Entries Tagged as 'auditioning'

an open letter to voice-over agents

strongly_agree

Hello Good People!

As my long time business partners, we have enjoyed some great professional successes. Because of your efforts representing me, together we’ve been able to make some nice money and create some terrific voice-over productions. Thank you most sincerely for your work — you know who you are.

We’ll just leave by the side of the road those who (big air quotes here) “represent” me – won’t they be surprised to see my name on their web site?! To that group I say, don’t worry, I know how expensive phone calls and emails can get.

But for the great voice-over agents, the not great agents and the agents I don’t work with – I’d like to make you an honest offer to help make the administrative side of your business more efficient and the lives of your voice-over clients a little simpler.

I would like to propose, in all seriousness, a standard email template for voice-over auditions. My belief is this will allow agents to craft a unified format on their emailed auditions in which they can simply and easily input information for new jobs each time and maybe be able to send it out quicker.

For voice talents, the benefits of this format would be a universal voice-over audition response format to follow. As a self-fish voice talent (and I know I’m the only one) when I get different auditions from different agents, I’ve got to try and remember how they like it labeled, slate or no slate etc. I want to do it correctly but sometimes when I am doing auditions while also looking the the mirror combing my perfect hair I get confused!

So, agents, see what you think about this:

#1 Each audition email you send out MUST contain the specifications for how you want your auditions recorded, labeled and returned. This must be in every email BUT once you create the audition template in your email system, you’re 90% done! You only have to fill in the specs of each job which hopefully is mostly a copy and paste task.

#2 File labeling must be universal. To begin the discussion, I would propose the following format: FirstNameLastName_ProjectName_Agency.mp3
I’m not saying that’s best (we need to include character names on some files, for example) but let’s discuss and agree on a file name style that will work on 95% of the jobs.

#3 Slating format must be universal. Some agents like slates, some do not. So I propose that all auditions must include slates. YES, there will be certain circumstances where slates won’t work, but again, for the majority of the work, slating will be fine. The format of the slate should be as follows: “This is (TALENT NAME) for (AGENCY NAME).”

That’s really it.

It’s been my experience that most all auditions are in MP3 format so I don’t think that needs to be addressed. Unique return email addresses are necessary based on how each agent would organize themselves. Nor can VO’s really do anything about audition lengths (specifically long form); on this topic, I believe the voice talents need to take their cues from the agents, knowing the agents will look out for the talents to make sure (as just one extreme example here) a voice talent isn’t required to read an entire book chapter to audition for an audiobook.

So my agent business partners out there, I hope you will weigh in on this as well. But it should be discussed and now a proposal has been put before you. The “it will never work, there are too many variables with each job” is off the table. And for any agents “who can’t be bothered to change” those are the lazy ones who don’t get voice talents any business to begin with and certainly aren’t involved enough with the voice-over community to read posts like this anyway.

So share you’re thoughts below and let’s see if we can get a professional discussion between the agency world and the voice-over world started on developing a logical solution to a universal industry issue. Thanks for your consideration.

I think it’s doable. What say you?

Best always,
–Peter