Blog Networking Tips From a Full-time Voice Actress

Closing Credits’ own hostess with the mostest Yenni Ann has worked as a professional voice actress for four years now, with radio commercials, cartoons, telenovelas, toys, corporate videos, and anime credits to her name. She recently moved into full-time voiceover work. So, what’s the secret to her success?

Well… it’s actually not a secret at all!

All of Yenni’s opportunities come from forging strong, genuine friendships and connections in the voiceover industry.

In her October 18 workshop, Yenni shares the strategies that helped her build her career and—more importantly—make some amazing friends along the way.

What is Networking?

At its core, networking is simply about meeting people, typically for professional and social benefit. Networking carries with it the implication of eventually finding work, though it must be said that work is never guaranteed. Yenni highly recommends entering into networking situations with the mindset that you’re meeting like-minded people, enjoying their company for the sake of enjoying their company. If that leads to jobs, awesome! If that doesn’t, at least you have some awesome industry friends from which to learn and grow.

Networking opportunities come in many different shapes and sizes! Depending on your resources and comfort levels, you can meet fellow professionals and aspiring professionals through the following outlets:

  • Social media
  • Discord servers and message boards
  • Classes and workshops
  • Industry events, such as conventions and meetups
  • Word of mouth
  • Live audition callbacks
  • Working together on projects
  • Open rosters and casting calls
  • Cold calls and emails
  • Regardless of where you network, how to network remains static across the board. There are standards outlining what constitutes professional behavior, and not living up to these expectations could compromise your ability to make friends and find work. Fortunately, Yenni’s got your back, and shares her own formula for successful professionalism in networking environments.

    Yenni’s Not-So-Secret Recipe for the Best Networking Smoothie

    As Closing Credits’ resident Julia Child Of Networking, Yenni has broken down her strategies into an easy-to-follow “recipe” useful for voice actors of all skill and experience levels. She credits this “smoothie” with helping her form tight-knit personal and professional relationships alike:

  • 1/2 cup of Meaningful Encounters & Relationships
  • 1 cup of Participating in Events & Workshops/Courses
  • 2 cups of Communicating Effectively
  • Fortunately, each ingredient is pretty easy to find. You don’t even need to make a trip to the grocery store!

    Meaningful Encounters and Relationships

    “Remember: You want meaningful relationships—you are not trying to ‘get your foot in the door.’ People read into that and will more than likely ignore you because you are being insincere. It is not always about work,” Yenni says. “There’s a fine line between networking to meet people and networking to make money.”

    The first step to ensuring your interactions with others come from a place of sincerity is to decide where the people you meet fall in your “Relationship Circle.” Most people’s personal spheres land into one or more of the following categories:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work/acquaintance
  • Romantic
  • Each type of relationship carries with it different degrees of personal openness and expectations, and successful networkers possess a strong sense of the boundaries involved at different levels. Meaningful relationships, no matter the type, build up and out on a foundation of shared values and trust. Start by finding common ground and working from there to strengthen your bonds with your circles.

    Participating in Events, Workshops, and Courses

    Voice acting is a by and large collaborative art. Signing up for events, workshops, and classes make for excellent networking opportunities because they involve this community spirit.

    During event, workshop, and/or class time, participants are often encouraged to share resources and advice with one another, as well as listen closely when others are receiving live direction. You’re there to learn—even make mistakes—not show off your skills. Classmates and instructors care more about how you pay attention and receive feedback than whether or not you’re ready to make your Disney debut.

    Unlike your average reality show contestant, you are there to make friends! Since events, workshops, and classes often center on specific topics, you already have something in common with your classmates! Get to know the ones you click with over time, whether that be over a shared goal or a question you can answer for them based on your knowledge and experience. Ask them for their social media handles or email addresses after everything wraps so you can keep in touch.

    Communicating Effectively

    Paul is more than just the Beatle who wrote a song about his beloved black lab. Yenni also uses PAUL as a handy acronym for her successful communication strategy.

  • Participate: The industry won’t just show up on your doorstep with surprise opportunities. You have to actively take part in healthy discussions, communities, and events both online and in person.
  • Act: Showing up is only part of the work. Be present in the moments you spend with others. Reach out and ask questions. Introduce yourself to other creatives who seem to share your interests, values, and goals. Follow up with instructors to thank them for their time.
  • Understand: Once the goodbyes have been said and the conventions end or the Zoom meetings have been switched off, invest time in going over everything you’ve just learned and everyone you’ve just met. Figure out who belongs in which circle of connection, if any, and remember that even if your experience doesn’t directly lead to work you still walked away from the opportunity with new lessons, new skills, and new friends.
  • Listen: “You cannot be the only one talking,” Yenni says. Learning doesn’t happen without listening. Take the advice you get into consideration and follow the tidbits that best fit your unique circumstances. Get to know people by opening your ears and your heart when working with them, and show sincere interest in their presence.
  • Keep PAUL in mind when networking online and off, whether attending conventions, joining Discord servers, cold emailing, or showing up to workshops. It’ll keep you on the right path toward meaningful, lasting relationships on both personal and professional levels.

    Networking in the Closing Credits Community

    Closing Credits and our partner site Casting Call Club offer up a multitude of opportunities for creatives from all industries to network and learn. We provide classes, workshops, student exclusive opportunities, and a Discord server to help build a strong sense of community. It’s a great, hands-on chance to apply Yenni’s teachings, strengthening your friendships and growing your skills—and careers.

    Additional Resources

    Our blog post on Networking Etiquette builds on Yenni’s workshop lessons and covers the bases on what constitutes professional behavior. You’ll learn about how to apply the basics of networking to specifically online and in person events, as well as tips on dealing with networking situations when you’re an introvert, shy, or anxious.

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