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Photo: Graffitied wall

Children's Cancer Association


We were so grateful that Diana P. Szymczak asked us to participate in this pro-bono project for the Children's Cancer Association (CCA) and JoyRx. No one knew how their fundraiser would go after having to pivot to going virtual and their goal was $600k. By the end of the event, they had raised $1.2 million!

A special thank you to October Moore who donated her voice talent to this project.

Learn more about the work of the CCA and Joy Rx today.

Hear the magic for yourself:

“Beer - it’s like marijuana, but different.”


Both we and our talent had a great time working on these fun radio spots from local Portland brewery Deschutes Brewery. Congrats to the team on smart creative, killer copywriting, and spot on voice performances!

Hear the magic for yourself at SoundCloud

What a bottle of Sriracha can teach us about client relationship building

Voices in my head

I recently placed our usual grocery delivery order through an online app and on my list of needs was a new bottle of Sriracha. We eat chicken pho as our take-out splurge once a week and Sriracha is a necessity!

Our shopper, Kat, contacted us through the app that only the store-brand was available, which didn’t matter as much to me, but my daughter is a more picky eater. I shared with Kat that I could just dump the store-brand into our Sriracha-brand bottle and she wouldn’t know the difference (sneaky!) and that would be just fine. Our delivery order arrived complete, food for the week was acquired and we went about our day.

And then I got another text message from Kat later that day “Check your mailbox”.

Sriracha bottle

What a beautiful testament to the idea of going above and beyond in an act of human kindness.

Kat’s job was finished - our business transaction was complete - but in an act of service for the person behind the transaction she made sure that the customer got what they were truly looking for to solve their problem - in this case, a need for a bottle of Sriracha. This “transaction” has now become a story of kindness I will tell over and over again. Applied to a traditional business arena, I’ve essentially become part of Kat’s marketing team, all because of the feeling I have remaining after working with her. Kat wanted me to have my first choice and made sure that happened.

What do you do to make your clients/team feel special?

How do you express your care and gratefulness for the opportunity to work together?

How do you want your clients/team to feel after an interaction/transaction with you?

How are you connecting with the person behind the transaction?

Some quickie ideas off the top of my head:

  • Send a birthday card
  • Circle back to find out how their project went
  • Send a hand-written thank you
  • Share an inspirational quote or fun article that reminds you of them
  • Share a funny video to make their day
  • Leave an after-hours voicemail thanking them for being an awesome client
  • Send an e-gift card you know they might enjoy

And there’s plenty more where that came from.

P.S. Remember - the beauty of Kat’s act was that it wasn’t a marketing piece, it was truly a relationship building act of service. Keep that in mind as you are brainstorming how you might bring this idea into your business.

A Community Supporting A Pigeon

Voices in my head

Last week there was an incident in my driveway.

A hawk chased a pigeon there for dinner. I knew because suddenly, a dozen angry crows descended on the scene to beat up the hawk (apparently crows vs. hawks is a thing). It was so incredibly loud, soon half of our neighbors were outside investigating.

Mr. Hawk flew the coop, but left behind was an injured pigeon, lying in my driveway.

There was a sigh of relief when the pigeon fluttered up onto my neighbor’s porch - she was still alive. The owner’s of the house were on vacation and the porch covered and safe, so it felt like a good situation, all things considered. My daughter named her Kitty -- the name she [now 24] has given all animals since she was a peanut.

After the hullabaloo had settled, the neighbors disappeared, but I couldn’t just leave Kitty in dire straits. After some research, I discovered none of the rescue societies take bird pigeons. Undeterred I started to Google instructions on how to feed, water and care for her, in addition to posting on the NextDoor app, just in case a neighbor close-by might be a bird lover and know more what to do. I got a few supportive responses of “good luck!”, but no one that knew exactly what to do.

I texted a few neighbors who had seen Kitty’s near-demise an update and my husband made a little bed in a box and created a little “pigeon care package” of some electrolyte water and a handful of blueberries and sunflower seeds in case she needed food through the night. One neighbor texted back “you know that she’s a damn pigeon, right?” — but our hearts still wanted to see Kitty pull through. We couldn’t see anything desperately wrong with Kitty as we got her settled into box-bed and went to bed ourselves.

In the morning one of our neighbors let us know Kitty had flown to the top of the door on the neighbors house, but when we went over to check it out -- KITTY WAS GONE!

