Welcome, Friends to another edition of Facebook VO Group say wha?
You’ll have to forgive me, because when I read this post, I did a quick eye roll and scrolled on by. I’ve seen it so many times, that I can’t even anymore. Is that still a saying? I think probably not, but leave me alone, I’m old.
At any rate, in SOME voice over online group a talent asked, “Hey Guys, wondering what good agents you recommend…”
There are 2 things wrong here. Whichever motivation is actually the case, both are gross.
Firstly. Let’s assume the question is innocent enough. Someone really just wants to know what makes up a good agent. What is a good agent? How does one decide? Is there a list of criteria somewhere? Some qualification set listed online or in a professional organization’s by laws? Sorry, no.
Even if there were such a list of qualifications, the criteria is still VERY subjective. Some actors want an agent to hold their hand. Walk them through auditions, tell them they are doing a good job and communicate constantly. By the way, those agents are harder and harder to find. The world is so fast paced that in most cases agents don’t have time for that level of personal attention. Then there are those voice overs that just want to be left alone. Send me the audition, and don’t contact me unless I book something. I fall somewhere in between, leaning more toward, don’t call me, I’ll call you. Not because I don’t like my agents, I DO! More, because I know they are busy and I know that if they are still sending me auditions, we’re good.
Don’t get me wrong. There certainly are things an agent MUST and more importantly MUST NOT do, but that requires another post, I’m really not in the mood to write at the moment.
Now, my issue with this original post of which I spoke is that it could be (and you may argue probably is) a thinly veiled attempt to glean information from the acting community. It’s like the poster is saying “Hey, Can you refer me to your agent”. They are hoping that someone will shout out, “Oh, My agent XYZ is great, I’ll send them your demo” It’s like when you are watching Netflix with your significant other and they say “boy, it sure would be nice if we had some popcorn”. What they mean is “Hey, make me some popcorn!”
Curiously, talent DO refer each other to agents. I do it all the time. In fact, I did it yesterday! What’s great about the voice over community is that we really look out for each other. It doesn’t hurt that no two voices are exactly the same. Even my friends who are middle aged (okay old) white dudes, don’t exactly sound like me, and I have no problem referring them to agents or businesses if I’m not a fit.
The trick is, these things only happen after establishing a RELATIONSHIP. I have been referred business and to agents by many colleagues. I have done the same. It has only been, however, after establishing trust and rapport with someone. We met at a conference, or industry event. We were in a class together, and the like. I’ll note it doesn’t have to be someone I see all the time. With events of the past few years, there are some people I’ve never even met in person, who have still become trusted friends, entirely virtually!
The point is, this business (and all business) is still about people, and relationships. Don’t be that person who walks into a room (real or virtual) and shouts, “Okay…Where’s all the business at!”