Out of Sight (or Ear) Out of Mind… Stay in Touch, Meet Contacts, Network, Advertise!
- By Bettye Zoller
"I've been in this nutty business thirty two years (voiceovers). I started working at age five, signed to MGM Studios in Hollywood as a child actor where I went to school in the famous "little red schoolhouse" on the MGM movie lot. I knew that showbiz was for me. Mother taught me that I had to 'hobnob' with important people at MGM and had to make them "like me." Mother taught me the importance of networking. She used to say:
"The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Don't hide your light under a barrel."
That was over fifty years ago. Voiceovers and being a recording studio owner and audio engineer producer is somewhere down the list of my many "hats" I've worn in showbiz. And, throughout it all, as a performing singer and actor, a print model, a journalist, an audio book publisher, author, and producer, a college teacher, a jingle singer, whatever, I always knew that my first job was to get out there and be seen and heard. How did I get my first jobs as a studio singer, a headliner in resorts and supper clubs nationwide prior to getting studio work, and eventually, hired as faculty by colleges?
- By making the rounds of recording studios and shaking hands and leaving my singer's demo.
- By getting my headshot and demo and credits into the right hands and getting signed by music agents in 3 cities, who eventually booked me 50 weeks a year with my jazz group.
- By meeting and getting to know department chairs or other faculty members while keeping an eye on the human resources department to determine which, if any, positions were open.
- Networking, attending functions, at least two nights each week is a primary goal. Take plenty of business cards and copies of your demo CD.
- Hand out headshots, too, or theatre reviews of plays you've acted in if you've other performance areas.
- Include information on your recording studio services or CD duplication prices.
- Advertise whatever you make money with and you have to tell them what you do.
- Get their business card and start a card file. Keep the file up to date.
- Regularly send out postcards to contacts. This will keep a "clean mailing list", too. For very little money spent on a stamp, you can determine who has moved or is no longer in the business.
- A newsletter is nice too. Keep it short, one page. Put at least one photo in each newsletter. Always take advantage of photo ops with a celebrity or producer. Never leave home without your digital camera. You never know what photo opportunities might present themselves today!
- Send a "Happy New Year" greeting or a "Thanksgiving Note (I'm thankful to have met you).
- Postcards are best…never a letter with envelope. That way, the recipient will at least glance at your card prior to throwing it away. An agent gave me this advice many years ago, and I still follow it.
A new (revised) demo CD is always a great reason to do a mailing and to give the demo out in person at every event you attend.
- Remember that "all new" is advertising's biggest and most important headline. Use this to your advantage. Perhaps you want to create a different sort of demo, for example, a collection of spots you've voiced for financial institutions over the past couple of years or a collection of your car dealer spots, a collection of corporate narration excerpts…something new. "All new and improved!"
- By having a website of our own.
- By having a blog.
- By joining voiceover networking sites and participating,
- By becoming a voice on email lists and similar public forums.
- Social networking sites give you exposure to hundreds of thousands worldwide. Amazing!
Out of sight (ear) out of mind! If people are saying, "Wow, I wondered if you were still in the business," or "gee, I haven't seen you for ages…" you are missing the ‘gravy boat!' That's a clue your networking needs a boost. Most of us are not in the league to hire publicity agents, so that means we must do it ourselves. Get going! "
- Bettye Zoller has been a Voice123 member since 2003. She is known as a voice coach whose students work, most recently, John Knouse. Watch her website year round for all her voice over workshop postings, schedules, and details.