10 Reasons Why Experienced Voice Actors Get Smoked Online by Newcomers

…and it has nothing to do with undercutting budgets…and in no way is that an insult. Steven from Realtime Casting explains…

Realtime CastingI have been around the block now starting out in 1991, working for highly criticized companies both in voice overs and other businesses (AIG, P2P’s, Disney).

Am I glutton for punishment? Maybe.
Do I like it? No.
Why do I do it? To learn.

I want to learn why highly criticized companies do so well. I KNOW I am a good guy and already know what I WONT do. So when I see a problem, I say something. It is not an easy way to live. I have noticed anyone I annoy usually takes one-year before realizing, “Oh wait. He said this to help me.” I love to solve problems by making things balanced. I have noticed something over the last year at Realtime Casting, and the P2P’s prior to this, dating back to 2007.

Experienced with high profile work under their belt are getting smoked by newcomer voice actors and they don’t know why
Let me start this with an email I was sent this week:

“Hi Steven,
I am curious. Why do so many people not have demos displayed on Realtime Casting. How do talent on your site get hired, when they can’t be heard?”.

There is nothing I can say to such emails because I agree 100%, and so I start my list of reasons. Mind you, I am completely aware of when it is human error on the website’s side. Those problems are the types of things that keep me up at night (not kidding). Alas, that is why I wanted to work for websites to see the human side to the operations:

10. Not being aware of what their web presence tells other people.
a. Using a company placeholder graphic = No one is home
b. Low resolution image = May not care
c. No demo = No one is home
d. Using selfies as pics = Spam or unprofessional

Let me throw an example at you: Which one of these profiles below do you think has a greater chance of being hired?

realtimecastingPeople can also tell, oddly enough, when something online is “copy and pasted”.

Fun little facts related for you:

a. Not long ago, I told the owner of Realtime Casting to stop using a service based on the premise, “When we outsource it to someone, we lose the heart of why we do what we do.” It was weird at first because “that is just the way things always worked”, but when Jim Kennelly from Realtime Casting started tweeting himself, instead of some paid service…It instantly had an impact. Why? Call it psychological. People know the real thing when they see it, just like you can see Realtime does not have a million-dollar development staff. We are young and new again. That means changes all around. (pleeeease update your profiles people!)

b. When I worked in Quality Assurance for both P2P’s my biggest problem was not demo or work quality. My biggest problem was stopping people from hurting themselves by doing very strange things with their work (ex: keyword stuffing or work-arounds like profile sharing). Regardless of quality of demo, these actions damaged the integrity of their online presence for looking like an attempt to work around something, or trick something.

Google search algorithms were built by more than 165 of the smartest people in the world. Trust me. You cannot trick them. You will get further online by “keeping it real”.

9. Believing a resume is enough to show who should be hired
People go to websites to hear demos first. Text displayed has got to be comprehensive, but still many will not read it. This does not mean it should not be there.

8. Following advice from the wrong people.
Oh dear. This is an awful one. Just ask yourself this every time you read advice:

“Is this advice coming from a Sous Chef or Chef Boy R’ Dee?”.

Why? Because anyone can do a Google search and feed back to you what they read. It does not mean they know how to do something. I am very open and honest about my strengths and weaknesses and refer people to experts when I cannot do something.

8. Loyal to technology trends for too long a period of time.
If you are still using Internet Explorer, look at these statistics.

When people build websites they have to pay attention, just like store owners do, to things that “everybody is using”. No one builds a website to cater to 8% of the people online using Internet Explorer, and no one working online should expect all browsers to be equal.

In addition, things like ‘renaming files’ have been automated for years. If you don’t know this, but you think everyone does it, consider that process has been automated by websites for years.

7. Ignoring communication dynamics of working online.
I love LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook has gotten too sad for me and ad filled with click-bait. This reflects in the amount of connections I have and how they talk to me because I feel comfortable on some websites vs. others. The point is…the more you dislike a website, the more it will reflect in your success. Are you uncomfortable working online? It may be why people are uncomfortable hiring you online. It really is “like that”.

6. Not understanding who is “in charge”.
Metaphorically speaking: Google is the “mall” and you, me, everyone are stores within it. Google has rules to their “mall”. If you try to make up your own rules for working online, and think a small community of your friends can influence change by asking others to conform to wishes, it will not happen. Trust me. I have tried. I had to learn rules before trying to change them.

