One of the Social Media Networks on my radar is the Working Voice Actor group on LinkedIn. The group host is Ed Victor, a voice talent now in Florida. He tries to “whack the hornets nest” each week with a topic. This week he posted a question about competition or camaradarie. Are we competing against each other for the job? Or are we simply “trying out” to see if we’re the right fit?
The voiceover community seems to be heavy on being congenial with the competition – probably because we are all different. We offer advice to newbies who may end up auditioning for the same work. We actually like to travel – sometimes long distances – to have a chance to see each other face-to-face.
More and more – as the ways of doing business evolve away from in-person auditions to online – we don’t get the chance to ever meet our “competition.” I miss that.
I miss the days when I would see my local competition at auditions. (I posted some of this on that thread on Ed’s group.) It was a different time. There were no key words that made you show up on the top of a list of disassociated contenders. You had the chops to be with a good agent who sent you out. Networking and personal contacts helped to a degree. I remember seeing producers at the theater or at the store – and then getting a call from my agent for a gig because I happened to see that person when they were in that decision making mode.
My agent had a go-see list (or a call list) and I made it part of my personal marketing plan to smile and dial on a regular basis – after scouring the local trade mags to make sure I had something relevant to say instead of “got any work for me.”
Now you need to add so many other factors into the decision making process. Talent is just the smallest part it seems these days. Word of mouth is working well for me – for the bread and butter jobs – the work that pays my mortgage. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have had a website since 1996. But the really big gigs – the ones that would pay off the house in one fell swoop are still being cast the old-fashioned way for the most part. Big agents. Big casting calls. And the person who gets the gig had the good fortune to be the voice in their head that day. They were the right fit.