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Friday, September 21, 2012

How Hard Work on the P2P Sites Pays Off

I'm a donkey.

A voiceover donkey.

No, I don't have big floppy ears and a stubborn disposition, (despite what you may have heard ;) but rather an unquenchable passion for VO that keeps me working and auditioning from dawn to dusk on most days, tweaking my audio, making small fixes for clients, scouring the interwebs for all manner of industry buzz, teaching, coaching, giving my P2P courses, and otherwise laboring like a pack mule under a heavy load.

It's exhausting. I love it.

Nevertheless, when I talk to people about what it takes to be highly successful in the online marketplace, I sometimes sense that they wonder whether all the hard work is worth it. The hours of perfecting your audio to a competitive standard. The endless stream of auditions that will quickly leave you numb from reading scripts that often seem like the same thing over and over, (My friends get really tired of me introducing them by saying, "Meet Bob, he's an IT professional from Sacramento. Bob's a nice guy, but he has serious network problems.") The hermit-like existence of being in a home studio ten hours per day.

It's not a glamorous lifestyle. The hours are long, and the work is hard. And, in the beginning, you aren't going to book a lot of work. In my first six months online, even as an experienced offline talent, I was thrilled to book a small job or two per week. No one in the P2P marketplace knew who I was. They hadn't heard my audio or delivery, and I had zero name recognition.

What changed? Persistence.

There were times at the very beginning where I seriously considered ditching the whole concept of online voiceovers. I was booking $1,000/month in work putting in 40 hour weeks, on top of my agency-based workload. I wondered if it would ever be worth my time. But...I stuck with it, and over the next year I began building a business. I never let a client walk away unsatisfied, even if I had to do three times the work I should in order to create something they loved. I hustled every little hundred dollar job I could get my hands on, in the hopes that they would become repeat business down the line, or at least good word of mouth. I shilled for 5-star feedback on Voices.com, and asked my Voice123.com clients to spread the word about my services. There's a reason it says on my website that, "...if you need a single word changed at 3AM, just call me...that's what I'm here for." It's actually happened a couple of times.

With this persistence and hard work, there eventually came a snowball effect. Eighteen months in, I was booking a job per day through new auditions or repeat business. Budgets seemed to get bigger. Wallets opened more readily for a talent that had a track record of happy clients in the online marketplace. A trickle became a flow, and eventually, a flood.

In the past couple of weeks, the lesson of business building has really hit home for me. For the first time, I have started to find it difficult to continue auditioning online as a result of the sheer volume of work that is coming in the door, often unsolicited and from past/regular clients. Today, I found myself clicking through the auditions on Voices.com & Voice123.com, and deleting pretty much everything under $500. Don't have the time.

Folks, this didn't happen because I am more talented than the next guy, or because I was blessed with some unnaturally perfect voice. I'm not, and I wasn't. I hear five guys every day that make me wonder what I am doing in this business. Seriously, five demos every day that make me terrified that I will someday be competing against that person. What eases my mind, however, is the knowledge that while that talent possibly has his head in the clouds with visions of quick dollars dancing in front of him, I'll be waking up, strapping on my heavy pack for the day, and making my way up the mountain at a steady pace....like a good donkey.

If you are staring at 50 auditions waiting to be read for, and you are booking 1 or 2% of your reads...don't give up. Keep at it. In this part of the business, perseverance is rewarded. You'll get there.

Take it from an old mule.

Hee haw!
J. Michael Collins
www.jmcvoiceover.com
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Success Stories, and Great Advice from a P2P Superstar

THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING!

In addition to the names you have already read about in this blog, some of whom have moved into the elite category of talent booking on a weekly or even daily basis through the P2P sites, congratulations are due to recent P2P Domination course students Christi Bowen & Ken Maguda, who have achieved success on Voices.com or Voice123.com after taking my course.

Christi, who has one of the smoothest deliveries I have come across in quite awhile, booked a long-term e-learning client shortly after taking the course, and has been shortlisted for numerous other projects over the same period.

