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When Counting Voice-Over Agents,
Count Satisfied Clients - And Yourself!
By Rowell Gormon
Voice Actor
I have a few official agents - professionals who put my name forward for work, or who let me know about work I might audition for, in exchange for a percentage of what I book through their efforts.
And I’m very grateful to have their attention and assistance. Lately, I’ve worked to better present myself as someone who could make money for those representing me.
But in all the focus on getting these worthy representatives, I was reminded afresh this week that I already have other agents out there working for me … and without a commission!
Phone rings. It’s a client (and friend) named Jean Paul.
I’ve done many projects with him, and I doubt if either of us can remember the year of the first one.
“You’re gonna get a call from (insert name here). I’m editing some video for him and he said he needs some voice-over work and audio production for a corporate show. I told him he needed to talk to you.“
Several hours later, the call comes in. I’m evidently pre-sold.
Earlier in the week. Email arrives.
“We are casting for a quick voice-over project, and one of our producers, Chadd Pierce, turned me onto your voice and thought you’d be a good match. Would you mind cutting us a sample that we can review with the client?”
A quick mp3 is cut and returned.
Next day, new email: “Got the okay from the client. Send just like you did before, with a few variations and that should be perfect. You nailed it last time.”
The point? I had both these jobs, either 99% or in total, before I even knew about them.
Both were jobs I wouldn’t have even known to seek out. And this is by no means the first time this sort of thing has happened.
It’s the whole ”agent” angle I hadn’t really thought of till now.
How many “agents” do you really have working for you? More than you realize, I’ll bet.
And it probably isn’t because of any well thought-out campaign you’ve waged. More likely, you or your work or your reputation, were enough to get the ball rolling.
So I guess that makes YOU your own agent as well - even when you don’t know how widely you’re “representing” yourself.
And when I offer to slice off a percentage to my surprise benefactor, I usually get a reply like this one from Chadd:
“…my pleasure to recommend someone as kind and talented as you (I knew you’d knock ‘em dead)! No favor to return – honestly, it makes ME look good for turning Kelley onto your quality work “
Dang. Now that makes me wanna be HIS agent when the time comes! More work for me.
Oh …wait a minute …yeah …more work for me! That was the whole point of this, wasn’t it!
Rowell Gormon is the "non-Announcerish Announcer" and "the Man of 999-1/2 voices" - at home with many voice-over genres and able to conjure up a multitude of believable characters - not just funny voices. He's been a no-nonsense narrator for clients like GlaxoSmithKline and Citigroup, a "down home" type narrator for Farm Bureau and Pfizer, a "voice of doom" newsreal announcer for Sealy, a "Don Pardo" type for Burger King, French-accented islander for Disney Cruise Lines, and many more. With a home studio that is a museum of radio, TV, animation and film history, Rowell adds that he is "well into his fifth childhood." He also writes the amusing Rowell Gormon's Clogged Blog.
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Comments (2)
Mike Harrison
4/23/2010 at 10:57 AM
Rowell, your article stands as a reminder to everyone that it's not only "who you know," but how responsive we are to their needs.

Recently, a client (who happened to find me on their own last year) happily applauded the voice I created for an animated character, and the subsequent fast turnaround of the work. He followed up his appreciation by giving my name to another producer who just called with two narration projects.

Caring for your clients is the best - and easiest - way to 'pay-to-play.'
4/22/2010 at 5:46 PM
Thanks for this Rowell, you are SO right! Really, every client has the opportunity of being an agent ... but the beauty is (as you mention above), they usually don't want the "commission" that an official agent would normally get. It's why you over-deliver for EVERY job.

I've gotten large jobs from referrals sent from small-job clients. A simple voicemail message for a small business tuned into a regional commercial series with one mention from one contact to another. I never THOUGHT of that person as my "agent" per se, but you hit the nail on the head! Great article.
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