This note is from New York City CD, Scott Powers, who shared his thoughts on helping talent present him or herself professionally via phone.
Too many talented actors unknowingly hurt their careers in this area. Are you one of them and don't know it? Time to do a reality telephone check.
In person, we know some gifted actors with great looks and lots of personality. But, on the phone, they come off snarly or the proverbial box of rocks or just clueless. If we hadn't known them personally first, we would have never would have called them in to audition.
Pointers to boost your career, guaranteed!
1. Put a smile in that voice of yours! This is another interpretation of that "happy, bouncy, perky" attribute we keep talking about. Do not be "The Voice of Doom" and put a thundercloud over our day. In fact, SMILE when you're speaking - it actually comes across in your voice. You may not notice the change, but we certainly will. Try smiling in a mirror when you're on the phone - a trick some smart cookies use with impressive results. Smart and successful salesmen have known this secret for years. Now you do, too.
2. Record your telephone conversations. Play them back with a critical, dispassionate ear. Do you like you? We know too often what the answer is!
3. If calling from a cell phone - and who doesn't these days - make sure you use a service that provides reliable service and get a quality cell phone. Calls from an actor where the conversation is constantly breaking up is incredibly frustrating. We try to insert missing words in the conversation, with mixed success. It willcost you in the long run.
4. DON'T be on the phone while doing anything in the bathroom. Why do we say this? Hearing the toilet flush - or what happened just prior to the toilet flushing is what we're referring to.
5. Similarly, DON'T be on the phone while doing anything in your bed. Again, why do we say this? Learn to control what you were in the middle of doing. Or maybe you were expecting Fantasy Fone? Sorry to disappoint. We don't give that kind of good phone.
6. There's an unwritten rule that calling a sleepy actor too early is asking for trouble. Are we waking up a Sleeping Beauty or a Sleeping Dragon? Hearing a wispy, raspy, sleepy "hell-wo" on the other side sounds just so uncool. But if you do happen to be sleeping when the phone rings, never let it come across when you answer. You're an actor, right?
7. Always have a pen (that writes) and paper (more than just a scrap of Post-it) within an arm's reach.
8. If an agent is giving you instructions, YOU write them down; NEVER say, "Call me back and leave the details on my voice mail." This scenario happens more often than you think. It will guarantee not hearing from them again.
9. Returning a call? How many times have we said return calls within minutes of you receiving a call or message ? How many times have we seen jobs lost/representation lost/you name it because of too long a time in getting back? More than we care to remember. The latest excuse? "I'm more used to IM'ing and texting than using a phone." That recent wannabe actor was fired and got no second chance. Ever.
10. If someone leaves a message for you to return their call, listen to the message first! Then return the call. Don't make us repeat the information again unnecessarily. This behavior can slowly build up a change in attitude about you.
Phone skills are an important part of communication – and communication is the thing that can make or break a successful relationship. These suggestions are a good place to start, but more are to come! Keep watching and feel free to post your own suggestions to help us all continue growing into a better partnership.