Voice Acting

Podcast: Networking

Tara Parachuk | May 31, 2016

podcasts from voices of the industry panels


In this article

Tommy Griffiths: reaching out to other voice over talent. Networking, conferencing, talking with other talent and we see these seminars and conferences going on all the time. It seems to me that a lot of voice talent put in more time networking with other voice talent when the voice talent doesn’t sign your cheques. Clients, they sign your cheques.

Although it’s important to keep up with the business and converse with other people in the voice over community, what sort of balance do you think there should be in conferencing and reaching out to other talent as opposed to clients? And Debi, what do you think?

Debi Derryberry:    I think that you’re right, they don’t sign your cheques, and again, I don’t hire people, but people come to me with jobs that maybe are, you know, starting points for a producer, and they’ll say, who do you recommend Debi, and I have students, and they’re looking for something to start out with, and I love connecting the right voice to the right project.

Sometimes I’ll see an audition come through and I would love to do it, but I know who really could do it, and I’ll forward it to that person because I – as opposed to on camera, the voice over business I find to be a great camaraderie, people are friendly, I don’t feel any backstabbing. It’s a lovely group of people. And I want to help connect the best voice to the best project. So I do a lot of that and if I’m speaking to another voice actor and they’re in an ADR group or a loop group, you know, they’ll have me in mind if that looping coordinator is looking for a team of six-year-olds to go party in the backyard on a TV show. Guess what? They’ll know that that’s what I do.

So I think it’s super important to network with other voice artists for that reason. And also a lot of voice artists have their own platforms, whether it’s the Periscope or the webisodes that you were talking about or different – anything online that fans want to watch or other voice artists want to watch, it’s a great platform to say, yes, I teach, or yes, I have this book out, or this is my specialty, and … I just think word of mouth can’t be underestimated. It’s huge. And if you’re good at what you do, people want to promote you.

Tommy Griffiths:  For sure. Bryant Falk. What do you think is a healthy ratio of reaching out to fellow talent as opposed to reaching out to potential clients?

Bryant Falk:          You know, it’s interesting, I think kind of the nail was hit on the head with one part which is when I’m working with different voice talent I do try to pair up different talent together with emails because I have, for example, British talent that I put together with an American talent and she gets auditions the other one doesn’t, and they happily hand stuff off to each other.

So there’s definitely a plus there that happens and I’ve seen it. And there is a support going on which actually pushes you forward, which I think is really important. It’s a motivator. You don’t want to be on your own boat rowing alone. It’s just no fun, you know. So there’s something there.

But with that in mind, it’s almost like going to the dentist. Okay, I’ve got to – I’ve got to reach out and make some new contacts. But with other people involved with you I think it makes it easier because you say to yourself, well these new contacts are going to be good for me and they could be good for people that I like to work with. And so I think it actually helps you push forward into those new territories.

For example, industrial parks. Tons of potential corporate clients there. Maybe if it’s just you alone, it may not be as strong going out to reach those people. But knowing that maybe you’ve got a team of talent that, hey, if I can’t handle it, and I’ve gotten someone in, I know he could handle it, and she could handle it, which would motivate you to move forward.

So there is a balance there. I do think it’s hard, but you do need to skew a little towards – if you’re seriously just VO talent kind of in the trenches you’ve got to constantly be reaching out. But don’t negate the effect of that support team, of those other people and how they really can – I mean I’ve had first-hand accounts of some of my talent simply going on to their Facebook saying, I’m doing voice over and other VO talent saying, this guy’s terrific. Hey, Bob, who is one of his clients, you’ve got to use this guy. He’s amazing.

So that was really – I mean I was personally surprised by it, but it really did show that it does – it does have an effect. So it’s really kind of what you’re comfortable with too, you know, where you want to dig in. Because I have some people, they are so good at the client acquisition that I tell them, you have to get other talent under your wing, because for this non-union – because you keep getting more work that other people could do, whereas other talent is actually – you know, they want to be that – I almost look at it as the classic days of, I wish I could just go in and addition, be talent, go home. You know.

So there is this balance if you can get those crews together, you actually all grow, which is interesting.

Tommy Griffiths:  Kim, did you want to say something?

Kim Handysides:  Yes, I did. I really did. Thank you. I have a group of eight or nine – actually 10, other VO people, and we have something called the Mentoring Accountability Group. So this is apart from all the amazing connections and conferences and everything else.

We get together – actually every day we say, good morning, how’s it going? Did you do your exercise? We hold each other accountable on several levels each week. We have a meeting and so it’s like physical. Did you do your exercise this week? Because we sit in a booth all day. What have you done on marketing? What have you done to improve your equipment? How many auditions are you doing each day? What did you bring in financially this week? Did you meet your financial goal? And we hold each other accountable and we also mentor each other. Hey, I just hooked this amazing horse. Did you see the show on Bob’s this week? You know, my agent says they’re looking for someone new.

All of these things I think are really important, and like Debi said, it’s – this is an amazing group of people. The VO world is different from the rest of the world out there. And at the same time it is important to be able to make sure you take the time to make those connections to new potential clients. And with this little idea, this little Mentoring Accountability Group, that’s one of the things that we do. That’s one of the things that we hold each other accountable for. So maybe you have VO people that you want to do a similar kind of a thing with, it really does help you push forward.

And that’s what I’d like to say.

Tommy Griffiths:  Yeah, Mindy or Jordan, did you want to weigh in on …

Mindy Williamson:     Yes. I’ve only been doing voice over as a business for the last couple of years, so I’ll say that in the first year I tended to reach out and network more with other voice over artists than I do now. But it is kind of in some ways it’s a little bit of a lonely business. My recording student is in a closet, so I stand in the closet and talk to myself. So reaching out to other artists is … there is a camaraderie that I didn’t expect that I was absolutely delighted to find in this industry. But it does – it does have its place. You know, we could sit and talk about it for hours, but you do have to find its place for it – find a place for it. And I have to say as a growing artist, as a growing voice over business I have – I am so grateful to be able to tap into the brains of other people who know what they’re doing and be able to use that for my own growth as well.

So a little bit selfish, but so very helpful.

Tommy Griffiths:  And Jordan, did you want to weigh in?

Jordan Wiberg:     Yeah, I would just say, you know, I try to pay it forward. I had quite a few people early on in my voice over career who really helped me out as far as I’ve no idea what to quote for this, how would you approach an email like this? Is this project even worth doing? And some really experienced people were helping me out early on and so I’ve been able to do that over the years with people who are just starting out and helping with demos and music sourcing and direction and quotes and all that kind of stuff.

So I think it is very important to stay connected and just – like inspiration and competition there’s one guy who I’m good friends with who’s always a little bit more successful with me and always pushes me and drives me to want to, you know, do a project as cool as the one that he got. So I think it’s great to stay connected, and … yeah.

Tommy Griffiths:  And be competitive too, in a friendly way.

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