Secrets of An Agent Man: Don’t Call Us, We Won’t Call You

Happy 2015! It’s a new year and I have been away for the blog for a bit. In between the last post and this one, I manage to secure a U.S. Distribution deal for my documentary about rock radio disc jockeys, I Am What I Play. Click here for the trailer:

But I must get back to communicating to the legions of followers of Voice Over Canada.

It’s a new year and one thing agents can look forward to is a flood of calls, emails and demos from talents who have put getting or changing an agent at the top of their New Years Resolutions. We are probably second only to fitness clubs in the amount of inquiries in January from the resolutions crowd.

So, how are you going to cut through the crowds and sustain an agent’s attention? Well, having been an agent for almost a decade and a half, I have to be honest – I have no idea. But I do know the things that won’t get your email or call returned.

-First off, sending an email with no subject is a big red flag that this person isn’t worth representing because they couldn’t even be bothered to title their email. And an untitled email looks like spam.

-Don’t send a blast email to several different agencies at once. It is like you are saying “I don’t really care who represents me and I can’t be bothered to research the different agencies to see whether there is a fit.”

-Along those lines, you have to have an understanding of who you are emailing. I get emails sometimes where the person doesn’t even know it’s a voice talent agency. Like the guy from Chicago last week who asks if I will rep his band.

-Your demo needs to be a demo. We get audio files from people recording 30 seconds of audio on their iPhone, reading from the newspaper or doing wacky voices from their bathroom. Professionally produced voice demos only please.

-You need to have some experience or at least training. The agent is not the first call you make when trying to start out in the business. We get involved much later on in the process.

Simply put, with all the information available on the web that only requires a quick google search, there is no excuse for someone to not have at least some general idea of how the industry works. You might debate this to some degree but no agent is interested in a person who doesn’t take the business serious enough to at least do some research.

Other reasons I haven’t returned your call:

-Multiple calls/messages within a short period of time. As I’ve said on this blog before, sometimes it’s a fine line between persistence and completely annoying. When you call, leave a voicemail the first time. Feel free to follow up with an email. And then be patient. It’s perfectly acceptable to call or email a week or two later to see if the message was received; repeated calls though will usually not be returned.

-To the guy who called 3 times on Saturday: your call will not be returned at all. Putting aside the fact you called 3 times, that it was on a Saturday shows some kind of laziness and/or no desire to actually talk to someone. The same goes for those who call at 7:00 am or 11:00 pm, or on a long weekend.

-Multiple attachments: Ideally, we need one demo and that’s it. A resume and picture aren’t necessary but if you want to send, that’s fine. But don’t send your “demo” in 9 different audio files. Again, show that you’re serious by taking the time to produce one good demo.

I used to pride myself in responding to every demo. When I was starting out as a voice talent myself, I always appreciated someone who took the time to respond, even if it was a rejection. Particularly if they offered some constructive criticism, rather than just a form letter. I kept this streak alive for years but I also boxed myself into a corner, falling hopelessly behind in listening to demos as I deftly crafted my rejection letters. But the voice over biz has just exploded – and many newcomers have found this blog – so with the sheer volume of demos we receive, I can only afford the time to respond to the people who show roster potential and anyone who is clearly taking the business seriously.

I still am hopelessly behind in listening and responding to demos but I will get to you eventually, don’t worry.

Some of the ideas in this post have been explored previous in this space. Have a look at past Secrets Of An Agent Man postings:

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