Join Voice Over Expert Roger King in his lecture, “Tips on Getting Representation.” Roger shares a number of immediately applicable tips that will keep you in a voice over talent agent’s good books. Hear some quick bullet points from a talent agent’s perspective on what they expect of you, the qualities they look for, and how they want to be approached.
Transcript of Secrets of an Agent Man
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
Now for our special guest.
Roger King: Hi this is Roger King. Voices.com is voice experts podcast, I thought were interesting. I’m not sure but I don’t think anyone has given the perspective from a voice talent agent before and so I thought that I would take that on. I own PN Agency which represents Non-Union English and French voices based in Toronto and also ethic voice talent which has the name implies represents voice talent in various different languages. So between PN Agency and Ethnic Voice Talent were pretty the United Nations of voiceover.
In addition to this, I have a little blog, voiceovercanada.ca. There every once in awhile I like to roll with what I call, Secrets of an Agent Man. I remember watching Barbara Walters interview Jerry Seinfeld one time and she asked him what he looked for in a woman.
“I like good things”, Seinfeld said. “Attractive. That’s good. Intelligent. Good. Easygoing. Also good. I generally don’t go for ugly, dumb, bitchy women.”
I would say Seinfeld’s answer is similar to how I would reply if I was asked or what I look for in a voice talent, pleasant interesting voice? That’s good. Sounds like he or she can actually read. That’s also good. Some training and a little bit of experience. Good. I generally don’t like to represent illiterate and inexperience people with annoying voices, call me crazy.
Now beyond the obvious, how does it work in terms of getting representation? You maybe out there right now without representation, or even if you have an agent, you’re curious. Oh from a perspective of a talent agent. What we look for? Well, first of all of course it’s really quite simple you don’t get an agent without a voice demo. It’s your calling card. A resume, that’s fine. Head shots photos. It’s a nice addition and even occasionally intriguing. A witty voice mail message with achingly sincere compliments about my voice agency, always welcome. But I’m telling you, it begins and ends with the voice demo. Beyond the obvious fact that it showcases the very instrument for which you’re seeking representation, it also shows that you’re serious about your craft. You’ve actually sought out some couching and presumably spent some of your own money.
Now I know discussions about voiceover demo specifics will be a reoccurring topic probably in this podcast series and certainly on my blog the voiceovercanada.ca but here’s some quick bullet points from a talent agent perspective.
Ideally the demo is one MP3 file between one minute and one thirty in length. Those of us in the voiceover industry have short attention spans. I usually listen all the way through, no matter what length but I know many of the in the industry who only listen for the first thirty seconds and then if found once we get beyond you know a minute or a minute thirty, we pretty much get the idea. Demo should be a mix of clips, edited together with music and production behind it. If they’re not real commercial it should sound like they are as much as possible but just give excerpts, we don’t need the whole spot. It’s important to show range but only include the kinds of reads that are your strength. If you’re Portuguese grandmother accent is weak, I’d leave it off.
Lead with your best read of course but try to vary the tempo between clips, make it interesting for the listener by doing whatever you can to avoid it sounding repetitive and only include types of read you can replicate easily and a real recording session. If it takes you three hours of warming up before you can finally nail the Sean Connery impersonation. It probably shouldn’t be on your demo, should also know that I rarely get request for Sean Connery impersonations. Brevity is attractive and that’s actually my motto at voiceovercanada.ca.
Now as far as courting an agent, there’s a fine line between persistent and completely annoying and the trick for aspiring voice talent is to stay on the right side of that line. It’s true the voice demo is always going to be the number calling card for a talent trying to land an agent but there’s also the matter of your personality. I want to present people I love like, people who at least somewhat normal, someone easy to deal with and somewhat sane. I can usually detect the extra chromosome earlier on and no matter how talented you are, if you annoy me too much out of the gator or generally exhibit PIDA, that’s pain in da ass behavior. I’m likely going to decline representation.
So, here are some of my person dos and don’ts when it comes to seeking representation and I’ve been listed a few talents from my very own roster at pnagency.com, to help me with the dos and don’ts. Do drop me a line with legitimate questions about the agency and or the voiceover industry.
Female: Don’t ask how much many you can make before have you’ve heard your demo or try to correspond for an entire afternoon because I’ve responded to your initial inquiry.
Roger King: Do follow up with an e-mail or phone call to see if I received your demo.
Male: Don’t call nine times in one afternoon hanging up each time until someone’s answers your call live. Are you not aware of a little bit technology called, call display.
Roger King: Do actually spell my name correctly in your cover letter or e-mail intro and have a general sense of the agency you’re contacting.
Female: Don’t send a group e-mail to 12 agencies at once, its screens. I don’t care who represents me and I can’t be bother to do any research.
Roger King: Do send or e-mail a professionally recorded demo approximately one minute to one thirty in length.
Male: Don’t send eight separate audio clips each three minutes long covering every tape you’ve recorded in the studio since 2001.
Roger King: Do spell check. Of course I know you’re not applying for a masters in Victorian Era literature but you’re asking someone to represent you who is never meet you, being professional and actually proofreading what you’ve written, starts things off on a good note.
Female: Don’t write an essay when applying for voice representation. You’re not applying for masters in Victorian Era literature.
Roger King: Do try and show a sense of humor but only if you have one.
Male: Don’t mistakenly think you’re a Simpson character impressions are hilarious. Odds are they’re probably not.
Roger King: Do take yourself and your work seriously.
Female: Don’t take yourself and your work too seriously.
Roger King: Now I mentioned earlier looking for signs of sanity when a voiceover talent gets in touch with me. Of course I want to rep someone who’s talented but I also want someone to be normal, professional and hopefully likable as I mentioned before and little clues about the personality can emerge, even from a short cover letter or introductory e-mail. I mentioned earlier about spelling, gets rid about spelling mistakes. Do they appear not to know anything about my agency? Have they attached or links that don’t have anything to do with voice work. A photo is always nice but I don’t need the 11 jpeg and four QuickTime files.
Some of us may seem like net picking but the agent talent first impression is much like a blind date, you get a sense earlier on whether you want to stick around for dinner and these little things that I mention are sort of generally science of sloppiness. Is it much of stretch to suggest that the person who doesn’t proofread his e-mail might not show up for an audition. How much does this person care about his career or people’s perception of him or her if he can’t even take forty five seconds to review grammar and spell check. I’m also amused by people who don’t think they need any training. A couple of weeks ago I had a guy e-mail me an MP3 of him literally reading one sentence and he wanted me to evaluate his potential for a career on voice work base on six seconds of audio. Wow! I’m impressed by all the effort you’ve put in your potential career best far.
In general as talent agent want the people we represent to have some experience or at least training and speaking completely sentences both on microphone and off. If you can give some indication that you’ve heard of my agency, that’s a bonus and if you actually make a proper voice demo that is one minute to one thirty in length, well now we’re talking and maybe you will be too for a living. I leave it there. Hopefully more secrets of an agent man to come and of course you can always them at the voiceovercanada.ca. This is Roger King. That will be all.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast visit the voiceover expects show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Roger King, PN Agency, Agent, Voice Work, Voice Acting, Business, Talent, Voice over Canada.
Links from today’s show:
Your Instructor this week:
Roger King is the President of PN Agency which provides voice-over talent to the radio, television, film, multi-media and animation industries. In 2004, he launched a sister agency, Ethnic Voice Talent (EVT), and now represents over 100 voice over talents and translators in more than 15 different languages.