Monday, July 25, 2011

Founding a Voiceover Business

My voiceover demo has finally arrived! This is something I thought I'd have months ago, but that's how most of my professional goals seem to work these days-- done, but a bit later than planned. If you want to listen to it, you can listen here by pressing play on the pretty red box below:

More to the point now, this means I'm going into business. I've put in the biggest initial investment and now have the most important calling card to use to get work.

I've sent out the demo to two casting directors and one agent, all of whom had previously shown interest. I've gotten enthusiastic feedback, but no jobs yet. Just as should be expected, sending out to three people is nothing. So now it's on me to make a few investments in the business. It's just a question of which to do when.

Here's a the basic checklist:

Send out commercial demo to as many people who cast stuff as possible: Naturally we need to do just a little bit of targeting so that it looks less like junk email. But the more people who know I'm in business, the more likely I am to get hired. Due immediately, if not sooner.

Redesign again to advertise voiceover as separate from my acting: Something I've wanted to do for a while anyway. I've been having fun futzing around with the Drupal web development platform, which is much easier to manage than my current setup. Due very soon.

Establish separate business bank accounts: This is actually something I sort of have already but haven't been using much. I've got my personal checking, money market, and credit card accounts with Chase, but I've also got all three of those things with Seattle-based credit union BECU, because they gave me better rates on overseas transactions. When I was overseas for 19 months, that was important. But still, since I don't yet have much in the way of expenses or income, this can mostly wait. At most, I can "loan" my business some money from my personal accounts, but that's it for now. Due once financial transactions heat up.

Produce narration demo: I can and hopefully will be hired for narration work based off my commercial demo, but it'll be easier to get this work with a dedicated Narration Demo. Most people in the business have both. I've got a private session this Wednesday to go over some scripts. I have a credit under my belt so that won't cost anything. The demo record, however, will. Even with an employee discount, assuming it's still good (haven't been asked to do any work for the studio in quite some time), it'll be around $350 for the recording session itself, plus $65 or so for each private session I want for prep. I'd guess I'd need at least one more, but I could be wrong. Due date indeterminate, but to be discussed this Wednesday at my training session.

Get Premium Membership on this is the main online marketplace for voiceover talent. For free you can host a little profile on their site, but nobody will see it unless they are actively searching for your name, possibly not even then, as far as I can see. To show up in searches by voice type, get invites to audition for specific jobs, etc, you need a premium membership, and that's a little under $300 for one year. Due date indeterminate.

Form an LLC:  This is just for tax purposes, but I'd want to legally license my voiceover business for tax purposes. As it stands, if anyone employs me, an individual, for voiceover, and they pay me more than $600 in a fiscal year, we have to fill out 1040 forms to report income as an independent contractor. If they're paying me as a Limited Liability Company, they don't have to do that. Also I think gives me some minor tax savings if I file using S-Corp status, and, though this hopefully won't come up, limits my personal legal liability in the event of legal dispute. In other words, lotsa fun with fine print. Due once I start having clients pay me more than $600 in a year.

And that's kinda it for now. Anyone with business opportunities for me, let me know.

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