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CAREER
What's Your Problem With Being Nice?
It's The Best Approach To Keeping Clients
October 28, 2015

By Guy Harris
Voice Actor

Having been very lucky to have been a part of the voice over industry for 15 years now, I'd like to share a career tip with you: Be Nice!  

Our industry is getting more and more competitive every day. Thanks to the Internet, a wealth of knowledge is available at the click of a button. Everyone is a blogger.

And each day I see another article about how to be a better voice over, written by … a voice over.

So the industry has gone from one that had a certain amount of mystery about it, to one that is completely uncovered and open to anyone wishing to find out more and pursue it as a career.  

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when I started, there were a lot fewer people doing voice overs. It was certainly easier to get work back then. Now, producers have a huge choice of voices to choose from. It’s a tougher marketplace. Having a great voice isn’t enough if you want to make some serious money in it.

My advice for helping to meet today's challenges? Be nice!

Yup -  don’t be hard to work with.

A PAIN IN THE ARSE ...

I’ve heard stories over the years about voice actors who have frankly been a pain in the arse to deal with.
  • "Another take??”
  • "More demos??”
  • "I’m charging you again!!”
Now, while they did the job and got paid for it, how likely do you think it will be that the producer will call them back for the next job?

CONSIDER CLIENT RETENTION

It’s all about client retention.  

A producer will often get a script that will say FVO or MVO. Sometimes it will be specific with your name on it, but more often they will be left to choose the right person for the job.

Of course you want it to be YOU!

So please, for the sake of the industry and for the sake of your bank balance, be nice!  
  • "The client would like a custom demo?”… Great, just do it.
  • "Can we pay in 6 weeks instead of your 28 day terms?”… Of course.
  • "Apologies, the client missed a line in the script”... So what? Just record it and send it.
  • "Sorry, we sent you the wrong script”… no problem, just get on with the new one.
  • "Thanks for the 3 demos, they went with someone else”… It happens.
  • "The job you voiced won’t be going to air - can you not charge the usage?”… Yup, all good. 
Obviously, for some of these, you can check if your producer is charging their client again.  

SAY 'NO PROBLEM'

The examples above seem to me to be common sense, but I hear many stories from producers about such requests becoming a big deal, and the 'professional voice over' made a fuss about it.   

All of these will happen, and you just say 'no problem' and get on with the next job.

This is YOUR business, so run it like a proper business and not one where you believe that just because you have a nice voice, the world owes you a living. It doesn’t.  

This industry is evolving at a rapid pace and getting more and more competitive daily. You gotta keep up and adapt or fall behind.

You think Apple are where they are without great customer service? Yes, you have a great voice and yes, you can do characters. But you know what?... So do thousands of others, and most haven't realised you can earn £200+ an hour using it yet.

But more will, and very soon.  

ENJOY YOUR AMAZING CAREER

Voice over is the most amazing career and has been the best journey for me for the past 15 years. Every day I'm so thankful to still be in it.  

So, enjoy the world of voice over. Enjoy that national TV commercial campaign for as long as it lasts, but remember - and I don’t want to sound too harsh: we are all replaceable at a moment's notice.  

Go forward on this journey, and for the good of the industry and your bank balance, be nice.
-------------------
ABOUT GUY
UK-based voice actor Guy Harris is heard worldwide on TV, radio, web videos, apps and virals, and was the UK's 2014 VOX Awards winner for Best Male Voice Over Performance. He is also a finalist nominee in three categories for the 2015 Voice Arts Awards: Outstanding Radio Commercial - Best Voiceover; Outstanding Commercial Demo Reel - Best Voiceover; and Outstanding Animation Demo Reel - Best Voiceover. Booking and voicing up to 20+ jobs a day, his client base spans the globe - making client retention a key in his business model.


Email: guy@voiceoverguy.co.uk
Web: www.voiceoverguy.co.uk
 

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Comments (3)
Dave Clarke
10/30/2015 at 11:46 AM
Hi Guy!

Went to your website and watched the film of what you do. Found it really inspirational. I'm new to VO coming from a broadcast background. I'm very much like you, love this business!
Guy Harris
10/28/2015 at 7:30 PM
Thanks Howard.

Mine is based on my own personal experience and the years of running my own businesses.

It's easy to be taken advantage of, I agree. But there are plenty of free tools out there available to us all that helps you check the credibility of a company.

I run a check on most new enquiries before offering credit. Those that don't pass the test pay first.
Howard Ellison
10/28/2015 at 2:03 PM
That's totally right, Guy, though some will disagree with being so accommodating on payment in case they are taken advantage of. So far that hasn't happened to me, though I've been at the mic only half the time you have.

Few things give me a bigger buzz than getting a gig on the basis that A recommended me to B. That's so much more likely if A's experience was all positive.
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