The Voice Actor’s To-Do List

Hi. I’m David Goldberg, Edge Studio CEO (Chief Edge Officer).

“If you offer voiceover, do not skip anything on this list!”

What is this crazy long list?

It’s a list that will keep you waaay more successful.

And we share it because, well, we want you to be waaay more successful!

After 30+ years (gulp, really, that long?) of (1) pro voice actors sharing their business practices with us, (2) recording clients sharing their needs with us, and (3) our extensive team seeing first hand what works and what doesn’t, we are glad to share it with you.

Most items are simple, yet you may not have thought to do them … and they make a huge difference. Now it’s time to-do them.

Your MONTHLY To-Do List

1. Confirm your website’s key features are working. Otherwise you won’t know when things break down – and they do.

Check the following:

  • Do your demos play?
  • Is your contact information easily viewed?
  • Does your “request a quote” web form work?
  • Do all your portfolio links (that point to other websites) work?  Often times, clients remove media from their website without telling you.

IMPORTANT: Test on all popular browsers, different platforms, different phones,… because as new devices, platforms, and software versions are introduced, your current website may not be compatible with them!

 

2. Grow your business. Don’t fall behind!

  • Ask 3 or more clients for testimonials.
  • Ask 3 or more clients for a finished voice-over project you recorded for them – so you can consider adding it to your demo.
  • Survey 3 or more clients – learn their thoughts on working with you.

 

3. Improve your audition chops, and ensure you haven’t picked up any bad habits along the way. Clients won’t tell you why they didn’t select you.

  • Work with an audition coach.  Review the 3 or more best auditions that you submitted in the last month, but did not win.
  • Submit an entry in our free ‘Monthly Audition Contest’ (www.edgestudio.com/script-contests).  Hope to win a prize.  And learn from our director’s ‘Why some talent didn’t win this audition contest’ article.
  • Use the free ‘Feedback Forum’ (www.edgestudio.com/feedback-forum).  This is a peer-to-peer feedback site for voice-over recordings.
    • Upload one or more recordings each month (auditions or paid jobs) and learn from the comments you receive.
    • Provide comments on two or more recordings for other voice actors.

 

4. Research your clients – know what they’re up to. The more you know about them, the more ways you can offer to help them.

What you learn allows you to more easily suggest ways you can help them.  (More on this in the following “Remain ‘top of mind’ with your clients” section below.)

 

5. Consider how your clients see you. Are you still the person everyone wants to work with?

  • Are you continuing to show them how you can help them?  E.g., Do they know about your new capabilities? Have you suggested other ways you can work together?
  • Are you continuing to show them that they can trust you?  E.g., Do they know you’ve attended voice conferences?  You have new testimonials?  You’ve completed large-scale projects for other companies?
  • Are you continuing to evolve along with them as their business evolves? E.g., Do they know that you are up to date with their business?  Do they still see you as a member of their team, rather than a “service provider”?
  • Are you asking them the right questions?
  • Have you made their life easier/better in the past month?  Be the person everyone wants to work with.

 

6. Remain ‘top of mind’ with your clients. Ensure they’ll remember you when they need you.

  • Send updated demos – doing so suggests that you’ve been busy.  Ensure you have fresh content on the demos.
  • Send new testimonials.
  • Inform them of new equipment, new capabilities, new services …
  • Inform them of related experiences – such as that you attended a conference, gained knowledge on something useful to them …
  • Compliment them and, when possible, tie it into how you can further help them. Have they opened a new office?  Then respond: “Congrats on your new office.  If you need updated telephony prompts, let me know.”   Or have they released a new product?  Then respond: “Congrats on your new product!  If you need web videos or commercials to promote it, let me know.”

 

7. Ensure you have properly invoiced all appropriate clients!  Besides delivering clear voiceover, you need to deliver clear invoices!

  • Check your invoices – how do they look?
  • Is your template displaying / auto-populating correctly?
  • Does it look good on various devices and operating systems?

 

8. Ensure you have properly thanked all appropriate clients! Thank you goes a looong way!

 

9. Ensure your backups are backing up! Otherwise you may be a rough spot one day!

  • Pretend you lost a file and download it from your backup.