Ken, a Georgia boy with a big set of pipes, has nailed a few jobs over on Voices.com, including one that instantly turned into steady, repeat work, and he has been steadily climbing their favorites list as well, following in the footsteps of previous students Brady Hales & Michael Brang.

The results speak for themselves. Talents who take this short, one hour course via Skype are booking work as a direct result. Contact me at jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com today to learn more about how you can join them!

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GREAT ADVICE FROM P2P VOICEOVER SUPERSTAR ZACK TAYLOR

My good friend and colleague Zack Taylor recently joined me for an interview for the Voiceover Experts podcast series on Voices.com.

Zack is one of the very best in the business, and you can listen to almost half an hour of his excellent advice by clicking on the following link:

http://podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts/2012/08/voice_over_experts_episode_133.html


All the best!
J. Michael Collins
www.jmcvoiceover.com
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Slate or Not to Slate?

Ever since entering the online voiceover marketplaces like Voices.com, Voice123.com, and others, it has been my standard practice to slate my auditions with a simple name tag at the beginning. I even devised an impactful standardized slate file with a brief sound effect mixed in to catch the attention of voice seekers from the moment they clicked "play."

Recently, after consulting with a client on the selection of several other voices for his project, and after listening to hundreds of auditions from the P2P sites as part of that process, I began to question the wisdom of my slating strategy. After just a dozen or so auditions, I found myself thinking, "just get to the read, already!" The short name slates were one thing, but so many talent were taking 10-15 seconds to offer a personalized hello that I began to feel myself losing valuable time to the process. I just wanted to hear the audition, decide whether or not to mark the talent for the shortlist, and move on. By the end of the process, I may well have been subconsciously biased against those talents who were taking up my time with long-winded slates.

This led me to reconsider my own practice of slating nearly all auditions. So, I conducted an experiment. For the next two weeks, I continued slating my auditions, and tracked contacts from voice seekers, bookings, and (on Voices.com, VO Planet, and bodalgo,) "likes" and "favorites," received from the major P2P sites during this time. As expected, my numbers remained steady, having changed nothing about my approach to auditioning. The interesting bit is what happened when I subsequently stopped slating at all over the next two weeks....

With no slates, the second two week period saw the following statistical changes:

A 25% increase in "likes" and "favorites" on the sites that have such features.
A 10% increase in direct contacts from voice seekers

and most importantly....

An 8% increase in bookings.

Those of you who are familiar with my presence in the online marketplace know that I do a LOT of auditions, (probably 150+ in an average week,) and book substantial work from the P2Ps, (5-10 NEW clients per week.) So, for me, these numbers were statistically significant, and directly impacted my revenue. More importantly, they were dramatic enough that I have now substantially altered my slating practice.

My new philosophy: Slate only for those clients who A.) specifically request it, or B.) seem sufficiently new to P2Ps, or non-corporate, that a slate might actually be necessary to assist them in remembering who you are, or who might positively react to a slate as a touch of professionalism.

In practice, this means that I have gone from slating 85% of my auditions, to slating around 20%. Evidence that I believe I have found an answer to the age old question of To Slate or Not to Slate.

As always, best of luck to everyone for continued success, and don't forget to check out this site & my voiceover webpage for information on my Skype-based classes that can help you maximize your bookings on the Pay-to-Play voiceover sites!

J. Michael Collins
www.jmcvoiceover.com
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Success Stories

I continue to be blown away with how quickly my Pay-to-Play course students are incorporating the one-on-one work we have done in ways that are leading to regular bookings, and in some cases, dramatic success.

Here are some more examples of the results my students are seeing:

Jason Huggins has booked several jobs since we worked together, including a series of training modules, a commercial for a university, the audiobook version of 30 Days to Social Media Success, and a recruiting video for the Victoria Police Department. Jason has become a regular favorite on Voices.com as well.

Kurt Colehower took my course a couple of months ago, and has not only booked several jobs through the online casting sites, including two in one day on Voices.com, (congrats on the 5-star feedback, Kurt!,) but he has also landed a recurring role as the voice of a golf tips segment airing nationally on Fox Sports!

