1. Keep It Short & Sweet
Keep your emails short and to the point. People don’t have a lot of time these days and they aren’t interested in reading a novel in email form. The people you’re sending to potentially get hundreds of emails a day, so when they open an email and it’s really long, they may just delete it. They may feel like it’s going to be a waste of their time, that is doesn’t respect their time (which they view as incredibly valuable), or it could even give them a sense that you are difficult to work with and will be bugging them constantly with way too much information.
2. Include Headshots
You should always include at least one and sometimes a few headshots with every email you send out. You want people to like and remember you, so one of the easiest ways to get them to do this is to include your headshot. They will be able to put a face to your name and will be more likely to remember you when you meet or email them in the future.
3. Attach Your Resume
I suggest you always include links to your website, reels, and any pertinent info (usually in the email signature), but you should always attach your resume. This allows them to get to it quickly if they need to find you again. If you attach it, they can simply do a search for the email you sent them.
4. Target Your Audience
Make sure that you are sending emails only to those people who may take an interest in you. For example – if you are a voiceover actor who specializes in character voices, you should be targeting studios that produce audiobooks, video games, animation, etc. Don’t waste your time or theirs by sending your demo to every studio out there. By randomly throwing these emails to the wind and praying that some will stick, you’re doing yourself, your voice, and the studios a disservice. How’s that?
a. Wasting Your Time
You are wasting your time sending emails to people who can’t or won’t help you (If they aren’t interested in your type of voice, they aren’t going to hire you. – Yes it may happen once, but it’s unlikely to happen again. And even if it does, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. – Why spend time on someone you may be able to talk into being interested, when you can spend time on people who are already likely to be interested?)
b. Wasting Their Time
You are telling them that their time is not valuable (You didn’t bother to check if your voice was their type, but sent them an email anyway. Reading it will take up their valuable time and result in no pay-off for them.)
c. Making Enemies, Not Friends
You are making enemies (When people feel that someone is wasting their time, they’re quick to write you off. – If this happens, the next time you send them an email that is targeted to them, they may not even bother to open it. – And it’s a small world, you can bet that these people talk to each other, regardless of their niche. Making just one person feel devalued or inconsequential can lead to them saying something negative about you and get you black-listed from a whole host of others.)
d. Appearing Desperate
You may be implying that you’re desperate (By sending emails to every single studio on the planet, you’re suggesting that your voice is not valuable and that you’re so desperate for a job that you’ll work for anyone – This may be true at times, since it can be hard to get jobs as an actor, but you can’t let other people know that – It diminishes the value of you and your voice. – No one is attracted to a desperate person. We are attracted to people who are confident enough in their abilities that they won’t offer them to just anyone.)
5. Distinguish Between Specialties
Distinguish commercial agents from theatrical agents from cd’s from director’s, etc. Do a little research into them – it won’t take long. Let’s say they’re a theatrical agent. Don’t ask them to look at your commercial reel. For 2 reasons: One, they’re unlikely to truly know anything about commercials and thus will be uneducated as to whether you have what to takes. Two, they are incredibly educated at representing people for theatre and film and would likely do a great job reviewing your film reel or monologue and possibly representing you in those areas. Ask the commercial agents to review your commercial reel, ask the theatrical agents to review your film reel and/or monologue, ask the sound studios to review your VO Demo, ask the cd’s and directors to review the material that is appropriate to their specialties, and for those who work within all these areas, simply let them know that you work in commercials, theatre, film, and voiceover. Then maybe send them everything or better yet, just the materials they seem to be most proficient at.
6. Write Short Paragraphs
Remember to break things up into small paragraphs. These are much easier to read, appear to be shorter and more manageable (especially when being read on a smartphone), and can lead you to make sure that each paragraph directly addresses whatever you have to say. This will also help you to stick to a shorter, better email length.
7. Compliment and Personalize
Compliment them before asking for something and tailor the email to each individual. It can be as simple as starting with Hi (their name) and then a sentence such as “I really enjoy seeing your actors on the screen.” or “I’ve spoken with several friends who have worked with you and they all highly recommend you.” Make sure that whatever you say is true, honest, and specific, in case they start a discussion. You don’t want to tell them you love their commercials, then have them ask you what you thought about their XYZ commerical, only to realize you’ve never seen the XYZ commercial.
8. Forget TMI
Don’t give any more information than is necessary. It makes the email longer and less manageable. They don’t need to know every single thing about you upfront – your sizes, your food preferences, whatever. Think about it like dating, leave a little to be desired. If they want/need any additional info from you, they will ask. The only time to include additional info is if they specifically ask for it either in a post that you’re responding to or in a reply email.
9. Be Plain & Simple
Don’t send emails composed in fancy or elaborate fonts and colors. Use either Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana and make your default color black. You may think you are being cute and creative and showing off your fun personality, but what you’re really doing is aggravating the person you’re emailing. Other fonts and colors can be difficult to read which translates to wasting peoples’ time. It will take them more time and effort to read and they may delete it rather than waste that valuable time.
10. Sign It
Include an email signature at the bottom, they are easy to create and make it easier for people to find and contact you, plus you just set it and forget it. This also allows you to close an email informally with something like:
And yet to include your full name.
Your email signature should look something like this:
I hope this helps you the next time you need to send out that all important email. Remember – everyone’s time is precious, including your own, so don’t waste it. If you show someone that you can value their time, they may just be willing to use that time to help you out.
Next Week: How I Started in Audiobooks & Voiceover