Tin robots referring each other

Referring Someone Else for a VO Job You Want

June 16, 2023 2:40 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

   I can imagine, dear reader, how the title of this blog alone might make you think I’m nuts. We voice actors work hard to get the kind of jobs that inspire, excite, and pay us well. I’m sure you’re thinking, why on earth would I ever give away a job I want?! That’s insanity! Well, recently I did just that, and it felt…great. 

   Several months ago, a producer had recommended me for a live announcing job at a symposium. It was for a really cool start-up owned by really cool people and I would be announcing their really cool names as they came up to the stage to speak throughout the day. There would be drinks and snacks after while meeting interesting people doing amazing things. I was in, and I was pumped!

   The thing is, it was in L.A., and I live in New York. The client was under the impression, however, that I was in L.A. The truth is, because I believed in the company’s mission, I was willing to use the entire budget to fly myself out to L.A. and just break even. There were other factors too of course; I’d be able to do a kind of voice work I don’t normally do, network, see some friends I have out there, get a little sun during the winter, and maybe eat at my favorite kebab place in Silverlake too, a real win-win as they say. 

   Unfortunately, but understandably, the budget was modest for the start-up and it was on the lower end of a typical live announcing rate, and because the event was so soon, it would be a last-minute ticket, which verged on astronomically pricey. I considered losing money and going anyway, for the long game potential in meeting new clients and a little impromptu vacay.

   The client and I were texting on a Sunday, and I asked if I could get back to her first thing in the morning with a definitive answer. I wanted to sleep on it. She asked if she could call and chat about it then, as she wanted to get things nailed down ASAP, understandably. So, I took a deep breath called her, and said, “Hi. it’s so nice to meet you. I can’t take the job.” You see, at the final moment, my gut said, “don’t do it.” and so I listened. It was as simple as that. 

   The client sounded disappointed but before she could say anything else I added, “But I know the perfect person who can do it. In fact, I know four perfect people for you to choose from. We’ll get this figured out.” I then talked about four female voice-over actors I greatly admire and respect in the L.A. area. I emailed the client their websites and contact info. And wow, it felt so good to recommend those talented and hard-working voice actors for a really cool gig. 

   Did I have a moment where I regretted not saying yes? Did I worry I had given away future work? Of course, but it was short-lived and paled in comparison to what I felt helping a client and my fellow voice actors out for the sake of a great cause and a sense of community. Also, I consciously decided not to allow a scarcity mindset to take over. It’s something I remind myself often when that starts to creep in, because the truth is there are lots of clients and lots of jobs out there, and it’s okay to not get ‘em all. 

   Also, there are times when I want a job but the budget isn’t there, or the timing in my schedule isn’t there, or I’m really just not right for it. Maybe I have a cold and they need it ASAP. Instead of saying, “No,” I would rather say, “No, but I know someone who can.” I myself have been the recipient of a peer’s job when she was unable to take it. She was overscheduled and didn’t want to stretch herself thin and deliver something she wasn’t happy with. I believe, in the world of relationship building, that kind of honesty with oneself matters, and serves everyone best in the end, from both sides of the partnership.

   The event turned out to be a success, unsurprisingly, and the client was so grateful for my assistance. The voice actor she chose was grateful for the referral and got a lot out of the event on a personal level as well. 

   The client had said to me, “Oh you’re in New York? We’re in New York! We should stay in touch.” So you never know, the reason she might reach out again is because I’m someone who helped her when she needed it. If that happens, that would be lovely. If, not, that would be okay too. It was my pleasure. 

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This post was written by Simone Stevens

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