I am a professional voice over talent. I am in between managers. I have an opportunity to join a management company that specializes in moving trailers, however they want quite a bit of money from me on an ongoing basis. Thousands to start up; 10% of my gross income – income that I have made on my own – no agent or manager; 10% commission on the gigs they get me PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $1,000 A MONTH.
Is this a standard practice? My desire is to find a manager that is talented and dependable. I have no problem paying upfront costs and 10% commission. If you can recommend anyone that would be most helpful. But most of all I need to know if the scenario above is common.
Absolutely not! This sounds like a real scam. A manager or agent should not charge money up front and should only take a commission on the jobs you book after you sign with them, not on the jobs you got on your own before signing.
There should also be no ongoing fee like what you mentioned, especially of such an outrageous amount! As a voice actor, you may want to sign up for an online voice over service, but that shouldn’t cost you more then $40 a month and you should pay for it directly and independently from your manager.
Same goes for getting a demo. An agent or manager should never require that you pick a specific sound engineer for your demo or anything of that nature. All they can do is give you a list of people they recommend, but you should be free to work with who you choose and they should be independent from the manager.
In short, my advice is… Run! You can start your search for representation by viewing the listings on the Voice Over Resource Guide website. If you haven’t already done so, also look at our web page on getting voice over work. It includes information on finding a good voice over agent or manager.
I also recommend the book Voice Over Voice Actor. The writers are veteran voice over actors. You can read this interview they gave in the December issue of our newsletter. Their book has a whole chapter on finding reputable agents and managers. The information they share is invaluable because they’re in the business working everyday day and really have their finger on the pulse of what goes on right now. If you get the book through one of our links, a small commission will go to supporting this website, but I would recommend it regardless because it’s the best book I found on what voice actors can do to keep getting work. Just click on the book to look at the table of contents on Amazon and you’ll know if it’s right for you.
I also would recommend you don’t sign with a company that specializes in only one type of voice-over like the one you mentioned unless of course you’re already specialized in that area as a voice artist. It would keep you from auditioning for other voice over jobs like commercials, animation, video games, etc… and there’s really much more then trailers out there.
While you look for a good manager, sign up for a good online voice over service like Voices.com so you can keep getting auditions and paying jobs. Once you sign up, you can upload your voice over demo to apply to jobs instantly online. It’s a great way to keep working while you look for a new agent or manager.
Hope all this helps. I hope you find good new representation.