Though we have no idea what happened to her, we have collectively decided we were going to think positively and imagine Kitty is back to her own bird community. She just needed to chill for a minute, eat a blueberry, and then rise up and keep on keepin’ on after a moment of tragedy.

Yet, throughout the day - and even two days later - I’ve been getting messages from people asking about Kitty and how she is doing. One of the first people who checked on her? Yep - “she’s a damn pigeon” guy. Pretty adorable really.

One person, who I’ve never even met, checked in twice - so I recounted the whole story for him and shared how I think Kitty is living happily ever after. I got this message back:

Next Door Message

Everyone needs a little ray of hope.

And we all need support from our community; even pigeons.

Kitty Pigeon

Important Words from John Lewis

In Both Ears is proud to represent the BIPOC talent heard in this video speaking important words from the late John Lewis.

We made something for you.

Believe in Bold

What happens when you believe in bold?

We believe in finding the perfect voice for your project, period.

One that cuts through the clutter with your message no matter what. A voice that doesn't just sell you, it says you. That means we never settle; there's all the difference to us between "just done" and done right. We're proud to call the world our home from right here in Portland, the city that continues to inspire us to think outside the box, to create what's needed to fill a niche and to deliver time after time. Staying passionate means mixing old and new, building trust while always bringing something outstanding to the table. It's the difference between reliable and boring.

It's Bold.

Now we're faced with decisions that take safety and risk to another level, giving fresh perspective to the words even as we navigate the current climate. It would be easy to retreat to comfort, hiding in the familiar and playing it safe. At In Both Ears, we decided to swing for the fences instead. When the world starts playing small ball, that's our cue to hit one out of the park. And that's our mindset for each client and every project: How can we help make you stand out, and look good while you're doing it? That's where quality comes in. Our roster is heard around the world because we spend as much effort curating our talent as we do on each project that comes in the door. It's a distinction that carries over into everything we do---and all we do for you.

Making bold choices is more than an impulse. It's a core way of doing business, of living. That doesn't mean choosing wildly, or at random, hoping something new sticks. Successful mavericks back up their instincts with years of experience. We know it's radical to never settle for "good enough." And we're challenging you to do the same. But never fear, we'll be there through every step with our sleeves rolled up and our thinking caps on, so that you're never alone in the process.


We believe it is -- and encourage you to join us in the pursuit of bringing more inspiring work into the world.

HEAR, HERE: Show Me The ... Love?

Valentine conversation hearts

What happened to the art of the ask?

We get bombarded with generic sales and “CanYouPleaseHelpMe?” messages every day. It’s not our fault - we’ve been told the name of the game is to build our list and constantly be pitching ourselves. Our emails may get deleted or ignored most of the time, but occasionally someone will click and be interested in reading what we are writing or buying what we are selling.

And while there is something to be said for throwing a handful of darts at a dartboard and hoping one occasionally hits the bullseye (or at least comes close to it), imagine how much higher your odds are if you take your time, take a breath, and focus your aim on that bullseye. How much more likely will you be to hit your target with just a little more attention and care than blasting a “cold” email campaign?

In the month of love, let’s warm it up and shift our tactic on marketing our services. Instead of shouting at anyone who will listen, take the time to really get to know who you are talking to.

Want to work with a specific brand? Do some research on their past and current creative. Follow the members of the team on LinkedIn. Engage with their content and get to know the person(s) behind the work. And when the time is right, send that email or direct mail note/gift tailored specifically to them - that might also mention you could create beautiful work together.

Because remember - we are humans talking to humans. And we all appreciate feeling the love and being heard.

HEAR, HERE: New Decade, New Clarity

Label maker

The new decade is here! Or next year, if you sit in that camp. Personally, we like the gravitas that the “0” brings to the start of a new time period, so we’re sticking with it.

As with every new year, we tend to resolve that we are going to be healthier, more productive, take more chances, live life to its fullest...and get more organized. Seriously, does anyone else look at the planner layouts or digital systems of those highly organized persons™, that tend to emerge around the start of every new year, with a mix of jealousy and awe for how they seem to have everything in their lives together? It gives us hope that we too, could be so organized that everything in our life and business flows with ease, simply through the magic of putting our info into just the right organizational system.

Though it’s important to remember that behind those perfectly curated instagram shots are real life people™ who have messy moments too, what really helps create the sense of organization we see on those pages is a sense of clarity. Clarity for their goals/intentions. Clarity for what steps and tasks will get them there. Clarity of purpose. Without taking the time to plan and decide what the end goal/intention is, and how you will get there, the new organizational system will be fleeting because it isn’t functional.

