sign up for our

Home Shop Subscribe Advertise Articles Directories Classifieds Calendar FAQs Contact Us Login

Why Enter An Awards Competition?
10 Reasons Why Awards Matter
August 1, 2014

Note: The Voice Arts™ Awards program (see announcement) - which is accepting nominations through August 31 - has drawn industry praise, such as this from popular voice talent/trainer Pat Fraley:

Yet skeptics question the program's value and purpose. Below, Rudy Gaskins - producer, voice over coach, and one of the program's creators - responds ..

By Rudy Gaskins
CEO, Push Creative
CEO, Society of Voice Arts and Sciences

As one of the creators of the Voice Arts™ Awards, I have been fairly surprised by the resistance expressed by some and the void of information available to folks who have never entered a professional industry award competition.

I’m happy say that entries are indeed coming in, but for those unfamiliar with the awards phenomenon, it’s important to help them provide some perspective. 

There are many good things about awards contests, not the least of which is to inspire us to always look to the pursuit of excellence in all we do.

Fortunately, those who don’t wish to take part, are in no way forced to do so. For those who are genuinely trying to figure out why or if entering the Voice Arts™ Awards, or any award competition for that matter, is right for them, I want to offer a few thoughts that may help you make an informed choice.


As a marketing professional who has spent more than a few years inside the TV networks and more than a decade running my own marketing agency, the idea of entering awards shows is second nature.

Not only do networks, corporations and agencies enter numerous awards contest each year, they actually include the cost as part of their line item budgeting. Yes, they plan for it!

It’s not a superfluous extravagance, but a smart and strategic business consideration. Running a business means having a marketing budget, period.

As a voice actor, you too are running a business. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you understand the first thing about marketing or even want to. You can always hire a pro to help you.

Entering awards contests, however, is one element of a larger set of marketing possibilities that you should consider. It not only drives business, but it elevates morale. 


Here then, are the top 10 reasons why awards matter.  


The money you put into annual awards, advertising, boosting FB pages, etc., is all a necessary part of doing business. And, as a voice actor, you are a business.

Never be so shortsighted as to think of marketing expenses as a singular unsustainable expense. You will only find yourself feeling overwhelmed and intimidated.

Instead, think of marketing expenses as amortized over the entire year. At the Early Bird rate of $175 per entry in the Voice Arts™ Awards, for example, that’s a marketing cost of 48 cents per day. You can spend five times that much for a daily coffee?

It’s easy to talk yourself out of spending $175 but not as easy to talk dismiss the value you can get from 48 cents per day. Amortization changes everything.  


Include your collaborators (director, clients, agents, etc.) by crediting their roles as part of your entry. This is not only a thoughtful gesture as a member of a team, but it’s a savvy step toward building stronger relationships with your clients.

Not only will they appreciate you including them, they’ll appreciate having a conversation that didn’t include a hint about hiring you for work.  


There is no better endorsement than that of a third-party entity that has no vested interest in your success, telling others that you have something special to offer.

This is what an award does for you. It speaks volumes where your own voice would be met with skepticism. Third-party acknowledgement is the basic definition of public relations (PR). Good PR is the foundation upon which the best advertising stands.  


Entering an award immediately gives you marketing options:
  • Even before you enter an award, it’s possible to create buzz. One company I know of started a Facebook campaign asking their fans to choose which commercial the company would enter into an awards contest. That was particularly smart, as they were gaining traction and notoriety for having award-worthy material before they even entered!
  • By including the credits of the people with whom you worked on the project, you now have a positive, upbeat reason to give them a call.
  • Your client will be pleased that you thought so highly of the work and excited by the prospect of winning.
  • You are now top of mind with your client, without having bugged him or her for the next job opportunity.
  • The client will be looking to hear from you about nominations.
  • Nominations give you a whole new marketing story to tell and another opportunity to share news with the client.
  • Attending the gala (nominee or not) puts you on the playing field where you can either accept an award or be among the first to congratulate others. 
  • Winning makes new connections possible.  

Obviously, winning breeds confidence. But confidence begins with faith, self-determination and dedication to success.

The minute you put yourself into the race you elevate your state of mind. It's an opportunity to face your personal doubt about how you stack up among your peers. Through the act of entering, you send a powerful message to your inner self about who you are and who you believe you can be.

An old proverb says it best, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” 


Winning is an amazing feeling that will have you walking on air. And you’ll feel great about acknowledging those who worked with you. A nomination feels great too! And either one tells your clients friends, family and potential clients that you’re capable of bringing something "special” to the table.  


When you enter an award, you are saying to yourself and your constituents that you believe in what you do. Get on the playing field and let the chips fall where they may. People respect those who stand up to be counted.

The other choice is to go unnoticed.

