nd-24th: Baltimore Comic Con. I will be there promoting my comic book Agent 1.22. If you're at the con, stop in at Artist Alley Table C33 and say hi! Thursday, October 28th @8PM ET: The Edge Studio Marketing 201 webinar, "What Your Website Says About You". In this class, students will explore best practices when creating a successful voice over talent website.
November 12-14: The Mid-Atlantic Voice Over conference. I won't be speaking there this year but this is a FANTASTIC conference and I strongly encourage you to attend.
Since I will be a crazed, travelling maniac this month: no blog for the next two weeks! See you November 2nd...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Tom Dheere is the VO Strategist, a voice over business & marketing coach and demo producer since 2011. He is also a voice actor with over 20 years of experience who has narrated just about every type of voiceover you can think of. When not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.