Oh, boy has something crazy happened in my voice over career. I have heard of this happening to other voice actors, but this is the first time it has happened to me.
So…I get an email from a VO colleague. They tell me I they received an email from their voice acting agent that included a voice reference. This is pretty common in audition listings. Usually it’s a clip of a famous Hollywood actor that matches the specs they are looking for. The idea is the casting company, or agent sends auditions only to the actors on their roster who sound like that person. In my case, I get Ryan Reynolds, John Hamm, or Sam Elliot.
In this case the reference sounds like me. So, my friend asks, “Is that you?” I take a listen and IT IS ME! It’s my narration demo done by Terry Daniel at Universal Voice Talent. It’s gotten me a lot of work over the years and landed me with several VO agents. Except…Not THIS agent.
So I ask my friend if they wouldn’t mind referring me to their agent. After all, if they are sending out auditions with MY voice, maybe they’d like to work together? Seems reasonable right? My friend says SURE!, reaches out to said agent who agrees to take a call (really email what is this 1992?) from me. I contact the agent and they said they’d love to take a listen to me, and to please read this audition copy they included. I do that, and 10 minutes later I get a reply saying that while my voice sounds competitive they already have too many voices that sounds like me. Not uncommon in the industry. Especially in a competitive market like New York, where this agent happens to be.
I accepted that…for a bit. Then I got to thinking. How did the agent get my demo to begin with? Also, if a company is sending my demo around, maybe they’d like to work with me? I then emailed the agent asking those questions; basically the equivalent of WTF?
The agent said, you know? You are right, send me and audition of that same script I sent out to my roster and I’ll be happy to submit you to the client. Then guess what…crickets
So, not only can I not get hired on 9 out of 10 auditions that are looking for Ryan Reynolds, John Hamm or Sam Elliot, I can’t get hired when they are looking for PAUL STEFANO! I was sitting in my Studiobricks soundproof booth, at the microphone, coaching myself on how to sound like ME!
Again, this is not uncommon in the voice over industry, and my podcast partner from The VO Meter, Sean Daeley says this in fact a career milestone, but boy is this frustrating!
Can you relate?