One of my greatest challenges as a voiceover talent (tell me if this is familiar) is inertia. As you may remember from your time in school, inertia is defined as a pair of rules.
Things at rest tend to stay at rest.
Things in motion tend to stay in motion.
In both cases you can add…
…until acted on by external forces or factors.
What does this have to do with voiceover work? Just about everything. First, I should note that my thinking on this subject was prompted by a recent post on Tom Asacker’s blog. He writes about the way he will often start a talk on this subject with this story…
“Do you remember when, as a child, you’d wake up to a pristine, snow covered landscape? You’d rush out the door on your way to school, zigging and zagging, pushing and dragging your feet to create a one-of-a-kind path? And invariably, the next kid in the neighborhood would leave his home and follow your crooked path, kicking away more snow on his way. And then the next kid, and the next, until eventually there was a well-worn, precisely defined route all the way to school.
Well, that’s what happens with your mind as well. If you think the same thoughts, or preformed the same task over and over again, you will develop a neural pathway in your brain. Like a dry path in wet snow, it becomes a comfortable route; a path of least resistance. To remove this habit or old way of thinking takes a focused effort. It requires that you step out of your rut and get your brain wet, cold and uncomfortable.”
Tom then drives his point home with these words…
The audience members typically nod, signaling their understanding. And then they go right back into their subconscious ruts, rejecting new concepts and rationalizing familiar ones. Men, and women, love inertia. And to my way of thinking, inertia is the silent killer of most businesses and, in some cases, entire industries as well.
All of this came home to roost recently when a friend was kind enough to point out that I had fallen into a terrible rut in my auditions. That everything was not only sounding very much the same whether I was auditioning for a hospital or an athletic shoe company, it was all very dark, slow and somber. In other words, not very appealing to the clients who are casting these jobs. So, it’s no great surprise that I’ve had a dry spell for a while in my efforts to book new commercial work, huh?
Now, you can always identify your true friends because they are the ones willing to tell you the truth, even if it hurts. And this is the kind of truth I need to hear, all the time. It’s so incredibly easy for me to fall into ruts, and not even recognize that I’m in one. While voiceover work is often a solitary business, as we talk all alone in our quiet little rooms, there’s no question that I’m learning just how important it is to stay connected with true friends.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if any of this has been helpful to you, today.