Friday, August 21, 2009

Important: Voice Over Industry Networking

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.
You must "get out there." Staying in the public's eye and publicizing yourself is JOB #1:
  • 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!
Holidays are perfect for staying in touch, too!
  • 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.
When possible, get involved in charitable or community events. You'll do a good deed and get visibility too. If this sounds "crass," just remember that the biggest (and wealthiest) stars are heavily involved in charities because it keeps them in the public eye. It has publicity value. That's not to demean good intentions, but let's be factual. Every manager and agent will attest to the publicity value of a talent's being involved in charities and non-profit endeavors.

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!"
Of course, almost everyone knows that today we must maintain a strong internet presence.
  • 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.


Voz Oriental said...

He leído con mucha atención, sus comentarios. Y me resultan de gran utilidd. Muchas veces, vamos olvidando,o dejando de lado, la importancia que tiene, "promocionarnos", en forma constante.
Muchas gracias.
Atte.,Ricardo Cabrera

Jas said...

Well said....hope to join the group soon...

jas said...

Excellent reminders of what we should be doing as a matter of course -- but don't always do. Thank you!

Jay Beacham said...

Well said.
Promote yourself in other words.

Jay Beacham

Anonymous said...


"Important: Voice Over Industry Networking by Bettye Zoller" is indeed very motivating and helpful. I have read it word to word and must say that it gave me a new boost.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts & ideas with the of us Bettye.

I am aspiring to make it big using these techniques soon !!!

Glad to have come across this page :)

- MC Joe

catherine joyce said...

This is a really informative blog site. I am new to this industry, having resently graduated from a first degree in performance arts at Northampton Uni. Having a place to learn from other more experienced performers is invaluable. So a big thanks to all your contributers who so generously share their experiences. I've recently done some recording work at a local recording studio:
They have been highly supportive to a new comer too! Thanks folks