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Why can't I get an agent despite being in high demand?
I'm trilingual, based in the LA area, have trained professionally, have decent demos, am booking left and right and am working clients liked Pepsi, AIG, Greg Mortenson of Three Cups of Tea, the United States Census Bureau, McAfee and as of just last week, Western Union and Novartis! Many of these jobs offered an agent fee that was never paid, simply because I don't have an agent!
Can't figure out why I can't get a reputable agent in the LA area.
First of all - congratulations on the work you're getting! That is awesome!
Everyone has a different route to representation.
I do agree with Peter though that I think your demo could show you off better - especially in the critical first 15-20 seconds. It's a nice demo - but may not identify your uniqueness strong enough right away. This may not require a big overhaul - but perhaps tweak. (sometimes as simple as replacing 2 spots)
Are you in the unions and are you telling them you are a professional union voice talent with recent credits including (blah, blah, blah)?
Can one of the instructors of a class you take offer you a referral? You very often need someone they know to be your champion & refer you. Many instructors say they don't refer people - but the secret is that many do... IF you stand out in class as being so good it is ridiculous for you not to have an agent. Don't have an "agenda" for this - other than being the best. They may take interest if they believe in you.
Can you capitalize on your strength & lead with that in your branding? Your photo gives you a professional business look, and your MBA backs that up... Maybe there is an angle there to be hit hard... "it takes a business mind to sell a business" type of strategy.
Eventually, I'd recommend some Improv classes too, if you've not already taken them. Mostly due to the fact that several of the guys I know at my agency who have your vocal imprint have improv experience & naturally know how to make themselves stand apart & book. Not required, but doesn't hurt - especially as a balance to the business feel.
If all else fails, next time you book a job - call an agency & ask if they'll handle your negotiations & start a working relationship w/ you.
Don't lose heart though - in today's commercial, narration, or elearning VO market, I know people making 6 figures in voice over with only about 10% coming from an agency & these are non-union folks, not repped in LA. That's why a lot of us with agents come to services like this! It's a different world now!
(I excluded animation, which is still fairly localized & agent driven)
Cassie, thank you very much for expanding on Peter's comments! I agree, I need a better demo and recognize the power of a referral. Fortunately, I have great relationships with all of my instructors. Definitely need to take some improv classes which I haven't yet and love the idea of calling an agency to ask they handle my negotiations next time! And had no clue unrepped, nonunion voice actors could make 6 figures in LA!
I hear the frustration in your question and the answer will be equally frustrating: it depends on the agent.
Some will pass because they have no business for the talent they have now and you're not "unique" enough for in your sound for them to add you.
Some will think you suck.
Some will have had gas pains just before reading your email submission and have deleted you attachment just before running to the bathroom.
For these and a 100 other reasons - it depends.
However, your question for me poses one glaring reason. You say you "have decent demos."
Seriously pretend you're a professional voice over agent and you get 10 submissions for representations a day every day and along comes your "decent" demo. Unlistenable? No. Unique? Also no.
If you are not gaga over your own demo then why the heck should an agent care?
Your demo needs to spark interest in your voice, in the script, in the production right off the bat. 15 seconds or less (someone should do a podcast about that...oh wait.)
The demo I heard was nice but it wasn't unique. And to be clear, you also don't suck. But you also didn't grab my ear...you don't have to be loud or hard selling to grab my ear but you should be unique.
I bet you are unique but I think you might want to consider how your demo might better convey that to an agent.
And remember - mine is not always the best opinion, just "another" one.
I hope this helps.
Peter, thank you so much for your insightful, honest and thought-provoking comments. I think i've done myself a disservice by settling for a homemade, "decent" demo, in the hopes that my ability to speak three languages will land me an agent. I fully recognize the value of a professionally produced demo but wanted to make sure I was ready to record one and am starting to finally feel like I am. Truly appreciate the time you took to answer this question. Have a good one.
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