Agent Pie – Part 3 Understanding The Voice Over Agent

Hopefully you’ve read part one and two of Agent Pie. It’s very important that you understand the necessity of the agent. As I’ve covered, we all need at least one to help us with clients and contracts and to book higher paying jobs. We’ve also discussed that you need experience, connections and unique qualities to land an agent in today’s voice market.  ow I’d like to explain to you the day in the life of an agent.

Many of us take for granted the agent’s world. We just want the agent to find us work. In an ideal world that would be wonderful, but with saturated agency rosters and online global agency competition it’s not as easy as you think for an agent to make money in this industry. I wonder if you’ve ever thought about what a day in the life of an agent is like. I used to be a casting agent so I have a really good idea of what it’s like. I’m also extremely empathetic so I try to always consider all points of view; the agents, client, production etc. I feel this helps me be a well-rounded talent.

Let me do my best to describe a typical day for an agent. Lets say they only get two or three auditions in the day. Most agents also take on-camera jobs as well so first they need to sort out who is suitable for each job. They will most likely use their online tools and do auto matches. They may or may not have to see if the client will accept the talent, which can be very frustrating and time consuming. It’s not really up to the agent; it’s up to the client. So when you question whether the agent is submitting you or not, I encourage you to trust in your team. If they don’t submit you, they have less chance of getting any commissions, so it doesn’t make sense for them to favor one over another. Clients may suggest someone with over 20 years exp., or they may have extremely fussy requests, so the agent does their best to get us all submitted but has to consider the clients needs first.

You won’t know why they submit you or not, so try not to waste your time questioning your agent. However it’s super important that you stay top of mind for your agent.  This will mean you need a reason to be in touch with them. I encourage you to care about your agent and who they are. The more they know you, the more they remember you. Although they do their best to give everyone fair treatment, it’s hard to remember hundreds of people. So do your best to keep yourself top of mind without being a nuisance. Get to know them, not just what they can do for you. That being said, you employ them, they don’t employ you, so make sure you are comfortable with your agent and that you relate to each other well, but try not to babysit them.  That usually won’t work in your favor, but there are times when you have to challenge them on things so handle it professionally and without assumptions and accusation.

So now that they’ve contacted 100 or more talent for the auditions, then they have to confirm their times. Odds are they will have many request time changes, which means they have to contact the audition coordinator and go back and forth until all is well. This is very time consuming. Remember they are doing this for 15-30% commission in most cases, and if the job is only worth $500.00 – that’s not a ton of commission for a full days work. It would be ideal for them if they were the only agency submitting on the project, but more then likely there will be several agencies all vying for the same $60.00. This could take them two days to earn these commissions, only to find out that another agent booked the job so all that time/work put in was for nothing.

Then to have to deal with contracts, negotiations, fussy clients, needy talent, staff, technology updates and more, it’s a full day in the life of an agent. I could go on and on about how much more work is involved in becoming an agent, but I have to do my best to keep my articles short (not easy for me).

I hope this helps to enlighten you even a slight bit on how hard our agents work for us.  You don’t get to see the behind scenes, so don’t take their position for granted. They do their best to accommodate a ton of fussy people and back in the day when it was only one agent being contacted for a project it was more fruitful. Not only has the talent competition grown, so has the agent competition. This is why a lot of agents don’t last. It’s not always easy to make steady income. They rely solely on large series/film contracts to keep their business afloat.

So on behalf of all talent everywhere, thank you to the agents, for working so hard to help us shine.

Deb Munro

Deb Munro is a well respected name in the voice over industry.An award winning talent recognized as one of the top coaches and talents in Canada. Deb offers a unique training experience to all that want to learn from her honest critiquing via 24 years experience ,18 years of continuous education, and a full time working talent.