photo © 2006 Aidan Jones | more info (via: Wylio)
In an earlier post, I discussed the ongoing debate on whether or not to have an agent. And once again I will quote my friend and colleague Peter O’Connell on the value that agents can provide to the voice artist:
…this is still an industry where it is helpful to have a qualified agent out there on your side. Not only do they set up auditions and jobs, but if its the right agent, you’ll have a professional sounding board for issues that come up in your business.
I had a couple of experiences in the last couple of weeks that reminded me of the wisdom of this statement.
I do not have ISDN to my home, and I partner with a couple of local studios in town when I have an ISDN gig. Two weeks ago, one of my agents booked me for a gig with a New York studio. I set up the session time, sent the SPIDS to my agent to communicate to the distant studio, and headed down at the appropriate time.
The session was booked to begin at noon, so I made sure to be there about 11:45. The connection wasn’t made until 12:20. We worked for about 35 minutes, wrapped the session, and I had a little small talk with my friends at the studio before heading out the door. But just as I was reaching the exit, I was called back in, because they wanted to make a change to one of the tags, which was in fact a completely different script. We finally got back online around 1:25. It didn’t take long, and we were finished in about 5 minutes. I then waited to be given the all clear before heading back to work.
And I waited.
And I waited.
For 35 minutes. Without a word over the ISDN, or a response via email. And just as we picked up the phone to call the studio, they clicked live over the ISDN: “Hey, we’re all set. You were great! Thanks!”
And so, the session that should have had me out of the office for an hour and a half kept me out for more than 3 hours. On the way back to the office, I gave my agent a call, just to let her know how the session went and what exactly had happened. And she was aghast.
I was all set to let it go, chalk it up to working with new clients, and dig in for the rest of the day. But before I left work for the day, my agent had called me back. She had spoken to the client and gotten them to up my rate for the session based on the length of time it took and the additional script that was added outside of the original agreement. So at the end of the day, I came out even farther ahead than I had planned, all while retaining good relations with the client.
This past week, I started working with a new agent in Los Angeles. I was sent an audition request, which I dutifully recorded and sent back. I had not gotten clarification on what the naming convention would be for submitted auditions, and he gave me those in a return email, as well as a request: could I please do the audition again?
I was not taken aback: I actually was pleased to hear that there was a little actual critiquing going on. So I resubmitted with the changes requested. It came back again, saying this would be a good safety, but could I submit a “stretch” version. By this time it was after 1 AM EST, and I had gone to bed for the night. I got up the next morning and gave it one more shot, which was the submitted audition for the project.
Now this could be looked at as a nuisance; maybe some would see it as an intrusion into the process. I saw it as necessary critique and guidance from someone who would benefit from the best performance I could give. I don’t see a thing wrong with that and appreciated the opportunity not just to audition, but to get it right. I don’t know yet if I got the gig, but even if I don’t, I have learned something about delivering the best performance I can for an audition, even when I am tired.
I know that not all agents will provide you with this kind of service, but I can say with gratitude that I have people representing me who do.