ANSWER VAULT - WEEK THREE

 

A. This is a tricky one because when I recorded the video I just did it and it worked. That's why this answer is a bit unclear. That said, it could be that I was using a Mac and using the program Numbers. If you are on a PC and using Excel that could be the difference. That may be why it's not working. To solve this problem you could just create new columns for each social media platform (one for FB, one for Instagram, one for Twitter). A bit annoying I know, but it will get you there in the end.

Q.RESEARCH AND PREP: Having written the first paragraph for each company you want to contact, am I correct in thinking you ONLY save each opening paragraph in drafts and not the whole cover letter?

A. It's quicker to create the personalised first paragraph in drafts, then copy and paste the rest of the cover letter in drafts, and save it. Less work later.

Q.DAY 15: Jonathan refers to 5 Step Follow Up in today's video but I have no clue what that is. Did I miss something?

A. Nope. The 5 Step Follow Up Formula is a free bonus and is also part of Week 6 after you do your Big Give on the 6th Monday of the course. It is a follow up strategy I've used that keeps you top of mind without feeling like you are bugging them or spamming them. Hold your horses. The 5 Step Follow Up Formula will be here sooner than you think;-)

Q.DAY 15: When we do our Big Give on the 6th Monday of the course, won’t there be clients that get inundated with cover letters that we’ve written?

A. Alums say no and so do I. You might be in the same area, same 100 mile radius, doing your Big Give on the same day but the chances are so slim that the same person will get 2 similar cover letters on the same day. And if by the lucky power of the lottery gods that this person gets 2 cover letters from 2 different people on the same day then this person is 1. very lucky and should buy a lottery tickets and 2. should feel amazing because this person got not one but two killer cover letters that spoke directly to them and their needs instead of being spammed with ego-filled cover letters they are so used to getting. Chill. It's a cover letter. You're not curing cancer. There are 7 billion people in the world. The odds of one person getting two cover letters are not that high.

Q.DAY 15: So... I've run across a few production houses where it's run by a husband/wife team and one's the DP or Director and the other is the Producer and they have separate emails. Do I email them both and write "Dear James and Lilly Smith" or should I just email whoever is listed as the producer and mention that I'd like to meet them both?

A. Email them both. Feels more inclusive. Also seeing that they are a dynamic duo and speaking to that will make them feel seen and heard. The convo that happens between them a few hours later while grabbing a coffee or walking the dog will be nice for you as well when tehy say, "ah remember that nice person who wrote to both of us?" "Yeah I do." "How can we fit her into our next project?" Remember, the conversations that happen when you aren't around are just as important as the ones when you are in the room or on your computer with your cover letter.

Q.DAY 15: Hey everyone (from a student) ... had a bit of a realisation that may really help get rid of some resistance from some of you...

I'm a fish in a pond, but the pond I live in is central London... making me a very small fish indeed. Even a 1km radius hosts some of the biggest digital marketing companies in the world and some of the most experienced and sought after Creative Directors (my dream client job title) work within a few miles of me...

SOOOOoooooo... I'm removing the word "London" from my google search for now because I'm getting nowhere... I'm changing it for "Swindon" or "Cheltenham" or "Ipswich" or anything else on my "tribes to titles" sheet.

NOW I can feel like more of a big fish again!

A. (JT) Thank you! This is what I mean! Good for you for making it work for you.
Q.How many emails should a LOLB newbie be striving for on the big-give day? And What’s the record?

Disclaimer: I need goals. Working to my own pace is too slow and unmotivated for where I want to be.

A. Before I give you the number and you or others get discouraged let me say this. Set a number for yourself and work toward that number for yourself. The moment I say the highest number is when people start comparing and contrasting and feeling inadequate and plant the seed that they will never get to that number and throw in the towel. So first and foremost set a number for yourself and stay in your lane and work on that, work on you, make that happen for you. To answer your question: the highest number of emails an LOLB Newbie sent out on their Big Give day was 771

Q.If a good round about time frame of resaerching a client's website is 15 minutes..I think I'm averaging way more than that - sometimes searching desperately for something to love and relate to but just looking through their site, social media feeds, researching the staff and their LI profiles. Am I looking into too much detail?

A. Yes you're doing far too much. love your logo. love your video on the polar bears. love that your office is along the thames. love that you have a garden on your office's terrace. make it quick. find a quick connection. use that. build off of that. then move on. it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be present.

