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The Data NEVER LIES!!



 

JMC put out a truthful blog about the current state of cheese… meaning VO. He’s not wrong and his comments and advice are spot on. I just want to add a “guy in the trenches” and “niche voice” opinion…and what I am doing and setting up for as this year progresses, so I am not a statistic in 2025.

 

I have seen a lot of challenges in being both a Covid-Launched VO and being a VERY niche voice who is not and does not book the “general” commercial big jobs. I have booked National a few times as a “one of many” voices as in the ESPN/Top Golf Super Bowl ad. I was the announcer who kicked it off with 2 sentences. On a Yella Wood spot, I said “Absolutely” …but bread and butter for me is documentary and in-show (Streaming Channels you probably have never heard of) and Regional work in commercial, IVR and corporate and video games…actually lots of those but nothing major yet. VO Work for me comes mainly in my “natural voice” or my “older voice” and character voices.

 

I say that to say this… early on in coaching Mark Rider equipped me and taught me to lean into the feel of characters I related to and develop “my” characters and name them.  Know how to “pull them out of the bag” and execute inside an audition. This taught me to target market and target audition and STOP WASTING TIME on things that I knew good and well I would NEVER book. That is when I got busier.

 

I got busier booking on P2P because my ratios went WAY up. My auditions were not rushed but well played. Why audition for that cloud-based tech or B2B in Maryland when I KNEW they heard way more TWANG than I even had. Why submit 25 times a day if only 3 of those were for me. When I decided that I would only audition for what fit and started telling my agents the same… my investment in time spent on wasted auditions earned me a lot of time to invest on ways to GROW versus work myself to death for NOTHING.

 

Now I focus on TARGETED things. I have pulled the numbers and DATA DOES NOT LIE! I have booked through P2P already in 2024 more than I did in 2023. My average per job is up 150%. What have I booked?  I am seeing a trend of “Outdoor Equipment” from mowers to bobcats in both Commercial and Corporate and IVR. I also book a lot of video games. When I look at clients on my base (direct month over month) I am consistent with Video Narration in the Religious sector and Construction Sector and the Outdoor (Hunting/Fishing) show sector and Radio Imaging for of course… Classic Country.

 

So why would I waste time chasing what I am not booking and why shouldn’t I invest MORE in the areas I am booking but could do more?  What will be the plan? How can I PIVOT and CAPITALIZE on my STRENGTHS?

 

Video Games. I have NEVER coached for these except taking 2 classes at VO Atlanta with Dave Fennoy.  My “demo” was crap, but hardly sent it out. I decided to make some decent samples, and will soon set a coaching course for Video Games to see if I can go “next level”. This one jumps right off the page… there is some natural ability, there is apparently a need for my accent and natural voice and my characters and I LOVE doing it.

 

Outdoor Narration.  I do 3 outdoor shows for one channel. I auditioned for 2 others late last year but they were replacing an iconic voice who they wanted to be as close as possible. I was NOT in his class (his timbre was not a match) but I got great feedback on my “style and storytelling ability”. I should pursue coaching in the Documentary genre and hone this skill. Again, I love doing these.

 

Outdoor Equipment. My voice and style is a great fit for “regional” stores and etc. in the south and southwest and southeast coast. I book Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia… and oddly Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. It has been “sporadic” but ranks in my wins high enough I need to develop a stronger marketing strategy for this.

 

Automotive. This one really hurts me because I started STRONG in this genre, and then it hit a wall, but I think it is the “wait on the roster until a dealer wants a new voice” type of thing OR many are using random voices (and at lower rates than a year ago) and are not as committed to a “brand voice” as before. I am not giving up because I love the genre and feel I have worked hard at it and can deliver (in under an hour as well).

Political.  Demo done, email marketing in gear and booking a few.  I feel like in a month or three it’ll be fine.  Still a tad early but seeing more opportunities.

 

In all of this we have to take time to PLAN the attack and also know what the investments will be.  I totally agree with JMC about spending to get in front of the right people also.  I have seen a return on being in the right workshops in front of agents and casting directors. I have also reaped the benefits of that coaching. I have a NY agent now from a workshop effort that I absolutely feel GREAT about and have new relationships with others I have grown slowly after the workshops… and learned in one workshop… this is a genre I am not cut out for.  That is a good investment also… if you are smart enough to walk away from something you REALLY wanted to do.

 

This business is hard. There are hard truths like you MUST invest in yourself and invest WISELY to grow… and the goal is not who you know… it si who KNOWS you and KNOWS your strengths and abilities. It is cultivating those relationships properly, not being a dick and giving back to those who have not been through what you have. Sharing and being transparent but not being a complainer or moaner. SURE, I have my tough weeks but instead of blaming P2P or other people… I suck it up and work HARDER trying to make sure I never ever have to go back to that corporate management rat race again.

 

This little business I have is mine.  I am the CEO, Marketing Director, Creative Talent, Social Media Coordinator, Audio Engineer, Office Manager, Studio Manager, Video Editor, Accounting Supervisor and Admin Assistant. It is totally a ONE MAN SHOW and some weeks it is a SHITSHOW… but it is MY show, and it is both on me when it is not going well and also about me when it is.  This is my roller coaster and I get to say when it is time to get off or time to speed up or slow down.

 

We all have the same goal. We all want to make a big paycheck doing the best job in the world for the greatest clients, but we also know it is about the hardest hustle juggling 10 balls at a time while trying to remain calm and collected. There’s no reason to NOT help each other because at the end of the day a very subjective decision is made to choose that one voice that most of the time is not me… or you… but someone else. However, when it is you or me… there’s no greater feeling in the world.

 

If you love it, you endure. If it is a hobby, say so. If it is not cranking, it’s ok to admit it. When you need help, ask. Hit a wall? Back up and try again. There is no right or wrong, but you should listen to those talking about the business and the changes and at least look at your data and trends and gear your business in a targeted direction that makes the most sense. Stop spinning your wheels. Stop wasting time bitching about what is not working and focus on what it and GROW that part of your business into something great.

The Data never lies

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