Voice Agents: The Need for Speed

If you talk to successful people on PTP sites, almost everyone will make the same point—if you want to book, you need to submit auditions as quickly as possible.  

On the surface this does not make any sense. As there are deadlines attached to every audition, it would make sense that “producers” would begin listening sometime around that deadline.  In fact, a different paradigm has evolved, whereby producers begin listening early so as to not be overwhelmed by too many choices.  Deadlines are therefore constantly moving goal posts and performers are left hoping they will be heard.


I discovered a similar dynamic with Voicebank years ago when I was an agent.  I came in one Monday to discover a national network Ford audition due on Friday.  As it turned out, they were looking for 30-ish men and I already had my guys coming in that morning.  I attached Ford to their packet of scripts and submitted roughly 15 voices to Voicebank around 2 PM. At around 5 PM, I received a call.  “Was “X” client available to do a demo tomorrow afternoon?”  Keep in mind I was very used to booking Voicebank jobs and I knew our speed and efficiency correlated with success.

This particular job was posted in the morning, due on Friday, and it was still Monday afternoon. The story does not quite end there.  As it turns out, they called the following morning and went with “Y” client instead of “X,” and booked the same time that PM.  In other words, they had time to debate, make a choice, and book a talent before my competition even submitted their clients.  And what was the result?  “Y” client made roughly $40,000 on that particular job and has made at least three times that in future earnings based on his relationship with the ad agency.


As far as I can see, the speed dynamic has not diminished, and may indeed be still intensifying.  What does that mean for talent?  A couple of things:

1) Any performer who is relying on Voice-overs as a primary source of income needs a home studio.

2) Performers who are relatively mobile (actors for instance) need mobile solutions as well. This applies to everyone, including celebrities who have consistent work.

3) Talent should have dedicated mailboxes for auditions.  I realize that everybody has smart phones, but there is nothing more frustrating then missing an audition because you failed to notice it among Groupons and school announcements.

4) Double check deadlines if it appears that you can’t complete an audition in time.  We at ACM for instance, create deadlines based on when we can listen, not necessarily when the producers are requesting auditions back.  Sometimes, we can sneak auditions in at the last minute if we know it is only a couple.

5) Be prepared to audition several times a day.  I suggest that talent should create a schedule whereby every three or four hours they are prepared to belt out whatever auditions they have.  In between, they can run errands and manage their personal lives.  

The “need for speed” calls attention to one final fact that I think all performers need to keep in mind: Voice-Over isn’t just a talent industry anymore.  The business is a combination of talent and service, and just as you appreciate your oil change or a haircut being done in a timely manner, the same goes for producers receiving their tracks.