Today, I'm driving to Milwaukee to book another talent agency. A year ago, I was ignorant of this possibility. At the time I thought, "There's nothing outside of Chicago except New York and LA. The rest is corn fields."
My modus operandi was to continually mail packages to, what I assumed was, every talent house in town. My thinking again was, "well, I've done this before, but maybe this time will be different." The result was that I either didn't hearing anything or, from the more gracious places, I received a Not-at-this-Time letter. I decided to change my tactic: I took a class on Voice Over.
From here, I learned the logical next step was to make a demo of my sound. I couldn't wait to do it, so before I even stepped into my last class, I was already behind the mic making my recording. And the producer gave me some great advice.
"Look into these places. One's in Milwaukee," he said, as he handed me a list. I cold called them all at his recommendation.. "Best case scenario, you get an extra minute to promote yourself. Worst case scenario, they say, 'We're busy' and hang up. There's nothing to lose."
After I acquired a list and made the calls, I mailed all the agencies my CD. Within a week of my submissions, I had multiple auditions.
My first was for one of the best agencies in town! This was a sign for sure. So I got there early and was ready to make it just perfect. I grabbed the scripts from the receptionist and spent too much time preparing them. Finally, the agent found me. "Let's do this," she said. "We don't have all day."
We did about four takes each and then she asks me to follow her to her office.
"Look," she said, "you're good, but I'm not going to sign you." She then proceeded to tell me that I need more polish if I was going to compete with her other clients. She gave me the name of a coach, "he's an LA guy. He's one of the best. Work with him and come back to me in a year. Maybe someone else picks you up in the mean time and you never come back. That's just a risk I'm going to have to take."
I thank her for her time and, covering my embarrassment, left.
However, for the first time, this "no" was genuinely helpful.
Since then, I've worked with multiple coaches, booked multiple gigs and landed another agent. Now, I'm about to drive up to Milwaukee for a second one.