"How to Collect Your Spots for the Jobs You've Landed"
Collecting the spots you’ve actually landed as an actor has changed dramatically in recent years. In fact, it’s
NEVER been easier for everyone involved!

It used to be you would have to bring DAT (digital audio tapes—talk about old school!) or ask for a CD of the
spot and you’d leave a self-addressed padded mailer and hope they’d get around to sending it to you. You’d
then spend weeks on end begging the engineer or producer or BOTH to please, please, please send you a
copy of the spot you voiced. (Basically making a pest of yourself, which is never good business.) And, if you
neglected to stay on top of securing the spot within a week or so of doing the job, you’d likely forget about it.
If the spot already aired and went into archives—then it would cost you upwards of $300-$950 to secure a
copy of the commercials you landed, as surprising as that may seem.

But those days are past. Fast-forward a few years.

Today it’s commonplace to those in business and production to utilize ftp as a means to send and receive
digital files. Though actors may be aware of this technology they usually aren’t all that aware of how it
applies to their profession as working talent.

It’s important to keep an archive of your work, whether you intend to use it to include in your on-camera reel
or voiceover demo or not.

So, in the spirit of treating your acting as your small business and in an attempt to save you time and money,
you first need to know how to go about acquiring your spots in a manner that is both quick and simple for all
parties, otherwise you may be waiting longer than the cast of “Waiting For Godot” to receive a CD in the mail
of that last commercial you landed.

There’s one term you need to know to expedite collecting your spots (or ‘collecting your elements’ as it’s
known in the industry), and that is:  

ftp—This acronym stands for ‘file transfer protocol’. This is how a file (such as a jpeg, .doc, pdf or mp3, for
example) can be transferred from one place to another. (As in ‘ftp site’.)
An ftp site makes it far easier to download and upload large files that may dramatically slow up or even crash
the average home computer, especially if they are sent via e-mail. And with voiceover, film and video, ftp
makes life easier for all involved. Especially for you, the talent.
‘ftp’-ing (often used as a verb) is the process of posting or downloading files to a designated area on the
website where interested parties can obtain them.
To utilize an ftp site to ‘collect your elements’, you would be e-mailed a designated code (or password) that
will act as a key to allow you access to download the script or fully produced commercial or to upload an
mp3 of your audition. This designated space, or ftp location, acts like a virtual ‘filing cabinet’ on the web site,
from which you can draw or deliver files as needed. This is the same technology that makes voicebank.net
so valuable and this technology has become commonplace in nearly all industries.

So, at the session ask the producer and engineer you just did the voiceover for, “Can I get a copy of this
spot?” If the producer can release it to you, ask her and the engineer for their email addresses. A week later
(and NO LATER, otherwise you’ll forget about it and so will they) email them both, let them know who you
are and ask for access to the ftp site that contains the fully produced, final product, so that you can download
a copy of the spot onto your computer.

The producer prefers to send your spots to you this way, because he’s already using ftp to get approvals
from the client and the entire Creative team back at the ad agency. Forwarding you a link to the ftp site won’t
add an additional step for him and will make his life a whole lot easier.

Burn a disc of it for back up and keep it in a place you can access it again in the future.
Ftping has replaced sending an mp3 by e-mail for most professional settings because it’s secure, invisible to
the broad public on line and it’s far less work, on the part of the producer and engineer to send a link to a site
and allows for a more pure, less-compressed quality to the final product you receive for your archives and
future demo use.

Ain’t technology sweet? Next they’ll be beaming our spots to us before we’ve
even left the studio at the end of the session!

Bring on the future! ›

-Kate McClanaghan, SOUND ADVICE

Check you her blog at http://sndadvice.com/wp/
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