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Voice Coaches Radio #458 – You Have Your Demo…Now What?

 Voice Coaches Radio. Everything voiceover.

And welcome into this week's edition of Voice Coaches Radio. I am Josh Heller. Delighted to have you joining me as we are each and every week. And we are delighted to be joined by none only, none other than Mr. David Bourgeois. David, thank you so much for taking some time and, uh, and chatting with us here today.

No, Josh, thank you. I insist. It's a pleasure to see you at work, doing what you do, or, my bad, to hear you at work, I mean. Well, I'm seeing and hearing you. I'm seeing the back of your head.

Probably the best view, to be totally honest.

Terrific. Terrific, man. Um, so, we, uh, obviously, um, we want to talk about something that I know that, You know that, that we talk about a lot with, uh, with our students.

Sure. And, and otherwise, and I know that, that you deal with, you know, quite a bit personally, uh, you know, dealing with students one-on-one, and that is what happens after they get their demo. Right. This is, I mean, and it's so important, this idea of. marketing, getting yourself out there and, uh, you know, really treating this as an entrepreneurial opportunity.

But what that means is something different, right? So I, I want to try to, to hear kind of from you, what types, uh, what types of questions, what types of, of issues are, are people running into and how can we kind of head that off?

Well, I think the first thing to, uh, think about for anybody going into voiceover is, Things don't begin with a demo.

So, so we talk about putting together a voiceover demo. A demo in our field acts as an audio resume. I think probably anybody listening to this podcast knows that. But skill development, you know, awareness of opportunity, general job knowledge, those are all things that sort of go along with or, you know, come before putting together a demo.

Once you put together a demo, a demo is something that much like a written resume, Uh, you're going to continue to develop that demo throughout your voiceover career. Uh, so when somebody is at a point where they have developed a voiceover demo, presumably they are ready to pursue professional voiceover work.

And yeah, sure, that, that involves marketing. When I got going in this field about a million years ago, and by a million, I mean 30 or so, when I received a demo from a voice professional, it was assumed that they were a voice professional. That was who sent demos out, you know, people who were skilled voiceover artists, you know, today with the advent of home based recording and everything's got a microphone on it.

Um, and unfortunately, because of some misleading Uh, things on the internet, people wrongly assume they should just jump into putting a demo together. Uh, so. As somebody that receives a lot of demos, and I, I cast voice actors routinely, uh, we no longer can assume that just because we get a demo from somebody that they actually can do this at a professional level, uh, that we can count on them, you know what I mean?

So that's, uh, you know, I know that's not directly your question, but I wanted to, I wanted to throw that in there. Uh, When it comes to marketing, Josh, uh, there is something I brought up to you. I think it's why I ended up sitting in with you today, uh, that I do see. As a problem, uh, we're very careful with, with the clients that go through our, our program process, uh, it's just sort of lay out what I would refer to as a relationship based approach.

Um, in other words, instead of looking for voiceover jobs, look for voiceover relationship. Uh, long term repeat work relationships, which is traditionally how this field works. Uh, people like me who cast voice actors, once we've got somebody that we're happy with, we will go back to them repeatedly long term.

You want to make yourself that person.

I think you, uh, I think you said that, uh, producers are lazy and paranoid. I believe the two words that I heard. That is something I've said when I've given talks on voice acting. Sure, uh, you know, and I don't mean that. Oh, no, no, no. I don't mean that to be as negative as it sounds.

I mean, we are paranoid. Ultimately, the job has to go, we have to deliver the product for the client, right? So, it's, you know, when we're casting, we're careful because we are a little afraid that the thing might go sideways on us. And, uh, that does create a certain laziness in that. Instead of searching through a hundred voiceover demos or voiceover auditions, we do tend to go back to the same people a lot, for sure.

What I'm seeing as a trend these days that I'll illuminate for you is we really present this relationship based approach. And it's like, you know, recognize that you're running a business, treat it like a business, make a plan for success. Uh, and I. have been on the receiving end over the past six months of good handful of phone calls from voice actors who say something along the line of, Hey, listen, I'm a little bit frustrated.

I've been working at this now for five or six months. And, uh, You know, I haven't gotten a job or I've, I've only gotten, gotten one job or, you know, whatever, whatever the complaint is. And then they go on to say, you know, I went out and I spent a lot of money on home recording equipment. And then I went out and I spent a lot of money joining some web based voiceover marketplaces.

And I I'm just, I'm not getting work and I'm really frustrated. And my response is, you know, we didn't. to do that that wasn't the way that we suggested you should approach this. You know, web based marketplaces are certainly one, one viable way to find work, but they're not an easy way to find work at all.

