Voice Registry Podcast-Tracy Pattin Talks To VO Marketing Expert Tori Hartman (Part 3)April 14, 2010 by: Tracy Pattin
Tori Hartman began her voiceover work at the suggestion of her publisher, who wanted her to record one of her books on tape. Two weeks later, she was in a studio launching her new career. In 2005, Tori opened what has become The Garage 247, a full service voiceover recording studio. The Garage specializes in low-cost ISDN and has become a vital gathering place for new and established voice talent. She’s just launched her VO marketing teams where actors help each other with networking and marketing strategies.
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This is Part Three of my interview with Tori Hartman to hear Parts One and Two check out the previous week’s podcasts.
Tracy: And speaking of more work, what’s in the future? What do you see in the voice over world and how has the internet impacted our world of voice over and in terms of marketing? Talking about Facebook and LinkedIn and all of those sites Twitter, how does that come into the mix?
Tori: Well there’s two different questions there okay so I am going to separate them. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, all of that; that is one conversation. What I want to address first is that thing you brought up first that is the idea of the internet with voice over. And I am going to tell you something I think eventually I don’t think we will see it go away but I think a lot of these like I think you can make $25 as a voice over artist sites. I think that a lot people on Voice123 who don’t book who are not how can I put it um professional VO talent really.
Tracy: Yeah experienced.
Tori: I think more experience I think a lot of those folks are going to go to those types of jobs and you know what I will tell you something it’s yes there has been and I have said this ten years ago to agents I said “If you don’t get into service clients in other cities at their own level we are going to have a problem”. And I remember going to Allen Rosenberg five years ago and pulling him aside at a SAG thing and saying “Listen, can I tell you something? We’ve have got to do our SAG residuals based on media buys”. Now I know this may not seem important to this but bear with my thinking here.
Tori: Just to explain and I am going to tell you something, as a voice talent if you don’t understand media buys, markets, what’s going on forget it because the top guys they know. And let me tell you something those guys they will pull out their thing and go “Oh well I see I ran in seven markets” they know what they’re doing and don’t kid yourself Don Lafontaine was a business man. He knew his business and he knew who was running where to what and cycles, you need to know this stuff.
Tracy: That’s great
Tori: Even if you’re doing non union because even non union you have to negotiate it. Okay it’s a thirteen week cycle you can get three thirteen week cycles you know I am going to run t hat and I will give you the fourth free, so if you are doing non union you still have to negotiate that way. But I said this to Allen Rosenberg five years ago or over six years ago now where I said “You’ve got to residuals by media buys or we’re going to, the union, the whole idea of union is going to crash into non union” because here is what happens and just to give you an idea. When I talk about a media buy what I mean in English is for example that commercial in Oklahoma let’s say in one market in Oklahoma they’re going to run it I don’t know thirteen weeks. But they’re air time may only be a hundred dollars per run, right, that’s a media buy it may be a hundred dollars for that spot. Where as the same spot running in Chicago may be two thousand, okay, what happened was the union said “No, F you were going to charge, you still have to pay that actor for markets still this high percent.” So what’s happening is the Oklahoma market is almost paying the exact amount for a residual as they do in Chicago. Now Chicago doesn’t care because quote the media buy that two thousand dollars is covering a lot of it but in Oklahoma at a hundred dollars you have to pay the actor five times that, they’re not liking that. So what’s happening is that’s where the problem is, if we had said hey, let’s say okay the residual may be only twenty five dollars for that market but it’s going toward union money see.
Tori: What’s happened is it does add up, its accumulative but people don’t think like business people they’re either thinking emotionally like talent or they’re thinking the other way which is “We have got to save our rights” but guess what your rights are going to sink your boat so to answer your question in terms of what’s going on in the industry. I warned people a few years ago and I said “It’s all going to go regional and it’s all going to go non union and it’s got to.” There are some places where you can still pick up an AFTRA spot a SAG spot you know, AFTRA is a great union I have go to be honest with you I love working with AFTRA. Um you know even dealing with SAG in terms of trying to get a signatory status they’re not just helpful, they’re not and it is a shame because these are our people, you know. And I am just saying it, I am just speaking the truth to people because it’s not that I am having a union conversation I am having an actor conversation because what I want to say to people is be responsible for what your making, be responsible for your buys, get a sense of how much you should be charging in markets. And I don’t care what anybody says you know, we’ve got to make a living now it’s a different conversation I mean the way the economy is you can’t control people’s income the way that the bigger unions and all of us tried to do. And so that is why people are going “I’m seeing similar auditions coming out of Chicago and Atlanta and Portland”
Tracy: Right, all the same, the same spot in different cities that are all vying.
Tracy: Let’s just jump into the whole internet social media thing, in terms of all of this, what do you think about that do you think Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and all those social media sites, are they valuable and can they help us as voice actors to market ourselves?
