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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A very voice over afternoon...

While Sunday was filled with music projects, today was a big voice over day for me.  It all started with a phone call which, by the end of it, had me diverting all my energy from working on George's picture toward tweaking my website, editing my demo and doing general research and organization. 

The call was from another voice over talent and coach who was administering the free evaluation I had solicited a few weeks ago via this site.  They say they'll evaluate your career if you send them a demo and let them look at your marketing materials (e.g. website whatever else).  Always a skeptic, I wasn't sure what to expect but I figure it couldn't hurt. Worst they'd do is try to sucker me into paying for something I don't want to pay for, which wouldn't be a big deal since I don't have a whole lot of money to throw at things like that anyway.  There was a red flag because they offer some kind of package deals to promote you to talent agents, etc.  I've always heard you should never give anyone money up front for representation so I was all set to turn down whatever they were going to offer me. 

But, in fact, they were brutally honest and actually quite helpful.  Which, let's be honest, is exactly what I need at this stage.  Realism.  I've known for sometime that either Edge didn't give me much of a head start or I didn't take advantage of them enough.  I came away with the feeling that I wasn't quite ready to market myself, not simply because I was still working on getting my materials together but because I didn't get a whole lot of mic time during the three months I worked with them.  The notion that they sort of churn out voice talent at an alarming rate is certainly out there and hearing it from this woman today was not a surprise to me (One of the coaches I worked with at Edge even said so!).

Other than bashing the place I did my "training" she did have some fantastically valuable information on marketing, specifically pointing out some of the things I was doing wrong and evaluating my choices, putting them in a different light.  For example, I though it was a good idea to advertise that I do both music and voice over on the same website, and I even put this question to someone at Edge and got the opposite answer from what this woman gave me.  Apparently, as a result of putting voice over and music stuff on one site, it's confusing and casting agents don't have a lot of time to be confused.  A lot of people I spoke to about it were agreeing with the notion that casting agents looking for voice and music for projects (like most of them) would be attracted to someone who could do both.  It appears to make logical sense.  So I went with it.  But, as this woman pointed out, it also makes me look like I'm not outstanding at one or the other, I just happen to do both.  And I thought about it some more.  A casting agent is casting voice talent.  They're not necessarily trying to source music for a project as well.  That's someone else's job within the production company.  So maybe I could market myself to someone like this but ultimately, I need to be considering the fact that the vast majority of jobs I'd be looking at doing, I really only need to be impressing a casting agent and not necessarily trying to reel in the whole production team.  Maybe eventually once I've established that I'm a pretty decent voice talent, I can start advertising both together.  But even then, the above situation still applies.  Casting agents don't have time to care that I do music, too. 

So anyway, the other major thing that she pointed out is that I should really have a commercial demo.  Something that's been on my mind for a while now...well, since I've been doing all this research and found a few production companies that, when soliciting new voice talent, asked that I upload a commercial demo.  The vast majority of jobs, she tells me, in the voice over world are commercials.  Narration gigs and the like are specialty jobs and are fewer and farther in between.  This is something that never came up at Edge where they tell you what they think you'd be suitable for after evaluating your voice at one 4 hour seminar.

Well, you live and you learn and I've gotta think about this as part of my education.  It's not as though I've wasted time or money.  I didn't get absolutely nothing from Edge.  They certainly are a great resource even if their methods are not the best.  And I'm not going to cower in the corner because some professional voice talent says I'm not ready for an agent.  In fact, she wasn't even suggesting I do that.  What I thought was great was that she pretty much told me what I had to do before I'd be ready for an agent and gave me a lot of options, none of which was to spend money on something I wasn't ready for.  So, that was cool.

Anyway, this whole thing launched me into a revamping of my marketing materials today.  I emailed my graphic designer and my web designer to start working on it all.  The plan is to have a separate single page website for voice over that will be linked from my main page but will be a different URL, voice.timdaoust.com.  Hence new business cards strictly for voice.  I'm even considering taking the logo down to just say my name instead of Tim Daoust Audio.  We'll see though. 

I'm scheduled for a coaching session with one of my coaches from Edge who is now no longer with Edge and whom I always see at Learning Ally.  I made the decision a while back that I would go get some more coaching and now I'm thinking of making it a regular monthly (at least) thing.  I'm going in with a very direct plan with clear goals, one of them to work up to recording a commercial demo. 

That having been said, I need to get to sleep here soon.  I'm getting up at 6am to travel to Philly for that recording session and I have a big day of traveling after that too.  Headed by train to DC where I'll be hopping on the DC metro system to meet my brother-in-law at the end of the yellow line.  I'm going to be very tired but very jazzed, because I'm getting to visit with my nephews and niece for a bit before we head to NC.  I'll blog more from the bus tomorrow if I can.

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