How To Get The Attention
Of A Voice Over Agent
December 4, 2014
By Rachel Fulginiti
Welcome to Part 2 of my series on Agents for Voice Over: How to Get One. If you missed the discussion of what agents do for you, and what they seek in a voice talent, please click here for Part 1.
Once you've determined that you're ready to look for a voice over agent, the obvious question becomes, how do I do that?
There are many different ways and they all require acumen on your part, as well as good luck and good timing.
The important thing to remember is that it is a process. Try to make peace with and enjoy the process, rather than despairing or despising it!
Believe in yourself and stick to it; graceful persistence is key. Know that it will happen eventually.
GET A REFERRAL
Like anything else in life, having a personal contact refer you is usually the most effective way to get someone's attention.
The very best way to get an agent is through a referral. And a referral from a well-respected casting director, director or producer - rather than from another actor - is especially effective because it carries a lot of weight.
Having someone offer to refer you, rather than asking for a referral, would be best, of course, but that rarely happens. Sometimes you have ask for what you want.
Yet make sure you approach the topic with sensitivity and class.
HOW TO ASK ...
For instance, let's say you have a great relationship with someone in the business; you've worked with them - or have been studying with them - consistently and they respect your work.
You might consider letting them know you're looking for an agent. Ask in a professional, no pressure way, if there is anyone they think might be a good fit.
If they take the initiative and offer to contact the agent on your behalf, you've struck gold. However if they don't offer, or if they don't feel comfortable doing that, perhaps they would be willing to allow you to use their name when contacting the agent yourself. "So and so recommended I contact you..."
If they say yes to this, be sure to put the referral's name in the subject line of the email to grab the recipient's attention!
AN UNPROFESSIONAL NO-NO ...
DO NOT USE SOMEONE'S NAME IF THEY DID NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO DO SO. That would be the height of bad form and totally uncool.
Likewise, please be prudent with whom you ask and how you ask. Be sure the person is very familiar with and likes your work. Be polite and sympathetic to the fact that they might be asked to do this ALL THE TIME.
Some folks have a policy of "absolutely no referrals, no matter what" because if they were to refer everyone who asks, they'd be doing it every day and exhaust their contacts. And by all means, if you ask and they decline, please don't make it personal.
You have a right to ask and they have a right to refuse. If they say no, it doesn't mean they don't like you or believe in you. Don't hold it against them. Be graceful and move on.
TAKE A WORKSHOP
In Los Angeles, New York and possibly additional cities, there are opportunities to attend workshops and seminars where you meet directly with agents or agent assistants.
This is an excellent way to get in front of someone you normally wouldn't have access to, and to show them what you can do. Be ready, and definitely bring your A game.
It takes a lot to truly blow an agent away, but it does happen; I got my first big agent this way!
Even if you don't get signed at one of these events, it's a wonderful chance to get feedback from these professionals and to begin an on-going relationship. Keep in touch and let them in on the progression of your career.
Remember, "no" rarely means "never" - it means "not right now."
THE 'COLD SUBMISSION'
Ahhh, the cold submission: not the optimal choice, but probably the most common.
Although the scales are tipped in favor of luck and timing with this approach, it can work, and there are ways to make it more effective.
First, compile a list of who to submit to. Do your research and be careful to follow submission guidelines - otherwise you will be spinning your wheels and wasting time and energy.
And where to find agents?
When reaching out, KEEP it BRIEF, professional and courteous; don't tell them your life story. Agents are busy people and anything too long will almost certainly be disregarded.
Be sure to send a link to your website (directly to the demo page - don't make them click around!) and let them know you have a home studio (you do have a home studio, right??).
Also be sure to mention what work you have booked - the best (and arguably the only!) way to get an agent's attention.
TRACK AND FOLLOW UP
Keep a spreadsheet or some kind of record of who you submitted to and when. This will be crucial when following up.
About following up: give them at least a week, probably two weeks before following up.
Keep it light and polite, and try to add something new - "Since writing to you I've booked X".
It's been my experience that if an agent is interested, they will contact you right away. If you don't hear back from them initially, give it the two weeks, then follow up. If you still don't hear, wait another few months and again, add in what you've been doing since the last time you wrote.
Keep your contacts with agents friendly, personalized and positive! You might end up pursuing them for a while, so make sure your emails are ones you wouldn't mind receiving yourself.
It's OK to be persistent, but not needy, demanding or annoying.
SUBMIT TO ALL - OR JUST A FEW?
Many people wonder if they should submit to all agents at once, or if they should hold out for their top choice(s) first.
I say, go ahead and cover a lot of ground all at once. Why not? Whatís the worst that could happen: you have multiple offers? Thatís a good problem to have.
Getting an agent can be tricky; to me itís a waste of time to hold out for your number one pick. There are so many factors that go into whether or not someone wants to represent you. They might love your work but already have enough people in your category.
So, blanket submit and keep excellent records about who and when you sent out and what response you got, if any.
THEN WHEN THEY REPLY ...
If you're lucky enough to get an offer, even from someone you see as a "lower level" agent, consider going for it - after checking them out to be sure it's a reputable agency.
You can always "trade up" as you become more experienced and outgrow that agency. That's not mean, it's business. Folks rarely stay with their first agent.
See Part 3 - Start Agent Relationship Right
Rachel Fulginiti is a voice actor, audiobook narrator and blogger living in Los Angeles. Sheís represented by William Morris Endeavor and has voiced for hundreds of brands including McDonalds, Kia, Fox, Chrysler, Apple and Target.
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12/5/2014 at 4:15 PM
What a great "how-to" for anyone looking to find an agent. I think your tips are spot on, and will be interested to read what you share in Part 3.
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