Tori: You know I’m going to be honest with you, the jury’s out a little bit for me on that because I think when it comes to business yes I think when it comes to you know when it comes to buyers and when I talk about buyers I mean the ones buying voices, okay. When I think it comes to the buyers looking for you, looking for talent, they’re still going to go the easy route they’re not going to look for you on twitter, on Facbook because there is going to be a thousand and there is also the voice over there are so many voice over clubs on LinkedIn and all that stuff. And the thing is that a lot of times they are newbie questions that pro’s answer which is great cause I see you know I am on it because I like to see as well. However what happens with it and this is the thing is that everybody I don’t know I just think it is problematic because I don’t necessarily think there is yet a funnel to find those people in one place. It is sort of like you know, if you want dairy products you have got to go to the dairy aisle and I think that buyers still want to go to a place like Voice123 or something where they can get twenty auditions or they go to Cathy Kalmenson and go I need the crème de la crème or I need you know I’ll go to an agency, I still think you are going to see that.
Tracy: And also it could be a great place to be to build those relationships though instead of just saying I hope they will come to look for me for voice talent. But if I am out there building relationships with people and meeting producers and connecting just because I am on Facebook. And you know in the last six months Facebook has reached critical mass I mean agents are on Facebook now, so you know you need to be there just because everybody is there, so you should have a presence you should open up your own store front.
Tori: Well I agree with you and I think though what’s happening though and remember this that there is nothing that beats face time.
Tori: We talk about Facebook but at the end of the day you know like last night we had a party here. My marketing team decided that we wanted to have a party and so we just you know invited people and I don’t know maybe there way forty of us fifty of us last night. But I think this exponentially will grow because even though the producers that came were like “Wow, it’s so nice to sit and talk to voice talent” and one guy said to me “and not feel like I am being sold but geeze some of these people are really nice” and here is where it benefits you here is where it really benefits you and I made a rule with my team saying “Don’t offer your demo to anyone, you don’t talk about your business and don’t offer your demo and you don’t ask them if they’re hiring, you just find out who these people are” and it was such a pleasant nice party. But here is what happens with that when the auditions come in and some of my team goes in front of these people they are going to go “Oh, I remember Bob, oh he was nice” you know. What happens is as you get to know the producers there may be fifty people reading but the difference is you’ll get heard differently when you know them. And you still might not book, you know but you might book, you know but you’ll get heard and it’s a different kind of hearing that happens.
Tracy: Well Tori this has been so wonderful and I think the listeners will take away this importance of face time like we’re having right now and how important that is in building community right now. So it is a time to really look at that and look at the silver lining in all of this chaotic economy situation that we’re in.
Tori: And I think you’re right and I’m just going to jump back for one second I know we’re wrapping but I just want to say this it’s important. Look at the amount of people in communities on, in like in clubs; there are hundreds of thousands of them starting that’s telling you that people want to connect.
Tracy: Exactly and speaking of that meetup.com is using social media it is a social media site that you can connect with people to go have that face time.
Tracy: So that may be the best way to use the social media sites is as a way to find about events that you can really have that one on one or the face time experience, the live experience with people.
Tori: And one thing I want to say to were doing our monthly potluck here that is going to be our thing but also we’ve been talking about picking up you know I think gosh Bob Bergen used to have Vox on the Rocks.
Tracy: Yes, yes
Tori: And we have been talking about as a team getting back together and finding different locations each month to do a kind of like in person meet up and not necessarily as a you know any kind of, how can I say it like a class but a just an evening of hey come have an appetizer and a drink and join us, you know.
Tracy: It’s great, and also because we can share ideas and that’s also valuable as a class is valuable.
Tori: Well and it’s a small community you know at the end of the day you know when the buyers know who you are and they know your communities that your in it’s amazing because we had, I had a producer call me that knew me and he said “Geeze I need ten people” it was Christmas time and he said “I need ten people to jump in can you? You know it’s a non broadcast vignette, can we do it?” and I said “Well, yeah I have a little link off the studio of the marketing team, so you can go listen to all their demos” and he booked ten people, like that.
Tracy: And the thing is your making their job easier they don’t want to have to slug, sloth through whatever the word is, through all these voices if they know somebody whose a point person who can give them an immediate selection that’s, your helping them those producers.
Tori: But I want to be clear, I am not a casting person I’m really a voice talent and that’s where my focus is. It’s like these are my tribe, these are my folks you know because we’re really part of the same community. Somebody who is amazing at casting like Cathy Kalmenson or you know I am trying to think oh gosh Terry Berland, there is casting people out there who are very good at what they do and that’s the higher end stuff. This is something that is just a little thing at Christmas time and he needed ten people, that’s fine. So I want to just say that you know we all as a community have that, so if we can get together in groups and say “Oh Tracy I have got somebody you should talk too” that’s where the gold is.
This has been Part Three of my interview with Tori Hartman join me next time for Part Four.
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