The Voice-Over Business Trip: How to Permeate a VO Market

JW_headshot-thumbBy Julie Williams

As I prepare for my upcoming business trip to Atlanta, it occurs to me that many voice-over folks may not even know what to do on a VO business trip! So I want to give you a short outline of what I did in preparation for my Atlanta VO business trip.  Of course, all of our situations are different so your own outline may vary—but I suggest you create one to maximize the effect of your time.

Decide where you want to go on your tax deductible trip. (Remember, you MUST conduct business to write off your trip—and to set the ground work for future financial rewards)

The two criteria I normally use in deciding where I want to go are:

1. Where would I like to go to visit friends & family, or see the sights?

1.1. When I wanted to go to Hawaii I held a workshop there. I had met a wonderful lady on a VO Cruise on which I taught. She lived in Hawaii… and extended a welcome anytime… so I invited her to attend the workshop free in return for being able to stay with her.

1.2. When I wanted to go to Niagara Falls I accepted an invitation to stay with a fellow voice talent who lives there… and planned a workshop across the river in Buffalo, NY.  In addition to the workshop, I attended the Buffalo meet up to connect with even more talent, and drove to Toronto to meet a few more VO folks who were friends of my hostess.  Connections are key—with both talents and other industry professionals.  In fact, my hostess and I became very close friends that week, and I’ve since referred her to one of my clients!

On both tax deductible trips, the money I made on the workshops paid my way, I became good friends with my hostesses, and had a wonderful time.

2. Where is there a lot of potential?

2.1. San Antonio is always productive for me. Frankly, it’s a lousy VO market. But I lived there for about 20 years so I have lots of friends there. There’s always a free place to stay. All I need to do is get a rental car.    I also have an agent there so I can reconnect on a personal level, with her.  In addition, I have clients there for whom I’ve worked for years… and many prospects, as the landscape has changed in the past 15 years, since I left.  So there are a lot of folks I can connect/reconnect with. I even have one client who remembered how I had to keep leaving the studio to barf when I was pregnant with my son!  That’s a personal connection! :-)

2.2. I chose Atlanta for this trip for two reasons:

  • I have friends, family, VO colleagues, clients, and students there. My twin sister’s daughter just had a baby—who I will meet at two weeks old. I can spend time with my elderly mom as we share a hotel together.
  • It’s one of the fastest growing VO markets in the country.  There is an agent there I’ve been trying to sign with.

So here’s what I did:

First I went to the agency’s website and discovered that they’re not accepting new talent.   Then I contacted some very heavy hitters in the industry and asked them to send an email to the agent recommending me.  A few days later I followed up with an email and my demos. A couple of weeks later, I asked an Atlanta friend who knows him to call him on my behalf.  Then I sent representation request and demos again.

A student invited me to stay with her.  I’d normally take her up on that, but I decided it would be a good bonding time with my mom that we both visit Atlanta and stay together.

I contacted the founder of the local VO meet up group and arranged to hold a free 2-hour VO workshop at their offices for their members and anyone else who wants to come. The next day I will have private coaching sessions with a maximum of 6 people. (I limited it because I want to spend some time with the family…and I’m going to be very busy working while I’m there!)

I contacted my friend who knows the agent. She is going to arrange a dinner with local professional working talents and the agent will be there.  I will meet many other professional VOs and the agent, in person. I will bring the agent a bottle of good northern California wine.

I talked to a VO colleague who I’ve never met in person but have always respected.  She’s driving in from North Carolina to spend the day with me. She’ll introduce me to a big time  prospect to whom I’ve spoken a number of times.  She’s put me on her roster but hasn’t hired me yet. I’m bringing my friend a bottle of wine, as well.  For the client—since there are so many in the office—I’ll bring a bunch of donuts or something.

I emailed a client and told him I’d love to meet him in person. We arranged to have lunch. I will bring my North Carolina friend with me to meet him.

I emailed a studio for whom I’d love to work. The owner responded that I should call when I get to town and hopefully they’d have time for me to stop by and meet them.  Then I found out that a VO colleague of mine had a session at that studio that morning.  I am going to go with her and she’ll introduce me to the studio.  I’ll bring the entire studio donuts or something.

I’m also going to have dinner with two of my private coaching students.

But it won’t be all business.

I contacted a friend who I haven’t seen since high school graduation, and am meeting him for coffee.  And I hope to spend at least a couple of full days with my niece and the babies.

I hope my experience is helpful to you. Adapt as needed!

Needless to say, I will be extremely tired when it’s all said and done! The week will be like a marathon.  But it will be worth it in friendships forged, business connections made, and family bonds strengthened—and the trip is tax deductible.

Julie Williams

About Julie Williams

Julie Williams has voiced thousands of commercials and narrations, and eLearning scripts, as well as many other voice-overs. She is an active audiobook narrator, and was a 2012 Audie Finalist. Julie has also taught at such notable events as VO2013, The VoiceLympics Cruise, and multiple VOICE Conferences. She is a nationally recognized voiceover coach, and has coached hundreds of talent worldwide to reach their full potential. Julie is available for private coaching via Skype for a limited number of students.

Comments

  1. Great article and smart strategy! Thanks Julie!

  2. I enjoyed reading this article Julie and hope to put some of these strategies to use one day ~ thanks!

    Yvonne

  3. THIS is the definition of “Workin’ it!” Well played, Julie!

  4. I just listened to the Pat Fraley Audition Tricks webinar. It was very useful. Thanks for doing this.

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