Why Many Voice Talent Aren't Hired ...
Are You Making These Mistakes, Too?
By David Goldberg
Producer & Coach
I usually write in the positive. But because so many talent are so unprofessional, telling this story from our perspective - which is all too often negative - will help you become a better talent.
At Edge Studio, we have cast and hired, we estimate, just over 7,000 talent. Some we will NEVER hire back.
Why? Following are things that, unfortunately, we say aloud here every day ...
"John mailed us his demo CD, but that's weird - there's no contact information anywhere on it. We couldn't hire him even if we wanted to."
"Mary emailed her mp3 to us with the file name "commercial demo." (What's wrong there? Well, if our clients want to hear her demo later, we'll need to remember to look under "c" for "commercial demo.")
(An hour later) "Look - Marty emailed his mp3 to us with the file name "commercial demo," just like Mary did, but when I saved it, it over-wrote Mary's demo."
Note: Demos should be named like this:
Mary Smith - Commercial Voice Over Demo
Do not write simply "commercial demo" or "demo A" and "demo B" or "John demo" (well, this last one is okay if you are certain you are the only John in the voice-over industry).
"Oh, don't call Charles, he takes too long to get back to us about his availability."
"Hire Frank instead - he always gets back to us right away."
"Kim always needs to re-schedule - don't even bother calling her about this job."
"We called Jane to let her know we wanted to hire her for that job, but someone else answered her phone and said, 'Jane's not available - call back after 6.' So let's call the next talent on the list, since our office closes at 5 p.m. today."
"Lisa didn't send the audition when she said she would, and now WE look bad in front of OUR client. Let's not cast her anymore."
STUDIO ETIQUETTE MISTAKES
"James wore way too much cologne to his recording session today. Mark, the talent for the next session, is highly allergic and can't record now because of the residual scent in the booth. Let's not bring James in again."
"Jill showed up for a session without telling us about her nasty head cold that affected the sound of her voice. Now there's no time to replace her, and Jill can't produce the sound that got her cast in the first place. Grrrrr ."
"Ed committed the cardinal voice-over sin - he touched the mic and tried to adjust it himself! He could have avoided an engineer meltdown by just asking Sam to do it for him."
YAK, YAK ...
"Bob is a great talent, but he just wouldn't stop talking. The session ended up going way over and the client was concerned about paying for extra time."
"Why wouldn't Vicki stop mentioning her credits! The client doesn't want to hire her again."
"I know Larry had questions when reviewing the script, but he didn't ask them. Then, in the midst of the recording, he had to stop abruptly because he didn't know how to pronounce a word. I wish he'd just ask up front like the pros do."
"But worse, Lauren asked how to pronounce some words, and then she didn't write them out phonetically in her script. So when she got to the word, she mispronounced it anyway."
IT GETS WORSE
"We gave a tough script to a voice talent the other day and asked him to prepare for it, since there was difficult jargon. But he was totally unprepared. I don't think we'll be hiring any of these guys again."
"Bruce walked in late for a session today with his Starbucks coffee in one hand and Blackberry in the other. The client commented that clearly Bruce's coffee break was more important than being on time for this job."
"Natalie forgot to put on headphones, didn't stand on axis, didn't know how to turn pages ... and now the client thinks that we hire non-professional talent. Plus, we won't hire her ever again."
BLUNDERING ON ...
"When Billy made a mistake, he spent the next two minutes of recording time apologizing profusely and looking frustrated. Worse, he didn't know what it meant when the engineer asked him to do a pick-up."
"Dan really had it in his head that the copy should be narrated his way. He didn't seem to care to realize that it should be read the way the client wants it. Now the client doesn't want us to hire him again!"
"Alison asked the client, 'Who wrote this copy anyway? There are a ton of mistakes.' Then she had the humbling experience of having the client reply, 'I did.' Now the client doesn't want us to hire her again!"
"Amy did a fantastic job in her last session, but never invoiced us! When Morgan finally did get the invoice, all sorts of information was missing. Morgan spent a good part of her day exchanging emails with Amy until we finally had the necessary information to pay her for the work she did! Maybe we'll hire Lanette next time."
"During discussions about an upcoming job, Laura never asked what the job was about. She just agreed to do it. After the recording, when the casting agent said, 'Send us a bill for the $175," she was upset and said that she needed more money. WELL SHE SHOULD HAVE ASKED UP FRONT WHAT THE RATE WAS, LIKE PROS DO! Let's not bring her back in again."
YOU'RE IN CHARGE
In summary: You Are The Only One Who Represents Your Business.
Think about it. You go to a restaurant with poor service, and you don't go back.
It's the same with voice-overs: You're hired. You give poor service. You don't get hired again.
David Goldberg is a voice-over producer, coach, and the owner of Edge Studio, a major voice-over recording studio and voice-over education company based in New York City, with additional studios in Fairfield, CT and Bethesda, MD. Edge Studio offers a large variety of in-person and telecourse workshops - including a workshop called Industry Know-How 101: Look More Professional and Get Hired More Often. Edge Studio also produces audio for major clients including Disney, VW, Microsoft, National Geographic, and frequently casts voice talent who have trained and produced demos there.
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