VOICE OVER AGENTS - PART 2
How To Vet A Voice Over Agent.
(And Don't Be Afraid To Walk Away)
By Tom DheereVoice Actor / Coach
There are many fabulous voice over agents and managers out there who will nurture your career and truly advocate for both the voice actors on their roster and the voice over industry in general.
They demand industry rates and fair terms and fight tooth and nail to get them.
However, lately I've seen quite a few posts on social media about the pickle that a lot of voice actors are in. They get casting notices from their agents in which the terms are terrible.
I'm talking about low paying gigs with in-perpetuity usage, unlimited cut-downs, and crippling exclusivity.
Yes, there are voice actors willing to accept these shabby rates and terms (which is a big problem), but why are some agents agreeing to these terms in the first place?
Is it a form of market correction? Are commercials just not worth as much as they used to be?
A NUMBERS GAME FOR THEM
I think a contributing factor is some of the "Voicebank/Voice Casting Hub" generation of agents.
They don't truly represent you or nurture your career. All they do is flip as many auditions as they can by sending them out to as many voice actors as possible and hope one of them books it.
It's a numbers game for them and usage be damned.
WHAT KIND REPRESENTS YOU?
Ask yourself: What kind of agent represents you?
Here are some questions you should ask when you vet an agent:
1. Are they franchised? FYI: The term "franchised agent" means a talent agent that is licensed by the state in which they operate and has been officially approved by SAG-AFTRA.
2. How many voice talents do they have on their roster? Too many may mean too little or no personal attention.
3. Which markets do they cover? NY, LA, etc.
4. Do you have to sign with them? Some require it, some don't.
5. Do you have to be exclusive with them? Some require it, some don't.
6. Where do they get their auditions from? If they get them from certain P2P sites, that may be an ethical issue.
7. Are the auditions union, non-union, or both?
8. Are the auditions online, in-person, or both?
9. Do they require a commission from just the gigs they book you, or for all of the gigs you book everywhere? Some do, some don't. Unless they are truly managing your career and you're booking gobs of great gigs with them, I wouldn't do it.
10. Do they require you take classes with certain coaches before they will represent you? RED FLAG!
11. Do you have to pay any "listing fees" to be represented? YELLOW FLAG. Remember, you don't work for your agents. You work with your agents. It's an equal B2B relationship, and it's both your and your agent's responsibility to ensure that both of you are well-represented.
Always be prepared to walk away from both the gig and the agent if they don't align with your values and the values necessary to uphold the integrity of the voice over industry.
We are all responsible for the integrity of the voice over industry. Do your part!
Tom Dheere is the VO Strategist, a voice over business and marketing coach and demo producer since 2011. He is also a voice actor with over 20 years of experience who has narrated just about every type of voice over you can think of. When not voicing or talking about voicing, he produces the sci-fi comic book Agent 1.22.
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