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13 things that are hurting your new voice over business

By Stew Crossen

There's a lot a stake. Avoid these blunders in your new voice over business.

1. You didn't warm up.

You're expected to be ready to audition or perform when you arrive. Do your vocal warms up in the car or on the walk to the location.

2. You seem distracted or preoccupied.

Got a lot on your mind? An overdue electric bill, an ailing parent or a new puppy at home alone can certainly be cause for distraction. VO is about being in the moment. You've got to be fully involved. Get your head, your body and your soul involved in the part.

3. You dress like your headed to summer camp, or like it's "laundry day".

Leave the flip flops, cargo shorts and baggy Hawaiian shirt at home. Dress professionally, business casual, clean, pressed and neat. And tone down the jewelry too.

4. You're wearing heavy perfume, after shave or you smell of cigarettes.

Shower and wear clean clothes, but leave the fragrances home. Avoid smoking too. Voice over is often done in small, crowded or cramped spaces. Many people are sensitive to perfume and cigarette smoke and can have allergic reactions.

5. You wolfed down a meatball sub 10 minutes before the gig.

Why would you want to fill your stomach just before a gig? A full stomach can have a negative impact on your breathing. Plus, there's belching, gas and possible heartburn. If you're that hungry, be sure to eat a few hours before the gig. Or quelch your hunger by drinking water.

6. You talk too much.

VO is about reading, not about talking. Don't overdo by engaging the producer or client with witty banter. Beginners get nervous and tend to talk too much. Honestly, the director or client doesn't care about your new puppy, or the microphone you just purchased. You won't impress them by being chatty. Exchange greetings and be pleasant. Otherwise don't speak unless spoken too or unless you're talking about the job. Stay focused, do your job and leave quietly.

7. You didn't do a proper read through before the audition or recording take.

If the director or client seems inexperienced or preoccupied and doesn't offer you an opportunity to do a read through, ask for one. Ask for a second or third if it's necessary.

8. Your web site.

Okay. You spent $1300 on your web site. It took 9 months to design and build. It has a front end, back end, a database, 17 pages, java, high res logo, fast loading graphics, widgets and awesome flash. It's SEO'd and W3c compliant. You have Google analytics and two Google Adword campaigns running. Uh... okaaaay. All you really need is 4 simple pages. Home, About, Demos and Contact, for well under $500. Potential clients don't care about flash, logos, color palettes or widgets. All they care about is great demos and an easy way to contact you.

9. A list of your studio equipment.

The only people who might care what equipment you have are a few of your fellow voice actors. 99% of your potential clients wouldn't know a dynamic mic from a condensor mic or a preamp from a compressor. And frankly, they don't care. All they really care about is the finished cost, timely delivery and a professional job.

10. Where and who you studied with.

The owner of the restaurant chain, president of the insurance company or the independent film producer doesn't care who, where or even if you studied voice over. All they care about is getting a professional job, done on time, at a reasonable cost.

11. Tell everyone you "do it all" or that you're "full Service".

Beginners want to do it all. Problem is they can't. Veterans can do it all. However, they've learned that they don't have to do it all. What does "full service" mean anyway? You probably don't do ADR, Foley or Mastering. So be specific about what you do. Tell your potential customers exactly what you do and have samples to prove it. Keep it simple.

12. Being too social.

Between FaceBook, Twitter, and all the Voice Over Forums you belong to, you're spending 3 or more hours a day online socializing. Sure they're touted to be the new revolution in marketing and promotion. Here's a news flash. There's a world of difference between socializing online and actually marketing yourself online with social media. Do some research or hire someone to figure it out for you. Here's my idea of being social. Spend those 3 hours a day actually getting out and visiting local businesses. Introduce yourself and show the owners how you can help them attract new customers and make more sales. How? Talk to them about their after hours phone message, audio for their web site, overhead sound system and point-of-sale just for starters.

13. El Presidente.

Your business cards, web site, CD labels and the mouse pads you hand out all state that you're the "President" of your voice over company. You're answering machine says, "Hi, I'm Jack Overshoe, president of the Jack Overshoe Voice Over Company." C'mon. Are you serious? Unless your voice over business is incorporated and you are legally "The President", forget the uppity stuff. Just be yourself.

This article is not intended to be all inclusive of everything that could hurt your chance of success in your voice over business. Using common sense, having a pleasant dispostion and a helpful attitude will earn you a good reputation. And that alone can get you more voice over business than you can handle.


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