This topic is covered heavily during the weekly online training seminar Voice123 for voice talent. I talk about how knowing the right projects for yourself is a critical skill in any voice over career. However, given that SmartCast puts such a heavy influence on voice talent being selective, voice talent have expressed that the following instructions have been the most helpful of any other training given about working online. Why?
Anytime a new method of doing business arrives into an industry, along with styles of communication changing, comes the understanding as to ‘what is really happening’. For this, as I am writing, I am literally going to take a project from the project directory on Voice123, and analyze why I would or would not audition for it. Keep in mind, we all get invited to the wrong project because of the requests filled out. If you choose to say no, you will not hurt anyone’s feelings, nor will it be the end of your career. What I am about to describe relates to SmartCast projects, only. There are also ways for people to contact each other privately for voice over jobs that do not influence anything SmartCast-related. You may learn from this how to effectively decide what to audition for, as well:
- Take a look at this modest, wildly handsome, staff profile: http://voice123.com/StevenLowell
- Now, lets say he gets invited to this project: http://voice123.com/lv/Ted_IT_Honcho_.html
My thoughts, as it relates to what I would audition for, which I say because YOU as the voice talent have to know exactly the type of jobs YOU want:
- Project description: “Cool! They want a geek of some sort! I can do that!”
- Auditions received: 63 “Ouch!”
- Auditions opened: 63 “Cool! He is still listening!”
- Deadline: At the time of writing this, there was a day left of auditioning, and the client was still listening. Good sign.
- Requested 65 auditions: “Cool! Because the default number on the project request form is 50, which means he paid attention to how many he wanted”
- Geographical Requirements: “Ok, so it will be me going up against people, globally”
- Budget: Fixed – USD 250 “Ok, so it is not a windfall. Let me check something out though because the Youtube video mentioned this was for Google.”
- Purpose of the Recording: Training, business presentations, sales, and web sites “Websites and new media. That fits my type of voice.”
- Recording Length: (Has more to do with quoting prices)
- Language Requirements: “Cool! I do speak English…I think.”
- Voice Gender and “Age”: Young Adult Male OR Middle Age Male: “Ok this usage of the word OR means I am facing people who have Middle Age Male in their profile. It is good to know who I am up against.”
- Recording & Delivery Requirements: • Audio files must be delivered via email & FTP: “Cool. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I had better know how to use email given that I work online.”
- Pre-, Post- and Production Services: • Deliver edited and finished voice tracks: “Ok, I can do that.”
- Years of Experience: The talent should have at least 2 years of experience: “If I did not have this requirement, I would not have been invited.”
- Union Requirements: The voice seeker is willing to hire either union or non-union talents for this project: This parameter has voice talent confused at times. In the United States, some states are forced unionism states. Voice123 recommends that every voice talent become familiar with the union regulations of your city, state, and country. Remember that we operate globally, so you may feel obligated to rules of your local market. In June 2011, it was learned that Screen Actors Guild had begun looking at Voice123 profiles to see if Union members filled out their profiles in accordance with SAG guidelines. They even mailed out a letter to voice talent.
- Script: Go through the script to see how professionally written it is, and whether or not it contains material that fits your type of voice. Each generation carries with it a certain writing style. If you are reading something, and for some reason, you feel drawn to it…It may just be that someone from your generation has written it. With different generations comes new ways to express, and convey experience.
One last thing, at the very bottom of every project details page, there is information that can tell you right away if a job should be passed on:
- Registered with Voice123 Since: Oct 18, 2010
- Projects Created in Voice123: 7
- Messages and Direct Invitations Sent Via Voice123: 14
This information should translate to you:
- Registered with the site for a while, and has never been kicked off!
- Created 7 projects in a short time span! Repeat Customer!
- Directly invites two people per project, so they trust the automated system!
Then, click on the link and take one last look at the Voice Seeker’s listening behavior:
- Not only does this voice seeker LISTEN, but he never double-posts jobs.
- A recommendation for those who get invited to ‘re-posts’…Only audition once. If they re-posted, it means the first round did not yield responses they could use.
On being selective…If you ever find yourself not being invited due to SmartCast’s audition balance (7% of voice talent not being invited due to the amount they audition), and you have to decide to be selective, these are my recommendations as a voice talent, on how to be selective:
- Script and description written professionally with lingo from the voice over industry.
- It must be something I can do perfectly; my ‘money game’.
- Seeker has to be on the site for over 6-months.
- Seeker has to have posted 3 jobs or more without re-posts.
- Seeker has to have a listening percentage of 80% or higher over the last 6 months.
Why? It will help me stay in contact with people who work the way I like to because:
- They have experience
- They offer jobs I can do
- They never were removed from the site for any reason, which means they pay everyone
- They post jobs without making mistakes
- They listen to the auditions.
Is this too strict, and am I costing myself work? No, not at all. I am building relationships with people who do this for a living, and know why it is important to me.
For you, as the voice talent, you have to know who you want to work with, why, and what you have to offer.