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Voiceover work

I'm trying to get some info for my girlfriend's son, David. He's a starving
aspiring actor in New York. Between acting jobs, which are almost always
unpaid, he supports himself waiting on tables in restaurants and tries to
keep his expenses to a minimum by living a very ascetic lifestyle. I suspect
that this mode of living is SOP for tens of thousands of aspiring actors in
New York.

In any event, he recently got a couple of breaks--well maybe about 1.25
breaks, as you will learn if you read on. His real break was being "hired"
to do voiceovers on the English translations of some Japanese cartoons.
There's no guarantee of any money from this yet; the company that "hired"
him is in competition with other companies for the job. He'll only get real
work and money if this company emerges the winner in the competition. Still,
given the competitive nature of the voiceover business, I'm (somewhat
optimistically) counting this as one whole break.

The 1/4 break was being spotted by someone whom I presume is an ad agency
guy. This guy was a customer at the restaurant where David waits on tables.
The agency guy commented that David has a great voice and asked if he had
ever considered doing voiceovers. David told the agency guy the story of his
experience with the cartoons. The agency guy then gave David a business
card, on which he wrote the name and number of a woman who hires voiceover
talent at the agency.

When David called this woman, he found her to be barely courteous. She said
that she only deals with name talent (James Earl Jones, for instance), and
never does anything with people who have no history doing voiceovers for
commercials. The woman did say that if David sent her a tape, she'd forward
it to the person in the agency who deals with unknowns. David tried to get
the name of this other woman, but the woman he was speaking with would not
provide that information.

David then spoke with his agent, from whom he learned 1) that a tape of his
voiceovers on cartoons would be of zero help in securing commercial
voiceover work, 2) that some people do record tapes of themselves reading
"fake" commercials, but the agencies can spot these a mile away and almost
never listen to them, and 3) it would cost David from $800 to $1200 to make
a tape of himself doing fake commercials. The agent thought this expenditure
would be a complete waste of money, however. At the moment, the subject is
moot because David has no money. But his mother thinks she might be able to
scrape the funds together, and she'd be willing to do it if she thought that
doing so had a chance of accomplishing something.

So my questions are: Is there any point in spending the money on a tape? If
so, is there some way to make the tape appealing enough to the agencies that
they will listen? If not, is there any way David could get some commercial
voiceover experience that would be meaningful to the agencies? He'd be quite
willing to work for nothing to get such experience if doing so would give
him a reasonable shot at having an agency or two actually consider him for
work on commercials.

David, his mother, and I will welcome your suggestions.

- -------------------------------
Dan Strassberg (Note: Address is CASE SENSITIVE!)
ALL _LOWER_ CASE!!!--> dan.strassberg@worldnet.att.net
(617) 558-4205; Fax (617) 928-4205


End of boston-radio-interest-digest V2 #4