AGENT & TALENT Expectations

Ever experienced frustration with your agent? Have you ever experienced their frustration with you? This is a MUST READ! 

For those that are still looking for an agent, this will be an incredible roadmap for your future agent relationships – a MUST READ. 
A lot of frustration, disappointment and confusion can be better navigated, avoided and solved by knowing the expectations of others. That’s why I asked several agents to weigh in on… 

1| What AGENTS expectations are for VO Talent AND 
2| What TALENT expectations should be for AGENTS 

Grab a cup of coffee because this is really good!  

WHAT DO AGENTS EXPECT FROM TALENT? (I’ll give you a brief list, then give a little more detail of what the agents said)  
1| Responsiveness 
2| Patience
3| Keeping the Agent Up to Date – on new demos, bookout dates, changes of email/phone/address, etc
4| You Keep Training and Coaching
5| You have a great Home Studio and continue to Improve It
6| READ. EVERY. WORD. of a Breakdown
7| Professionalism with Clients
8| Punctual
9| Honesty
10| Flexibility Now here’s a deeper look into some of these from the agents themselves –  

LORI LINS | Kalah Spaude
RESPONSIVENESS – As agents, our days are full of client requests, negotiating contracts, setting up auditions/bookings, making our talent money and making sure our clients are happy and eager to continue working with our agency and our talent.  That leaves very little time to spend tracking talent down. Time is often of the essence.  The more time you take to get back to us with your availability or audition request, or any other crazy request we may send your way, the more probable it is that the booking we have for you will go another way.  I have all the patience in the world….but in this fast paced industry, our clients do not.   Set up email alerts, make a note to check your call log every couple hours throughout the day and listen to your voicemails.  Whether it be by email or phone, the best thing you can do for your career is STAY CONNECTED and respond quickly.  Or at the very least, respond at all. 

IN BOTH EARS | Sam Roberts
PATIENCE – This business is sometimes a fire drill, but more often than not we are waiting weeks to hear back about bookings, spot copy, and payment.
KEEP THE AGENT UP TO DATE – on all book outs/trips planned away from the studio, address changes, AND DEMO UPDATES. In order to promote talent properly agents must have your current demo. If you aren’t sure, check their website or ask them. 
CONTINUE TO TRAIN & GET COACHING – You are never done with learning in this business. This will help you know how to adjust to new trends. If you need help finding coaching or classes, ASK YOUR AGENT. 
QUALITY HOME STUDIO – You do not want to be the talent that doesn’t get submitted due to poor audio quality. Have an engineer take a look at your set up and help you. (You can schedule a Zoom consult with Dan Fishman if you’re not sure about your set-up –
READY EVERY WORD of a casting call. Label your files correctly if given a template. Slate correctly if mentioned. ALWAYS READ THE SPECS. 

TALENT GROUP | Doug Snyder
HONESTY – Be honest about who you are, what you can do and make sure this is based in reality. 
FLEXIBILITY – Things move so fast and VO doesn’t end at 5pm. Not that you have to put your whole life on hold but your ability to be flexible will make it much easier on an agent and clients. 

1| Agents should be forming new relationships and caring for current relationships with casting directors, producers, and advertising execs.
2| Agents should be fighting for talent when rates are too low and they must not be afraid to say NO when negotiation is off the table. 
3| Agents should be 100% transparent on what rates they are charging the client and what commission they are charging the talent. 
4| Agents should promote their talent’s demos on their websites and be able to know their voice without seeing their name. After hearing back about What Talent Should Expect from Agents, I also added this list “What Talent Should NOT Expect from Agents.” I spoke with Doug Snyder, from the Talent Group, for awhile about this as well…so a lot of it comes from my conversation with him.  

1| Guaranteed jobs – an agent brings you the opportunities and protects you and your rates, they can never guarantee you will book. 
2| Being your Coach and Teacher – some agents were talent at some point but a lot were not. Their job is NOT to be a guide to growing your career, teaching you technique, helping you with your home studio, etc.   They are so busy just with creating and maintaining relationships with clients, negotiating contracts, booking arrangements, etc, they cannot take hours each week teaching or coaching. That’s the talent’s responsibility. Many can, however, point you in the direction of a good coach/teacher. 
3| Counselor – I’ve said it a million times…one of the hardest things about this industry is the mental part. We don’t get feedback, we get desperate, we drive ourselves crazy wondering why we’re not booking and we get worried about finances. It is so natural to want to vent to your agent or grasp for someone to just tell you it’s okay or give you the keys to success. Definitely find someone to help you navigate the mental part but don’t put that on your agent to be your counselor. That’s one of the reasons we do this newsletter and AVS exists…is because we want to be a support system to you for those hard mental struggles.  I want to finish up with a few more nuggets from my conversation with Doug. Here are some great things to keep in mind:  

1| If you’re not booking or getting the amount of auditions you think you should – NEVER come across as accusatory to your agent! EVER! If you sign with an agent, you’re BOTH saying, “I trust you to do your job.” When you come across as accusatory, you’re telling your agent, “I don’t trust you.” Trust is a necessity for success. People work with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Instead, email your agent with an update on what you’re doing.  EXAMPLE: “Hey Doug! Just wanted to let you know I finished this great workshop on commercial trends and it gave me insight on tweaks I could make to my auditions. If you’ve noticed any ways I could better my reads, I’d love to know. Always want to grow and improve to be the best talent for you.”  This isn’t accusatory, asks a question and shows that you’re wanting to help them! When you try and help others, they’re much more willing to help you.  

2| Be Persistent. This was something I knew but Doug reiterated to me and a great reminder for those looking to get on with an agent. Doug said the top talent aren’t always the best talent or best looking (they do on-camera as well) but are the most persistent. You will annoy agents and clients more by not being on time, not being prepared, being a jerk, etc than being persistent.  
Which leads to a perfect way to end this and something I have in a neon sign in my office…DON’T STOP.


-Mike and Heidi

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