5. Sometimes yeah…It’s about attitude
The Internet is a counter-intuitive work environment where all bets are off. You could have climbed Mount Everest to record a job, and guess what…10 of the 2 billion people online may have done that before you. If your response is to tell the 10 people they are unprofessional because of {insert reason}, you have violated unwritten rules of the Internet.

I have noticed over the last 8 years how Atlanta has become a new major market. I also have a sharp memory of how they seemed very willing to adapt to technology, as have talent from San Francisco. BTW…did you know that 51% of people adapt to changes in technology, before “adaptation” is forced upon them? What do I mean? Well…when is the last time you bought a VHS tape or VCR? Getting frustrated with people over changing technology and for not communicating the way you know best due to localized conditions can drive business away. Why? Online work dictates that the playing field is now even. What you “did” is not as important as “what you can do today”. Getting mad at that psychology only starts snowballing a series of problems stemming from the resistant attitude.

I have also seen and heard comments about talent who are REALLY friendly and tech savvy, but because of where they live they are not seen as legit. I am sorry but to me that is just silly, especially if they are doing well. I have a friend in Richmond, Virginia with more TV and movie credits to his name than friends I have in NY & LA. Thankfully, we are all just happy to be working. But the attitude that one person’s way is “better” due to location, local studios, past coaches, or experience beyond 10 years ago is just an attitude that violates every unwritten rule of online business etiquette. It is safer to let the work and results speak for itself than criticize a person who makes $75,000/year for mainly working online and lives in Montana.

4. Wanting technology to make things like they used to be, while keeping up with current trends in websites
We all want what we want, but the hard fact is that “change is uncompromising”. For example, I have heard for years how voice talent dislike when working online is like a “shopping experience”, yet when it comes to having tools that make getting hired easier, that is exactly what they ask to have implemented.

Why is this a problem? People more familiar with websites get over things they do not like, know why things are what they are, and thus online communicate faster without asking for assistance. I remember very well what it was like to sit in a casting director’s office with a CD in my hand with newly burned labels.

Websites are basically “things” that get people to the “things” they want faster and easier. If you remove people from technology during the evolution of a business, you cannot inject them back in whenever you want them to be involved.

Now the not-so-simple stuff…

3. Alienating those with tech skills for working at home.
2. Online business skills of marketing and communications.
1. Effectively measuring whether or not something will be a complete waste of time, and doing so based on “data”, not “emotion”.

Addendum…added three hours after original post!

“Not knowing the relationship between websites and who you actually audition for”

I need to say this: I really dig voice actors and people in the voice over industry. Yet, I notice at times they audition and speak as if they are auditioning through the website for “me” and “the agent”.

And in doing so…it throws everything out of whack. Why? We all talk to people in different ways.

Online you are auditioning for “producer person” below, and they may be looking at your auditions like this:

realtimeBUT…what if you factor in that professional producers out there can also look like this:

3 actorsYou may end up with this:

imgVirusYou may wonder, “How do I avoid this?”

Simply put, you have to be your own “universal ambassador online” free of the following biases:

  • Experience level
  • Intelligence level
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age

Ultimately, it means you may be dealing with people you do not know. Be diplomatic and politically correct.

Note: The 4 guys you see above all have solid working careers in voice overs, theatre, TV and movies. You just don’t know if the job poster just came from looking at a rage-filled Facebook post before posting an audition. Be your best laid-back “you”.

Why it leads to experienced people getting smoked?
Simply because newcomers started their careers using technology, not by building relationships through postcard & demo mailings, and became more acquainted and comfortable with being tech savvy. But they also started their careers because of experienced voice actors already in the game, who have yet to work online or are trying right now…

Raise your hand if you see an opportunity here to create a solution. There are lots of geeks not good at voice overs and lots of voice over talent who are far from being tech savvy geeks.

I know I see opportunity, but it all depends on whether or not people “want to learn why”.

One thought on “10 Reasons Why Experienced Voice Actors Get Smoked Online by Newcomers

  1. Pingback: 10 Top Voiceover Blog Posts This Week - Jan. 31, 2015 | Derek Chappell's Voiceover Blog

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