By: Ian Russell
From: British Voiceover
The search for potential business leads can seem complex and overwhelming. With any business, especially freelance ones it’s all about the customers: Finding and keeping them. The voiceover business is no different.
When distractions are sifted out it can be easier to focus on marketing efforts to make this happen. Simply put finding voiceover business, jobs, opportunities, and auditions are at the core of a successful voiceover entrepreneurship.
When it’s broken down, there are essentially only “3” basic ways to do this:
The Business Finds You, You Find the business or Someone else Finds the Business for you.
The Business Finds You
Most of us are on the marketing bandwagon via social media and maintaining a website. It’s about keeping a presence online, presenting your voice to the world and most importantly getting noticed by potential hirers. We might find that creating optimum website SEO, purchasing advertising or being a voiceover influencer all help in being discovered on the internet. It’s hard to compete with the larger voiceover casting sites that throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at optimizing their SEO but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tried. Even if it means hiring experts. There is no doubt that receiving a direct enquiry via your website is an amazing way to start the day. This isn’t always the quickest, or most efficient way to find new clients, but when it comes, it can be a high-quality enquiry. Maintaining strong connections with existing clients will often lead to long-term projects and continued auditions from them. Similarly, connections and referrals from other voice actors or other creatives in the industry can be another way of being found.
You Find the Business
There are a lot of organic ways to create connections with casters. It’s about finding opportunities that can lead to a hire. Smaller to midsize production houses, video game companies and audio production companies that may have an internal VO roster can be approached through email marketing or social media sites. Sometimes, by sheer volume, there will be the golden whisper of ‘I am looking for someone like you”. It won’t happen often, but it does happen. Sometimes even just reaching out to family and friends to make sure they know what you do can lead to results. They might not even realize their company utilizes voiceovers or that they are somehow connected to someone who does. Always thinking outside the box to create engagements by finding platforms that the creatives commonly use such as Clutch or Discordcan be worth the effort.
Someone Else Finds the Business for You
This is where Online Casting sites, Pay to Plays, Freelancer platforms, Agents and Talent managers come into play. In one way or another, there is a fee for access to these casting opportunities. The key differences are that with online casting/P2P you pay in advance for access to auditions. Whereas Agents/Managers take a commission only when you book. They may tend to offer fewer opportunities but generally come with higher values and negotiated rates.
Access to Agents generally comes from demonstrating you have booked elsewhere and have the ability/talent to compete, win and work at the highest level. You only add value to an agency if you book work. It’s rare that an agent will approach you. Conferences, classes, awards, high-profile work and publicity can all help put you on their radar and being seen as someone who can add value. Being courteous and carefully following their submission process is also recommended. Again referrals from a fellow actor/VO may also help to pave the way for consideration.
Online platforms tend to offer mass market opportunities with lower rate expectations. Many online casting sites have tiered payment options. However, access to auditions will normally increase with the increased membership fees. Generally, access to the mass market online casting sites comes with a credit card. A few pay to plays seem to double dip by charging a fee to join and then charging a commission on the job, when it’s booked. Even so, especially when starting out, it is often seen as a way to access auditions, gain some experience and test your competitiveness in a real-world environment.
Most successful voiceover businesses have all three of these strategies in place in one form or another and they are all somewhat interlinked. Some people love auditioning the day away, while others spend time nurturing connections on social media and mass marketing campaigns. All will have some value to your business, and all should be tried in varying degrees to see what works best.
It takes time, guts, tears, networking, investment, and on the rare occasion sheer luck to win in this business. The catchphrase the harder one works, the luckier one becomes, definitely applies to the business of voiceover.
For more of Ian’s News & Blogs: Subscribe Here