SAV Coach Ben Marney has an Audition Ranking of 362.50 on Voice123.com… higher than 100% of all Premium Subscribers!
Now that doesn’t mean that Ben booked 100% of the jobs he auditioned for, but we are very impressed with the high approval ratings he received back from prospective clients! Voice123.com is one of many pay2play sites, but is the only one that offers this particular ranking tool.
On most sites, the only feedback you receive is whether or not your audition has been reviewed by the client. However, Voice123.com‘s ranking tool breaks it down into several categories: Finalist, Considering, Maybe, Not Likely, Will Not Be Considered and Never Again! They can also show where you rank among the competition within each category, for example 1st out of 30 or 5th out of 30, etc. Voice123 then calculates your ranking percentage based on this information. You can also see on the same page how many auditions you have done compared with other VO talents in your category.
There are a couple of catches that prevent this from being entirely accurate… or something to focus all of your attention on! Only one out of three or four clients actually do the rankings, most do not give feedback at all. It is still a very helpful tool for talent to use though, because from the ones that do provide feedback, you can see how well you are doing with your auditions! The other point to consider is that sometimes you may still not end up with the job, even with a perfect ranking. As Ben says of his experience, “More times than I can count, I’ve been ranked ‘Finalist 1st out of 20’ and still did not get the job… but it’s a great and instant feedback on how you are competing out there. What’s important to understand is… Many times I have not landed the job I was auditioning for, even if I was ranked very high; however later, (weeks, even months later,) I’ll get a call and they hire me for another job… and then they turn into regular long term client!”
Simply put, the more that people hear your voice and like it, the greater your chance is of building a paying client list!
VO work for The Voice of Authority (my “brand”) has continued on a steady and varied pace. I recently had a very interesting experience with a new client. The story begins with a lesson I learned in sales and marketing a long time ago (and one that SAV rightly promotes too): push every button, pull every lever to make yourself known to your market as you try to reach prospects. In this case it was my joining (for only $10!) – New England Actors. Although most of their gigs are for on-camera actors, they do accept voice actors also. The real value I saw, however, was gaining access to their list of audio/video production firms (cloaked until you joined). Cold calling this list of 14 firms has so far resulted in two jobs with 2 different firms, and likely repeat work from both.
The second job, for a production shop called Visual Concepts, is the subject of my experience. I cold called the principal in March and then emailed a link to my SAV personal page and sent demo MP3s. I followed up with him in April, but there was nothing doing. Last week though, I got a call from him saying that he had a client that wanted my voice for a product overview to be introduced in July at a big Las Vegas trade show, to 500 doctors. The product is a kidney dialysis machine made by UltraCare. I won this by ‘electronic audition’ – Visual Concepts presented my narration demo, along with demos of five others to UltraCare, and I was chosen.
I expected to record and FTP the file on my own, as I usually do with jobs like this. But – as both Visual Concepts and UltraCare are local to my office and home studio, my surprise came when the producer said he wanted to come to direct me live. Then, a day later, the end-client at UltraCare, who’d said he wanted to be live by phone patch, announced that he too wanted to be in-studio! While I’ve done studio auditions, this was the first one in my studio. A mad dash ensued to clean my office, remove our dogs and cats, and otherwise “up” the professional image.
I got the scripts an hour in advance, and learned there was ‘politics’ involved – three scripts representing the view of different “factions”. With both men sitting nearby, I read all three and also helped them with some re-writes. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but their direction was minimal as they liked the reads. We were done in a little over an hour, and the best part was that I wasn’t tasked with any edits! The video is in post-production now, so I don’t have access to it yet. Overall, while there were a few ‘curve balls’ thrown along the way, it was a positive learning experience. My sense is that Visual Concepts will be sending me more work.
The advantages of recording at home is that it gives both you and your clients a win/win business relationship. The savings in studio fees for your clients can be phenomenal. It’s no secret that clients want to work with artists who cut great tracks and also save them money. Your clients know that hiring you will meet both their quality and budgeting needs.
Here are a few examples of how your home recording studio greatly benefits you and your clients:
- You: Short commute around the corner to a spare bedroom or down the hall.
- Client: No commute! You’re just a phone call and email away!
- You: Scheduling studio time…anytime you like!
- Client: Pure heaven! Great time flexibility in scheduling! I’m getting a professional quality recording without studio fees!
- You: Working in a relaxed home environment…even in your pajamas!
- Client: This is great! I can do this project on the phone and not leave the office or disrupt my daily schedule!
- You: Location is not a problem. Work with anyone…worldwide!
- Client: What a relief! I can access my favorite V/O artist for my overseas projects!
As you can see, offering home studio recording has quite a few advantages for you and your client. One of the best reasons to offer home recording is the marketing edge it gives you over your competition. Let’s face it; there are a lot of great voices in this industry. When it comes down to picking between you (V/O with home studio) and someone else (V/O only), who do you think your potential client will choose?
Now that you’re aware of the benefits in having a home recording studio, you need to know what professional equipment is necessary to do a quality job:
- A computer running Windows 7 or Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
- Audacity audio editor
- A USB preamp (Focusrite 2i2 is our favorite) – check here for more suggestions
- Microphone designed for professional speaking with a pop screen
- Quality microphone cable
You now have the basics on how home recording will increase your business and benefit your clients. The next thing you need to learn is how to set up your studio and use it!
" …that was the best $150 I have ever earned for a 3 minute job done in the comfort of my own home in my studio that my husband had built." –Anne-Marie Meeks, Professional Voice Over Actor, on her first job after completing the Such A Voice program
All of us have come into voice over work in different ways. Some of us are looking for a change of career, some of us are looking for a supplemental income and some of us are fulfilling a life-long dream much later in life. You always hear stories about artists showing signs of natural talent at a very young age and Anne-Marie Meeks definitely falls into this category.
Anne-Marie partially grew up in Nigeria, with her mother insisting that the children not speak the local lingo. So, she took to watching VHS videos of old movie classics like "My Fair Lady" and learning to mimic "proper English". Soon her family members couldn’t believe how similar she had made her voice sound to the movies and commercials she was listening to. After that a family member, who worked as a TV producer, cast Anne-Marie in her first gig in the 80’s doing a commercial for Star toilet paper. The older she grew, the more drawn into the VO industry she became. The deal was sealed when a classmate did his Engineering thesis on VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet Protocol) and needed a voice to demonstrate his product. He later sold the product with HER voice, and the rest has all been leading up to this point!
Anne-Marie worked with Anne Ganguzza in Dallas, Texas and there was an instant connection. "I loved Anne, she made me feel welcome and relaxed. I felt that we bonded. We first started out with VO in IVR‘s". From there she recorded her demo with Anne, and the first job didn’t take too long to arrive thereafter. "I had done the recording in my pajamas and fluffy slippers, sent it to the client and was really anxious. Within a minute, PayPal alerted me to payment and the client called to say he was pleased. I was so excited. VO Life is sweet!"
Anne-Marie’s advice for people venturing into the world of Voice Overs? "Always be open to constructive criticism, find your niche, everyone’s voice is unique and there is a unique job out there just for you… try your best and STICK WITH IT."
Congratulations Anne-Marie, we can’t wait to hear more of your successes!