Voice Over Education Blog

July 2013

8 Ways to Make Dealing with Foreign Clients Easier by Paul Strikwerda


Whether you realize it or not, if you have an online presence, your business has gone global. That means you'll be dealing with people who are different. You'll encounter time differences and language barriers along with a few other challenges you should be prepared for. Here are some guidelines.

1. Don't expect people to meet your expectations.
Your assumptions are often colored by cultural stereotypes that reveal a lot about you. In a business relationship, it's your job to meet your client's expectations. Not the other way around. Do your homework, so you'll understand before you start communicating.

2. Timing is crucial.
Be aware of the time difference when contacting a client and when committing to deadlines. Right now, my day on the East Coast just started, but it's nearly over in Canberra. Half an hour ago, my agent in Paris finished her lunch. Respect business hours (and beware of lunch hours), wherever your contact may be.

3. Never assume. Always ask.
Misunderstandings, especially between people from different countries and cultures, often happen when one or both parties believe something to be a given. What's common sense in one country may not be taken for granted in another. When in doubt, check it out.

4. The devil is in the details.
Be clear on the details of the job and create a working agreement before you begin, especially with new foreign clients. Imagine this. You just recorded a huge e-Learning project and you're ready to email an invoice. Now your client is asking why you didn't record in WAVE-format, and why you forgot to edit and separate the files. Because the MP3 file you sent cannot be upgraded to WAVE, you have to start from scratch. Editing and file separation is going to take hours, which you did not build into your fee. "If only I had known," you mutter in frustration. Don't blame the client. It's your responsibility to know (see point 3).

Why it Pays to Stay Professional in a Sometimes Unprofessional Business by Rob Sciglimpaglia


This past week, a lesson in how difficult it is to book a part in this business was reinforced for me. I also reminded myself that no matter how much you pine for revenge against an unfair, sometimes unprofessional business, revenge never pays off.

About 8 weeks ago, I auditioned for a commercial. It was apparent when I got to the audition that the client was conducting it on their own, because they handed me a pad of paper and asked me to answer five essay questions about the project. I thought it was odd, but I had a lot of knowledge on the subject, so I obliged. After that, I was called in for my “screen test.” They must have liked what they saw, because after the hour audition, they called me back a couple of weeks later. Shortly after that, I get word that I was picked as one of three -- in the entire New York City area -- to be featured in this commercial. They asked me to keep a date free about 6 weeks out, and told me to round up a bunch of personal pictures of me, my family and co-workers, which they would need for the shoot.

A few weeks later, I get an email letting me know the shoot is still on. Now the director wants to know my hobbies. I give them my hobby information, and tell them I have been going through pictures for a couple of weeks. On the Tuesday prior to the Friday shoot, I send off an email asking for the final details, i.e., wardrobe, call time, location, etc. I get an email back a couple of hours later stating that the client has just met with the director, and the director has decided to cut the shoot in half and that they have selected someone else for the shoot, so they won’t need my services after all.

At that moment, anger shot through my body, and I could have shot back a nasty email. But I thought better of it and just thanked the client for the opportunity, saying “maybe next time we can work together.”

How To Think Like a Success by Tom Dheere


I teach Business and Money 201 for Edge Studio. It's a one-hour webinar where I cover topics like invoicing, goal-setting, negotiating rates, etc. At the beginning of each class, I always try to "prime" the students, so they're in the right frame of mind to receive and process what I'm about to teach. I talk about Systems of Thought (why you do what you do) and Systems of Execution (how you should do it). I share what I like to call “The Newbie Paradigm,” giving specific examples of how their Systems of Thought usually lead to failure. The most important piece of advice I give is to learn how to think like a successful voice talent.

It’s very simple: you’re an artist inside the booth, and a business outside the booth.

What does that mean? The first part is simple enough. When you’re in a recording session, you’re an artist, a performer. You’re vocally, mentally, and physically free. You’re open-minded and taking direction happily. You’re emoting and fully immersed in your technique. It’s all rainbows and unicorns in there, and everyone is happy.

The second part is where most people go off the rails. Many people are attracted to the voice over industry because they think it’s easy. “You just talk, right?” (Sigh.) They think you get coached up, get a demo, get an agent, and the money rolls in. Oh, and they get famous, too, because they get hired to do Family Guy, just like that. (Double sigh.) I hate to burst their bubble, but that’s just not how it works.

Be A Demo Cannibal! by J. Michael Collins


Pay to Play sites like Voices.com & Voice123.com are an essential part of almost any voice actor’s marketing plan. And like anything new, most people find they take some getting used to. You’ve already worked methodically to develop your talent and build your studio. Here’s a guide to Pay to Play, so you don’t have to learn it through the frustration of trial-and-error.
The online marketplace is hugely competitive, and talents who prepare themselves properly for it have a huge advantage. Don’t believe the naysayers ... people MAKE REAL MONEY from these sites, but only if they know the secrets of how to use them.

Here’s something a lot of people don’t know about P2P sites: 30-40% of the work being booked from these sites never makes it to a public audition.

What do I mean? Try using the search-talent feature on Voices.com or Voice123. Many voice seekers at these sites search demo categories or keywords. They then listen to a dozen or two demos, and send private invitations to the talents they like best. Sometimes 50 people are invited, but most of the time those private invitations go to no more than a dozen hand-selected people. Each of those talents suddenly has a far better chance of booking that job than they would in a public open call.

Often, I’ll get a private invitation where I am the only invited talent, which is almost a guaranteed job, and a chance to max out the voice seeker’s budget.

BUT ... if you have only one demo, listed in only one category, good luck getting found through a category search. If your demos aren’t tagged with keywords, (especially on Voices.com), you’re invisible when someone seeks a voice by clicking the word “Friendly.”

So make sure you have as many quality demos as possible on your profile, slotted into the appropriate categories, and tagged with good keywords.

Be A Demo Cannibal! by J. Michael Collins


Pay to Play sites like Voices.com & Voice123.com are an essential part of almost any voice actor’s marketing plan. And like anything new, most people find they take some getting used to. You’ve already worked methodically to develop your talent and build your studio. Here’s a guide to Pay to Play, so you don’t have to learn it through the frustration of trial-and-error.
The online marketplace is hugely competitive, and talents who prepare themselves properly for it have a huge advantage. Don’t believe the naysayers ... people MAKE REAL MONEY from these sites, but only if they know the secrets of how to use them.

Here’s something a lot of people don’t know about P2P sites: 30-40% of the work being booked from these sites never makes it to a public audition.

What do I mean? Try using the search-talent feature on Voices.com or Voice123. Many voice seekers at these sites search demo categories or keywords. They then listen to a dozen or two demos, and send private invitations to the talents they like best. Sometimes 50 people are invited, but most of the time those private invitations go to no more than a dozen hand-selected people. Each of those talents suddenly has a far better chance of booking that job than they would in a public open call.

Often, I’ll get a private invitation where I am the only invited talent, which is almost a guaranteed job, and a chance to max out the voice seeker’s budget.

BUT ... if you have only one demo, listed in only one category, good luck getting found through a category search. If your demos aren’t tagged with keywords, (especially on Voices.com), you’re invisible when someone seeks a voice by clicking the word “Friendly.”

So make sure you have as many quality demos as possible on your profile, slotted into the appropriate categories, and tagged with good keywords.

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