Kevin Delaney speaks about the difference between working as a voice actor doing a character and just “doing funny voices” at his blog.
Getting started in Voiceover
Several times in the past I’ve written about one of the key truths of voiceover: “It’s not about you.” And it’s not. It’s about your client and his or her or their story.
I’ve been reading a fabulous new book from Steven Pressfield called “Do the Work” (link is an affiliate link to the Amazon Kindle edition) which is published by the new publishing project from Seth Godin called Domino. In the middle of the book I ran across this quote:
A professional does not take success or failure personally.
That really hit me between the eyes. It’s so easy to imagine that all the hard work we put in (to find new clients, to delight our existing clients to encourage them to keep coming back, to meet or exceed deadlines, etc.) somehow means that we are personally responsible for whatever success we experience. On the other hand, when things are quiet and the phone isn’t ringing at the same time the inbox is strangely empty of anything but notes from your family and the occasional bit of spam that slips past your filters, we are again personally responsible.
Now, there’s some value to taking responsibility for our own behaviors that are either productive or destructive. But it seems to me, ultimately, that Steven Pressfield is right. It’s not about you. Success. Failure. You can’t really control this stuff. All you can control is what you are doing.
Are you keeping your promises? Are you doing everything possible to delight your clients? Are you moving forward and making progress toward your goals every day? Then keep it up. If you’re not, then start.
It is a wonderful way to make a living. I deeply and profoundly love telling people’s stories for them, no matter how short or long the story is. And right now there are a lot of folks who are interested in “breaking into” voiceover work. More than ever, it would seem. But here’s something most people won’t tell you. While it’s a great way to make a living, it’s a terrible way to make a living quickly.
If you’re recently unemployed, no matter how much you want to start doing voiceovers full-time, unless you’ve all ready been making decent money doing voiceovers for a while, this is not the time to make that move. It took me 26 years of steady voiceover work to finally move into doing only voiceover work. No, I’m not kidding. 26 years. From 1983 to 2009. Now, it doesn’t have to take everyone that long. I had a family to support and I was very cautious, maybe too cautious; but I’m not looking back on the decisions I made along the way with regret. I’m just saying, it’s not going to happen overnight.
Are you serious about doing voiceover work full-time? Then stick with it. Get the training you need. Practice. Keep pushing yourself to make at least a little progress every day. You’ll get there. But in the meantime, make sure you have shelter, food, clothing and the other essentials of life. Don’t rush. When you get there, it will be all the sweeter.
Dan O’Day and Harlan Hogan present a four-week series of tele-classes on the business of voiceover again this year. Classes start May 10, but registration closes the week before.
Alan Sklar, award winning voice actor, written a brilliant piece for VoiceOverXtra called VO Marketing 101: Keep in Touch … Innovative Ways to Sell Your Sound. Very well worth your time.
My friend Dan Friedman has written an excellent post about voiceover demos on his Sound Advice blog. Well worth a few minutes of your time.
Yes, I’m delighted to let you know that Nancy Wolfson and Anna Vocino have put their heads together and are planning Acting for Advertising Part 10 on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 9:00 PM Eastern / 6:00 PM Pacific. Nancy is going to cover 2 chapters of her core curriculum this time, so you’ll get double value for your money. Price to get on the call including an MP3 copy to keep is $49. Reserve your spot at Break Into Voice Over.
My friend Paul Strikwerda has prepared this video with some troublesome truths about a voiceover career.
Kevin Delaney offers some good insights on being “more conversational” in the audio clip in this post at his voiceover blog.
There’s a very comprehensive review of Search Engine Optimization (with lots of voiceover specific information) from Nikki Saco at VoiceOverXtra. Well worth a few minutes of your time. The first article leads to a second article with information specific to WordPress and more. Lots of good reading.
It’s been a while since Dan O’Day held a new voiceover teleseminar, and his latest sounds like a “don’t miss” event:
VOICEOVER DEMO SECRETS:
Sneaky (Yet Totally Legit) “Tricks” To Make Your Demo Stand Out
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
9pm Eastern / 8pm Central / 6pm Pacific
All the details: here.
Added to my blogroll is Internet Voice Coach, an interesting site with a good deal of free information as well as additional material available to subscribers.
My friend and mentor Kristine Oller has been mentioned a number of times here. Every time it’s because she’s written or done something well worth your time. Today she republished an article that is going to take you several minutes to read, but truly is worth every one of those minutes. Especially if you are serious about pursuing your dream of working in voiceover.
Or perhaps more to the point, there is no single map everyone can follow to get to a successful voiceover business. You could do everything I’ve done for the last 27 years and you might be wildly more successful than me, or you might bomb completely. But since you can’t transport yourself back 27 years into the past, you can’t follow my exact path. The same is true for every other success you know in voiceover.
There are foundational things. Like getting the training you need to operate at a professional level. Making sure your demos are first class. Always being on time. Always performing at your highest level. But, there’s no map.
Now, you can take this news one of two ways, and here’s part of what I promised when I said I was going to write more about anxiety and fear. You see, I allowed my own anxieties and “what if” fears to keep me from moving forward full speed many times during those last 27 years. If you’re inclined in that same direction, that not having a map is bad news. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just take a class, or a series of classes, learn everything you need to know to be successful in voiceover and then just become successful because you do what you learned?
Actually, I don’t think that would be wonderful at all. That would be like working at a drudge job in a factory. One step, followed by another step. And another. And another. On and on. You see, not having a map means you get to make your own road. You get to draw your own map. I think that’s really good news. I hope you do too.
At VOICE2010, my friends Dave Courvoisier and Terry Daniel presented a ton of excellent material about social media and voiceover. I missed a large chunk of it because I was doing a voiceover session; but what I saw was superb. One thing I was there for was the announcement of a new website called Social Media VO. I’ve just added that site to my blogroll. I hope you’ll visit often.