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How to Find Voiceover Work

At a workshop not long ago, our voice actors put their heads together and came up with more than twenty things to do, or avenues to explore, in order to get work. Here is that list - and feel free to let me know if there's anything you think I should add.

Please let me stand on my soapbox for just a moment to say that what you do matters much less than that you do something. Do everything on this list, if you can. And keep doing it. The Holy Grail, the silver bullet, the secret sauce: they're all myths. Bust your butt to find work, and the work will find you. The poet Ovid put it slightly more eloquently: “Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”

One more thing: Do you have some training and/or experience and a killer demo? - and can you perform up to the level of that demo? If not, your product isn't ready for market.

OK, here's the list, with my comments:

Create your own website.
If you don't have your own yourname dot com website, you don't have anywhere unique to herd potential clients. It can be basic - one page; just powerful enough to play demos, maybe display some kudos and definitely give people a way to contact you.

Work LinkedIn.
Get on LinkedIn and connect with other professionals, especially those in your local area who can hire you.

Get your demo to audio production houses
...like Colors Audio. These may be listed as post-production facilities or commercial recording companies.

Get your demo to video producers.
Video people need audio (though they don't like to admit it). Video production houses, and sometimes even "Joe's Photography" or a graphic designer, are potential aggregators of clients for you.

Get your demo to the ears of ad agency Creative Directors.
Even the agencies that aren't doing broadcast commercials may be helping their clients with web videos and things like that.

Join the Ad Club.
Get some face time with people in your industry.

Contract with talent agents in multiple markets.
Talent agents don't cost you a penny unless they make money for you. Most of them have a lot more voice actors trying to get on the roster than they can represent. The cream rises to the top. Be the cream.

Learn about marketplace ("pay to play") sites.
Voice123, Voquent, The Voice Realm, VO Planet, ACX dot com - these are some of the sites that connect "voice seekers" with voice actors - for a fee. And then maybe some more fees. If you have a home studio and you have a lot of time to watch the computer screen for new jobs to be posted (so you can be one of the first dozen or so to respond), this method may work for you. Even so, this is probably going to be "supplemental" income, not the bulk of your work.

List yourself on free sites.
Free sites give you a listing and a place to park your demo - just like the 2 million other people on there. But internet presence adds up, so the gurus tell me, and what the heck - it's free! Voiceover Universe is one of these. I've actually gotten a couple of leads from Production Hub dot com.

Even explore the general trade sites.
elance, thumbtack, upwork... I've been told that there's some benefit in this. Again, not all of these are my suggestions.

Engage in guerilla marketing.
Did you just hear an ad that could be better with a pro voice track? What's stopping you from contacting the advertiser?

Contact manufacturers and other large companies.
These have needs ranging from training/eLearning to web narration to broadcast. Sometimes a very large company will use an ad agency for the high-profile jobs, but do the smaller stuff themselves, or hire it locally.

Work your network.
You know people. Some of these people need voiceover services, and others know people who do.

Pay for referrals.
Some voice actors will pay a "finder's fee" to a client who connects them to a new client. Some companies have a policy forbidding this. If it's OK and you decide to do it, make sure the new client pays, before spiffing the old client.

Use email marketing.
Let your contacts know - not too often - about things that might interest them, and/or things you're doing. This can be as formal as using a company like Constant Contact, or as informal as you letting your clients know when you'll be on vacation. It "stirs the pot."

Don't forget your email signature.
Set your email signature to inform clients of other services you provide.

DO NOT link to your P2P profile.
Just my personal opinion, but linking your clients to your profile on voice123 is stupid. They already like you, and you're putting them one click away from other choices? Lots of other choices?

Keep an eye on NEohioPAL.
The Northeast Ohio Performing Arts List is an opt-in email service. Subscribers can post job openings or anything that might be of interest to performing artists in this area. It's free (they request a donation.) You can respond to opportunities or offer your services.

Make your own product.
All of the ideas above assume that you're dependent on someone else to feed you projects. Maybe that assumption is false. Maybe you can originate your own radio show or a new phone service or music/ad loop for restaurants. You're a creative person, right?

Use Soundcloud.
This is another free way to get your demo or other work exposed to a lot of people who are trying to do the same thing you are. Be sure that you have the rights and clearances to use the material you publish there. I don't think this is a substitute for having your own website, but you might think it is.

Buy Google Adwords.
You know how, when you search for something on the internet, the first few items listed are ads? You can buy some of those ads, targeted to people who are looking for "female voiceover" or whatever you think will reel in the fish.

Check out Actors Access dot com.
Don't know anything about it; maybe it's just the thing for you.

Try spec spots.
So you have this studio and you don't have much to do this afternoon. Why not create a real commercial or on hold message or whatever for a client you'd like to work for? Don't do this for Coke or McDonalds, but maybe for the Mom & Pop Bait Shop and Sushi House down the street.

Stay current with our industry.
Read voiceover sites. Voiceover Xtra is one. Some of these are pretty pedestrian and redundant, but you can look over your colleagues' shoulders at times. If there's a new development in our world, you want to think about how you can take advantage of it.