Need some guidance on how to start? We love these free printables and this explanation on breaking down goals/intentions.

And don’t worry - we know you can still find other uses for your label maker, even if it is just to name every container in your desk drawer.

HEAR, HERE: It's Time For Your Annual Review

Goal planning book

If this fall has been any indicator, November is going to fly right by and we’ll be into the new year before we know it! (Wasn’t September just yesterday?!?)

When time seems to move like super sonic speed and we’re in the thick of doing the work, it can be easy to lose sight of how much we’ve accomplished this year. And odds are - it’s more than you think! Though many think it’s best to wait until December, we think that actually puts you behind. The best time to do it is now - in November - before the demands of the holidays take up your time and energy. Plus, if you do your review now, you can set the stage in December and start things off with a bang when January hits.

We highly recommend this exercise created by Chris Guillebeau for giving yourself, and your company, an Annual Review and start planning for next year.

And if you are a company of one, this is a great opportunity to give yourself a little retreat or solo end-of-the-year party - go to your favorite space, pour yourself a good drink, and take this time to reflect and plan.

HEAR, HERE: Take Advantage of Your Business's Summer Pace

Cold drinks filled with citrus fruit

When the sunshine is beckoning outside in the Western Hemisphere, our glances stare longingly out the window and think toward more active experiences than sitting at our desks. And with travel plans staggered throughout the summer, the pace of work generally slows down for most. This is the perfect chance to take advantage of this "bonus time" for working ON your business instead of IN your business. Some suggestions? 

  • Plan out your marketing strategy for the last two quarters of 2019

  • Organize your computer files and put things in their place

  • Research systems and processes that could help you work smarter, not harder

  • Brainstorm ways to attract new clients 

  • Finally read that business book that has been gathering dust

  • Make a list of people you know who can help move your business forward

And if you decide to check some of these items off outside with a chilled drink or two while soaking up some vitamin D, cheers to multi-tasking business with summer fun! 

HEAR, HERE: It’s Not The End. It’s The Beginning.

Ice cream and its cone: better together

"I'm always thinking about how I can do better, instead of how I can achieve more." -- Paul Jarvis

No matter our industry, we always want and need more clients in order to scale our business and make more moolah.

But even as you are chasing the next client/project, take a moment and think - - what are you doing to make your past and current clients feel valued and appreciated? When the check is cut for a job well done, shift your mindset from thinking of this as the end of a project, to the beginning of a business relationship.

And relationships need to be nurtured.

Take a few minutes and check out this article (that we quoted above) which focuses on listening to what clients really want, how to recognize potential new business opportunities, and the importance of staying connected to them (Oh, hi guys!).

HEAR, HERE: A Fresh Perspective On Voice Buyers

Pencil with eraser

In a world ...

... where there are now two types of voice buyers: The Legacy Buyer and The New Non-Professional Buyer.

The Legacy Buyer has been in the game for awhile. They remember a time when auditions were done in person and submitted by cassette tape or CD with the typical turnaround on a project being weeks, not hours. When the idea of easily recording a voice for your project that lived states - or countries - away seemed way too complicated. They came up in a time when using an agent was the norm and the only way to access quality voice talent.

The New Non-Professional Buyer is being asked to find a voice for their project and may be receiving little or no guidance from their team on exactly how to do that. They want the ease of buying voice talent that they have in a world of Amazon, subscription boxes, and Grub Hub. They want quality, but they want it on-demand. When there are more voices to choose from than spots on agent rosters, they don’t care how they get the best voice, they just want it in a timely fashion so they can meet their deadline and jump to the next project.

At IBE, we believe that there will always be a place for talent agents to work with producers who have too much on their plate and think it’s worth it to bring in the experts to find the perfect voice for their project. But, we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize the way the industry is shifting and adjust to meet buyers where they are. So from us, you can expect white-glove service AND quick

HEAR, HERE: Where Is The Love?

Hand holding a sparkler

Sometimes we complicate things when we love them.

We start with fresh excitement over a new hobby, idea, or change. We love it so much we want to discover everything about it! We dive into learning all of the lingo, techniques, and the “right” ways to do The Thing.