Q.Research and Prep question: Are there any other sites we can use other than google?

A. For Newbies I'd like you to stick with google because it's a good resource. However if you are looking for a directory to get more targeted search results try the followign websites: yelp.com, manta.com, Yahoo Local, Foursquare, Marchant Circle, City Search, Angel's List.

Q.Can someone define client/examples "Big Fish Little Pond" client avatar --- my plan was to include production houses (I'm a voice artist/talent/actor/whatever) in my 100 mile radius, but I'm afraid they might fall in the little fish big pond category because I'm in a big city...Opinions?

A. Depending on where you live has a big impact on what you call local. For example. I’m going to be in St. Louis, Charlotte, and Brooklyn in the next three weeks. I googled the address of my Airbnbs and then asked google for the closest recording studios. The list came up. THAT’S local. THAT’S big fish, little pond. The Brooklyn Airbnb is within walking distance of seven studios. SEVEN! I was like damn. Even in NYC there’s local markets and big fish in little ponds. Also some of those studios had 1-3 employees and some had 10-20 employees. Base your local-ness off of the location, not the size of the business.
Q.Film/TV & stage still work with the Casting Director gatekeepers but it’s no longer hardcopy submissions. It’s all electronic…breakdowns go out online, and agents/managers submit their clients via certain websites depending upon the CD office preference. No more couriers, no more interns opening envelopes, no more stacks of 8x10s. And no more self submit drop off box at CD offices. I’m wondering how this method of creating a cover letter to send out would be useful in these worlds. In VO, there are more opportunities for direct hire and direct outreach like your Big Give. Not so here. Maybe in smaller regional theatres or non-paying/low paying films but not major LORT theatres, Off-Broadway or Broadway and definitely not in TV or feature films. Not for the gigs that actually pay anyway.

There are a couple of websites where CDs sometimes post jobs (Casting Networks, Actors Access) but for every role, there are hundreds if not thousands of submissions. Almost impossible to rise above that noise and stand out. When the CD (or intern) opens their submission inbox, they get row after row of 5 different tiny headshot submissions per row.

Can you speak to how to apply this program to those situations?

A. Make it fit the format. For example, a postcard with a quick "Hey here’s my latest shots. Just wanted to drop it by your office in between the chaos of interns and sorting through your latest castings. Have a great day and don’t work too hard." That kind of message is directly pulled from the cover letter but fits the format of a quick postcard. An online submission can sometimes include a cover letter. The cover letter that you wrote in week 2 can be used in full or in part to build the relationship during the online casting process. Sometimes online casting portals only allow a headshot and resume upload and that’s it. So leave the cover letter out. It doesn’t fit the format. The question is..... how can YOU adapt the cover letter to fit all the different formats out there? Postcard- short and light. Casting portal - quick and punchy if at all. In person auditions in the room - walk into the room and drop an emphatic time waster and a smile. In the waiting area - strike up a convo with the person outside the door who is either working for union or is the casting director’s assistant and ask them about themselves and find out what their time, energy, and money wasters are and empathize, introducing yourself to new agents - cover letter in the cover letter format if they still accept it that way, and on and on and on. The cover letter isn’t just a cover letter to be solely used in a direct email outreach. The work has been done by you to make it fit the creative career you are in AND all the different formats that come along wiht that career. The reason why we focus on the cover letter so much is because having a succinct flow of introduction where it’s not about you but all about them is to get that in your mind, body, and soul. Drill it in until it effortlessly sticks. Then when at a cocktail party, in the audition room, between takes, on the bus sitting next to a casting director’s intern, etc. you have something to pull from that fits the format of the situation you are in.
Q.my dream client is a 'Creative Director' so I began my search with marketing and ad agencies in my area. I started out close to home but as I opened my search up to Washington, DC (about 8 miles from where I live), I found companies that have multiple offices in large US cities too. That would be considered Big Pond/Little Fish, right?

Also, are we supposed to be filling in the email templates as we go? bc I haven't, I've just been filling in the spreadsheet w the data.

