5 Ways To Avoid Having A Crappy Coffee Date With Me

Hey, there!

I love coffee dates.

I offer to have coffee dates with almost everyone I come in contact with.

Whether it’s someone wanting to learn how to get started in VO, someone who’s just arriving in LA to begin an acting career, or someone who want more information on Rehearsal, I’m all over coffee dates.

And as I’ve watch engaged, enthusiastic people make great use of their time with me, I’ve jotted down some of their best practices. I shared those with you in another article, which you can find here.

But, unfortunately, I’ve also watched actors squander their time with me, and I’ve noted those worst practices as well. Do any of these things, and you won’t get the best bang for your buck.

Here’s what you should never do on a coffee date.

1 You don’t take notes. Be warned. When we talk, I’m going to actually make recommendations as to how to solve your problem. I’m going to give you names of acting schools, the casting workshops I go to, the kind of home VO equipment you can get started with, the casting sites you need to have a presence on, even where to go online to find a great apartment. Trying to act like our waiter and not write anything down is just plain wasteful. Bring a notepad, or your favorite smart device. Take notes. You never know when they might come in handy.

2 You remind me you’ve got a fine arts degree. Very few people in the business will give a rat about your BFA or MFA. No, I’m serious. Getting those degrees are great, and fun, and challenging, and will give you tremendous depth to your art. But now, you’ve got a whole new set of courses to take at the UOR (University of Observable Realities) that has nothing to do with your mastery of Chekov, Wilde, commedia dell’arte or 17th century costuming. Enjoy the time you spent in school, treasure it, cherish it. Now, move on to spending time perfecting your command of your chosen business.

3 You denigrate the business we’re in. I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “I’m a theater actor – I would never do television or commercials,” or “Hollywood will suck you dry,” or “Networks/Studios are soulless,” or “There are no parts for actors like me.” Unfortunately, I’ve lost count. Part of me wants to scream at those people to leave LA and go do something that makes them happy. If you want to be an actor/VO talent/performer, learn to love (not just tolerate) the parts of the business that make you uneasy. Lean into the aspects of your career that are difficult, and learn to master them. I can help you.

4 You defend your current theories and practices. I sometimes wonder why people ask for my opinion, advice or to share my experiences, yet remained married to the way they do things now. If you are as successful as you want to be, please, don’t make the coffee date about how to make your career better, more profitable or more successful. Just brag about how great things are for you and let me eat my bagel. But, if you want help, please be open to that help, and don’t waste any time being defensive about what you’re currently doing. At the same time, know that if you’re doing things that work, I’ll recognize that, and happily approve your choices.

5 You never follow up. After spending all this time with me, picking my brain for all that I know, you leave me in suspense wondering whether or not I’ve been able to help you. I don’t like one-night stands. I think that networking means meeting people, helping them if you can, and helping more down the line. Meet me once, then ignore me, and I’ll think I’ve been used. And don’t think you’re infringing on my privacy to drop me a note from time to time to let me know how you are – I want to know. I really do.

In the comments below, fess up. What mistakes have you made when you finally get a chance to meet a potential mentor? How did you fix them?

Hope this helps.


9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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