And then one day, we realize that The Thing has become “work,” and that changes it somehow. We settle into the routines of how we are supposed to do it and focus on fine-tuning the product, forcing it into the box of “perfection” that we are told it should be. We find ourselves resenting the fact that it’s not good enough yet and get sucked into the desperation to make The Thing successful. Otherwise, why even do it at all?

But, really, that wasn’t why we started in the first place, right? It was the spark. The joy. The feeling that this was exactly what we should be doing right now. It lit us up in a way we hadn’t felt before. And sometimes, we lose touch with that feeling when The Thing we love, becomes the job that we depend on.

Take some time to set a play date with yourself and your voice. Take the pressure off the table and try to remember and rediscover what it was that brought you to the mic in the first place. Maybe even invite others to come play along with you. And then, think of ways that you can bring that joy into your process every day. Bonus points if you make it visual (it’s harder to forget about that way). Create a little, gentle, daily reminder to start from a place of joy every time you step up to the mic. You, and they, will hear it in your voice. Because it really is a privilege to get to do what you love. Cherish it.

Hello February

Decorative signs spelling JOY

We’ve just bid farewell to January, and love already abounds. Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day aficionado, a Marie Kondo acolyte, or just want to get a jump on some emotional spring cleaning, February is the perfect month to remember how much joy affects your voice when you step up to the mic.

The idea of loving what you do a little more this month might seem like a tall order. After all, who finds satisfaction in their job every, single day? It’s okay to be skeptical, even a touch cynical. Love and joy are powerful and complicated concepts, but they don’t need to manifest through complexity to motivate and inspire. That’s one of the best aspects about joy: It can be minimalist without being minimized at all.

Consider February an opportunity to get back to the basics of the craft, to reflect on your process with fresh eyes. For example, when you focus on each script for itself, you’ll bring a quiet, refined love of voice to your audition. Taking a deep breath before you slate can inject a dose of pure joy to your entire read. Is there something you’re bringing into your studio with you, mentally, physically or otherwise, that is distracting you? It could be as simple as a worried thought, your phone or too many tchotchkes around your set up. This month, dare to scale back, pare down and, yes, tidy up your booth, if that’s your thing.

Seeking a calm, essential perspective is a tiny act of self-love with massive implications for your voiceover career. As you journey toward a place of joy, you may discover that this pure and simple emotion is leading you toward that often-seen spec, authenticity. As you allow joy to renew your process, you might find your voice is sounding more like its “old self” than it has in a while. So, when you’ve found that extra ounce of joy, you’ll feel it, and over time, clients listening to your auditions will hear the difference, too.

HEAR, HERE: Stepping Back In Order To Move Forward

American football players during kick-off

How can you move the ball forward today?

You’ve set your goals. You’ve made sure those goals are SMART. You’ve entered deadlines and benchmarks into your favorite project management software or analog planner. Check, check, and check.

And now, it all may seem a little overwhelming. After all, you’ve decided to increase your revenue and clean up your diet and write in a gratitude journal each morning. Phew!

But take a step back - those big goals are made up of little moments that come from consistently showing up every day and building habits that reaffirm those goals are a priority worth working toward. So, what is one small thing that you can do today, and every day, that will move you just a bit closer to achieving your goal? Maybe it’s reaching out once a day to build a new business connection. Or choosing carrots and hummus over a candy bar as your afternoon snack. Or taking a moment to say “thank you” to someone in your life that you are grateful for.

Recently, we moved the ball forward in the VO world by creating Get Started In VO for newcomer voice talent looking to learn more about the biz. The overall goal of changing the VO industry in the ways we imagine take a ginormous shift in thought patterns, but we feel this is a step in the right direction. #movetheballforward

Want More? Join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as we continue to explore this theme throughout January!

HEAR, HERE: 2019: The Year of You+

Seedling plant

Is it just us or does January always feel like a clean slate?

Traditionally, the New Year is a chance to take the lessons learned in the previous year and launch forward with intentions, goals, fresh commitments and new habits. We start looking at what we want our ideal life to be and launch full-force into poking, prodding, and adjusting ourselves to fit into the person that does all of the “right” things. At least, until we run out of steam for our full personal overhaul and settle back into old habits and routines.

We think it’s important to remember that the “old you” is the person that got you this far. The reason you are standing here right now. The person that grew, struggled, and danced their way through 2018. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

So, instead of trying to wipe clean everything that has come before to try to be the “perfect you”, focus on celebrating who you are and think of 2019 as the year of You+. Let’s shape-shift and level-up together!

