Note: The Voice Arts™ Awards program (see announcement) – which is accepting nominations through August 24 – has drawn industry praise, such as this from popular voice talent/trainer Pat Fraley:
Yet skeptics question the program’s value and purpose. Below, Rudy Gaskins – producer, voice over coach, and one of the program’s creators – responds ...
By Rudy Gaskins
CEO, Push Creative
CEO, Society of Voice Arts and Sciences
one of the creators of the Voice Arts™ Awards, I have been fairly
surprised by the resistance expressed by some and the void of
information available to folks who have never entered a professional
industry award competition.
I’m happy say that entries are indeed coming
in, but for those unfamiliar with the awards phenomenon, it’s
important to help them provide some perspective.
There are many good
things about awards contests, not the least of which is to inspire us to
always look to the pursuit of excellence in all we do.
those who don’t wish to take part, are in no way forced to do so. For
those who are genuinely trying to figure out why or if entering the
Voice Arts™ Awards, or any award competition for that matter, is right
for them, I want to offer a few thoughts that may help you make an
MARKETERS PLAN FOR IT
As a marketing professional who has spent more than a few
years inside the TV networks and more than a decade running my own marketing
agency, the idea of entering awards shows is second nature.
Not only do
networks, corporations and agencies enter numerous awards contest each year,
they actually include the cost as part of their line item budgeting. Yes, they
plan for it!
It’s not a superfluous extravagance, but a smart and strategic
business consideration. Running a business means having a marketing budget,
As a voice actor, you too are running a business. Unfortunately, that
doesn’t mean you understand the first thing about marketing or even want to.
You can always hire a pro to help you.
Entering awards contests, however, is
one element of a larger set of marketing possibilities that you should
consider. It not only drives business, but it elevates morale.
10 REASONS WHY …
Here then, are the top 10 reasons why awards matter.
1. MARKETING EXPENSE
The money you put into annual awards, advertising, boosting FB pages, etc., is all a necessary part of doing business. And, as a voice actor, you are a business.
Never be so shortsighted as to think of marketing expenses as a singular unsustainable expense. You will only find yourself feeling overwhelmed and intimidated.
Instead, think of marketing expenses as amortized over the entire year. At the Early Bird rate of $175 per entry in the Voice Arts™ Awards, for example, that’s a marketing cost of 48 cents per day. You can spend five times that much for a daily coffee?
It’s easy to talk yourself out of spending $175 but not as easy to talk dismiss the value you can get from 48 cents per day. Amortization changes everything.
2. CLIENT RELATIONS
Include your collaborators (director, clients, agents, etc.) by crediting their roles as part of your entry. This is not only a thoughtful gesture as a member of a team, but it’s a savvy step toward building stronger relationships with your clients.
Not only will they appreciate you including them, they’ll appreciate having a conversation that didn’t include a hint about hiring you for work.
3. PUBLIC RELATIONS
There is no better endorsement than that of a third-party entity that has no vested interest in your success, telling others that you have something special to offer.
This is what an award does for you. It speaks volumes where your own voice would be met with skepticism. Third-party
acknowledgement is the basic definition of public relations (PR). Good PR is the foundation upon which the best advertising stands.
4. STRATEGIC MARKETING
Entering an award immediately gives you marketing options:
- Even before you enter an award, it’s possible to create buzz. One company I know of started a Facebook campaign asking their fans to choose which commercial the company would enter into an awards contest. That was particularly smart, as they were gaining traction and notoriety for having award-worthy material before they even entered!
- By including the credits of the people with whom you worked on the project, you
now have a positive, upbeat reason to give them a call.
- Your client will be pleased that you thought so highly of the work and excited by the prospect of winning.
- You are now top of mind with your client, without having bugged him or her for the next job opportunity.
- The client will be looking to hear from you about nominations.
- Nominations give you a whole new marketing story to tell and another opportunity to share news with the client.
- Attending the gala (nominee or not) puts you on the playing field where you can either accept an award or be among the first to congratulate others.
- Winning makes new connections possible.
Obviously, winning breeds confidence. But confidence begins with faith, self-determination and dedication to success.
The minute you put yourself into the race you elevate your state of mind. It’s an opportunity to face your
personal doubt about how you stack up among your peers. Through the act of entering, you send a powerful message to your inner self about who you are and who you believe you can be.
An old proverb says it best, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Winning is an amazing feeling that will have you walking on air. And you’ll feel great about acknowledging those who worked with you. A nomination feels great too! And either one tells your clients friends, family and potential clients
that you’re capable of bringing something “special” to the table.
7. SELF RESPECT
When you enter an award, you are saying to yourself and your constituents that you believe in what you do. Get on the playing field and let the chips fall where they may. People respect those who stand up to be counted.
The other choice is to go unnoticed.
Winning is fantastic, but entering, whether you become a nominee or not, is what tells the story of how you feel about yourself and your work. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should the client?
Awards generate buzz. Press releases, media coverage, internet buzz, blog mentions, social networking comments and more. The recognition carries far and can put winners instantly in the spotlight.
The buzz is a big plus, not just for the finalists and winners, but also for the clients, agencies, companies,
studios and organizations, sponsors and partners.
Awards on the shelves, certificates on the walls, media and industry recognition. The endless buzz and conversation doesn’t stop so soon after you win an award. It continues to build and becomes a part of your identity.
You are an award winner and will most likely continue to be an award winner. You will continue to grow and to make your mark, always striving to meet new standards of excellence.
Awards are a meeting place. They’re a focal point that draws the attention of those most interested and involved in your industry or profession. They’re an opportunity to engage your professional community in discussions of topics and
controversies, in reviewing standards or discovering trends.
Awards tend to involve the leaders and experts. Awards are a place to learn, to network and to
Rudy Gaskins is a producer and voice over coach, especially known for producing the That’s Voiceover events with wife Joan Baker. He is CEO and Creative Director of Push Creative, and President and CEO of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS) – a non-profit organization that sponsors the Voice Arts™ Awards and other programs.