“When you have an important story to tell, the words you need seem to come of their own accord.” – J.A. Jance


Increasing The Odds In Your Favor

Commerce is confidence. If you aren’t confident, then you aren’t as reliable as you should be. If you aren’t reliable, your future success rate will be compromised.

It may seem elementary to mention it, but if you only dedicate 10 minutes toward your career in ten weeks time it’s unlikely you’ll succeed at anything let alone your voiceover career. Yet, week after week, so many talented individuals invest the bare minimum of their efforts toward their would-be careers and expect a promising outcome… only to be completely disappointed. This could explain why there are so many one-hit wonders. At least in part.

Simply having some training and a voiceover demo doesn’t drive the world to your doorstep. That would be your job. Commit at least 20 hours a week toward establishing and furthering your career if you hope to have a chance at being successful in this field.

If you hope to be at your best and ultimately considered to be a valuable talent make it your mission to commit no less than five hours a week working our exclusive Vocal Warm Up, regardless of your skill or experience level, because it’s imperative you can confidently build and rely on your vocal agility and well-articulated speech at a moments notice. Developing the best possible enunciation and vocal stamina is at least a third of what will always be required of you regardless of the medium you may find yourself in: voiceover, film, TV or stage. Dedicating an hour a day, five days a week to our Vocal Warm Up allows even the most seasoned actors and those with exceptional natural ability to compete consistently and confidently at a superior level.

Dedicate an additional ten to fifteen hours a week to:

  1. a) Coaching*
  2. b) Practice Auditions**
  3. c) Promotion to secure proper representation
  4. d) Promotion to producers most likely to hire you
  5. e) Actual auditions, and/or…
  6. f) Study!

Reviewing your past (recorded) coaching sessions offers a greater level of comprehension of our exclusive game-changing, performance techniques and allow you to grasp concepts that will offer further inspiration. Much like promotion, developing and maintaining your performance skills is a constant that must be continually practiced. Like professional athletes, working your performance muscle is necessary regardless of your experience or skill level, if you hope to be someone agents, producers and directors can come to rely on.

Additionally, no less than five to ten hours a week should be dedicated to marketing and promotion. Ongoing promotion is necessary whether you’re promoting to talent agents by pursuing representation, and expanding your reach to talent agents across the country, in order to increase the number of opportunities and auditions; continued promotion to the producers in a variety of regions is key to establish your name as a familiar, reliable professional voiceover to most likely to hire you.

Your career is ultimately a numbers game: the more opportunities, the more auditions, the greater your ultimate success rate. ›


Great Question

D.S.: I’ve talked to a couple of regional agents and they asked me if I have access to an ISDN line. I remember talking to you two about allowing me access to your ISDN or creating a bridge from my house to their studio. Is that something you guys (at SOUND ADVICE) can help me with when the need arises?  Would you charge me for that?  Been asked this more than once.  What do you think??

SOUND ADVICE: Yes, of course! Here’s what we recommend…

Whenever you’re asked, “Do you have ISDN?” you respond with: “I work with a couple studios that have ISDN. When are you looking to record so I can check studio availability?”

Try to get 2 or 3 schedule options, such as tomorrow at 2pm Central for an hour. Or Friday 9:30 to 10:30am CDT, or noon to 1pm Monday CDT. Then contact us to check availability.

We charge you a ‘talent rate’ of $75 per half hour (which is a fraction of the standard ‘commercial rate’). We ONLY offer that rate to our SOUND ADVICE clients, and to agent or producer referrals.

And if we’re booked during all the times your client is hoping to record, we’ll refer you to one or more studio that offers the same caliber production standards and talent rate.

If the client requires production (mixing and editing) as well, we recommend you UNDER PROMISE and OVER DELIVER. You’re likely only getting paid to be a voice talent. Simply refer them to us so you’re not out of pocket on the project.

But please DO NOT offer the client YOUR talent rate. 

We could very well patch with you from your home recording and the client using SourceConnect Now or ipDTL as well. We’ll assess their production demands and budget, and offer them an estimate from there. Every session is different and needs to be approached on a case-by-case basis.

D.S.: So, I am expected to pay for the ISDN Fees in order to record with a long distance client?  Or do I have to build that into my fee.  Or break it out separately?  How does that work?

SOUND ADVICE: If you know the client requires ISDN to book you, then you should ensure you take that into account when offering the client an estimate.

Certainly every session, like every client, is different. But on the average, most nonunion sessions run an hour to an hour and a half long. So include that in your fee. Additionally, consider if you have to pay for parking or transportation. When creating an estimate, this is generally referred to as a “pad”.

A pad hopes to make up for incidental overages that are to be expected with production. They are the unexpected occupational hazards that eat away at your bottom-line when you’re a producer, and the items the client never cares to face. (Welcome to my world. ; )

In my experience, if the (corporate) client intends to “direct’ you during the session, it’s likely to be a longer session.

I can count on one hand how many clients can articulate what they need and want. And even fewer that honestly “know” what they are after in advance of the production. Until they have the tangible, namely YOU bringing the project to life, clients tend to be at a loss.

All their best made plans become mush at the session, and they will likely second guess, overthink, and ponder, “What would the (boss/colleague who couldn’t be present/various associates) want to hear given what they’d discussed prior to the recording session?” It’s a natural progression. That said you want your client to feel he’s being heard, understood and ultimately accommodated.

Anyway, to answer your question… yes, account for overages by giving yourself a 20% pad to make up for potential losses above and beyond your talent fee. If you don’t you’ll ultimately short change yourself. That’s the voice of experience talking.

Hope this helps! œ

How to ‘Book Out’

Summer is calling. We’re moments away from family reunions, vacations, and long weekends. So, here’s a bit of advice that will keep you in good graces with your talent agents and potential clients: if you know you won’t be available for certain dates for auditions or jobs, then be sure to book out.

Booking out can be done by e-mail or online typically a week or so in advance of the dates you won’t be available to accept auditions or bookings. Otherwise, your agents will figure you’re available and count on you.

And it never fails. Some huge gig will come calling the moment you head out of town. But if you neglect to book out, you’ll end up making everyone miserable, including yourself! Be sure to check with your agency to determine their preferred booking out policy and procedures.

DO take some well deserved down time. Just know you’ll enjoy yourself that much more if you keep your agents in the loop and let them know when you’ll return. It’s the professional thing to do. œ

Seaside road

Copyright © 2016 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.