In this video, voiceover artist Andrew Carlton looks at your potential employers in voiceovers and how to turn people who don’t even know you yet into clients and ultimately “income generating machines”. He starts by showing how in the acting world versus the voiceover world, there are very specific procedures in how an actor comes to audition for a role and without an agent it is tough to get access to this game. But, with voiceovers, things are a little different.
OK so let’s start with Suspects and begin the journey towards turning those people who don’t know you, into income generating machines. But let’s start by looking at the primary and orthodox process by which someone gets booked for a voiceover and the importance of agents in that process as well as how to manage the process without an agent. Well traditionally in acting there is a standard procedure to which an actor is booked for a role. If you’re a star, the process is different but for the rest of us it looks something like this in a nutshell.
Generally, the casting process starts with the producer who, if they’re not the same person, takes on the services of the director. In the case of an on-camera commercial or TVC (in Australia), the producer generally comes in the form of the ad agency and the director will be sourced directly or through an out-sourced production house. When it’s time for casting, generally the director will start to make creative decisions around cast. The production will then take on the services of a casting director. Often the casting director is the director’s choice because they have a relationship with them and they know which casting director really gets them.
The casting director’s role is to source the appropriate talent from their network and present a list of choices for each role for the director to make their final choice on cast. A very small piece of the casting director’s network will be personal relationships or long term professional relationships. So the vast majority of artists in the network are coming via relationships that the casting directors will have with their agents and managers. Now the agents and managers submit the appropriate people in their stable for specific roles and if they are lucky those will get a chance to audition for the role.
Phew! OK so what does all this mean? Well it basically means that, based on this model, if you don’t have an agent then you’re really not in the game. You are on the outskirts of a multi-ringed circle just begging for scraps or any tiny opportunity to break through the barriers to this inner circle. And in fact, even having representation means very little if your agent/manager doesn’t have those strong relationships with the casting directors.
So basically there is a firewall between you and the potential work that you’re seeking. Now it’s not absolutely impenetrable but it’s incredibly tough to get around. It feels a little daunting and it makes you feel like there’s not a lot of control on your part to further your career.
Now with the advent of technology there are cracks starting to form in this wall and artists are starting to find ways in. But essentially this structure is what actors are faced with on a daily basis. And in their world, if you’re not on the list… you’re not getting in.
OK so let’s take a look at the voiceover model because voiceovers are a little different.