Online etiquette that leads to loss of voice over work

Posted on July 10, 2012 by


Before you read this, I want to thank the Voice123 talent involved, who helped inspire this post. There is a great deal to be learned from the emails I am sent, in which I am asked for personal help. Comparing that to voice seeker emails sent to me about what it is like to work with voice talent, I can see how the personalities differ between the two sides of Voice123. I can also see why voice talent often choose to remain anonymous when asking us questions. I will do the same here for this voice talent.

This post is about an online etiquette that leads to loss of voice over work, and many times the reasons voice talent are not hired are buried in the subconscious of a client’s brain. Talent will not know because the client would feel uncomfortable explaining why.

Recently, a talent who asked me why a client was not getting back to him. In truth, I had no idea, until I saw the first message he sent . The talent was being friendly, cordial and polite, asking what the voice seeker wanted after requesting a re-read. You could not fault him for sounding aggressive or egotistical, but there was an online etiquette missing that led to him never hearing back. (at least I think so based on experience)

What was it?

Keep his goal in mind, “Giving a client what he/she wants”. Keep in mind the voice seeker asked for a re-audition. Can you see in his first message, where the online etiquette falls short? After getting a request to re-audition, this message was sent:

  • “It would be my pleasure to give you a full script read! Did you have a preference for the first read in the Custom Demo or one of the Alternate reads in the Related Demo? If you’ll kindly let me know which read you preferred and if you have any additional notes on the performance, I’ll get right on it! Feel free to contact me directly via e-mail at…”

Can you see where this fell apart? It reminds me a bit of this old Jerry Seinfeld episode about getting his cabinets fixed:

Here’s what I see it comes down, and let me know if you agree, or not. If the goal is to keep a client happy, you first need to know how to translate into an online environment…what keeps a client happy. Why? Ultimately, you spend more time doing voice overs than they do. They expect you to lift that burden of “what to do next” off of them. They need you to know how to “fix the cabinets” without them, and if so desired, make changes around the clients’ needs because:

  • The client is trying to save time.
  • The client asked for something specific, and it was not given.
  • The client expected the voice artist to work his magic and do a re-read.

Even though the voice talent was trying to be helpful, in the process of doing so:

  • Talent asked the client to work
  • Talent placed the burden of “what to do next” on the client

Drawing a parallel, when we visit restaurants, we trust a chef to cook for us. If you ever find yourself saying, “How will I know how to get better at what I do?”, or “How will I know what they want if they don’t say it?”, you are either dealing with a situation where you do not know how to be a chef for that person, and maybe should pass on the work. It is very easy to get frustrated in an online environment of over 700 million opinionated people, and say, “If they told me, I would have been better”, but the fact is…If a client does not want to say more, nor knows how to, it may just mean two people were not meant to work together.

What do you think?