How to Write a Strong Proposal
As someone who works in the voice over industry, you’re bound to come up against stiff competition from time to time. With this in mind, when you audition for a voice over job, every detail of your submission—from your audio files, to your Voices.com talent profile, to your written proposal—should be polished and professional. In some cases, minute details could even mean the difference between booking a job or losing out on a role entirely.
Writing a strong proposal will go an exceptionally long way toward helping your audition stand apart from the rest of the pack, as well as impressing your client—sometimes before they’ve even had the chance to listen to your audition.
While we’ve outlined 10 ways to write better proposals in 2021 (and mistakes you should avoid), this post will lead you through the process of writing a proposal that will tell clients who you are and what you’re capable of in a professional manner that adheres to industry standards. Follow these tips and you’ll be booking more jobs on Voices.com in no time.
What is a Proposal?
A proposal is a brief written statement that tells the client who you are and what unique qualities you can bring to a role. Auditioning for voice over work isn’t all that dissimilar to applying for a regular job, and in this case, a proposal essentially serves the same purpose as a cover letter. An effective proposal will be professional, courteous, and to the point. Its primary mission is to tell the client who created the job posting why they should hire you over everybody else.
Auditioning online can occasionally get overwhelming. On top of submitting a robust proposal, there are a number of additional audition guidelines you ought to follow to help make your auditions truly shine.
What to Include in a Proposal
Having a polished proposal is crucial if you want to succeed in this industry. Because of this, we’ve crafted a handy template that you can use when you’re submitting auditions for voice over work.
Proposal Template (Default)
Hi [client name],
My name is [your name], and I would love to work with you.
[Give a brief overview of your experience and/or any past relevant projects here].
Turn-Around Time: I can deliver high quality, finished files within [x hours/days]. If needed, I can also provide same-day or overnight delivery.
Live Sessions: [If you are able to provide live directed sessions via SourceConnect, Skype, ipDTL, ISDN, or phone patch, etc. please indicate here]
Equipment: My equipment includes [microphone, software, etc.]
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me directly via the ‘Messages’ button in my audition. I hope you like what you hear and will consider working with me.
Here’s a breakdown of the various elements featured in this proposal template.
Start off on the right foot and address the client by name. This will give your proposal a more personal quality. Follow by demonstrating what has drawn you to this particular project. Detail some key highlights from your voice over work experience, and tell the client whether you can point them to recordings of past voice over work that resembles the project you’re currently applying for.
Turnaround time expectations will vary depending on the project. A lot of the time, clients will have been tasked with finding vocal talent who can deliver a voice over recording ‘yesterday’—that is, they need someone who is available to hop to it and record a new script read immediately. If it’s within your ability to deliver a polished, high-quality script read in the same day or overnight, you’ll automatically be that much more desirable to clients with breakneck turnaround deadlines. When your turnaround time is same day or 24 hours, make sure to point it out.
That being said, you should always be realistic and upfront about your turnaround times. Don’t tell a client that you can deliver a finished recording within 24 hours unless it’s something you’re actually capable of following through with.
Live Directed Sessions
Indicate whether it will be possible for you to take part in a live directed session or not. Live directed sessions are a convenient way for clients and vocal talent to collaborate remotely using connective technologies. This is the section of your proposal where you should note whether you have access to voice recording technologies such as Source-Connect, ISDN, or ipDTL. There are, on the other hand, a number of more affordable connectivity alternatives (Skype, Google Hangouts Meet) that clients and voice actors may decide to use to connect remotely as well. The most important thing is that you come to an agreement about whether a live directed session will take place, and how you would like to connect with one another.
Read up on the various technologies you can use to connect remotely.
Let your client know the type of equipment you use as part of your voice over services. This generally includes the microphone you use to record, and the software you use to edit audio (also known as a DAW: ‘Digital Audio Workstation.’)
This chapter of the Professional’s Guide to Voice Acting outlines some of the home studio musts for voice actors.
Remember to respond to any questions the client may have included as part of the original job posting. It’s important that your proposal doesn’t come across as wholly generic, and instead addresses the particular needs of the client. Your ability to directly respond to questions (e.g. “Are you free this afternoon for a directed session?”) and fulfill certain requirements can mean the difference between getting hired or getting your submission sent straight to the bottom of the figurative trash bin.
Last but not least: provide a final comment on the project, and thank the client for their consideration. Listening to a series of auditions while facing the stress of a looming deadline can be tiring, so the client will appreciate your kindness.
General Proposal Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks that are sure to help you craft a better, stronger proposal.
Keep it concise
Don’t write out your life story, or put so much thought and effort into your proposal that you delay yourself from submitting your audition on time. Short and sweet is far more preferable for clients.
Be personable and professional, but not fluffy
Chances are that the client reviewing your submission has been in the biz for quite some time, so smothering them in compliments isn’t the way to their heart. Be confident and don’t shy away from selling yourself and your voice over services, but at the same time, do your best to refrain from being too over the top.
Always review your proposal before hitting Send
Before you think you’re ready to submit your audition, double and triple-check to ensure that you haven’t made any spelling or grammatical errors in your proposal. Just like any old cover letter, spelling mistakes that are otherwise avoidable can prove really distracting and exhibit a lack of professionalism that could risk you the job.
Don’t Forget About Your Revision Policy
We know that revisions can make or break a project. The importance of having a tool that enables you to be upfront about your revisions policy at the same moment that you audition for a role cannot be overstated. These issues, which directly affect voice actors across the entire industry, were exactly what we had at the top of mind when we made some recent improvements to Revision Policies.
Here’s a template we encourage you to use to outline your revisions policy.
Revisions Policy Template (Default)
Performance Mistakes: Mispronunciations or missing words are fixed at no charge.
Artistic Edits: One round of feedback concerning pacing or tone is included at no charge. I typically charge [$X] for each round afterwards.
Script Rewrites: One round of rewrites, that are less than 10% of the final script, is included at no charge. Additional rounds typically cost [$X for each round afterwards or X% of the original budget]. Rewrites beyond 10% will be quoted upon request.
The most common types of revisions that we see crop up again and again include performance mistakes, artistic edits, and script rewrites. The state that a project is in when you are first hired to record a script read may very well have evolved into a totally different state by the time it is finished, and that’s just part of the exciting nature of the voice over industry. Outlining your revisions policy from the get-go is a secure way to ensure that you and your client are on the same page, and that you get paid for all the work that you end up doing.
Your revisions policy should be even shorter than your proposal, and when applicable, you should incorporate job-specific revisions that you can foresee entering into the mix.
Leverage Templates to Impress Clients
With our new Revisions functionality, you’ll have the ability to save and manage proposals and policies that you nailed and are happy with. You can use these templates over and over again to apply for jobs faster and with more convenience. Having a consistent framework that you can easily use to address clients and communicate your talents is central to succeeding in the voice over industry.
For more information on how to create a proposal template, refer to this Help article: How do I create a proposal template?
Crafting a Strong Proposal is the Key to Auditioning Better and Landing More Work
Writing a clear and compelling proposal will ensure that the client knows exactly who you are, the expectations you harbor for a project, and why you’re emphatically cut out for the job. With a strong proposal at the ready, your auditioning process will be streamlined and speedy, and you’ll be all set to start landing more work.