Last week we talked about what it takes to plant and start growing your network, and I provided three examples of ways to start your own network. I compared your network to a sapling, where every connection that you make is a new branch. Each branch can have it’s own branches, as you make new connections from each connection. We also talked about how you need to water your tree, and your connections, to make them grow. If you didn’t read last week’s blog, then you should take a few minutes to go back and read, Building a voiceover network (PART 1). This week we are going to continue the topic, and I will provide three more examples of ways to grow your network.
Let’s pickup where we left off.
Meet-and-greet. The world may be in a tail-spin during these unprecedented times, but if you are able to safely attend gatherings, I highly recommend that you do so. Meeting people in person is one of the best ways to create a lasting connection. The people you interact with will have a face, and personality, to add to the name. They will remember your infectious laughter, or brilliant smile, which can lead to work. They may have a client who is looking for that person who snorts when they laugh, and your new connection may be able to say, ‘You know what? I know this person I met at this convention, we chat regularly, let me put you in-touch.’ BAM. It works just like that. Try meeting industry people at conventions, trade-shows, fundraisers, or other networking events in your area. Certain organizations will already do the hard part for you, and assemble these types of people. You need to find these events, and join their club. It may cost you something to attend that fancy dinner, but if it makes you a connection that leads to a job, then it would all be worth it.
Side-note: Never underestimate your ability to imprint on someone’s memory. Be genuine, and make sure that you are trying to create real relationships with people, and not just superficial ones. People can tell the difference. But if you are trying to make genuine connections with people, that you can one day call a friend, then it is much easier to create and maintain that relationship.
To Be, or Not to Be. Join acting, improv, and voice over classes in your local community. This will be a great way to find friends and allies who can help strengthen your network. There will be people in these groups who can help you grow as a person, and as an actor. It will help pull you out of your comfort zone, and teach you new skills to use on a daily basis. You will learn how to talk in front of people, how to interpret scripts, how to ACT, and how to improvise when you forget what the heck you were just doing. You can find these classes online, through your local community centers, community colleges, or local theaters.
If you don’t have access to some of these, or you want something more secluded, then start online. You can take some great voice acting seminars with wonderful professionals. The rates depend on the teacher, but you can work with some high level people if your heart desires – and your pocketbook can cash the check. I have taken some of the free seminars offered by Tawny Platis, and she is providing a wonderful product for a wide range of actors. I must admit that I haven’t been as active in these classes as I should be, but you should check her class out first.
Side-Note: I’ve linked three voice acting classes for you at the end of this blog.
The art of the call – and Email. Do you remember the days when people used to just call you out of the blue, and ask you if you had a minute to talk about your unsecured credit debt? I sure do, almost like it was yesterday…
Okay, maybe don’t be that pushy but this is the general idea to create new leads. Research some companies that you are interested in potentially working for. See if you can find someone on LinkedIn and then send them a message. See if they know who to put you in contact with at their company. Do they have casting directors for the things you want? Are there proper channels on their website to do this? If so, then start there. If not, then you need to put on your best Nancy Drew outfit, and start sleuthing. Message multiple people in the organization to try and get the information you want, but don’t go overboard. Once you have a phone number, email the person first to let them know who you are and that you plan to call them to talk about their unsecured credit debt. Just kidding. Actually, try to see if they are looking for voice talent for anything internal, and then start the process of becoming their friend. Find common ground, remember the name of their three cats, and send them a card on holidays (especially National Greeting Card day, which is April 1st in the States).
Side-Note: Large companies are always using voices for things like company branding messages, training videos, and corporate presentations just to name a few.
These are just some of the places to start. If you master these things, then congratulations you are doing pretty well for yourself. I am trying to grow my little sapling into a strong tree through these types of channels. So far, I have been seeing some dividends. I am getting some requests for work through my website and social media accounts, and I am creating connections with people in the professional and social networks. I am eager for the day in which I get to attend an in-person event like I described above, because I just like talking to people. I hope that comes off sincerely when we meet.
Until next week, remember this is a large industry and we need to take care of each other.
- Audio Engineering Society (AES)
- Young-Professionals (STL has a network for young professionals, try to find something like this in your area)