Bob Bergen Shares His Storied Industry Insight On A Very Common Question: “How Do You Get A Voiceover Agent?”
By Bob Bergen
So, earlier this morning I was responding to the question, “How do you get a voiceover agent and how do you know where to submit?” on a [Facebook] vo group page. Since this is a very common question, and not every one of my connections are on this vo page, I gave SOVAS Online permission to share it hear. And let me preface with, you also need to be a brilliant actor! And you need to study acting, study improv, study voiceover, thoroughly. Before seeking representation, you need to begin with being a brilliant and prepared actor! Should have started there. 😉
Loaded question. Not all agents (or actors) are created equal.
No legit agent is actively seeking actors to represent. It is harder to get an agent than it is to get a gig. Actors have to really know what they have TO represent, which will help them in strategizing whom to submit to.
One reason the majority who submit to agents get rejected is they have no idea what they want out of their career. Most “just want to work more or want more auditions.” Well, who doesn’t want that??? But that is not a reason to represent an actor. Here’s what you need to ask yourself before submitting to agents:
– What do I want from an agent?
– What do I want out of my career?
– Which agents are appropriate to submit to with my current body of work?
– Do I have brilliant demos, a website, that will impress?
– What do I have TO represent?
From Society of Voice Arts and Sciences
Your demos need to be great, but if you are going to attempt to seek representation from top offices, Atlas, DPN, CESD, SBV, Buchwald, etc., your demos had better rock their world! (personally, I think no matter whom you submit to, you need to have demos and a career that reflects those at the top of their game with the top agents. And, you might need a demo for every genre these agencies represent: Commercials, promo, narration, animation, etc. Now, you certainly do not have to work in all genres. Just know that these agents already represent brilliant working actors who do. When submitting to an agent you are telling them you are as good or better than those they already represent. And, you have something different to offer.
AND, you have value. That value must be more than a desire for representation and to work more.
What brings you value? First of all, a referral. If you put “seeking representation” in the subject line, you might as well have put, “I’m just an amateur so feel free to dump this in the trash.” A referral will get you listened to. But impressive agents are only impressed with impressive referrals. Stay away from a fellow actor. This might get a listen to as a favor. But a referral from a commercial writer producer/casting director/voice director/promo producer, etc??? THERE’s that value!! This is a business about relationships! If you have an impressive referral you come with at least one possibility of future employment, for you AND the other clients the agent represents.
Now, the cover letter needs to be short but peppered with personality. And, you need to list recent work. Again, you need to have a body of work TO represent. Don’t have a body of work? Well, perhaps that’s your answer. You aren’t ready for an agent.
But if you do have a body of recent work, how you present this matters. A laundry list will not impress:
“Recent work includes: Tide, Wendy’s, iPhone.”
WOW! Those are 3 big companies???? That list says nothing! Also, actors can easily lie about what they’ve done.
Whom you worked with and where it was broadcast has more value than which companies you worked with. Again, this is a business about relationships:
“Recent work includes:
Tide (tv) Chiat Day Advertising Joe Schmoe, writer/producer
Wendy’s (radio) On Air Productions Jane Doe, writer/producer
iPhone (narration) Apple Tom Jones, writer/producer”
The names of these buyers and the companies they work for bring you value. If you’ve worked with buyers whom the agent also has, you are an easier sell next time this buyer submits an audition. If you’ve worked with a buyer the agent has not, you bring the value of a new business relationship to the agent.
SO-sit back and evaluate. Are you ready to be represented? Do you know what you want and need from an agent? Your career? Is any of the above something you never thought about or strategized?
Second chances are hard to impossible. Timing is essential when seeking representation. Surf agent’s sites. Listen to their actor’s demos. Surf their actor’s sites and social media. Get an idea of THEIR body of work. This will help you evaluate if you fit in. If you need to be union. Where you need to live. Etc. But it’s a lot more, a lot more than just wanting more auditions and work!
To learn more about Bob Bergen’s career, head on over to Bob Bergen’s Website for details. Plus follow, like, and love him on Social Media everywhere: