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The Look Of A Voice-Over Artist
- Is Your Marketing Image Weird?
 
By David Goldberg
Producer / Coach
 
Actors know that the camera adds 10 pounds. Poor souls.
 
In voice-over, fortunately, we need not worry about our weight. The expression, "You have a face for radio" comes to mind.
 
But we still have an image - a marketing image. And your CD demos, business cards, web site, postcards, flyers, invoices, give-away-mouse-pads ... must look professional because THEY REPRESENT YOU.
 
Face it: wrong or right: how you "sound" is often assumed by how you "look."
 
So while actors need to avoid burgers, it's time for voice-over artists to beef up our image.
 
WHO ARE YOU?
 
How weird is this: A voice talent emails her demo to me. She signs her name:
Ann "Joanne" Barone
So what should I call her? If I save her demo under "Ann" in my files, she'd better hope I don't look under "Joanne" when I need to hire her.
 
Why make me remember two names when one is hard enough????
 
Businesses use one name. You ARE a business. We suggest using one name.
 
HOW TO CONTACT YOU
 
How weird is this: A voice talent emails a demo to me. It includes two phone numbers:
422-045-3932
422-589-3856
So which one should I dial? About a third of demos show up with multiple numbers! This is confusing.
 
Businesses use one number. You ARE a busines. We suggest using one number.
 
Now, some folks provide multiple numbers with a description:
cell 422-045-3932
office 422-589-3856
Actually, I still don't know which one to dial.
 
MULTI-NUMBER ADVICE
 
If you must have multiple numbers, please clarify (and make it look professional). For example:
daytime studio: 422-045-3932
evening/weekend/rush jobs: 422-589-3856
I'm reminded of a voice-over artist who paid me to evaluate his demo. "I get no work from mailing out my CD!" he said.
 
Before listening to it, I told him why: there was no contact information on it. He blamed his designer. I blamed him.
 
We've seen this quite a few times.
 
WHAT YOU PROVIDE
 
Play devil's advocate: You know what "voice-over" is. But do your potential customers?
 
If you're marketing to producers, talent agents, and so on, then yes, they know. In this case, be SURE that every piece of branding says "Voice-Over Artist" or "Voice Actor" or "Voice Talent" or so on.
 
But if your potential customers do NOT know what "voice-over" is, then they'll toss your marketing material because they assume they have no use for you! (Would you hold onto the business card of a Ranger Expert?)
 
In this case, define what you do. For example, write:
I provide Spoken Word Narrations for Corporate Training Videos, Telephone Recordings, Tradeshow Exhibits, and Commercials.
FAMILIAR TERMS 
 
While we're at it, let me expand upon the above: Use words that your potential customers will understand.
 
For example, when marketing to a corporation that hires voice-over artists to narrate telephony scripts, don't call it "telephony" because they don't know that word.
 
Call it what they call it. Say,
I provide Narration for Telephone Recordings, such as Message-On-Hold, Voice Mail Systems, Voice Recognition Systems, and other Telephone systems.
NAME YOUR DEMO
 
Once again, a sore topic comes up: naming mp3 demos.
 
The vast majority of demos we receive are named in such a way that YOU LOSE WORK, and make it more difficult for us casting professionals! Grrrrr ...
 
Someone emailed me two demos like this:
demo A
demo B
Someone else sent:
01 commercial final
01 commercial revised
Someone else sent:
comp B.Johnson
And someone else sent:
D.G.Harding promo
Harding audio
DGHarding audiobook mp3.mp3
Oy! Downloading demos into our files is meaningless if demos are not labelled clearly - something like this:
Barry Johnson commercial voice-over demo
Barry Johnson promo voiceover demo
HOW THEY SEARCH
 
Consider how casting professionals will search through their files for your demo.
 
They will probably look under your first name, so let your file name begin with "Joe Shmoe."
  • They will NOT understand abbreviations such as "adbk" for "audiobook."
  • They will NOT know the difference between "commercial radio" and "commercials."
  • There is usually NO reason to include word like "revised" or "version 2" in your file name.
BE CONSISTENT 
 
All too often, a voice talent's marketing materials provide contradictory information. For example,
  • The business card lists a different email address than the CD demo.
  • The CD says "voice-over talent" while the resume says "Voice Actor."
  • Give-away-pencils say "radio commercials" while the letterhead says "commercials."
Inconsistent messages confuse your potential customers, and that means they're less likely to hire you.
 
WORK THROUGH AGENT? 
 
Can you only be hired by your agent? Then only put your agent's contact information on your marketing materials!!!!
 
Why? Because putting your own information as well:
  • makes you look like you're willing to work behind your agent's back, and
  • can tempt casting professionals to call you so that they avoid your agent's "middle man" charge (which, by the way, is justified).
TELL UNION STATUS
 
Why do SO many voice talent waste my time? I cannot predict if you're union or not.
 
Please, tell me, so if I'm hiring union talent, I know who to call and when I'm not, I know who to call.
 
WHERE ARE YOU? 
 
And please tell me where you reside! 
 
Ninety-nine percent of folks who market their demos do not say this. So every time one of our clients wants to record at our location, we need to call the talent and ask. This is time-consuming.
 
INADEQUATE INVOICE
 
Some folks send us invoices like this:
Amount due: $350
Joe Shmoe
Not very helpful. In fact, this sort of email causes extra work on our end, and makes us less likely to hire you again.
 
Consider being professional and send this:
INVOICE for Voice-Over work
JOB: voice-over for Acme Training Video
JOB DATE: June 24, 2009
AMOUNT DUE: $350
Please make check payable to: Joe Shmoe
Please mail check to:
Joe Shmoe
Street Address
City, State, Zip
Question? Just ask.
Need revisions? I offer special low rates.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY ...
 
For goodness sake, please PLEASE, P-L-E-A-S-E include your contact information AND the original email in email responses.
 
Here's why: We send out SO many emails each day for production jobs, casting calls, and auditions, that when a reply comes in and just says, "Yep, I'll be there," we don't know WHO it is or WHAT they are agreeing to.
 
Your job is to make life EASY for the person who can hire you. So if we send you a casting call, please respond,
Hi and thanks for considering me for the Apple Sunshine Juice audition. Yes, I'll be at your New York Studio this Tuesday at 3:30pm. Also, thanks for sending the script I'll prepare. Joe Shmoe (contact information).
Then please include our original email (sent to you) at the bottom of your reply.
 
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 teleclass workshops and seminars for voice actors, and also produces audio for major clients including Disney, VW, Microsoft, National Geographic. The studio frequently casts voice talent who have trained and produced demos there.
 
Upcoming Workshops & Seminars: www.edgestudio.com/schedule.htm
 
 
 
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Comments (3)
Pablo Plumey
7/20/2015 at 12:50 AM
Certainly is possible to learn something new every day. Very helpful. Thanks for this contribution.
Charles McInnis
7/14/2012 at 11:08 AM
So Helpful!! Thank you so much for adding the invoice portion of this article...exactly what I was looking for!
Amy Snively
7/7/2010 at 10:45 PM
Great stuff, David!
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