And they're not the only way to find work. And they do rob you sometimes of that, that relationship building. Right. And what I hear back from people, Josh is, Oh yeah, yeah, I know, I know, You didn't tell me to do that, but I read, you know, I read on the internet. That's what I should do. So two weeks ago, somebody said that to me and I literally said back to the woman on the phone.

I said, well, you know what you should do. You should call up the internet and ask the internet for some advice then. Because if you're not going to, to, to listen to some of the things we suggest, I don't really know how to help you. I think there's a lot of great information on the internet, but you've got to use some common sense, I think, as well.

Uh, you know, a great example, uh, a former client of ours joined a web based marketplace. And that web based marketplace, which, by the way, is very reputable, uh, Says right up front, you know, expect to do around a hundred auditions to secure your first job. So I said to the, the former student, I said, how long, you know, you're new to home recording, how long is it taking you to complete an audition?

And she said, you know, 45 minutes to an hour to really get it right. I said, okay, so let me get this straight. You're going to spend a hundred hours, give or take auditioning for work, you know, on a website where. If you are not one of the first people to audition, the person I'm receiving on is probably never going to listen to you.

Anyway, I said, what if you were to spend a hundred hours and I stopped myself, I said, nevermind. How about, how about 52 hours? How about one hour every week, actually reaching out to businesses and organizations in your community. What if you were to spend an hour a week? Getting involved in things like a chamber of commerce or, uh, the American advertising federation, things that, that allow you to represent yourself as a professional and build actual relationships, long story short, she.

She started to follow that practice, uh, and, and she followed another practice we suggest, which is tell everybody you know what you're doing. Well, she called me a couple of weeks later and said, you're never going to believe this. Um, a relative of mine has a friend from college that is developing an animated TV series and they're going to listen to my demo.

I'm like, well, I, I would believe it. Yeah. Because that's how it works. Yeah, man. There's a big need for voice actors. They just need to know that you're there. Um, so long story short, she got the audition. She got the job. Uh, she is voicing two characters in this series. The moral of the story here is. The web based approach, the home recording approach is fantastic.

There is a lot of opportunity there. However, there's a lot of competition and a great deal of that competition comes from people who aren't even really voice actors. Um, the secondary problem is. That method is not the best method for building repeat work relationships. You're always going to look for a first job, but people who are true earners in our field continue to look for first job opportunities, but they pad their income out with continued job opportunities, if that makes sense.

Yeah, that's work that you're really, that you're really no longer working for. You've already, you've already put in the work for that.

Yeah, man, I'll ask people, uh... Us paranoid and lazy people go to you because you make it easy on us, you know, but, but be that person, you know what I mean, be, you know, it gives you the chance to, to be who you are and to get to know somebody and develop that work relationship, a meaningful work relationship, uh, you know, too many people go into, to voiceover and they miss the idea that, you know, they're looking for some magic formula to break in or get rich overnight.

Um, the voiceover field. Yeah. Isn't easy, but it's easier than that. I mean, finding a magic formula is really challenging, but if you recognize instead that voiceover is, it's simply an entrepreneurial endeavor. It's just like opening up a coffee shop. It's the same thing. The difference is the woman that opens a coffee shop.

Is well aware that she opened a coffee shop. She's made an investment. She has to show up every day. She has to be aware of her competitors. She has to market the coffee shop. People go into things like voice acting. Um, they, they, they become entrepreneurs without even knowing they've opened a business to begin with.

So imagine for a minute, if you opened a coffee shop and you had no idea you were in business, your chances of success might not be that great.

Yeah, but David, I want to break into the coffee industry. I want to get, I want my coffee shop to be discovered.

Do you know, 20 years ago, we removed, we, we made it a policy of voice coaches to not use the word break in in any communication.

It is one of the most misleading, it's, it's a. Thanks, Josh. That's a pet peeve of mine. Thanks for bringing that up. Um, you know.

Honestly, it's a little disrespectful.

Well, you know. Because any industry, you're going to have to work for what you're doing. Instead, when you break in, that's just going to magically happen?

No, it doesn't work that way.

Just at my cousin's wedding. He's a doctor of internal medicine, you know. And, uh, Uh, imagine if I walked up to him and said, Hey, Kyle, listen, can I grab a minute? I've got a friend who's really interested in breaking into medicine. How do you suggest they do it?

Yeah. How do you break in anything? You know, I know I've got a, a good friend of mine's best friend, uh, is a managers, one of those giant, uh, Walmart super center kind of places, you know, believe me, that lady did not break into that job. She liked it. There was a path there. It's the same for voice acting.

And if you can just get into your head that it's, it's no easier or no difficult than opening any other type of business, you will be. A thousand miles down the road from all these people, you know, looking for some Facebook ad about how to break into the industry.

