I get a lot of weird outreaches on social media and email. “We’ve been trying to reach you about your car warranty”…check. “Hi, I’m looking to meet attractive men like you”…check. I’ve even received some non sketchy requests from voice over business related people. Due to the success (minor as it is) of our podcast The VO Meter, I’ve become a bit of a minor celebrity in the VERY small VO world. So, every few days, someone reaches out to me asking for advice on microphones, or how to market to a specific genre, or even sometimes how to podcast!
Then there’s this…Recently a person sent me a connection request on Linked In. Their profile said they were a voice actor. Ugh. Usually, I’m VERY giving of my time and energy but this particular week, TWO local friends asked me to speak to THEIR friends about “how to get into voice acting“. I got in contact with both of them and it was fine, but after both conversations in one week my patience was a little thin and my spider sense was up.
Sure enough, IMMEDIATELY after accepting the connection request I get a direct message that says in part this “thanks for the connect! I’m actually talking with other actors to see what they think of their agency and if they have any recommendations”
SERIOUSLY? Buy me dinner first guy!
People, this is NOT the way to go about getting a voice over agent! When someone refers you to ANY business contact, they are saying that you are a person they trust. That goes doubly for a referral to an agent. After all, an agent is still very much part of the lifeblood of the entertainment industry. They get you work, negotiate for you and sometimes even refer you out themselves! All that comes with a trust factor that is precious.
Oh, and by the way, even asking for such a thing with an established friend or colleague can be touch and go. It can sour a relationship fast if you are not careful. If you ARE going to ask for a referral to an agent, it had better be from a close colleague, with whom you have a ROCK solid relationship and who knows your talent, your strengths and weaknesses.
Now…having said that, I HAVE referred people to agencies. Even did it this week! I do it a lot actually. ONLY, however, when I know the person, trust the person and have a REAL relationship with them. Friends have done the same for me, and I’m eternally grateful. When done right it can be a win/win for everyone involved. Just be sure you ARE doing it right!
Joshua Alexander says
Sounds slimy and fishy indeed. The very least they could do would be to buy you dinner! 🙂 I’ve given counsel to VO colleagues here and there. One of them sent me a personalized coaster with “Seattle Voice Actor” on it. Another one sent me a $50 Venmo tip. Another one sent me a $10 Venmo tip. I didn’t even ask! It’s THOSE people that balance out the niceness / gratitude scales to be sure, but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had decorum this way, and just had that sixth sense to know when they might be going a little too far or being a little too sneaky? Might be a more trusting world.
Paul Stefano says
For sure, I get a good amount of well intentioned people as well. VO is by in large the greatest group of people!
Phil Kolocotronis says
Good blog post, Paul! This is an example of the Facebook-ization of LinkedIn that has been happening for a few years now. Getting connection requests with hardly any rapport built into it, then if you connect, the person immediately asks you for something. If I’m making a cold connection request on LinkedIn, I let the communication build up slowly over time, then I will finally be a little more direct. Even then, only if it seems like things have been going well in our messaging back and forth. And yeah, asking for a referral of any type involves you putting your reputation on the line, so I’m careful in that regards as well.
Paul Stefano says
You can create meaningful relationships over time virtually. You just need to treat it like any other “real” interaction. Thanks for reading