We started our new year with a back-to-the-basics question: Why do we do what we do again? This is the result, and a huge nod to Simon Sinek and his book Start With Why:

Want More? Join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as we continue to explore this theme throughout January!

HEAR, HERE: The Start of Something New


Introducing the brand-spanking-new ...

Spanish Voiceover Division!

We’ve talked before about how people want to hear from people who sound just like them. And that advertisers are looking for voices that can connect with audiences of different ethnicities and backgrounds. And the data backs us up.

It's our pleasure to introduce you to our two dedicated Spanish Language Liaisons: Simone Fojgiel and Isabella Arevalo. They are focused on helping us bring these voices to the forefront, and they're just getting started. We already represent 33 top Spanish voices from around the world and with their help, we are adding even more!

Want to make your client’s message more global than ever? Drop us a note.

Check out our launch video:

HEAR, HERE: Eight Agents Walk Into A Room

Ornate yellow door and yellow wall

Stacey just returned from the VO Agent Alliance sponsored Agent Summit in Austin and here’s the skinny.

It is both unheard of and awesome for agents to come together in a room, sharing openly and honestly about what is working for us and what isn’t. If anything has become apparent over the last year, it’s that the landscape of the voiceover industry is changing – and has been changing – and there is interest in figuring out what the “new world” will look like. Some questions on the table:

How does the agent model stay relevant in a landscape of online casting platforms?

How do we tackle the ever-present race-to-the-bottom where rates are concerned?

How do agents best advocate for their talent while satisfying the buyers’ needs in this brave, new world?

You know, the easy stuff ;-)

Though we’d love to say we walked out of the Agent Summit with all the answers to the rates/use/terms crisis and the race-to-the-bottom mentality, we can’t. But we can say that we have a game-plan and are working towards the goal of keeping the bar high and appreciate your support while we do so. And if you have any big ideas – trust us – we’re ALL EARS!

Reply to this email and we’ll make sure your idea gets into the mix.

HEAR, HERE: Don’t Pay Attention ...

Imagine Memorial Mosaic, NYC

We often hear: "Don't pay attention to what others are doing! Just do your own thing."

We agree. And yet -- we totally disagree.

Yes, you should go out into the world and make something special and unique with your energy and your talent! But if you ignore what others in your industry are doing, then you are missing a prime opportunity. We learn by paying attention to what is going on around us. And truly, that's where inspiration comes from -- ideas are sparked by exposing ourselves to the information and then drawing our own conclusions.

So keep on doing your own thing -- but don't cut yourself off from the possibility of taking things to the next level by letting yourself be inspired!

HEAR, HERE: The Downfall of Reactivity

Sail boat on the water

Living in a space of reactivity is a consequence of having unclear goals.

Without a clear and measurable idea of what you are working toward, you latch on to every opportunity that you think might be the "magic formula" leaving you with a lot of half-thought-out executions that are not working cohesively. You'll always feel like you are working to catch-up and may find yourself overwhelmed because you can't see the bigger picture of what you are working toward.

When you are proactive, you start from a place of confidence because you have a game plan -- a strategy that uses both your time and resources efficiently to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Working from this place allows you to see what is ahead and "name the game" instead of taking what is handed to you because you don't know what is coming next.

Do yourself a favor and set a timer for one hour. During this time, set one measurable goal that you want to achieve by the end of the year and list three tactics you are going to use to make that happen, with due dates. Find a way to hold yourself accountable. Not sure how? Take this quiz for a hint.

The sprint to the end of 2018 begins now. What will you do in that time?

HEAR, HERE: Five Things On Our Mind Today (and Every Day)

Sail boat on the water

It's difficult to embrace the idea of "community not competition" in the VO industry. There are a finite number of jobs and slowly dwindling budgets in a space saturated with people who want to make money talking into a mic. But we'll continue to champion the idea that "the rising tide floats all boats" because that's when the magic -- and the real change -- happen.

Five Things On Our Mind Today (and Every Day):

  1. The decisions we individually make on a small-scale have big-scale impact.
  2. Together, we are stronger, but only when everyone contributes and makes their voice heard.
  3. Consistency is key.
  4. Information is power. Arm yourself with the facts and share them liberally.
  5. Communication. Communication. Communication.

HEAR, HERE: Seeing Change as Opportunity

A fall scene (feet in wool socks, pumpkin, blanket, and coffee)

The time has come for a change in the seasons!

