Now that you have your master tape, you need to have copies made.
[Editor’s Note: Remember, there are many different areas of the
Voice Over Industry that require specific skills and these areas might
necessitate a separate style demo, i.e., Commercials, Animation, Characters,
Narration, (TV) Promo, (Movie) Trailer, Audiobook, Sports, or Show Announce.
Your first submission to get representation could be an all Promo, all
Trailer, all Narration demo, etc., but know that a lion’s share
of an Agent’s bookings are for commercials. Eventually, an Agent
will want to hear your commercial demo. If you’ve been encouraged
by your VO instructor or demo producer that your work might come from
one of the VO areas other than commercial, your first demo could be
a composite of a few styles. As your career and skills flourish, you
would be better served having separate demos.]
Your tape should also
include a J-Card and cassette label that has your name and contact number
printed on it. These don’t have to win any graphics awards, but
should definitely look professional. A fun or creative idea for your
J-Card can help catch someone’s eye when thrown into the mountainous
pile of tapes agents receive. After all, this is advertising, creativity
gets noticed. Some tape duplicating companies can provide a computer
generated J-Card and cassette label as part of their service.
Now you are ready to go out and sell yourself. You should first distribute
them to the various voice over talent and casting agencies. An agent
is much more likely to listen to a tape that comes with a recommendation.
Don’t worry if you have no connections, all talent agencies listen
to every tape eventually, although it can sometimes take months. Include
a short note thanking them for their consideration in listening to your
tape (mention any workshops or instructors you have studied with, but
keep it short). Wait three weeks or more to call the receptionist and
ask if your tape has been heard. Some agencies keep a list indicating
if the tape has been considered or declined. The truth is, if they are
interested, they will call you. Don’t be surprised if they tell
you, “we have someone in your category.” It might be true.
A year later that agent may sign you if your category opens up. No matter
how much talent you have, you need an agent. Agents get the audition
copy for you to read and set up auditions with the casting directors.
Voice-over is one of the more creative and intelligent facets of acting.
It is also one of the most competitive. One can earn a very good living
in a very exciting and stimulating career, but in addition to talent,
it mostly takes a lot of hard work, preparation and luck.
- Cindy Akers, producer/director, Voicetrax West Recording Services