Three top takeaways from VO North 2022

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the VO North conference in Toronto. Hundreds of VO talent gathered for three days of networking, learning and growth.

Over the weekend, a few major themes emerged that defined the conference. From the value of mentorship, to the disruptive nature of online casting and the struggle to stand out, here are my top takeaways from VO North 2022. 

Getting the right advice is critical for success

One thing that’s clear is the VO community is unique for its generous, supportive nature. Everybody at VO North, from the industry veterans, to sponsors, to those just starting out, were there to build each other up and grow the industry rather than just themselves.

We also heard why this is a double-edged sword. Sometimes peers aren’t forthcoming with the feedback you need. And worse, there are a few bad actors out there who try to take advantage of this industry’s good nature.

The solution? Seek out mentorship from a true professional who can help you grow in your career. Trustworthy advice and honest (even if difficult) feedback are indispensable. Fortunately, there are a lot of pros out there who are happy to give back to the community and help you stay on the right path.

Online casting websites are throwing curveballs

A discussion that came up in multiple panels at VO North was how casting websites are changing the industry.

The primary challenge comes from a glut of amateur and international talent who are willing to compromise on rates. We even heard about one casting platform that has dropped its minimum rate for casting to just $5.

A secondary concern is how these websites favour some talent over others - be it for the size of the fee they pay, or their ratings and reviews from clients.

The frustration was palpable, and the experts responded with a few common threads:

Use casting websites in a way that works for you. Especially while you’re building up your brand and reputation, there’s no harm in using casting websites - as long as they’re doing what you need them to do and they’re not your only source of work.

Know your worth (and demand it). Rates will be a deciding factor for some jobs, but not for others. Rather than trying to compete on price alone, put your best foot forward and accept that some jobs are just not worth doing.

Connect individually with your clients. Use a variety of voice over marketing tools and make sure your clients know they don’t have to use a casting website to hire you.

Marketing is hard; persistence is key

Everyone at VO North was there to grow their career in one way or another. Whether challenged by getting jobs, finding representation, or growing their client base, everyone was curious about how to market themselves.

The takeaway? Marketing is hard, and the key to getting results is persistence. The experts had a few suggestions:

Make time in your day for marketing. The more you do something, the easier it becomes. If you dedicate a portion of every day to marketing, you’ll build good habits and start to see results.

Every response is a positive response. You never know when results will come - we even heard stories of clients reaching out after years of radio silence. Worry less about how many bookings you’re getting, and more about how many connections you’re making.

You have to make the most of every opportunity. There is no shortage of voice actors in this world, so you have to stand out against your competition. Little things like following audition directions flawlessly and making sure your voice over website provides an excellent user experience could be the difference that gets you ahead.

Wrapping up

Growing your voice over business is a challenge, and the experts have spoken on how to get ahead: seek mentorship, be strategic in your use of online casting platforms and invest in marketing yourself.

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