A long conversation with Edge Studio's Owner & Director, David Goldberg, Thursday, filled my head with all sorts of creative what-ifs.
It lead to my posting a question on the VO-BB, which I'm going to re-purpose below…followed by the responses from two guys who've forgotten more about this business than I'll ever know: Frank Frederick and Philip Banks. My thanks to them, and VO-BB Mistress DB Cooper for the freedom to use this material.
Maybe the back 'n' forth of the posed question 'n' answer will help you with a focus for your VO/VA business.
BTW, David Goldberg's Edge Studio is booming, expanding, and busy. Sure, David and his staff are doing a lot of the right things, and they're GOOD…but it's also some indication that there's plenty of VO work for the right people with the right demo, attitude, work ethic, and ability to deliver.
Pinging various voiceover sages in the business lately has left me with an even-steven quandary you might be able to help with.
POSITION A: JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES
Appealing to as many clients as possible means more potential
jobs, but also leaves the voice talent with a scatter-gun approach to a
demo or demos. None of which distinguish the talent from other to any
great degree. Some voice seeker looking for a "the best" may see a lack
of focus and move on. Others may be impressed at the range of ability
and jump all over it.
POSITION B: NICHE
Discerning your strength, and targeting that talent almost
exclusively in all you promote, market, and demo. This limits your
broader job appeal, but allows the talent to claim a specialty, show
excellence in one field beyond the rest of the VO rabble, and hone
skills in delivering a product to one niche (you could claim yourself
an expert?). This might save money on a marketing budget (or not).
And….not that you'd have to totally go one way or the other…
just MOSTLY leaning one way so that you have a clear message to
-Do agents embrace one scheme over the other?
-Is today's changing market forcing the VO's hand on this issue? Which way?
-Are there significant money-saving considerations one way or the other?
-What technology or business-process decisions might come to bear on either choice?
Using the "shotgun" approach is not my idea of marketing.
Defining niches' or "target markets" and then pinpointing each segment of the overall industry with laser guided promotional and public relations materials is much more effective in terms of expenditures.
The concept is simple:
Define your "target" market(s),
Begin with only ONE niche' market at a time (you may add others later, but start with just one segment).
Determine the needs within the market and how you may address them,
Determine who and how to reach the people who hire VO Artists,
Determine your potential income for this calling,
Define your budget for each niche' market (each arena will require different approaches),
Create marketing materials for each specific slot,
Use your materials/propaganda in each market segment wisely.
If you find, one niche' market is not preforming as well as others over a period of time, Do More Research
to find out why you are not reaching the "movers and shakers" or if
there is some other causality which is preventing you from reaching
your stated goal within the market segment.
Then determine if a particular market segment is providing the
income expected based on previous research; and finally, if you should
increase your efforts in this market segment or double marketing
concerns within another arena.
With the "laser-approach" you are still a jack-of-all-trades to yourself, but you are known in each market segment as an expert.
This is my opinion and should be considered as such. Any similarities
between this opinion and those of any other person, living, fictional,
or dead shall be considered happenstance and cannot be considered legal
or binding on anyone else.
I believe most (good) agents use the shogun approach for their clients;
until such time as the determine a niche which is making them money for
their employer – uh, talent.
Able to do everything – Unlikely
Willing to anything – You only think you are
Desperate – That'll be it!
Let's try a little exercise. If YOU (reader) promote yourself as a
movie trailer voice, name the movie trailer or trailers you have
Were you a brain surgeon you would be able to show a professional qualification and introduce me to patients.
"Hello, I'm Philip and I'm an Airline Pilot"
"Really! For which airline?"
"Well. I'm working with Captain Maurice Tobeus at the moment but when I've finished ……"
Get the point?
In the tortured world of the Voice Overist who or what we say we are, as the song goes "…..ain't necessarily so".
Willingness, ability and experience are 3 different things with 3
completely different meanings and we confuse them not due to ignorance
but as a result of choice.
How should you market yourself? Honestly. It's the toughest way yet ultimately the most rewarding.