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  • Rachael Messer

Cover Letters for Voice Acting and How They Can Increase Your Jobs!

Cover Letters are one of the most over looked things Ive encountered in this industry. When I first started sending out jobs, I didn't really think too much about what to include in the email. Of course the basics, a greeting, maybe where I had heard about the audition, my contact info. I may even attach a resume of demo reel. But, I noticed a HUGE improvement in booking rates once I started including a cover letter.

Now, with cover letter in regards to acting, please know if differs greatly from a cover letter in any other industry or career field. It differs so much, I wonder if there should be another name for the cover letter in voice acting. Though with that said, please just toss what your idea of a cover letter out for this information.

Now, with cover letter in regards to acting, please know if differs greatly from a cover letter in any other industry or career field. It differs so much, I wonder if there should be another name for the cover letter in voice acting. Though with that said, please just toss what your idea of a cover letter out for this information.


A cover letter isn't an attachment or something that's the front page of your resume. Rather, its best used in the body of your email. I'll break down what I think makes a good cover letter and what makes a terrible one. I've also started being able to spot professionals when they submit auditions based on if they utilize this or not. It will help you improve job bookings, appear more professional, and more experienced from just changing HOW you email someone.


In future blog posts, I want to discuss things like email signature, how to cold call and email clients, ect. I think all these things combined will help boost your career significantly. While some things need addressed more than others, in the end, everything you do big or small, can help you succeed and go farther in voice over. That's why I'm starting with this but hope you keep ALL the things I mention on this site in mind and utilize them to help your career.


A good cover letter will include a few things.

1. Who you are and what you've done This acts somewhat as a short bio of yourself. Bios, when done well, are normally more interesting to read than resumes. The trick with these is to not make them too long. Maybe 5 sentences max. A good rule I use is showing it to a few friends and asking them to read over it (This also helps you get more eyes on it for proof reading). If your friends or most of them say "Sure, but hold on", theres a good chance its too long. You want it to be short enough that's it not intimidatingly to read. I've had people send me what I think count as sections of their autobiography. Sometimes I actually take the time to read them, but not normally for auditions. When something that long comes in, it tells me as the casting director that this person doesn't have much experience, but at least took the time to write things down and are trying which is sweet. But a good length cover letter will have some punches that jump right to the point showing you've done work and catching their attention. It helps you stand out from among the rest of the auditions. Now, if you DONT have a lot of work or none at all, I hope to cover something called "Padding" in a future blog or video. If youre interested in this now, I recommend any of my audition workshops or marketing workshops as I cover how to present yourself with all that you bring to the table, and how to FIND what you bring to the table even with limited or no experience.


2. Another thing to include in your cover letter is your training. If you've taken any acting classes, in person or online, you can list those down. Workshops, lectures, any of that can count as training for this section. This shows you take voice acting seriously enough to want to learn how to do it your best and correctly. It will tell the casting director that as well.


3. I also like to include where I found the audition. Maybe it was a private email like the ones I send out. In that case, you normally don't have to explain it but it can still show a personal level of care. That you aren't just copy/pasting the same generic reply but actually took the time to write something custom.


In my most recent set of auditions, I had a woman submit a demo for my casting consideration. She literally copy/pasted a status from her twitter. This told me she didn't care enough or know how to act professional enough to both even writing an email to me. To me, that says that she's lazy. Whether she is or not, I don't know. But it told me she didn't respect my audition or my time enough to bother even writing a custom hello, but just copy/paste. If that's the level she puts into applying for a job, that's the level I should expect her to bring and I would rather that not represent myself or the talent I represent.



Things you DONT want to do in cover letters.


1. Sounding smarmy or cocky. This is a fine line to walk. You want to sound confident, but not arrogant. Accomplished, but not showing off. This is where language and vernacular in emails have a HUGE impact on how youre presented. Below I will include samples of cover letters. They were not sent to me, but were found through a quick google search. Though I get these like this all the time so they truly happen. I will also present different ways of writing that can seem LESS smarmy as alternatives. There is an art to written communications. And even with a minor in creative writing, I don't feel I'll ever completely master it. But I would highly recommend taking classes in how to better communicate written. Especially with how much this industry is switching to online media only. It can only help :)

2. Include their names. Now this one is a personal preference, though I will explain why I feel this way. But please know, this one is completely up to you!

I don't like to include names because 1. My name gets misspelled all the time. When its spelled correctly, I know someone took the time to read it and pay it respect. My name is ALSO my email so when people get it wrong, chances are they were trying but just over looked it. But it shows attention to detail.


