Justin Fraction studied film and video production at Penn State University and after moved to New York City where he worked in television production before deciding to focus on a career as a voice over actor. During those initial years Justin worked as a paralegal for several large law firms and in finance at a few international banking institutions. It was there Justin learned how to work with clients and gained intimate knowledge of the legal and financial arena in order to help him build the business he has today.
After training with various industry professionals and acting schools Justin started Justin Possible Voice Overs in 2010 in order to provide audio recording and editing services to large and small businesses. Passionate about voice over and audio editing, Justin has also been a guest speaker and instructor online and off to voice over artists. Blessed with a wide vocal range Justin’s voice can be heard in television & radio commercials, iPhone apps, video games and audiobooks.
Some of Justin’s other talents include video editing and web design, both of which have come in handy when working with clients in all stages of production allowing him to better service his clients in the creation of their projects.
In your own words what do you do?
I provide audio recording and audio editing services for companies of all sizes. I’ve worked on everything from major television campaigns for companies to smaller businesses promoting products and services on the radio.
What led you to your current business?
It’s always been a dream of mine to work as an actor and then I discovered voice over. I had a wonderful friend and mentor teach me the business and I went forward from there. I was incredibly lucky in that respect. Through that friend I acquired an agent and manager. Since then I’ve been working primarily on my own, seeking out leads and working with recurring clients.
Could you walk us through your process of developing your business?
As a creative the first part is always training. You have to have an idea of the current trends in whatever industry that you’re working on. I began by taking acting classes, then moved on to focusing strictly on voice over. Beyond that, most of what I do involves being able to market myself in a way that can allow me to gain new clients. The first key as a voice over is having a great demo showcasing my voice. The second key is being able to deliver what clients want. Depending on the client, it can be a bit, this may sound strange, like a psychic. My job is to give people what they want even if they can’t always clearly describe what they want.
Most of my business comes from a combination of new clients I’ve acquired by sending out demos and being connected to them professionally by people I’ve worked with. After doing this for a few years, I’ve found that at this point the other half of my clients are people that I’ve worked with for years.
Did you encounter any particular difficulties in the beginning?
It’s incredibly hard to break into any industry as a creative. Voice Overs are lucky in that the product they provide is their voice. For most of us, it’s pretty unique. However, I do encounter people who sound like me. Then the problem becomes, well how am I better or different than this other person? What can I do that they can’t? When you’re competing in the voice over industry you’re competing with other people and not necessarily another company made up of a group of people.
What is your long term plan?
I’m lucky to be living my long term plan at the moment. As a voice over, it’s about continuing to have the bigger “gigs” coming in. Working with “bigger” clients. It’s one of the few industries where projects have a definite end to them. Once the commercial is shot or animated, once the music bed is laid under the radio ad, it’s complete and on to the next one.
Could you share with us some industry insights?
It’s not that different from most other businesses.
It’s not necessarily about talent or skill but instead it’s about marketing. It’s not always about whether or not you’re the best person for the job but whether or not you’re “present” at the time needed when the client is looking for someone. I think that’s a good piece of knowledge for any business in any industry.
Also there’s a saying I use, “Every job is your job until it’s someone else’s job.” The industry follows trends. You could be the voice on a campaign, for a product or service for several advertisements. Then suddenly one day they decide to go with someone else. It’s not usually personal. It’s about following trends. It’s about finding someone fresh and new.
What are some important lessons you’ve learnt about entrepreneurship?
Dealing with people/clients can be an adjustment for someone working as an actor before becoming a voice over actor. The people that you’re dealing with know that time is money and money is time. They’re not always going to see things from your perspective as a creative so it helps to learn business first and foremost.
And I’ve said this before, marketing is nearly, almost everything in business. Learn it. Live it. Love it. It’s not just about knowing how to present yourself in a way that will appeal to clients but how to present yourself in a way that highlights your best strengths and skills.
Any tips for achieving success?
It’s all about balance. While dealing with projects that you’re currently working on you should be going out there and finding new ones. You also need to take time for yourself.
If you’re a small business, don’t be afraid to take on extra people in order to achieve your goals and deadlines.
Take the time to talk to people in your industry and find a mentor who is willing to walk you to the gate and make sure that you’ve paid attention to them so you know what to do once you’ve gotten inside the house.
Last but not least be nice to everyone. You never know who someone might turn out to be one day.