Thinking of getting started in voice overs? Made your demo and ready to launch? No matter where you are in your career, the right talent agent can really give things a boost.
What a Talent Agent Can Do For You
Let’s review what a talent agent does. A talent agent’s job is to sift through all the “wanna-be’s,” classify the talent and then present qualified and appropriate talent to casting directors, producers, ad agencies and companies who are looking for actors (on and off camera) for their productions.
The Screening Process
A good talent agency will screen their talent. To be considered, you will have to send a professionally produced demo reel, a cover letter, and an acting resume. Most will not work with inexperienced newcomers, so you will have to show that you have had experience or at least good, solid training to prepare for auditions and studio work. If they like what they hear, they will call you in for an interview or agree to represent you if you live out of town. But even if they like you, there is no guarantee that they will get calls for your type and send you out.
The House Reel
If they agree to represent you they will generally put excerpts from your demo on a “house reel,” which these days is usually a CD containing the voices of all the talent they represent. They then market this CD to producers and others who might require voice talent. Even if you are not on the “house reel,” an agent may send you on auditions.
When a call for a particular voice over type comes in, they will either audition the talent they represent by having them read the client’s copy or submit talent demos (for voiceover) and head shots (for on camera work).
Should one of their talents book the job, the agent handles the details of the booking and negotiates the fee, makes sure you are paid in a timely manner and receives 10-15% of your talent fee for their efforts. Some agents, who are also managers, take a 20% commission. Generally the check comes to the agent who deposits it and pays you your percentage less their commission.
Be Wary of This
Never pay an agent in advance for agreeing to represent you. I believe it is unethical for an agent to produce your demo or ask you for money to help pay their marketing costs. There have been several scams of this nature. If someone purporting to be an agent asks you for money up front, run for the door and report them to the consumer affairs department at your state attorney general’s office.
How to Submit Your Demo
Submission instructions are usually found on the agency website. Your submission package should include your voiceover demo and a personal cover letter. Agents will tell you they would also like to see a head shot and an acting resume, but if you don’t have a head shot or an acting resume, just send your demo with a cover letter.
How to Follow Up
It can be frustrating to get an agent to listen to your demo or take your phone calls, but like anything else, persistence pays off. Follow up with weekly phone calls until you get feedback. If they like what they hear they will call you in for an interview.
What to say on a follow up call
Whatever you do, don’t ask them what they think of your demo. A professional never would. You are either right for their agency or you’re not. It’s best to just ask if they think there’s a fit.
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Questions? Contact us at email@example.com or 800-333-8108.
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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit www.greatvoice.com
Copyright 2013, The Great Voice Company. All Rights Reserved. Is A Voice Over Talent Agent Necessary For Your Career?