Business of VO: Do I Really Need An Agent?

To Agent or Not To Talent Agent? That is today’s question.  The BOSSES explore the reasons you should have an agent, how agents benefit your business, and some surprising perks you may not know about. Plus we explore the ways you can build better talent/agent relations.



Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Talent agents have it pretty tough now.

  2. Technology has hit their businesses hard and online casting has changed how business gets done.

  3. Old-school stereotypes of agents don’t help any either.

  4. Typically agents cultivate buyer relationships and manage a roster of active actors that meet a certain performance standard.

  5. Agents are also master negotiators and help voice actors achieve good pay-rates.

  6. They handle billing, book-keeping and the administrative part of the job so that you can focus on your job as the actor.

  7. Agents take the most interest in high-profile, broadcast bookings. But rarely will an agent turn down any opportunity to book one of their talent for any type of work.

  8. An agent has to be able to make a living off of 10%. They feed their family on 10%.

  9. Some agents help to cultivate a particular skill and take an interest in developing your talent.

  10. The percentage of work you earn from an agent varies greatly based on your business.

  11. Make yourself available and accessible to your agents to build a strong relationship.

  12. Communication that is regular but not excessive is essential to building a quality relationship.

  13. Agents are people too. You should not be intimidated or fearful of your agent.

  14. Agents supply support in a number of ways, including booth direction.


Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


Recorded on ipDTL
Check out Cristina Milizia’s advice on having success with agents
List of Southern California Agencies from the Voiceover Resource Guide
List of NYC Agencies from the Voiceover Resource Guide
Do NOT contact these agencies unsolicited. Each agency will list their preferred mode of submission on their websites
Check out Gabby’s tips on how to get an agent

Transcript

>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Pretty voice.

>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.

>> BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> A BOSS.

>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Rock your business.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> Rock your business like a BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

>> A VO BOSS.

Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my bestie, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby.

Gabby: Hi!

Anne: Gabby, I’m so sorry I was late.

Gabby: Is that a joke? 

Anne: I had to get an audition out the door.

Gabby: You’re always late.

Anne: I know, I’m always late, but I had to get an audition out the door. Well, it made me think, because you know, I drop everything to do my auditions for my agents, that maybe that’s something we should talk about today. Agents and their role in the industry, and do we need them, do we not need them? 

Gabby: There are two distinct sides to that argument, conversation, whatever you want to call it, right now. And I think I’ve heard a little bit of everything. And you and I really I think represent both ends of that and what’s happening in voiceover.

Anne: You know, I think agents have – they really have it tough. I mean, we all have it tough in this industry, but I think agents are finding it tough. As the years have gone by with advances in technology, their job has kind of shifted.

Gabby: Oh yeah. Oh geez, look, there is no doubt they’ve suffered two, I think, catastrophic things over the years. One is the terrible, terrible, Hollywood stereotypical image of what an agent is and how they operate and how poorly they’re typically portrayed. Technology is kicking their ass, and all of these new ways of being able to shop, and buy, and book talent have really damaged the bottom line for a lot of talent agencies. I mean, we’ve seen a lot of agents shut the doors in recent years.

Anne: Back in the day [laughs] their responsibilities were typically they got the clients, and then they had a roster of talent where they would present to their clients, and then ultimately handle the tasks of negotiation, and presenting potential talent to the clients, and all of that good stuff. So they definitely had their work cut out for them back in the day, and they were responsible for maintaining those relationships and maintaining relationships with their talent roster. Today I think with the technology advancements, where a lot of people are handling their own jobs and negotiations, that has, you know, hurt them a little bit in terms of I think the amount of work that passes through them. However they’re still very well-respected for their work and their negotiation skills in helping voice talent get the rates that they’re worth.

Gabby: Everything you just described is still taking place today. It’s not like any of that has stopped; it’s just a little different now. Ultimately a good talent agent with a solid reputation, that’s precisely what they do. They build and cultivate relationships both with talent and with buyers. And they become a go-to resource for people who are shopping for voice actors, and they also negotiate the terms of the job, the payment, they handle the monetary end, they handle really all of the administrative components of the booking. And certainly when you get into the difference between union booking and a nonunion booking, we see some really big differences there, because union booking can be incredibly complex. And it just has so many having parts that an agent is so much better prepared to manage those affairs and help us out with those things. And really the percentage of money that we quote, unquote lose for their service is in my opinion more than worth it.

Anne: I never really considered it a loss. I considered it, you know, a payment for work done.

Gabby: Yeah, they work for it. What’s happening in your voiceover career, I think, ultimately is what answers that question of whether agents are necessary in your business model or not.

Anne: You get a lot of your work from agents, right?