In the same way the new year seems to invite a sense of renewal, the fall leads us into a state of hunkering down and getting back to work after a summer of play. It happens every year, so we don't fight against it (though those who consider themselves sun babies may grumble a bit). We take in the information of our new surroundings and adjust -- switching out tank tops for cardigans and flip flops for boots with cozy socks.

But what if, instead of welcoming the arrival of fall, we chose to resist it? To dig our feet in and chant "No! Warm weather is here to stay!" and keep on living in our eternal summer? Well, for one thing, we'd probably get awful chilly. But, we'd also miss the unique elements and energy fall presents in our lives -- colorful leaves, cozy blankets, and a slower pace of life...change.

By ignoring change, instead of adjusting to it, we miss the opportunity to create something different. Isn't it more exciting to reinvent and shift in response to new things than to just stay stagnant and never grow? Embracing change can cause us to think more creatively, instead of settling for the way we've always done it.

"Change is inevitable" is a saying for a reason. So -- instead of resisting it in your life, lean in, and take it for what it is - an invitation to innovate.

HEAR, HERE: How Can You Provide Value Without Lowering Your Rates?

Coffe Cup

Trust us, it’s easier than you think.

Be Knowledgeable

Do your research - on the product, on the company, on the agency - so that you can speak the same language as the others in the room. Know who you are going into session with and what kind of work they’ve produced (or voiced) in the past and if you like something, tell them!

Be Generous

Go the extra mile by adding a little sparkle to something that you already do in your business process. Or even just sharing fun conversation as you get into the session – know the best BBQ joint in the city they mention they are traveling to? Let ‘em know! This is more than just a business transaction.

Be Thankful

At the end of a session thank each person involved in the process by name. Everyone in the room is working to make everyone else look good. You came together and you created something – revel in that!

Be Excellent

By working every day to be better than you were the day before, you are providing value not only to your clients, but to yourself.

The short version: focus on building relationships based on mutual respect for what each person brings to the process. Those connections will go further than any discount or flash sale.

Every. Single. Time.

HEAR, HERE: Exercising creativity or checking off a to-do list?

Aim High

When something is inexpensive, it's often not well-made and easily broken. It's the first thing to get tossed out when you "Marie Kondo" your space -- or your business. When you pay little for something, it often holds little personal value.

When voice talent become a commodity, it perpetuates the idea that they are cheap. They are seen as "just one more piece" to the project and not a valuable member of the creative team. When talent undervalue themselves and work for well under acceptable rate standards, it's difficult to see them as worth more - and fewer and fewer budget resources get allocated to hiring the very best.

Talent or otherwise: YOU ARE NOT A COMMODITY.

Repeat that into the mirror three times every morning, if that's what it takes. This applies to the producers and agents out there too!

When you are paid your value, you show up in a different way -- you are made of different stuff than when you aren't. You bring your creative ideas, flexibility and joy into the project, as opposed to just clocking the time and checking a "done" mark next to your to-do list item. Which version of yourself is more likely to get hired a second time? If there is no value, there is no loyalty either. For most, it just becomes a numbers game instead of creative process. The less you are getting paid for a project, the lower your ROI. So, why invest more than it's worth?

Which would you rather have: Working on four one-off $250 projects (where you know your value is greater than what you agreed to), so you just show up, get it over with, and move on to the next? Or a $1,000 project where you are paid fairly -- bringing your ideas and your talent, and have a connection with the other players in the room that builds a business relationship?

Aim higher.

HEAR, HERE: It’s All About Value

Add Value

There’s a reason that fast food restaurants call them “Value Meals”.

And there’s a reason most people are quick to answer “That shirt looks great on you!” with “I got it on sale!” We get a little adrenaline rush when we feel we got more for less.

In verb form, “value” means to “estimate the monetary worth of something”, but in noun form, it means “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance worth, or usefulness of”. We’re talking about that kind of value. This type of value is more meaningful and contributes to building long lasting business relationships, where the other type of value is a quick transaction that actually can hurt the sense of the noun type of value. (Still with us?)

Giving a discount isn’t the only way to create value.

An exercise for you (producers and talent, both!) – write down your client process from beginning to end. Choose one section. How can you enhance it to give your clients the “above and beyond” feeling without adding a ton of extra work on your end? Something that gives it a bit more “sparkle.” For example, every time we work with a new client at IBE, we send them a branded “thank you” note with a fun, inexpensive gift. And you’d be surprised how many write back commenting how cool that was!

