In Choosing An Agent
Nowadays, a lot of voiceover websites who act as agents for you exist, and since you are living in the 21st century, online scams are very much inevitable. Afraid of being scammed and victimized, aspiring voiceover talents are hindered in seeking help from someone to guide them on their careers. They then resort to representing themselves. But what is the catch of not having an agent? What are the things that you need to consider in finding an agent that would actually help you in your career? Can’t a talent do it all on his own? There are so many questions that will be discussed in this article.But, before anything else, what is an agent and why do you need one?
In the 60’s and 70’s, no one will hire a voice actor who didn’t have an agent representing him. But thanks be to the Internet, the game has changed. Voice over websites now exist and they act as something like a virtual agent – but agents are still around and still sought after.
Agents are business partners who technically works for you and specialize in getting you into auditions and helping you navigate your career. A good agent to have is someone who has established connections with those who can cast the projects you really want to work on, or the projects that can build your reputation as an artist, in this case, a voice artist.
You and your agent’s personalities should ideally jive. Remember, your agent is someone who represents you and is the one swinging the bat for you – your agent’s business style reflects on you and vice versa as a symbiotic relationship. This needs to be clear at the onset of your relationship with your agent – you and your agent should be heading for the same direction in shaping your career. Needless to say, you as a voice talent should be someone worth representing. A lot of the good agencies in the industry usually refuse to work with inexperienced talents, so, it is best to be armed with a good background in voice acting and with solid training foundations.
Agents who are under an agency mostly do not have only one talent. Be careful to choose an agent who represents enough number of talents, and not one who has too much on his plate. You should consider this because think about it, if an agent has so many talents that he is currently handling, when will he have time for you and your career? Amateur voice actors think that an agent is the key to getting jobs. Not so. Again, there are plenty of opportunities out there, you just need to know where to look and how to market yourself. The follow up question then is, if I know how to do it myself, why do I still need to hire an agent? The answer is very much simple.
You can do the seeking of opportunities yourself. You can take care of everything by yourself. From arranging your own schedules, to negotiating payment for work, or even hunting down those who still owe you. You can also take care of strategizing your career since you also know plenty of people in the business. Why not? Right? This may sound so simple,but sometimes, a person representing himself might already have blinders on. The idea of dealing with business with a different perspective is no longer there and that is when advertising agencies or casting directors begin to find the talent representing himself as unmanageable. It’s like looking at a large company’s organizational structure – you begin to understand the need for a supervisor on top of the representatives, managers on top of supervisors, senior managers on top of managers – it creates a structure and allows a flow of perspective and easier dissemination of information and instruction that helps improve the business. Remember that an advertising agency will not want to be talking to voice talents one by one, they’d prefer dealing with agents representing a number of voice talents since that is more efficient.
Some agents don’t get paid until they actually book a gig for you. So, this is one of the pros of having an agent – their motivation is driven by the fact that they need to get paid and so they market you. I suppose the time it gets completely blown out of proportion is when they treat you like they would a commodity because everyone would like to have a piece of you because you have achieved fame. An agent would still be useful in these situations as they filter out those projects that you shouldn’t be going for anymore since they aren’t worth the time or the effort and won’t do anything for your career.
Think it over – you know what an agent does – are you in that stage of your career where you actually need one? Do you have enough experience that an agent can build on? Beware, you might likely be more primed for a victim than a voice talent. The reason why experience is such a big deal is because you don’t want to end up with an agent who can prey on you. Stay away from those who offer “in-house” training or ‘pay to audition’. This has been described as unscrupulous practice. Another is, when they tell you about a “convention” of casting directors and talents are made to pay for those trips including shouldering the agent’s travel expenses – basically they dazzle you with a set-up life of the famous but really all the talent is doing is paying for these trips and the talent tagging along doesn’t really do anything. They do that by keeping you in the fantasy of showbiz world. It’s like being sold a product that you don’t need, you’re still scammed. In addition, experts in the voice over industry say that a talent should not agree to paying an agent in advance to represent him.
To sum it up, the voice over industry is not an easy industry to be in. In order to achieve success in this field, you would need to have the talent, the attitude, and you would need to have good people backing you up. What do you think are the qualities of a good agent? Have you been scammed by fake agents? Share your stories to us.