the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with the Sheppard Agency in Austin, TX

Editor’s note: Often times I get asked by both new and experienced voiceover talent “how do you get a voiceover agent?” Or “how did you get signed with a specific voice talent agency?” It occurred to me recently that there are some interesting and fun stories about how I have partnered with my voiceover agents. Everybody likes a good story so I thought I would share a few of them in something I’ve entitled “the voiceover agent series”.

Voice Talent Peter K O'Connell Sheppard Agency 19It is my personal opinion that Erik Sheppard of The Sheppard Agency (formerly Voice Talent Productions) was a grumpy old man by his early teens. Young as he is today, he still has that hilarious grumpy old man persona.

VO Agent Alliance_tall_audioconnellHe, of course, is a perfectly nice, smart guy, a family man (lovely wife -also a voice talent– , son and now a toddler daughter), a business owner (Sheppard Agency) and an advocate for the voiceover industry (VO Agent Alliance).

In my professional voiceover career, Erik is one of those people who seem like they have always been a part of it. I was trying to figure out exactly what year he called (or maybe emailed, I really can’t remember) to ask me to be a voice talent on Voice Talent Productions. I do recall him saying something about it just getting started and would I join etc. That maybe 2006 or 2007. The first email I could find from him (of easily over 600 emails) was 2008.

Point being, we’ve been together in this business a long time. I also believe him to be one of the hardest working agents I know of…auditions coming through to me constantly…on top of bookings and all over payments. The total package you want in a voiceover agent.

His Voice Talent Productions holiday parties were the stuff of legend…so much fun. All the VO talent from around the country would fly into New York City for the weekend and the parties were a blast. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones…all voice talents. Erik and Lindsay even got engaged at one of the parties.

I remember at the after-party for one VTP Holiday Party — it was a cold December night. Erik and I were talking outside because he was having another cigarette. We were talking about the voice acting talent at the party and I said that he really needed to take a listen to a somewhat (at that time) known female voice talent named Mara Junot. I think I had met Mara previously at a FaffCon – but her voice then as now was uh-mazing.

I said Erik, ‘you’ve got to sign her’. He said ‘you’re like the fifth person who has said that to me tonight’. I said ‘that’s part of the point of this party…discovering new voice actors…they show up, the other talents know them, hear them and make an introduction for them.’ Not because of me, but Erik did sign her and I think the Sheppards bought a boat, three cars and a summer home in Nantucket off commissions from the work Mara has booked.

From my commissions, the Sheppards’ were able to buy not one but two boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. Thin Mints, no less. So there’s that.

However, the greatest part of working with Erik are his audition notes…specifically when the rates or usage were ridiculously stupid. None of these note are printable (expletives deleted..and then there’s not much else to read) but trust me they are laugh out loud hysterical… day makers, when you read them.

He is iconic in his VO persona and legendary in his work ethic on behalf of his voice actors. Erik Sheppard is the guy you want in your corner when the VO battles rage.

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2 Responses to “the voiceover agent series: how I partnered with the Sheppard Agency in Austin, TX”

  1. Oh how I remember that night fondly! I still can’t believe how kind you (and apparently 4 or so others!) were in even thinking to ever mention me to Erik, and I still owe you a few hundred Thin Mint boxes in repayment for your infinite awesomeness! Thank you for always being such a phenomenal resource, talent and downright good human being! I’m honored to know you & call you friend. 🙂

    xoxox,
    Mara

  2. You’re always welcome pal. You’ve shot up like a long-term rocket and it’s been fun watching you fly. You will soar for a long, long time.

    Best always,
    –Peter

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