A. Yes that would be considered Big Fish, Little Pond... however use the info that you found and put it in your spreadsheet. Don't skim over it and forget about it because it doesn't fit the market you are currently researching in. Make a note in your spreadsheet that it's a larger company and you may have to adapt your cover letter to them to fit their specific big pond, little fish market. As for filling in the email as you go or not... Make it work for you. Some people like to do all the research at once and batch that. Then on the last few days of the week do the prep work and fill in the email draft with your personalised cover letter. Other people like to do both at the same time. Research and Prep in one go. It doesn't matter HOW you do it. What matters is THAT you do it. Research and Prep can be either batched into 2 sections (Research batch and Prep batch) or done at the same time (Research and Prep that one client then move on to the next one.) Make it work for you.

A. "I've been moving a little quicker with my research and found that right-clicking on the social media icon of the website you're on will give you the option to 'copy link address' then you just paste it into the spreadsheet. No more clicking the link, then going up to the url bar to copy the website address." - genius answer provided by Sonia Meneses

Q.During Research and Prep I'm having difficulty finding something to compliment them on. Their website is not good and their content is even worse. What should I do?

A. With your discerning eye you need to make a choice. Will you A. power through it and say they have an inspiring About Us page or B. scrap it completely because you get a slimey feeling from the website? You don't NEED to put every single contact into your PCL. You can choose who gets the honours of being added to your PCL. If it feels weird, then stay away. Trainwrecks and dumpster fires were meant to be avoided at all costs.

Q.As usual, I've run a little ahead of myself.... and picked the dream client avatar for something I haven't made my VO demo for yet (I only have a commercial demo, and my dream client avatar is a CD at a small indie game dev). This is the group I'm most excited to work with, so I think I'll forge ahead, and when the shiny new demo is ready, it'll be plug and play....So I won't be ready by the Big Give, but my Big Give will be ready for me. :)

A. Brink of tears. Yes to all of this. Talk about having a master plan and owning it. Well done. Proud of you.

A. Way back when, before the revamp , I asked you to pick a number. Now we've gotten rid of that because there is a challenge this week to see how much TIME you can invest in your NNT, which is so much more exciting and takes the pressure off of you striving for that number). The first 3 challenges are time based, the last challenge is contact number based. Invest time into researching your clients. If you are investing the time, you are making progress. Trust in the system. There’s a method to my madness.

Q.I have been spending about 15 to 20 minutes per contact is that too much?

A. No, it’s not too much. First week of doing the research takes time. In the beginning it is slow, but it slowly picks up pace. It's called the plus 1 theory. Example, swimming laps at the pool, I spent one whole summer swimming back and forth. I was testing myself. First week I did 5 laps without stopping….That’s my edge. The next week’s goal was 6 laps without stopping, week after do 7 laps without stopping. Plus 1 theory is you set something in stone and then add 1 to it. And each time you go back to it, you add 1. Continually improving is the key. This will get quicker. Just do the work.

A. You’re inner strength amazes me. You actual keep chocolate in the house? I have zero willpower. If it’s in the house.... it’s in my mouth..... then it’s gone....You asked "who are you?" Uuuuuuh you're a person with immense willpower that I am in utter awe of. I bow to your greatness oh holy cookie nay sayer.

Q.Week 2 question. I would like to get into corporate video and assume that a production house would be a good target for a client. Since corporate videos are used internally, so I wouldn't have seen the production houses work, what’s a good intro if I don't have a referral?

A. When researching production houses in week 3, you’ll find pieces of their portfolio on their website, that you can use as compliment material.

Q.If while researching, you are finding things outside the local area, can you still log them in the PCL or should I skip over it for now?

A. Don't skip over it! Log that contact's information in your PCL. Just make sure you write your cover letter appropraitely saying you'd like to call them or skype them or facetime for coffee instead of stopping by the office. Make it work for you.

Q.If I can’t find a direct email to the person I want to get to, is it ok to put FTAO and their name in the subject? (For the attention of :-))

A. First use the cold call for direct contact pre-writen template to find out if you can get that person's email and name. Usually you can. Then add that info ito your PCL. If you can't get that info no matter how hard you try, then make it work for you. Some have used the subject line: For the attention of (their name). Some have just written Dear (name of company). What feels best for you? Make it work for you.

Q.So often in my niche, no-one in the big corporation’s know who I’m trying to find.

A. Dig a little bit more. Call ahead using the cold call for direct contact pre-written script and contact the admin assistant or receptionist first and through them find the right person who to reach out to.