We challenge you to choose an item from your brainstorm list and commit to implementing it this week.

And stay tuned for the next E-Letter – we’re going to dive into ways that you can add value to your clients, without adding any additional services to your business. (Hint: Be excellent is definitely going to make an appearance on that list…)

HEAR, HERE: It's a Small World

Globe with pushpins

🎶It's a small world after all 🎶

... and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the way that the internet and media is shifting how we communicate. In seconds you can be watching the latest funny animal video (#whatthefluff, anyone?). You can take a free class from MIT. And you can talk to any person, of any culture, and hear their story through any number of platforms -- even the comment section, if you dare.

With a smaller world comes a blending of languages, ideas, and voices. More than once we've seen "global" included in the specs of a casting call, as advertisers look for voices that can connect with audiences of different ethnicities and backgrounds.

And it's all thanks to the devices we carry in our hands every day.

But, our world isn't just getting smaller thanks to connection. It's getting smaller as advertising shifts to be more customized and personalized. An ad is served up, just for you, based on your likes/dislikes, favorite websites, and Facebook check-ins. People want to hear from people. People who sound just like them.

And our agency is growing to meet that need. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement in the coming days by following us over on LinkedIn.

HEAR, HERE: What a Talent Can Do


Last week, we shared a bit about what we do as a talent agent. And we’re all about selfless service, but we do have a couple favors to ask in return:

  • List In Both Ears on your website It’s the simplest way to show that you are proud to have IBE working and fighting for you every day. It also shows any client that is tempted to reach out to you directly that you have experience and legitimacy in your corner – they’ll be less tempted to ask for “favors” If you are represented by us, download the IBE logo to add to your website.

  • Send new (or old) direct clients our way ...or at least let us look over your contracts. Did you know you can send a contract our way for review and let us handle billing for you? As long as the rates/terms are up to IBE standards, we’ll only take 10% commission and we can both rest easy knowing that you’ve gotten fair terms and rates in exchange for your talent.

  • Stay excellent through continual practice and coaching Never stop learning and growing as a talent. Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

HEAR, HERE: So What Does A Talent Agent Do?

Ink covered hand

It’s always a guaranteed question when we introduce ourselves at cocktail parties. And just the idea of being an agent can conjure up some interesting images for people but, at least at In Both Ears, we’re far from Ari Gold.

Though we can’t speak to what everyone is doing, we thought it might help to know what the 20% commission we take on non-union work is covering. Usually, we prefer to be silent ninjas, working seamlessly enough that it seems as if the audition landed in your inbox without a flourish, but today we are pulling back the curtain and sharing some highlights.

  • We’re creating relationships. We have a network of clients that see In Both Ears as their “go-to” agency. We’ve worked hard to position ourselves as the most fair, transparent, and nicest agency to work with. Our reputation precedes your audition before it even lands in their inbox. In fact, we’ve heard before that when all things are considered equal and there is a chance to work with an IBE talent or not, our consistency in delivering excellent talent and service can tip the scales in our (your) favor.

  • We’re getting our hands dirty. ... so you don’t have to! Is negotiating rates your favorite part of being a voice talent? (Really?) Or is it getting in the booth and bringing the copy to life? You worked hard to attract an agent to represent you, so why not let us take care of the negotiating/booking/invoicing so you can spend your energy focused on why you got into the biz in the first place – telling stories with your voice.

  • We’re educating. The VO biz is like the wild west out there. And every day we are educating producers at ad agencies, big and small, on how to hire a VO talent and how much they should be budgeting for quality talent. And this education comes full circle back to creating relationships that lead to more work, that deepen relationships, that ... you get the picture ;-)

We’re all about selfless service, but we do have a couple favors to ask in return. Stay tuned for the next Hear, Here to find out how you can help us out!

HEAR, HERE: Thinking Without The Box

Together We Create

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable —William Pollard

We want to change the rules. The rules of pricing voiceover in a world (see what we did there?) where agencies don’t have the capacity to track new media as they adapt to the ever-changing landscape of advertising. In a world (we couldn’t resist!) where VO talent and agents are struggling to find the balance between fair compensation and making a living with voiceover budgets declining.

We have to recognize that the current pricing model is based on a time when TV ruled the eyeballs of the nation, the internet was a wild west of unknown potential, and streaming services hadn’t even been imagined yet.

