Voice Over Talent Agents – Do I Need One?

Voice over talent agents are a great way to get your name and voice demos in front of casting directors and industry producers who select which voice talent appear in commercials and professional recordings.

The answer to the question in the post’s title is yes and no.

A voice talent agent in the big cities can help secure you well paying SAG-AFTRA and union voice over jobs. But many voice talent find that the travel involved with audition after audition sometimes make the extra pay not really worth it.

Many voice talent are finding their time better spent finding smaller voice over jobs online that they can record from the comfort of their own home. Investments they spend on equipment is tax deductible, so is their home studio and any marketing or website fees they pay for.

Establishing yourself with an online voice talent agent or casting website is one step that every professional voice actor should take no matter whether they choose to have a traditional agent or not.

The role of an agent still exists in a traditional sense, whether it be online or offline. Websites do connect clients with voices. They also act as the paymaster, which alleviates much of the stress and time wasted of invoicing and then chasing up clients.

Some sites like The Voice Realm are actually re-establishing professional voice actor rates and standards for voice talent online. Over the past 10 years some websites have allowed voice talent to bid against each other which waters rates down and does damage to the industry. These are also the same sites that allow anyone with a credit card to come along and make a profile and start auditioning against professionals.

A great way to establish yourself as an online voice actor is to get involved in forums and social media. You can interact with your peers and find out where the jobs are being booked. Search on Twitter for the hashtag #voiceover and you’ll be surprised by what you find.

The role of an agent still exists in a traditional sense, whether it be online or offline. Websites do connect clients with voices. They also act as the paymaster, which alleviates much of the stress and time wasted of invoicing and then chasing up clients.

As more voice over work moves online, the benefits of being listed on a reputable and professional voice over website are growing. Just be sure that the online voice over agent or website you choose does not allow anyone to join their ranks. You could be wasting your time and money.

Do your research and speak to others in the industry about voice over agents, but remember it’s the time and effort you put into your career that will determine the outcome.

Lauren Maree

Lauren Maree has been working in advertising, media and marketing for over 15 years. Her experience as a casting director allows her to provide inside information of the voice over industry.

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  • Lisa McMillan

    I have had the same experience as Nik. SAG-Aftra jobs are great if you get a national spot that plays over and over, but other than that the dues you need to pay and all the time spent going to auditions is rarely making it worth my while these days. The game has changed.

  • Nick

    I have done promo voice over work which was AFTRA and the rate was BELOW what The Voice Realm rates list. This was for a PREMIUM CABLE NETWORK. It’s disgusting.

  • Honest Rob

    I also noticed this is the 2nd time you’ve pimped the voice realm in a column. You should note in EVERY article you write that you are working for them, so your so-called “advice” could be taken as an endorsement of your employer, not as the “advice” you try to disguise it as.
    Jeez. Now it’s clear why your “advice” here is so slanted toward the terrible online marketplace – you are trying to drive traffic to your Employer.
    Very scummy.
    Next time just label this for what it is – an AD.

  • Honest Bob

    Suggesting that actors would forgo SAG/AFTRA auditions because of the “cost” associated with traveling to auditions is ridiculous. Any “actor” who thinks they’ll make more money sitting at home doing non-union gigs online during the race to the bottom of that ripoff market, rather than pursuing Union work isn’t much of an actor at all.
    The Pension and Health benefits when you book a job are worth any supposed “costs” associated with any travel needed for Union VO auditions – further, most reputable agencies will also send their Union talent auditions to record at home that they don’t need to travel for. I do easily 20-30 at home auditions each week that my agent sends, in addition to those i “travel” to casting offices for.
    And as for traveling – the average worker commutes half an hour to his job and 40 minutes home. If you can’t afford to spend an hour running around to auditions, you aren’t ready to audition.
    You can do online auditions in the meantime, but the online marketplace for VO is a lowest common denominator business.
    Too many actors willing to take bad money just to say they are working
    and places like Voice 123 have built their business model on that. That’s why rates are so low, they know that they can get some actor to do it, why should they raise their rates?
    Fact is, Agents get you auditions that most actors don’t know exist because the casting directors only deal directly with agents. Union or Non, if you can get an agent, it cannot hurt, and the extra job opportunities they bring as well as career advice and protection are no brainers to me.

  • Mike M

    I think agents are more important than websites. My agent found me a $4,000 spot last month. The highest booking I’ve ever had form a website was $500. You do the math!

  • Martha

    I did away with my agent 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. The work they were getting me, I could have gotten on my own. These days all my work comes from online sources like voice123 and from my own work marketing to local business.