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Tips for Finding Acting Work & Promoting Yourself

There are dozens of voice-acting classes out there that teach technique, but very few analyze, break down and de-mystify the business side of voice-over. Voice acting is part of show business, and like the term states, it's a business. After you've got a number of classes under your belt and you've put together a dynamite V-O demo, your next big step is packaging it and disseminating it.

It's a big job-expect it to take at least six months to get some feedback. And as with all things you want to succeed at, there's a right way to accomplish your goals. Be creative, clever and think out of the box when devising your plan. Be patient, methodical and organized in implementing it. And the most important thing to remember about the business of voice-acting: treat your voice-acting career like a corporation and you'll see great results.

Here are a few tips to get you on the road to success:

1) You're on call 18/7. Make sure your pager/cell phone is always on and return calls promptly, if not immediately. Make sure your outgoing message gives alternate phone numbers to leave a message, so in case you miss one message, you might catch the other. There are four reasons you shouldn't return a phone call. You're either very, very sick in bed; in the hospital; out of the city or country; or your dead. Remember: a missed call can be a missed job.

2) Have a good resume, appropriate cover letters and thank-you letters for follow-ups.

3) Send out a professionally produced and packaged CD demo. You can find dozens of demo producers and graphics companies in the Voice Over Resource Guide.

4) Research, research, research. Maintain and constantly update a database of contacts: producers, directors, casting directors, agents, studio owners, engineers, radio station producers, copywriters, etc.

5) Scour trade magazines Adweek, Ad Age, Backstage West, Hollywood Reporter, Fade In, L.A. Actors Line Casting, Variety, Animation Magazine, Voice-Over Resource Guide or online resources craigslist.net for auditions and/or positions.

6) It's nice to have a snazzy business card, but it's much better to hand out your 3-D card: your V-O demo in a standard-size jewel case. And don't forget to always carry extra demos with you. You never know what situation you might be in where they'll want your demo-right now.

7) Have nice thank-you cards and stationery to write on.

8) Send out non-denominational holiday and/or New Year's cards.

9) Send out postcards or a newsletter updating what you've done recently. You might wonder if people will be bored with what you've done lately, but people really do like to know that the person they're hiring (or considering hiring) is working and building a solid professional reputation.

10) Email announcements about upcoming projects, and never be afraid to drop names (of celebrities and nationally known products or services).

11) Enclose S.A.S.E. reply cards with your demo. Get feedback from casting people and producers. Get their names and addresses (and email addresses) and add them to your data base.

12) Carry S.A.S.E envelopes with blank CDRs to hand to engineers after a session, so
you have a digital element to add to your next demo.

13) Get testimonials from people who've hired you on a consistent basis (unless they
send them unsolicited). Save all testimonials and ask permission to use them.

14) Build and maintain an inexpensive website.

15) Make sure all pertinent phone numbers are on your demo: pager, cell phone, voice mail, agent, home, manager.

16) Follow up, follow up, follow up.

17) Get in the habit of maintaining a detailed schedule book.

18) Find unique, clever, creative and (hopefully) inexpensive ways of getting and keeping your name out there and top-of-mind with prospective employers.

19) Remember that every business-related telephone call is an audition (see my article on Telephone Etiquette).

20) If you're sick or in a bad mood, don't make business calls.

By Marc Cashman
Article printed with permission from iActingStudios.com and Rick La Fond. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. - iActing Studios is a premiere provider of Online Acting Classes. They feature hundreds of hours of in-depth classes; hosted by professional instructors and coaches who've taugh some of Hollywood's most famous A-listers.