Instead of being afraid of this change, let’s embrace it! Let’s be the ones to manage the inevitable and make sure the rate structure is working FOR us. ALL of us. If we are always reactionary, we lose the chance to really listen to each other and build something new. And isn’t it always exciting to be on the ground floor of something?

This is a call out to YOU. Let’s take our collective knowledge, collective problems, collective concerns, and work together to design the new model of talent pricing that allows talent to make a living and producers to succeed with in-the-moment advertising.

We’ve got some ideas – and we want to hear yours, too! Hit “reply” on this email and let’s start the conversation.

Working together - not against each other - is how we are going to build the future. Tweet It Out

P.S. – Join IBE and many other talent and agencies at the free VOAA Town Hall | State-Of-The-Industry Webinar hosted by the VO Agent Alliance, World Voices Organization, and the Global Voice Acting Academy on June 13th from 5pm – 6:30pm PST. RSVP here.

If You Build It, They Will Come.


As iconic as that line from Field of Dreams is, it’s not quite how things work. You have built the thing, but then you TELL people about the thing, and THEN if they trust your recommendation they might check it out and be introduced to something that makes their life better/easier/magical (looking at you Postmates).

Right now, there are over 1400 producers registered and looking for talent on Voicecasting HUB! It’s THE place to find quality voiceover talent agents (like you! and us!). So, what’s the magic fairy dust to get them to hire you there? TELL them you are there! No one can make them pick your agency except you.

Word of Mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is and, as agents, our producers trust us to point them in the right direction. It took VB years to build their reputation as the place to find quality voiceover talent (a big part because agents sent producers there), but they are now deader than a doornail and replaced by a site that is undermining the industry and our work as agents. The HUB IS NOT VB and isn’t trying to be (once more for the balcony)! IT IS an improvement on VB that mimics how we work and streamlines it. Created by agents and producers, for agents and producers.

It’s up to each of us to power the word-of-mouth machine and TELL every producer we know about The HUB and direct them to find us there. The more people talking, the faster the growth will be and the sooner we will see the floodgates open on casting calls happening there — and showing up in your inboxes. One day producers contacting us through The HUB will be the new normal.

IBE stands proudly with those improving the industry. But we can’t reach every producer on our own, and neither can The HUB creator Matt Dubois. Stand with us and commit to letting the producers and talent you know that they can find you — and your agents — on The HUB! #HustleToTheHUB

— Stacey Stahl

Inspired by Dave Courvoisier’s Article

Low Rates – The Chicken or the Egg?


What drives talent rates down?

Producers offering low rates for voiceover? or Talent agreeing to work for those low rates?

Answer: both.

As a general rule, producers are working to keep the costs down for their client. No one can argue that “How much can we get for as little money as possible?” is lurking unspoken in most budget conversations.

Talent are hoping to make themselves more attractive to clients by being accommodating and saying they can do the work – perpetuating the expectation that you can get a quality product for less than it is worth.

And in both cases – the producer and talent may be working from a place of not knowing all of the details.

So what needs to happen next??

Do talent refuse to work for less than a fair wage? Do producers have candid conversations with clients about the true cost of creating a quality product?


And it has to start somewhere. This is our humble request to let it be with YOU.

It’s time to realize that we’re all in the same boat – and the boat is sinking. Let’s stand together and plug the hole.

HEAR, HERE: Who are the Real Pros?


We've heard over and over again that the VO industry is saturated with so called "pro talent". But you know - and we know - who the real pros are. You can hear it. 

Real talk - The industry has changed so that clients can find almost any sound they want at a bottom-of-the-barrel price. Why pay more to hire a true pro?

  • TRAINING - Pro talent are prepped and ready to give the performance you are looking for in fewer takes, saving production teams time and money.

  • INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE - Pro talent know more than just the lingo - they know the demands and nuance of delivering a trailer, instructional video, and :10 TV spot. You are hiring someone who knows the business in and out, how to incorporate your notes, and deliver a polished product.

  • THEY MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD - Pro talent are more than just a voice, they are part of your creative team. Nothing is worse than inviting a high rolling decision maker to a session and running into tech difficulties, a million takes, and ending up with a product "that will do." Skip that and jump to the fun of hearing your work spoken aloud and collaborating on a project you'll all be excited about.

So if you're a pro talent, or producer - prove it. Prove it in the casting process. Prove it in the budget. Prove it in the booth.