Another reason is theres no GARUNTEE that's whom the email is going to or whos casting. I've cast for projects before and gotten "Dear Mr.Smith". Now Mr. Smith may be who I'm casting for. But normally in my calls, I let people know if I choose the talent or just collect auditions. Either way, the emails are still coming to me and it shows they didn't read the casting call properly. Again, it shows attention to detail, care, and professionalism. I've also gotten "To Whom it may concern", this also just seems more damage than good as it seems cut/paste. Rather just a good greeting than something so corporate and cold. With cover letters, we also want to imbue some of our personalities.


This blends into 3 and 4

3. Don't sound unprofessional

4. Don't sound impersonal

To wrap both these points up without hounding on them too much, you want to walk the line between being professional enough to present yourself as knowing what you are doing. That this isn't your first audition or role if cast. But you also don't want to sound like an over confident asshole.

I've found a few articles that you can save and check out in your own time that cover some of this better than I.

Heres a short blog that may help you out as well as a video https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-write-a-professional-email-1690524



So now lets take a look at a few examples


So with the above cover letter, its got several issues with it. Ignoring the Mr/Mrs. Part as its covered above in personal names mentioned. 1. Don't remind casting directors about the trash can or trash folder... That puts it fresh in there mind of where to send this email now or IF they finish reading it. It then goes on to almost bash someone, saying the stars don't take this career seriously. People with insider knowledge, like a casting director would, normally know that many of these "fights" between celebrates are actually for publications, articles, attention, or staged.

"Rather than giving me fame or money" An agent or casting director WANTS you to make money and get famous. The more famous you are, the more they can charge and make more money from you as well as book OTHER actors and make new avenue soruces. As well as an agent makes money when YOU make money (OR should. Please check out my Why You DONT Need an Agent Video about that one. So if YOU aren't concerned about making some money, you wont keep their business alive as well.

"Rather than giving me fame or money" An agent or casting director WANTS you to make money and get famous. The more famous you are, the more they can charge and make more money from you as well as book OTHER actors and make new avenue sources. As well as an agent makes money when YOU make money (OR should. Please check out my Why You DONT Need an Agent Video about that one. So if YOU aren't concerned about making some money, you wont keep their business alive as well.


When presenting your demo or resume, think of it like your hand out with birdfood and you let the birds come to you. You don't CHUCK the birdfood at the birds, but rather set it there as an offering. When you mention your demo or resume, its always better to just list it as there rather than ASSUME they've watched your reel to see how "Serious" you take this profession (They also put a typo there). Theres a very real thing with some actors taking themselves way too seriously and this actor sends it out in waves. You want someont to work with who will be a good actor but also not OVERLY serious and drags the whole fun of the project down.

When presenting your demo or resume, think of it like your hand out with birdfood and you let the birds come to you. You don't CHUCK the birdfood at the birds, but rather set it there as an offering. When you mention your demo or resume, its always better to just list it as there rather than ASSUME they've watched your reel to see how "Serious" you take this profession (They also put a typo there). Theres a very real thing with some actors taking themselves way too seriously and this actor sends it out in waves. You want someone to work with who will be a good actor but also not OVERLY serious and drags the whole fun of the project down.

"Please do call me" is also very assertive and bossy in nature when "If you'd rather communicate by phone, my number is: " Or "If it's easier for you, I also can chat further by phone if you have any questions or need more information from me" Both of these responses show concern and respect for the casting directors time. It shows your available for them and willing to take extra time, but also not forcing it or ASSUMING they will call or have the time to look over your resume.


This next one, aside from being TOO personal and I think 2 long run on sentences, has a plethora of issues as well. Unless specifically stated, ethnicity doesn't matter in a casting call. There will be times where it does matter, they will let you know those normally in the call. Respect that if so. But if they are looking for "An Irish actress" and you can pull off a well done Irish acent but maybe are German or Russian and you state that, that can lock you in that box in the casting directors mind. This email does have a LOT of grammar issues so I wont address this too much. But will say that they "..." after projects I could be a part of seems a bit begging and not very professional.


So this last one, I get something like this ALL the time. Where the actor will attack the projects they were in "Badly written indie film". What if I cast you in my project? Will that also be another Badly written project since youre attacking and bashing the only project that seems to have given you a chance? Theres also the begging persistent in this. I have people play sad sob stories, try and threaten, beg, plead, with messages like this. Its manipulative and beyond unprofessional. I don't think you will do this, but please know that some people take self defeating humor as a way to lessen heir ego. The idea of "Oh THAT, that was no big deal" but go too far and end up insulting. Im not sure what this person was going for aside from manipulation but please stay far away from it. It will get you blacklisted almost immediately.


So we've covered a lot of do's and don't's in this post. I hope these guide you into why you should start using a cover letter as well as ideas of how to start designing and drafting them! There are a ton of email writing resources out there for putting personality and professionalism in the same email. I hope you check them out and please feel free to send yours to me if you ever need someone to look over it. Thanks so much and talk to you guys next month!

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