Winning is fantastic, but entering, whether you become a nominee or not, is what tells the story of how you feel about yourself and your work. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should the client?  


Awards generate buzz. Press releases, media coverage, internet buzz, blog mentions, social networking comments and more. The recognition carries far and can put winners instantly in the spotlight.

The buzz is a big plus, not just for the finalists and winners, but also for the clients, agencies, companies, studios and organizations, sponsors and partners.  


Awards on the shelves, certificates on the walls, media and industry recognition. The endless buzz and conversation doesn’t stop so soon after you win an award. It continues to build and becomes a part of your identity.

You are an award winner and will most likely continue to be an award winner. You will continue to grow and to make your mark, always striving to meet new standards of excellence.  


Awards are a meeting place. They’re a focal point that draws the attention of those most interested and involved in your industry or profession. They’re an opportunity to engage your professional community in discussions of topics and controversies, in reviewing standards or discovering trends.

Awards tend to involve the leaders and experts. Awards are a place to learn, to network and to enhance professionalism.
Rudy Gaskins is a producer and voice over coach, especially known for producing the That's Voiceover events with wife Joan Baker. He is CEO and Creative Director of Push Creative, and President and CEO of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS) - a non-profit organization that sponsors the Voice Arts Awards and other programs.

Voice Arts Awards:

Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
Tell Us What YOU Think!
Please Note: Since we check for spam, there will be a slight delay in the actual posting of your comment.
Your Name:
Your Email Address (will not be published):
Your Comment:
Your Comment:
Security code:     
Comments (2)
8/23/2014 at 6:00 PM
Hello to all:

I can't say enough about how grateful we are that James Earl Jones endorses the Voice Arts™ Awards as one that he "would be honored to receive." And so he will on November 9th with all the others who have already submitted entries. Bravo to all of them. Add to that, the incredible caliber of the voice submission to date, and one quickly realizes that there's now something new and special and rewarding for the invaluable work to which voice actors and other professionals devote their lives.

For those who may be unclear about award show fees in general, please have a look at the following list of award competitions. Each one requires either paid membership or an entry fee. Some require both. Why? Award competitions are businesses that require many people of varied expertise to build and operate from conception to legal reviews, to incorporation, investment capital, sweat equity, office rental, manufacturing, online platforms, judging processes, sponsor solicitation, event planning, tickets, advertising and fulfillment. Suffice it to say, it is no small task and certainly not for the faint of heart. I'm afraid it's not as simple as handing out a certificate for employee of the month.

Regarding the cost of submission, awards shows base this on the specific nature of the business model employed to make the venture profitable.

Ample information about awards shows is readily available and I encourage all to look it up for yourselves so that you're not bamboozled by a resigned minority who wish to tear down any good idea simply because it isn't their idea.

To help you examine a small part of the puzzle (pricing)I have taken the time to provide a few links for some of the more well-known industry awards so that you can bypass the self-appointed pundits make an intelligent choice about what may work for you personally.

PROMAX/BDA ($225 TO $275 per entry)

CLIO AWARDS ($325 TO $1000 per entry)

TELLY AWARDS ($95 TO $280 per entry)

EMMYS ($185 membership fee entitles you to one entry and then its $200 to $800 per entry)

OSCARS (Minimum of $200,000)

AUDIES (Depending on membership - $100 TO $175 subject to $50 late fee)

VOICE ARTS ($90 TO $310 per entry)

Many who work in the voiceover business are new to the concept of having a general awards competition that celebrates all categories of what we do, including the producers, writers, casting directors, etc. From personal anxiety and fear of competition to a lack of funds and philosophical differences, people will always have their pros and cons.

I say believe in yourself, test your limits, put yourself on the playing field and above all, have a great time enjoying and celebrating the fruits of your labor with your community of peers, friends and family.

And recognize this: Entering an awards competition is not about being better than someone else. It's about being YOUR best. Put your best work forward and let your voice shine.

Good luck and best wishes to all who enter and to all who come to celebrate and network. I hope to meet you personally on November 9th at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

Honest Rob
8/14/2014 at 4:26 PM
Every one of these reasons shouts "THIS IS NOT A REAL AWARDS SHOW".

A REAL awards show would NOT charge for entry NOR for Nominating someone else. A REAL awards show wouldn't try to explain away the exorbitant entry fee (not to mention crazy per seat ticket to the show) a a "marketing expense'.

this is a joke and hopefully no VO artists will be fooled into spending their money on an "award" that is as phony as the reasons behind charging so much to even be considered.

It's not about merit - it's about your WALLET. Pay to play much?
Back to Articles
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!
Email alerts to new VoiceOverXtra articles
Inspiring interviews help your VO career
On Michael Langsner's Voice-Over Roadmap Podcast