The internet is a treacherous playground, but it’s also fantastic and an absolute necessity for any business in general. And not only that, Voice Over work is more plentiful than ever because of ads, interactive games, industrials, web series, and so much more being broadcast online. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of pursuing VO work. You’ll most definitely need to make friends, build relationships and research, research, as well as research some more. By that I mean finding ways to connect with people if they don’t want to connect online (there are quite a few), so you’ll have to explore other ways to approach them without making them feel uneasy.
Now please understand that I make no guarantees whatsoever at having expertise in social media. I’m still learning the best ways to try and build connections. This means whatever worked for me may not work for you. So again, research, research and research some more. By the way, having an open mind wouldn’t hurt because EVERYONE has opinions and while you may not share them, it’s best not to antagonize others. It can backfire severely and never be forgotten. In the end, you’ll have to be the judge of what feels right for you.
Do you have profiles on Twitter? Facebook? Linkedin? Do you have a personal website? If yes, great. I’ll share some tips below on how to use them to your advantage. If not, I strongly advise that you create profiles for all the above. Social media is exhausting to keep up with and sometimes it REALLY sucks. But this is the age we live in. If you’re not keeping up with the times, you won’t get far.
So for this week’s post let’s start with Linkedin:
This is one of my favorites because I make it all about business. I strongly advise that you do the same. Warning: there’s a TON of research involved. Don’t use it as you would Facebook. I’m also picky with who can see my connections, because there are people out there who will use you for your contacts. And before you join any groups or connect with industry specialists, make sure your profile is as super-professional as possible. I recommend a good headshot for your profile pic and not something silly or the photo of a celebrity who isn’t you. My page isn’t perfect, but I have an honest picture of myself, some referrals, endorsements, links to other social media sites, and of course a website with links to my demos.
When your page looks good, find groups that interest you and try joining them. If you want to be in music join music-related groups and try connecting with musicians, composers, audio engineers, jingle producers, lyricists, etc. If you want to be in film then join film-and acting-related groups and then try connecting with producers, casting directors, production crew, screenwriters, etc. If you want to work in video games then find video game groups that focus on your area of interest (audio, programming, development, design, artwork, etc.), then try connecting with coders, designers, producers, creative directors, HR recruitment staff, and more. Now in voice over you have a plethora of choices when it comes to groups and even more choices with whom to try and connect with: audiobook companies/producers, animation companies/directors/producers, video game companies/directors/audio designers/sound designers/audio engineers, advertising agencies/creative directors, and yes there’s still more. Also, don’t limit yourself to one city, state, country or continent.
Voice Over is universal, so take advantage of opportunities to search for all the above at locations across the globe. Start with big cities. If you’re in Texas the cities would be Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso. If you’re in Louisiana then search New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge. If you’re in California (Lucky you!) then search the mother of all cities for entertainment: Los Angeles. Then search San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego.
Or if you’re wanting to focus on certain markets then you must research where the jobs are plentiful. For instance you’re based in the USA and want to focus on commercials, fortunately they’re everywhere, but think of places like New York City, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Portland, Atlanta and so on. For audio books, the Audio Publishers Association is in New York, but audio book publishers are located on the East and West coasts. For narrations, primarily the East coast. For video games, the major cities would be Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, New York City and in Canada (Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto.) For animation, it’s most definitely Los Angeles, but also look in Atlanta, New York City, Austin and elsewhere. Thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more networks on the way, original animated series and animated movies will be on the rise.
But don’t forget to search other countries. I’ve worked with clients in Slovenia, Russia, and other locations. I have friends who have worked with clients in India, Ireland, South Africa, Dubai and beyond. Important note: dollar values will be different everywhere. Be prepared to negotiate.
After you’ve connected with someone, send a brief message saying “Thank You”, but personalize it so that you don’t end up looking like someone sending the same note to everybody. By personalizing, look at the person’s page, who they’ve worked with, their experience and then compliment them on their skills. Then end by saying something like, “Please keep in touch”, your name and a link to your website. DO NOT ask for a job. The goal is to connect and build relationships, not to beg. These are human beings with emotions like everyone else in the world, please be respectful of them.
On the subject of groups, you have more than a plethora of choices. Some will accept you, and some may not. As always, try not to take it as an insult. Give it time for people to get to know you on social media or in person at a workshop or convention.
Here are some general VO groups to join:
Voice Over Professionals
Global Online Voice-Over / Dubbing Artistes, Studios, Agencies
Voiceover Casting Directors and Agents
All Star Voices
International Voiceover Bank
Radio, Television Broadcast and Voice-over Professionals
Voice Over Talent Needed: VoiceoverTV.net
Social Media for Voice Actors
Voiceover Marketing Strategists
eLearning Voice Over Group
Animation, Media and Entertainment
Character Voice Actors
People in Games
Gamevoices: Video Game Voice Acting
There are many more groups. You could even type in animation, video games, e-learning, audiobooks, narration, promos or such when looking for groups to join. See what you find!