OCTOBER NEWSLETTER 2014

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” 

       ― Bernard M. Baruch

pumpkin Auditions Are Promo

You may have never have considered this before, but auditions are just one more form of promotion. Granted it’s a remarkably important form of promotion—but it’s only one.   If you rely solely on auditions from only one talent agency in a single region as your sole source for employment, you’ll be at a decided disadvantage.

It bears repeating, and may not be what you want to hear, but generally it takes between 150 and 200 auditions to book a job. So, if your agent includes you on three to four auditions a week (which is common), and there are (conservatively) 48 weeks of auditions during a single year, then it will take you a year to land a single gig at this rate.

You have to improve the odds in your favor, as well as increase the sheer number of auditions. First and foremost, for voice-over you must drive traffic to your voice-over-only Web site, where your demos can be heard. Continued direct mailings of your promotional postcards to the various producers your demos were designed to service create name recognition, open your employment opportunities in various markets, and establish you as a known and trusted brand in voice-over. It’s Marketing 101.

Your demos will audition for you, and provided they are extremely well produced and you promote them properly, you will secure work directly from your demos. Naturally, you can’t rely solely on your demo getting you booked either. Auditions, continued promotion, great talent agents, and multiple markets all play into establishing your small business as a working, professional voice-over and talent.

There are well over a hundred remarkable talent agencies registered on Voicebank. Your goal is to have effective representation in at least three markets. And certainly the more auditions you pump out there, the greater your odds of becoming booked. It’s a numbers game. But, even if you deliver the best audition of all out of the 372 auditions submitted for the role—it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the one they’ll choose. We witness this in casting all the time.

Of course, if you turn in your auditions late or don’t get back to your agent within an hour, all those marvelous skills you’re sitting on will die with you.

The preferred method of communication among producers is mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Therefore, your demo Web site must be easily viewed on these devices. If your site was created primarily in Flash (as so many are), it will be visible only on standard computers and not mobile devices. And adding an all-important QR (Quick Response) Code would be fruitless, as your site won’t be easily viewed. ›

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The True Spirit of Play

Probably the greatest thing about this time of year is the fact that Halloween reminds us to simply play. Our mission as talent is to keep each read fresh, with a true element of surprise, much like we experienced when we were small.

The ability to play is in part what makes our performances appealing out of the sheer joy it generates. Never underestimate the value of play!

Should you find your delivery becoming too stiff and cookie-cutter, you have to remind yourself of the true spirit of play required from you with every take and performance. You may need to enroll in a good Improv class, or call us to schedule a couple of coaching sessions to get you out of your head, and back in the ball game again. (Probably a good idea to reconnect with us every 6 to 8 months and schedule a “tune-up” just to stay on top of your game!)   323.464.0990 ›

The Importance of Great Graphics & Branding

Presentation is EVERYTHING. Especially to anyone in advertising or the talent business, so it’s vitally important that your demo Web site and the postcards you promote your site with look as good as your demo sounds. The more appealing and professional your promotional materials appear, the more likely you are to elicit a profitable response.

Great graphics create great interest. This is precisely why the
artwork on your promo is as important as your performance
and the overall production values on the demo itself. 

Most demos out there are remarkably below par production-wise, but that is only half the reason they fail. The rest of the story lies in the outward appearance. If your graphics are not conveying contemporary aesthetics to appeal to the most progressive audience or just as bad, if they are flat-out boring or drab, you’re likely to be overlooked or written off as unprofessional no matter how extraordinary your demos may be.

Besides, why would anyone bother to listen to your demos, if at first glance your presentation is less than appealing? Would you purchase anything from a grocery store without any experience with the product that was in a less-than-desirable package? Of course not! You could pummel the market with your demos, but if it looks like a dog it will be a very tough sell. The fact is it takes a relatively small amount of effort on your part to rise above the din.

It’s imperative you consider the target audience in advance of producing your demos: Commercial producers, copywriters, and creative directors, are all in advertising. It’s important that you offer and meet the basic aesthetic standards if you expect to be taken seriously and to generate an interest among ad agency professionals.

Our most sound advice when it comes to your graphics: Identity and branding are defined conceptually by describing what the subject represents. For instance, if the subject is fences, describe what this represents: home, ownership, pride, security, tradition.

So then, if the subject is you as a voice-over, describe yourself to your graphic artist conceptually, such as quirky, youthful, wry, approachable, contemporary. Describe yourself in five to six words that best define how you are most likely to be perceived professionally as a voice-over.

Also, it’s not necessarily what graphic elements you like most that counts instead it’s what represents you best conceptually as a brand.

Hopefully, these tips should assist you a great deal, as most talent are often too close to discern how they are perceived commercially to ensure their graphics represent the marketing focus of their demos. ›

Now THAT’S Scary!

This month’s cautionary tale: let’s say you auditioned for a project, but you have conflicts. In other words, you just auditioned for a McDonald’s voice over, but you have a Burger King spot running right now. Let’s say your agent calls and tells you they’d like to “check your availability for Thursday morning at 10am.”

Do you come clean, and tell your agent you already have a conflicting job running? Does it really matter? Who’s gonna know?

Well, this can get rather ugly, frankly, for all involved… your agent, the producer, but more to the point—for YOU!

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You, and you alone, are expected to be responsible for knowing what you currently have running, regardless of whether the commercial is union or non. And you never want to put your professional reputation in jeopardy if you can avoid it. There are legal ramifications involved in working for the “competition”, so don’t audition for commercials you already know you have conflicts with. It’s your responsibility to politely pass on them.

It’s worth mentioning: there are NO conflicts in radio. Which is why, for the better part of eight years I called myself the Queen of Beers; I voiced spots for Corona, Heineken, MGD, Bud Light, Michelob, Keystone, and two other brands that ran solely on radio. (All dramatically different from the last.) Considering nearly all radio today airs online as well, that may be something you may need to clarify with your agent or with the union directly, as the case may be. Determine the intended and actual usage of the spots you put your voice to. This is what also impacts what you’re paid. ›

 

Copyright © 2014 by Kate McClanaghan. All rights reserved.