Finding good voice over talent agents is easy. The biggest challenge is getting an agent to take you on their books. If you have the drive and energy it will happen – that is, if you are prepared to work at it.
When I worked in advertising agencies and radio stations I hired voice talent. I would often use my favourite talent because I knew they could deliver the best reads for me. That may sound unfair but I would much prefer to spend ten minutes in the studio than a full hour. A good voice artist will nail the script in a few reads – whereas someone with inexperience can take ages and ages to get it right – but they both earn the same money.
If you want work and lots of it you have to build your name and the quality of your reads. Just having a nice sounding voice is not enough.
How Voice Over Talent Agents Work
They make their money by charging a percentage of your fee. If they specialise in voice only they have to work very hard to make a profit. This means they want you working. Your attitude and performance with the client will result in more or less work. Here are some examples of how talent have caused me headaches:
- A voice talent didn’t turn up
- One was “high” as a kite
- One was still drunk from the night before
- Some complain they don’t get enough work
- One shared a hard luck story and keep complaining about money
- Only had a few minutes to do the job as they had another booking elsewhere (even though I had booked them for an hour)
- I asked one talent to help me with an extra “free” script as I had a small budget. She said “no”. I had already paid her over $5,000 in the past few months. Technically I was wrong in asking this but life is about a bit of give and take. I never used her again. I don’t care if she was great – I only want to work with nice people.
I mention this as you have to work with the client – not just your agent. If the client likes you – they will tell your agent and you will be asked back. Then your agent will “love” you because you are bringing in profits. Very soon your agent will sing your praises to more clients – and you get more work.
Your agent also builds relationships – with advertising agencies, studios and radio stations – the last thing she wants is anyone stuffing up that relationship. But if you help her build those relationships you will SHINE.
Here are some examples of how talent has impressed me:
- Arrives 15 minutes before the booking time
- Sent me a thank you card or a bottle of wine at Christmas
- Willing to do charity jobs for free
- Ask clarification if they are not sure of my instructions
- Being nice and friendly
Are all Voice Over Talent Agents the Same?
Every voice artist has a different story here. But the best agent is the one who gets you work. And agents say the best voice artist is the one who gets them work. Don’t sit back and expect your agent to do everything – you will both tire of each other very quickly.
There are many on-line voice over talent agents now – some will take anyone. Others are much more choosy. As a client it takes ages to source these websites – I have been lucky with some I have found. But not always.
What are they Looking For?
Agents want voices that are different. They are always on the lookout even though they say their books are full. Their books have ALWAYS been full but people still manage to get on them.
I have been disappointed with some fresh new talent – they present a CD of fine commercial reads. But once they are in the studio they haven’t got what it takes. Their demo CD has been heavily produced at their voice-over course. If your CD has been produced like that, then make sure you can deliver the goods – because you won’t get a second chance. Practice your reads – over and over and over. Get a mentor. Present the best possible “you” to the voice over talent agents.