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VOICE-OVER AGENTS - PART 1
Are You Truly Ready For A Voice-Over
Agent? This Checklist Helps You Decide ...
September 4, 2018

By Tom Dheere
Voice Actor and Coach
 
Recently a voice talent asked me for advice about landing an agent. This is what I told him  
  • There are many, many factors to consider before submitting to agents.
  • Agents do not make voice talents successful, they only make them more successful in certain genres.
  • If you think you need an agent to be successful, you aren't ready for one.
  • Are you willing to audition and record online or in person?
  • Can you audition and record broadcast quality audio files from home?
  • How far are you willing to travel?
  • Are you union or non-union?
Once you answer those questions and determine that pursuing an agent at this point in your career is worth it, order the latest issue of The Call Sheet. It lists all of the agents and their submission criteria.  

'LANDING AN AGENT' CHECKLIST

Now let's take my above advice and turn it into a "landing an agent" checklist:

1. Do you need an agent at this point in your career?
Most aspiring voice talents think they need one immediately, and that is never the case. You need an agent once you achieve a certain level of success and want to be considered for projects you can't get on your own.

2.  If you determine you need an agent, what exactly do you need them for?
If you want to be more successful in a certain genre (most often commercials, but also animation and a few others) you need representation that will submit you for the projects you want to get cast.

3. For which part of the country/world do you need an agent?
Usually you're only allowed to have one agent in a 50-mile radius. Make sure that geography lines up with your genre needs. For example, if you want high-end animation work, landing an agent in the Los Angeles area is a good idea.

4. Are you willing to sign with an agent?
If you do, most of the time you're not allowed to be submitted for projects by other agents. Read the exclusivity clause VERY CAREFULLY.

5. Are you willing to travel for auditions and recording sessions?
There are agents and studios in pretty much every metropolitan area. If you can't or won't commute for auditions and recording sessions, that will have a big effect on your choice of agent.

6. FYI: there are many reputable agents out there who submit talent online.

7. Are you union or non-union?
Many agents represent union talent, non-union talent, or both. Don't waste your time (and the time of the agent) submitting if they won't cast union/non-union projects.

8. Did you follow ALL of the submission criteria in The Call Sheet ?
The best way to never be considered by agent is to ignore the submission criteria. That will prove to them immediately that you can't take direction and therefore are useless to them.

9. Are you willing to take "no" for an answer?
This is not the part when I say "don't give up" or "don't take no for an answer" cliche crap. I have submitted to agents who loved me and my demos, but had too many people on their roster who sound like me. That is not a bad thing! It just means there isn't room for you on their roster right now. Be sure to stay in touch and follow-up in six months or so.

Pinning your hopes on one particular agent is, in my opinion, starving-artist-like and unrealistic. There are many small agencies out there who can get you good work and ensure you are paid well. 

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ABOUT TOM
Over two decades, Tom Dheere has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 60 audiobooks. He is also a voice-over business consultant known as the VO Strategist, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is writer/producer of the sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.


Email: tom@tomdheere.com
Web: www.vostrategist.com
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Comments (1)
Joe Loesch
9/4/2018 at 9:37 PM
This is an excellent article Tom. I tell my students the same thing, but I really like your technique to handling this topic with a couple of additional truths. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on this topic.
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