 

10. Review your monthly business goals. Avoid becoming complacent.

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed them.
  • Create new monthly goals.

 

11. Review your monthly marketing goals … and tailor as necessary.

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed them.
  • Create new monthly goals.

 

Your QUARTERLY To-Do List

1. Stay on top of technology. It changes fast.

  • Does your website mention any new technology you offer?
  • Still using an old piece of gear that causes a bit of hiss or hum? Look into new equipment that sounds better, perhaps costing less than what you originally paid.
  • Still using old software?  It may take you more time to edit a recording, and therefore you need to charge more than other voice actors who can do it faster.
  • Research and learn as much as you can. At Edge, we ask vendors to tell us about new products, and they ask us to test them.  When we try it, we blog about it.  Word spreads. Don’t be left behind.

 

2. Check your studio quality. Things happen…

  • Compare a new recording to one that you know has ‘industry standard’ quality.

 

3. Check other voice actors’ websites and demos.  Remain competitive. 

  • Know what they’re up to. (How else can you compete?) Guaranteed, you’ll get ideas to enhance your own website and demos.

 

4. Find trends in the industry.

  • Listen to voice-over work in the world.  From talking elevators to commercials, listen intently.
  • Find 3 or more new journals, blogs, white papers, press releases … on the voice-over business.  Also do this for any voice-over genres that you may specialize in.  Read them daily.
  • When you find new trends/styles that could be a profitable niche for you, or that could distinguish you, be sure to update your website and demos.

 

5. Train – ensure you’re excelling in your areas of specialty (documentary, audiobook, corporate, animation, commercial, etc.).

  • Work with a coach who lives and breathes any specific genres that you may specialize in.  They should be up on industry trends and industry trade journals.  They should know which clients are currently hiring in that space, what those clients are currently listening for in auditions, and what those clients are currently listening for in demos.  The coach should know what other voice actors in this genre are currently charging their clients, what their websites look like, and how they run their voice over business. Coaches like this are at Edge Studio.

 

6. Train – ensure you’re ready for any work a client may throw your way.

  • Work with a coach who understands the entire industry (the various genres of voiceover, casting agents, production studios, etc.).
  • Find out if clients are casting new styles, and if you could be marketable for them.

 

Your ANNUAL To-Do List

1. Consider your rates.

  • Should they be changed?
  • Do other voice actors offer new and different rate structures?
  • Re-memorize your rates.  You need to know them offhand, so you can speak about them comfortably and confidently.  But it’s easy to forget them.
  • Review your suggested contract and practices to confirm they’re still current.

2. Listen objectively to your demos.

  • Are they still current? Are you?
  • If something on your demo is not selling, get rid of it. Don’t keep pushing it when there’s no demand.

 

3. Listen objectively to your voice.

  • Has your voice and/or range changed?
    • If so, are you appropriate for other types of work?
    • Are your demos a true representation of your current voice?
  • Have your interests changed? Or have you gained experience in other fields?
    • If so, consider narrating work in these new subject-matter areas.  When you narrate copy that interests you, your passion is translated to the listener.
  • Update your demo and marketing material appropriately.

 

4. Review and rewrite your business plans.

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed all monthly goals within your plans.
  • Create goals for the next twelve months.
  • Don’t have plans? Develop them. The time it takes will pay off.

 

5. Review and rewrite your marketing plans.

  • Confirm that you’ve reached or surpassed all monthly goals within your plans.
  • Create goals for the next twelve months.
  • In this area, too, if you don’t have specific plans, develop them. It saves you far more time than it takes. And it helps your marketing be more effective.

 

Your ALWAYS To-Do List

1. Always learn. And use your knowledge to help your clients.

 

2. Always move forward. Backward doesn’t help. Sideward doesn’t exist. Yep, forward’s the only way to go.

 

3. Always, ALWAYS review this ‘action plan.’  Follow it. And follow your career.

 

Our To-Do list is to help you.

Call us at 212-868-EDGE (3343).

Email us at [email protected]