Starting a career in the voice acting industry is a challenging feat. So many individuals find voice acting agents to help improve their journey and improve their chances of career success.
Voice acting agents take the demanding role of being a buffer between artists and clients, which include directors, agencies, or producers. Not many people can take on this role since many voice over talents can be very challenging to handle. The job of voice acting agents is not to give feedback on the audition demos of the talent, but to organize and gather high-quality pieces that bring out a voice over artist’s stellar skill. Once these audition pieces are streamlined, it will be easier for the agent to find the clients that need their voice.
After you’ve produced a demo, you’re probably excited to next approach voice acting agents to sign you. These professionals can help establish your name and get your talent heard by casting directors and producers.
Although getting voice acting agents is not a surefire way to grant you success in this competitive industry, securing representation will immensely help you get to where you want to be. If you want to sign with the top agencies and find the qualities you should look for in voice acting agents, we have compiled everything you need to know for your convenience.
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What Are Voice Acting Agents?
If you gather successful voice acting talents in a room, chances are, the majority of them are represented by talented voice acting agents. Although there is no set formula for success in this industry, agents will make job hunting easier for you.
Agents get a 10 to 20 percent commission of the artist’s fee, and this is something you should accept as part of the process. And working with voice acting agents, you may not get your payment right away since they have to follow certain processes that can delay your cut.
Agent vs. Manager
If you’re a newbie in the industry, you may interchange the terms managers and agents. The former role works with voice actors to guide them, and do not necessarily negotiate with clients nor set up auditions. On the other hand, the latter is licensed by the state to have legal rights in soliciting employment and negotiating contracts for voice acting talents. The major overlapping factor in the job description of the two roles is that both jobs take an interest in your success.
Many managers can also act as talent agents. However, the major duty of managers is to steer toward the representation best fitted to your voice acting career. Managers typically earn 15 percent on your booked jobs in addition to the 10 percent given to your agent. So if you are represented by both, 25 percent of your earnings go to these professionals.
Role of Voice Acting Agents
At some point, you will want to seek an agent to take your career to new heights. These voice acting agents are extremely knowledgeable and well-connected in the industry. Here are the major responsibilities of voice acting agents.
Voice acting agents only make money if they have talents to represent. Because of this, they need to find jobs for you. There are many ways voice acting agents can look for voice actors, such as holding auditions, taking internet submissions, and scouting. Agents need to be skilled, or else they will have a roster of clients unable to book jobs. When voice acting agents find a voice actor they want to represent, they will make sure that the actor’s talent is on par with other competitors in the field.
These professionals are also tasked to review audition options and results. Usually, these are made by casting directors. The casting calls are usually vague, although other ones require a specific type of voice. If voice acting agents have talents that meet the requirements, they ask them to make a demo and submit it for the project. In some cases, the agent speaks with voice actors beforehand to determine whether or not they want to take the gig. Voice acting agents also have the important duty of determining whether or not the casting call is a scam or is legitimate.
Communicating with clients
Aside from booking jobs, voice acting agents are also responsible for monitoring their signed voice acting talent at all times. Depending on how many voice actors the agent represents, it’s their job to keep an open line of communication with everyone. They might request that voice actors contact them if there are periods when they are available for projects. When the talent books a gig, they are also tasked to ensure that they understand the contract and the details about the project. These responsibilities include the rate, call time, and recording location.
Negotiating with clients
Voice acting agents are the major point of contact between voice actors and the casting director. If the latter wants to book a voice artist for a job or want to know their availability, they have to get in touch with voice acting agents. The agents also negotiate the rate of pay of the talent, which already includes the additional charge to cover their fee.
Ways to Find an Agent
Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge and look for voice acting agents, here’s what you should do.
Before you can get reputable voice acting agents, you have to put in the work. Just like other industries, start practicing your craft in the real world to establish a track record. This step would prove to agents that they can benefit from signing you. Not a lot of voice acting agents are willing to sign artists who have never booked any previous jobs before. To prevent this from happening, take whatever work you can get. Although not every experience will be glamorous, you can use it to move up the ladder. Contact non-profit organizations and charities and ask if you can do work for them. Just try your best to get your name out as a reliable professional.
Aside from getting work, you also need to constantly practice by taking lessons or workshops that are related to voice over work. This experience is a necessity, especially if you want to improve your skills and versatility. Find a class online or near your area and sign up for it. If you do not enjoy practicing, there is no point in looking for voice acting agents to sign you.
When you are a newbie in the field, it’s easy to get scammed by fake voice acting agents. To protect yourself, get a list of franchised agents from organizations in your area. For example, those in the US can check out the list from Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). There are still successful agents who are not part of this group, but its members are more reliable since they are accountable to the supervising organization.
You may also get resources such as directories that contain a list of managers and agents, their location, how long they have been working, who they want to represent, and what their submission guidelines are.
Talk to other voice actors
By now, you probably know professional voice over actors and other industry professionals like coaches. Ask people involved in the business if they can recommend someone or let you know who you should avoid. These people can also help you contact voice acting agents or get referred.
Just ask them to get the word out that you are looking for an agent since there may be voice acting agents who can find you through it.
Whenever you are auditioning, make it known that you want to get an agent who is in the position to help you. You may attend an audition where casting directors ask you who your agent is, so simply tell them you are still seeking representation and would appreciate any leads.
However, remember to be sensitive. Nobody wants to work with someone annoying or desperate. You are a professional, so act like it. Also, avoid cold calls since it can ruin your reputation. You either need to get recommended by someone or attend an open-call. When you secure a meeting, ensure that you have a demo ready. The last thing you want is to waste an opportunity by showing up unprepared.
Whether or not you are looking for an agent, marketing yourself is integral. Use social media to build your brand. This effective platform should be your gateway to connect with individuals and likeminded people in the industry, as well as research agencies and voice acting agents.
Remember to treat Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as professional platforms. For instance, do not use it to spread rumors or talk badly about a colleague. You may also use social media for marketing the shows and programs you have booked and to congratulate friends in the industry.
Aside from using social media, make sure you have a professional resume and a press pack. Typically, a voice over talent’s press pack includes headshots, references, and demo, among other information. You may also include a brief description of your style and capabilities.
When agents finally contact you, don’t be too eager to join their team. Meet with them first to determine whether or not you are a good fit. You have to get along before you can work together, not just professionally but also personally.
Voice acting agents should know what your short and long-term goals are. Also, ask your agent what they like about your talent and how they can help improve your career trajectory. Then, assess if your plans align. If you are intimidated by an agent or if they don’t fully believe in what you can bring to the table, you’ll end up with a subpar choice. During the first meetings, discuss your plans for your career.
You may also find out other clients that the agent represents. You wouldn’t want to get someone who is overbooked since you may become a less valuable asset. Getting a devoted agent with fewer clients is recommended.
What to Do When Agents Fail
If you do find an agent and figure out that you have a dysfunctional relationship later on, do not hesitate to find a new one. Although you should not expect results too soon, you should know the difference between being patient and being blown off by a lazy agent. There have been thousands of voice actors who did not make it in the industry because they are fearful of breaking things off with their agents. Understand that having an agent who is not maximizing your potential will not benefit you in any way.
Improve Your Career with Voice Acting Agents
Now that you know what voice acting agents are, you’re probably very excited to find one. Some voice talents find the perfect agent during their first months in the industry, while others take years. Just remember that you do not need an agent to start living your dream to become one of the best voice acting talents in the world. Even when you sign up with an agent, you will not simply wait for the phone to ring. It is crucial to keep working hard so you can make a name for yourself in this competitive industry.