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I Don’t Need Help – 4 Dangerous Words

People come to me on a daily basis looking for advice about one thing or another as it relates to their voice over business. When they’re coming to me, generally they’re looking for help with marketing, social media, goal setting, etc. Although, I still get a lot of inquiries about demos, home studio and performance to name a few.

Most of the people that reach out are looking for help and happy to get it, in whatever form that may be.

Others, not so much.

Too Good For Guidance

For example, when someone comes to me for marketing help, the first thing I ask is to hear their demos. Before I’ll ever do any coaching with a talent, I need to know they’ve got a marketable demo. Without that, my advice to them would be useless and I won’t take their money for something they can’t use.

When I hear a demo I don’t think they should market, I say so. I’ll suggest further coaching and a new demo when they’re ready. Of course, this isn’t what they want to hear. They want to market themselves now. Find work now. Book gigs now. Make money now.

“I don’t need help,” they tell me. Speaking of their performance or ability.

At this point, there’s nothing I can do for them.

Don’t Stay Stuck

When I first joined Voice123 back in 2008 or 2009, I booked on the site about weekly. My audition to booking ratio was great and I credit the site with leading me to some really fantastic clients. Clients I still work with to this day.

A few years ago, I let all my casting site memberships slide. I had no need for them. I was too busy with my own clients. I didn’t have a lot of time for auditioning and saw no real value in me having a membership. Some castings I let go for other reasons. *cough* * cough* * gouging talent and budgets* *cough* *cough*

In the fall, Voice123 offered a really awesome deal on a membership and I decided I’d give it another shot. What the heck. Why not?

My experience on Voice123 this time has been a lot different. I haven’t booked a single gig. Granted, I’m still extremely busy with my own clients and definitely don’t audition as much as I should. Some weeks, I don’t audition at all. That said, I was still surprised I hadn’t booked anything. Especially considering how well I do on my own.

Top #voiceover talent stay that way with coaching.
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That’s why I reached out to J Michael Collins. Nobody does casting sites better than J Michael Collins.

My note to him was simple. I stated that I’d like to book him for an hour of coaching and have him listen to some of my Voice123 auditions where I received bad reviews, despite them being for jobs in my speciality genres. I wanted to get a second opinion.

Many Voice Seekers don’t know how to use the ranking system on Voice123. The site has admitted as much. So I know bad rankings aren’t always a reflection of the audition or talent. Still, I want to cover my bases. I want to be sure.

I Don’t Need Help – 4 Dangerous Words

Even as a successful voice actor with a six figure income, I know when I need help and I’m not too proud to ask for it.

As you grow into your business and develop as a talent, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. But ever be too proud. Don’t even be too embarrassed. Don’t ever be too afraid.

If someone suggests you might need help in a particular area, listen to them!

Four of the most dangerous words a voice actor can speak are, “I don’t need help.”

Einstein said it best, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Don’t let yourself die!

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Pro Tips for Using Voice123 SmartCast

It’s no secret how I feel about casting sites. If you’re going to use them, they should be ONE tool in your toolbox. Not the WHOLE toolbox. If you really want to build a sustainable business, you’ve got to do your own marketing and build your own client base.

To succeed in online casting, you need to understand how it works. Nobody understands this world better than J Michael Collins! At least a couple times a week I’ll get asked about how to use SmartCast on Voice123. Part of me thinks it’s one of life’s great mysteries… you know, like the Caramilk Secret! However, if anyone can help us better understand the feature, J Michael is that individual. I’m so happy he agreed to share some of his wisdom with us!

Understanding SmartCast

Since Voice123 first arrived on the scene about a decade ago, their proprietary casting algorithm, known as SmartCast, has perplexed and bedeviled the voice talent community.

SmartCast was designed with the intent of avoiding the cattle call phenomenon that befell most other online casting sites, requiring talent to use their auditions wisely in order to achieve maximum benefit from the site.

While the details of the algorithm have evolved over the years, one fundamental principle remains: SmartCast is meant to discourage you from auditioning too much, so that jobs aren’t saturated with unqualified auditions, and so that each talent has the opportunity to book work through Voice123.

