One of the fantastic things about being a voiceover artist is the opportunity through the internet to work with clients all around the world.
I’ve collaborated on projects in 6 of the 7 continents (minus Antarctica). In fact, as a talent not based in a large market, I have had to ensure I have a broadcast ready studio available for remote connected sessions. I’ve learned about building relationships with agents, production professionals and casting sites all around the globe. I wouldn’t have a business without them.
I started thinking, however, it seemed somewhat strange that the least amount of work I have been involved in is ‘local’. British and other international accents are widely used in American markets, so that couldn’t be the biggest reason for it. In fact, I have met several locals who have been looking for British accents for a project at one time or another. My VO Atlanta presentation last year called The Great VO Experiment, focused on local and traditional networking, and led me to make a more concerted effort myself, to look for more nearby voiceover work.
Finding the Local Voices
I thought about pounding the pavement, visiting advertising and production houses, but it always helps to have an introduction first. I decided to advertise and join the local community to discover what exists. I advertised at my daughter's high school; I was one of the sponsors and presenters for my local Tryon Film Festival. I also found a fantastic social group locally, called Film Bar Mondays. Rhodes Farrell who organizes the group, has coordinated some great outings and meetups at local businesses. I’ve already made some friends, met some incredibly talented people and been able to help with some local initiatives. The group’s core is film making and videography but encompasses all the aspects that go into the creative process, including acting and voice acting. Rhodes asked me to be on a panel discussing audio and I feel like I am now more part of a community and in touch with what is happening in the artistic industries near me. I’ve discovered studios and made connections with people I didn’t know existed. The Film Bar I am a member of is in Greenville but there are Film Bars in other areas like Atlanta, Tampa and Jacksonville.
Venturing a Little Further Out
Other areas to find potential leads in the local voiceover market are conventions, conferences, business groups, meetups, and social media groups. Last week, I attended and presented at The East Coast Gaming Conference in Raleigh NC. Raleigh is about a 4-hour drive away but has offices of many of the top video game companies. As with Film Bar, this was an event not focused on Voiceover but adjacent to the industry. To be able to contribute as a speaker was a great honor and it provided the chance to meet others in video game careers, both rising and established stars.
Connecting it all together
The key is to be someone who helps and shares what you know, in the hope that it will truly make a difference to someone else. Business networking is almost a by-product of getting involved. My business wouldn’t be as strong without the international connections I have built but I am discovering that sowing seeds in my own backyard also has the benefit of being a much-needed social outlet for someone who works from home. There is more to uncover than I ever imagined for an overseas voice, in a local market.
Building a business, it’s likely that hundreds of connections and contacts will have to be formed to uncover the golden opportunities, but it is the way of small businesses. The world is our oyster, but shopping locally is worth the effort!
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