What is the value of a voice talent?
Last week I was at a recording session with some really nice, younger voice talents. I’m talking still in or recently graduated from college. On one of our breaks we talked about the rigors of pursuing an acting career in New York City, specifically the culture imposed upon us by acting teachers, agents, and fellow artists. One said that she and her fellow theater majors are expressly forbidden from auditioning for professional gigs while they’re attending school. Another said a fellow actor befriended her because she thought she was more successful than she actually was. When she found out how much work she had actually done, she stopped talking to her.
As one who was part of that rat-race for a few years, I can empathize. It reminded me of a few moments from back in the day:
I paid a New Jersey-based agent a $120 representation fee and they didn’t send me out for a single audition.
I had a one-hour consult with a casting director who screamed at me because I forgot my checkbook.
One of our college theater directors told my friend she had to decide to be fat or skinny, not in-between like she was or she won’t get any work.
An agent once told me that John Malkovich can’t sell toilet paper and neither can I. (a sort-of compliment, actually)
The same agent told me that I was too good-looking for character roles but not good-looking enough for lead roles so I’m almost impossible to cast.
Those last two bits of advice were a factor in my decision to pursue voiceovers full-time, BTW. To add to this conversation, someone posted this recently:
It’s been circulating for a few years on The Internets. As much as I love the sentiment, Meryl never said that. Here’s an article that’s explains what she really said and the context:
With all this in mind, it reminded me of two things:
Actors are treated like a commodity and judged almost solely on appearance
Actors are at the whim and mercy of jaded teachers and entitled agents
This is not news. For the record, I had some inspiring teachers and am repped by some wonderful agents. There more than a few bad apples out there, though.
TIP OF THE WEEK
The commoditization of stage & screen actors has been happening for as long as there has been a stage for them to perform on. Actors have been pouring into NYC and Hollywood for almost 100 years seeking fame and fortune. I think it’s a more recent development in the voice over industry with the advent of the Internet, Pay-to-Play sites, relatively low-cost home recording facilities, and the popularity of cartoons and video games. There are way too many voice talents with little no or training, but more importantly with little or no understanding of their value.
I ask again; what is the value of a voice talent?
Your value as a voice talent is not necessarily determined by the sound of your voice. Your value is determined by:
your business acumen
your marketing savvy
your understanding of the voiceover industry
your communication skills, and most importantly
If you do not value yourself or your voiceover business, you will be treated accordingly. Get proper training, develop your skill sets both inside and outside the booth, and charge rates that are commensurate with the industry standard. Oh, and don’t be a dick.
NEWS AND NOTES
Saturday, December 1st @5PM EST: The 2018 Voiceover Holiday Extravaganza is a big ole’ holiday party to give voice talent an excuse to dress up and get their drink on. It will be at Hurley’s Saloon in New York City. It starts at 5PM if you want to have dinner but the party party starts at more like 7PM. Click here to RSVP.
Thursday, December 6th @8PM EST: My next Edge Studio Marketing 201 webinar will be “Brand Yourself”. We’ll discuss the basics of branding, the Sales Funnel, and major branding boo-boos to avoid. Click here to sign up.
Thursday, December 13th @8PM EST: My next Edge Studio Business and Money 201 webinar will be “Goals”. We’ll talk about how to effectively set your sights on 2019. Click here to sign up.
Saturday December 15th: the ACA Deadline is coming fast! Click here to get more information.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
If you are hustling 24/7 in a scatterbrain fashion, that in itself is a form of laziness. Indiscriminate action is reflective of too little thinking and planning and that is lazy, and it’s one of the most destructive forms of laziness because it is socially reinforced, people will encourage you to do that. Tim Ferriss
Tom Dheere is a 20+year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for hundreds of clients in over a dozen countries. He is also voiceover business consultant known as the VO Strategist and is currently producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.