Star students Brady Hales & Michael Brang continue to light up the online marketplace as well. Brady has booked over a dozen jobs on Voices.com alone since taking my course, and has become a regular in the top 5 on the favorites list. Moreover, he has used his new insight into how to dominate the online marketplace to further the career of his wife Elizabeth as well, and she has also booked nearly a dozen jobs online since Brady took my course! What a team!

Michael Brang also continues to steadily book new work, and has become a favorites list mainstay as one of the up and coming stars in the online voiceover community.

Folks, the stories of these talents speak for themselves. The success rate for people who take my one-on-one Skype course on dominating the online voiceover, (P2P,) marketplace is staggering, verifiable, and bankable. Contact me today at jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com to sign up. 30 minute and 1 hour sessions are available, and every single one of my students receives complimentary follow-up counseling via email.

Find out now why successful voice talents are telling everyone that my course is the best money they ever spent!

May this be a successful summer for everyone!

All the best,
J. Michael
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com
www.jmcvoiceover.com

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What Can My P2P Domination Skype Course Do for You?

Several months ago, I began offering 30 & 60 minute sessions via Skype on how to dominate the P2P (Pay-to-Play) online voiceover marketplace for new and experienced talent alike. I have been overwhelmed by the response to this course, but in all honesty, at the very beginning, I wondered whether my students would see tangible results and a return on their investment. After all, my accumulated experience and insight may be valuable, but could others translate it into booking work?

After just a few months, I am delighted to watch the success of my students unfold right in front of my eyes, (literally, in the case of those who have booked on Voices.com and seen their names and demos on the front page.) Here are a few recent success stories:

Brady Hales has booked and closed numerous jobs on Voices.com in the few weeks since he took my course, earning glowing feedback from his clients, and becoming a mainstay on the favorites list. Incorporating my auditioning strategies, as well as profile style points, Brady has even bagged a couple of jobs that I auditioned for as well!

Michael Brang took my course only a week ago, and just booked a recurring gig as the "forever" voice of a prominent east coast furniture company, in addition to landing two other P2P jobs this past week. His "likes" and "favorites" rate on Voices.com has increased by 200%, and he cracked the top 10 on the Favorites List on Friday!

Kurt Feldner was almost entirely new to VO before taking my course, and in the month since we worked together he has landed two audiobooks, a video narration project, and is negotiating to voice a series of podcasts. Kurt has seen his ratio of "likes" and "favorites" increase exponentially, and is on his way to carving out his corner of the Pay-to-Play marketplace.

These are just a few of the success stories that I have heard from talent who have invested just 30 or 60 minutes of their time to learn the secrets to conquering the challenging field of P2P voiceover sites.

My course is a structured, point-by-point tutorial on how to leverage your talent, experience, schedule, and business skills to thrive in the P2P voiceover business just as I have. It will save you literally hundreds of hours of trial and error, and the results that my students are achieving make me confident that you, too, will book work after taking my course.

Additionally, I offer complimentary continuing support via e-mail to anyone who completes my course. If you have follow-up questions, or just want some feedback on a demo, I'll be happy to help.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me at jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com.

References are available upon request, or just contact one of the guys listed above to hear what my course did for them, in their own words.

Here's wishing everyone the very best for a successful May!

J. Michael Collins
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com
www.jmcvoiceover.com

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pay-to-Play Tip of the Day: Sound Quality!

Hello Everyone,

Since the launch of my new course on dominating the Pay to Play voiceover marketplaces, something that has come to my attention while interacting with my students is how the concept of audio quality can sometimes be misunderstood, and can lead to under-performance in the online voiceover industry.

