Do I Need Agents, Directors or Voicebank?

. . . Talent Agents, Casting Agents, Casting Directors, Voicebank ... Who Are They? Should I meet Them?

Some voice actors get their work by self-marketing. Others rely on voice over Talent Agents (aka "Agents" and "Commercial Agents"), Casting Agents, Casting Directors, and/or Voicebank for auditions and casting. If you're not clear on the differences between these groups, things can get confusing. So, what's the difference?

Here's a guide to the strange and mysterious world of voice over casting and auditioning.

TALENT AGENTS

Talent Agents represent voice actors and submit them for auditions (usually commercial auditions) which are usually held by Casting Directors. So they spend a lot of time telling Casting Directors how great the voice actors are that they represent. They do everything they can to get voice actors in the Casting Director's door.

Here's something to keep in mind: voice over Talent Agents take risks on voice actors. They don't get paid until the voice actor does. And they usually take only 10% of the fee paid to the voice actor. So they're sending voice actors out on auditions hoping that the voice actor is as good as they're telling Casting Directors the voice actor is!

So what can you do to attract the attention of a Talent Agent? First of all, remember that this relationship goes two ways. The Talent Agent is spending time talking you up ... so you can help them by also developing relationships with Casting Directors (more on that later). This will make it easier for them to get you those coveted audition casting slots. Then, once you're being submitted on voice over auditions , make sure you present yourself as professionally as possible: show up at the audition on time (aka 10 minutes early), be polite to everyone, keep your thoughts about the quality of the script to yourself, and be relaxed and easygoing in the booth. Give the best read you can, then thank everyone and be on your way. No fuss, no drama. Oh, and of course, keep your skill set sharp so that you always sound your best!

Now, how many Talent Agents can you work with? Well, unless you sign an exclusive contract with one, you can freelance with as many Talent Agents as you want to. This is a perk. It allows you to get to know the various Talent Agents and figure out who you WOULD want to sign with if that ever came up (as one agent put it: "you want to date before you get married, right?").

Perhaps you've even been impressed/astounded/appalled by the antics of Ari Gold on "Entourage" and wondered if that's the type of personality you'd have to deal with if you worked with one. Fortunately, most Talent Agents are quite lovely people who have one thing in mind: getting you into auditions.

To sum up: Essentially, Talent Agents are the "gatekeepers" of commercial voice over auditions. Yes, you'll see plenty of commercial auditions on the pay-to-play sites... but for most voice actors, it makes sense to do those and also have access to some of the juicier auditions that Talent Agents can get you.

- - - - -

CASTING DIRECTORS

Casting Directors find voice actors for their clients. They help the client (for example, an advertising agency) determine what vocal type is appropriate for the script, they figure out how many voice actors to audition for a particular voice over casting call, they gather voice actors from their favorite Talent Agents, and they host the audition. They deal with difficult clients who change their minds. They deal with voice actors who are late, confused, or in a bad mood. And yet they try to maintain a sense of goodwill as all of this whirls around them. Because here's the deal: every voice actor who enters their audition room could be The Perfect Voice That Will Make Their Client Happy.

Even though Casting Directors primarily find voice actors through Talent Agents, sometimes they call upon voice actors who they personally know. So whether or not you are represented by a Talent Agent, it is good to begin and maintain relationships with Casting Directors. Many Casting Directors teach classes or hold meet-and-greets specifically to seek-out good not-yet-represented voice actors. And regarding developing relationships with Casting Directors (as mentioned above, to make things easier on your Talent Agent), you can start this process right away! This way, when you talk with a Talent Agent, you can say, "By the way, here's a list of Casting Directors who already know me." Then watch the Talent Agent's eyes light up with joy.

- - - - -

CASTING AGENTS

Casting Agents combine the role of Talent Agent and Casting Director. They rarely exist in the "major markets" - such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles - yet instead are the norm in smaller markets. This means that one office is in charge of both representing voice actors and hosting auditions.

Many recording studios (like Edge Studio) also combine the role of Talent Agent and Casting Director. They maintain libraries of voice over demos and hold auditions. Yet they do even more ... they have recording studios and also record the voice actor. For this reason, Edge Studio takes a very active role in marketing voice actors.

Some people feel that this simplifies the process, as you only have to build relationships with one company; other people feel that this may consolidate power a bit too much and make it more difficult for new voice actors to get their first break.

*NOTE: some of the larger Talent Agencies bring voice actors directly into their offices to record auditions, but this is less common.

- - - - -

VOICE BANK & VOICE REGISTRY

Another powerhouse casting option has emerged over the past few years: Voicebank.net. Voicebank.net is a casting site where voice seekers (people / companies who need to hire voice actors, such as advertising agencies) from around the country post jobs, request auditions, and find new voice actors.

Voicebank is much like the "pay-to-play" sites, such as Voice123.com and Voices.com. But unlike the pay-to-play sites, voice actors can't purchase a subscription to Voicebank ... instead they can only be listed there by their Talent Agent. So if you are currently un-represented, how can you get on Voicebank? Fortunately they have a sister site, Voice Registry, that is designed to connect voice actors with Talent Agents. So when Talent Agents are searching for new voice actors to represent, they can browse the Voice Registry site and "audition" demos that voice actors post. This is a great way for new voice actors to grab the attention of Talent Agents, even if they do not live in the major markets, such as New York and Los Angeles and might otherwise have difficulty meeting Talent Agents at meet-and-greets.

Over the past few years Voicebank has become so busy that many advertising agencies are assigning full-time agents to the task of sorting through posted auditions and submitting voice actors.

- - - - -

THAT'S THE CAST OF CHARACTERS.

NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION: DO YOU NEED A TALENT AGENT?

Simple answer: If you want to pursue national commercials, a Talent Agent can be tremendously helpful. If you are focusing on local commercials and/or other voice over genres, such as audiobook, documentary, animation, video game, corporate videos, eLearning, narration, self-guided tours... possibly not. For these types of voice over work, voice actors get more of the clients by personal marketing plans.

Happy marketing to all, and to all... a good night.

Date: 
April 19, 2013
Meta Description: 
This article contains information about agents, casting directors, voicebank, voice registry, and more.
Meta Keywords: 
voice over casting, voice over agents, voice over registry, voicebank voice over, voiceover casting director, voiceover agent

How to Reach Us

Call us 888-321-3343
Email us training@edgestudio.com

Click for Edge location information...

Meet Your Coaches

Edge Alumni Work Everyday

Get free educational
voice over newsletters!

Get free, educational voice over newsletters

Where should we send them?