What does “too much” mean? Voice123 representatives have repeatedly stated that talent should audition no more than a handful of times per day. In extreme cases, SmartCast has dramatically reduced the flow of auditions to talent who were doing as few as 3-4 auditions per day. Most talent report being able to submit 4-6 daily without running into trouble. Exceed that number, and the system is likely to reduce your access to opportunities.

You can also track the feature in “My Stats” that shows the percentage of auditions you have submitted compared to similar talent. If this number rises over 200%, you are likely to see fewer auditions from SmartCast.

SmartCast does take other factors into account, such as the feedback you receive from buyers on your auditions, (the star rating,) and your bidding practice, however these are negligible. At VO Atlanta 2016, Voice123’s chief stated that audition ratings account for 2% of the algorithm. In other words, it is all about quantity. Do too many, and you’ll be shut down.

There are two workarounds if you find SmartCast too limiting. Voice123 offers a Platinum membership level for $4,950/year, payable in three installments, which turns off SmartCast and allows you to audition as much as you like. It also gives your priority in searches done through the site.

If that’s too rich for your blood, you can always open multiple Premium accounts in order to have more opportunities. This is not an exact science, but some talent have reported success, and it is not against Voice123 policy.

Bottom Line? Use SmartCast wisely for best results. Even if you limit yourself to 4 auditions per day, that’s 20 per week. Top talent book 7-10% of the time, quality everyday full-time pros book 3-5% of the time, and talented newcomers book maybe 1%. If you fall into one of these categories, you’ll book some work over time. It may not be much in terms of quantity, but as we all know the real money from online casting is made by building relationships and generating repeat business, so even booking a few clients per month should lead to sustainable income in the long run.

Happy Booking!
J Michael Collins

With over twenty years as a professional voiceover artist, J Michael Collins has worked with some of the biggest companies, brands, sports leagues, and organizations on the planet. In addition to his work in the classic, agency-based world of VO, J. Michael has established himself as the leading authority and top-grossing talent in the online marketplace, and has become recognized as an industry leading talent coach and demo producer as well.

J. Michael was the winner of the 2016 VoiceArts Awards for Outstanding Radio Commercial-Best Voiceover, Outstanding Political Announcement-Best Voiceover, and was the producer of 2016’s Outstanding Narration Demo.

For coaching and demo services visit

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Tips For Getting Started With Voice123

Last week Voice123 offered a really great deal to subscribe to the site. Basically, you could get a premium membership for half price. For a lot of people, myself included, it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Given all the frustration and constant negative change occurring at one of the other major casting sites (that shall remain nameless), Voice123 offers a much more fair alternative if you’re looking for some new opportunities.

If you’re one of the ones that signed up, here’s a few quick tips to help you maximize the potential the site offers.

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.

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Stop Sending People To Your Pay 2 Play Voice Over Profiles

I’m not the first guy to say this. I definitely won’t be the last guy to say this.

Stop sending people to your Pay 2 Play profile!

Do you suppose Target will ever do any free advertising for Walmart?


When you promote your Pay 2 Play voice over profiles via social media (and anywhere else you may share the link) it’s basically the same thing as Target advertising for Walmart.

Yes, you’re sending people to check out your profile. That’s great.

You’re also directing potential clients to multi-thousands of other voice actors.

To me, it’s just not a good idea.

Stop Sending People To Your Pay 2 Play Profile

It’s 2014. It costs, what? $10 to register your own domain name? Then what? Another $5/month to host it?

WordPress is free.

SoundCloud can host your demos.

If you’re serious about voice acting, if you’re serious about building your voice over career, invest a few dollars, build even a basic website with your picture, demos, bio and contact information, and stop directing clients to places where they may find and hire someone else.

If you’re going to tell me it’s easier or convenient to just use one of your Pay 2 Play profiles here’s what I’ll tell you in return:

Stop making excuses. Start making an effort.


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Don’t Make This Voice Over Demo Posting Mistake

I have voice over demos posted everywhere. On my web site. On Pay 2 Play sites like Voice123, Voices, bodalgo and The Voice Realm. I have my demos posted on my Facebook page, my Tumblr blog and my LinkedIn Profile. I’ve got them on SoundCloud and Pintrest too.

Basically, if I can find a place to post my demos, I will.

Today I want to take specifically about posting your demos on your personal web site. Continue reading Don’t Make This Voice Over Demo Posting Mistake