If you are reading this blog, surely you understand the basics about creating a marketable signal chain, whether on a high budget or a low one. Producing quality auditions that will lead to work, however, is about more than good acoustics. Technique & technology play a large role as well.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. If your recording space isn't absolutely perfect in terms of acoustical quality, consider running a noise gate at around -30db on all of your recordings. This won't help if you have a resonance problem, but for studios with small amounts of ambient noise from computers or other electronics, this little function of your software will likely make a world of difference. Unlike compression, noise gating isn't considered by clients to be unwanted processing. In many cases, just the opposite.

2. It is essential that you make yourself keenly aware of any mouth noise issues that may be occurring with your reads. All of those clicking L's, saliva smacks at the beginning and end of words, percussive P's and sibilant S's must be trained or edited out. A good voice coach can help you learn how to both avoid and catch any of these tendencies, and software can help massage some of the less egregious ones. The best advice, however, is to immediately pick up any line where you think you might have made some mouth noise. Doing so will allow you to quickly delete the bad take, and have a good one already waiting for you. Mouth noise on auditions is not acceptable to P2P voice seekers.

3. Similarly, it is important that you take the time to edit breaths and unnatural spaces out of your audition files. P2P voice seekers are expecting to hear a representation of the finished product. Files with breaths, odd pauses, and other technical weaknesses will cause a quality voice to be mis-perceived as amateurish. It is imperative that your auditions are clean, crisp, and broadcast quality.

Happy Hunting!
J. Michael Collins
www.jmcvoiceover.com
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

P2P Buzzwords Explained

Hi Everyone,

Do the buzzwords that voice seekers use to describe the tone they are looking for ever drive you mad with confusion? If so, have a listen to my newest podcast for Voices.com Voiceover Experts. You can find it at the link below.

Voiceover Buzzwords Podcast

All the best,
J. Michael

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pay-to-Play Tip of the Day

Todays's Tip:

Get your auditions in early!

We can't be tied to our computers all of the time, of course, and we all have other client work or marketing efforts to devote time to, but it is vital that you respond to open job postings as quickly as possible in order to increase your chances of being selected.

Regardless of talent, for each ten auditions submitted ahead of you, your chances of winning a job diminish exponentially. On sites like Voices.com & Voice123.com, if you aren't in the top 25 of submitted auditions, you run the risk of not being listened to at all.

What's the solution?

Other than tethering yourself to a computer and microphone, consider prioritizing your audition list by newness, instead of budget. Those $1,000 :15's that came in last night look juicy, but they may be stale by the time you sit down. Do the newer auditions first, and then move on down the list. You can still audition for older posts, (just last week I was selected at 63/105,) but if you focus on fresh leads, you will watch your bookings increase!

Happy Hunting!

J. Michael Collins
www.jmcvoiceover.com
jmichael@jmcvoiceover.com

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ready to Conquer the P2P Voiceover Marketplace?

Two years.

That's how long it took me to rise from the ranks of the uninitiated to the very top of the P2P voiceover industry. In that short period of time, I have established an online brand that is second to none among talent, and have completed some of the most interesting and rewarding projects of my career.

P2P Voiceover sites are intimidating to many talents, new and established alike, but they don't have to be! Like any other business venture, they require a combination of strategy, determination, and ability, but they CAN be conquered.

In just two short years, I now find myself booking at least a job per day from the main P2P sites, and have established long term relationships, (including retainers and contract work,) with dozens of loyal clients. I have also had the honor of being added to Voices.com's Experts Faculty of voice coaches and trainers. The people who say you can't make a living from Voices.com and Voice123.com, (among others,) are simply incorrect. It CAN be done, and success can be achieved with very little initial cost.

If you are an established talent, (as I was,) then you already possess the skills to succeed in this arena. For new talents, sites like Voices.com and Voice123.com will prove incredibly effective in helping you to determine whether voiceover is the right career for you.

This blog is intended to help guide both new and established talent through the murky and confusing waters of the P2P voiceover marketplace. Watch this space for new posts with strategies and advice on how you can achieve the same level of success on these sites that I have.

Personalized, individual counseling on conquering the P2P marketplace is also available by visiting http://jmcvoiceover.com/links.html

May 2012 bring you the success and enrichment that you deserve!

Cheers,
J. Michael