And to be totally honest, it actually makes it easier for us because instead of waiting for someone to quote unquote, discover us, which is by the way, never going to happen.

You're actually going out there and, and, and yet it don't wait for someone. Be, you know, be aggressive, go out there. That's, that's what this is about.

Yeah. And, and aggressive being aggressive, like people get, get fearful of, Oh my God, I don't know if I'm not going to be that comfortable. Walking up to people or calling them on a phone, figure out what your, you know, just put one foot in front of the other.

You can determine what shoes you wear. Maybe it's a note. Maybe it's a, an email with a, with a followup. Thank you card. Maybe it is a phone call. If you're that person, maybe it's getting involved, uh, in an organization. Be careful with organizations. You know, there's a lot of organizations populated by voiceover artists, uh, that really doesn't move you forward.

You want to maybe. Uh, consider getting involved in organizations filled with people who hire voiceover artists. Do that, you know, make smart moves. And it still leaves in my sound, the best advice I can give anybody going into anything like voiceover is have a blast. I mean, have fun. You know, people ask me, geez, am I going to be successful?

I mean, are you having a good time? Yes. Then yeah, you're going to be successful. You're, you're, you're doing something you enjoy. I have found that the most financially successful voice actors I've worked with my career, uh, the thing they have in common is they love doing this. It's a blast for them.

So, and you know what?

It's, it's one of those things because it's not work putting themselves. It's not work. There was someone on one of the earlier podcasts, this was from a few years ago now, and he had what he called his three foot rule, which is anyone within three feet of me, I'm going to tell him that I'm a voice actor.

I personally. can't do that. I'm not, it's just not my personality. I'd be very uncomfortable doing that, but I love the idea of it. Find what you are, find what your boundaries are, what you are comfortable doing and, and do that.

Josh, you should, uh, just get a shirt that says I'm a voice actor.

Should do that.

Just, just throw up a sign, walk around. That'll work. That'll work.

Yeah. Have, have fun. It is a, it's a great field filled with great people. You know, there has never been more opportunity in the voiceover field, uh, and gosh, the pay for the time allotment. I just did a series of, uh, uh, spots for the New York State Department of Transportation.

You know, I don't think any of the voice actors were here longer than 15 or 20 minutes. Uh, you know, it's, it's, uh, Very time efficient compared to many jobs, uh, but I, but, but again, I do think, uh, recognizing that you're a small business person and thinking that way, uh, will really give you an advantage.

Yeah, and, and, and those are, everything is a tool. But be, you know, get the most bang for your buck. If you're going to spend a hundred hours, that's two hours a week for an entire year? Yep. Be efficient with it.

Yeah, I, uh, and again, I'm not hating on web based marketplaces. We have a couple of friends that own one of the largest in the world, and they're very reputable, and they're There is work to be found, uh, but making the mistake of thinking that that is an easy way to find work or making a mistake of thinking that that is the only way to pursue voice acting is very, very wrong.

Many, many voice actors don't do any home recording. They prefer to work in agencies and studios, you know, uh, we, uh, operate a large studio. Occasionally we are remoting to somebody because they're at a different location or I want to use a voice actor who, you know, happens to work from home. Uh, but, uh, you know, on our end, 99% of the time, the voice actor comes in the studio to do the work.

However you want to do it, you know, do it your way and enjoy it. Uh, by recognizing it's a business, you'll get more out of it. And by having fun, he'll stick with it.

Excellent. Excellent. Well, David, I really appreciate you taking some time to, uh, to chat. I know that, um, you know, that this is something a lot of people kind of battle with and, uh, having a, uh, having a better, a better attack plan going into it is, is, is so, and, and so much of it, and I think you've, you've alluded to this before so much of it is just having that mindset.

Having that right mindset going into it is going to set you up for that long term

success. Yeah, man. Did you enjoy it? Did you enjoy our talk? I did. I did indeed. If you don't mind, I'm just going to not pay you for this time because it was fun. This Yeah,

no, no. I mean, are you kidding me? I don't do this for, I don't do this for money.

You come

over here, you know, leave your family at home and this is fun time. Yeah, no, we're all having a good time.

Thanks. All right, man. Thanks so much. All right. Thanks, David. And thank you all for tuning us in as well this week. We will be back next week. Same bad time, same bad channel. Here for Voice Coaches Radio.

So be sure to tune us on in once again. And again, if you want to reach out, please do so. Let us know what you'd like to discuss, guests you'd like to hear, or really what content you want from this show. Because remember, it's not just my show. It's yours as well. All right, so thanks again for tuning in this week.

And until next time, so long everyone. Visit voicecoaches. com for more voiceover news and information.

Voice over producer David Bourgeois joins the program again to talk about one of the most common questions we get at Voice Coaches: what is the most effective way to market myself now that I have my demo?