or what I've learned along the way so far...
1.) Ask not what your producer can do for you, but what you can do for your producer. JFK moment of voiceover truth.
2.) Today the landscape of our business trends toward quantity over quality. Who is working the most. Doing the most. Being seen the most. Instant fame versus years of hard work and talent backing up the ultimate testament of true worth. How many gigs have you booked? How many followers do you have? When it comes to voice over work, I can tell you for one that I have not hit the 1000 mark yet. But who's counting? Odd that the quality of select, professional projects seems to resonate less than the sheer volume of work one may have amassed in a short period of time. In addition, the days of talent mentoring are also dwindling (if not simply over), especially when it comes to having an agent. How much money can be made off of your services and what are YOU bringing to the table for US? A bit one-sided no?
3.) We throw up images and bragging sessions of our equipment like it's VO porn (no not that kind). "Gear Porn" on social media becomes the equivalent to size comparisons of certain somethings. “Well, from my DAW I compressed my audio, sent it through a light noise gate, then processed it through Izotope but set the noise floor at -60DB so I could enhance the mid-range by diminishing the frequency of gain threshold and administering the low end.” Talk of this nature goes on for hours, days, and sometimes months. People who don’t care about this: Ad Agencies, Executive Producers, Agents/Managers, Voice Coaches. People who do care: Geeked-out voice talent snobs, Audio engineers, AES..etc.
4.) Market, Audition, Hustle, Let Go, Repeat.
People You Can Hang Up On
5.) Don’t give a dime to the SEO sharks. They’re so desperate for your money they’ll say anything. No one understands the Google algorithm - not even Google. The minute some stranger calls, usually from Utah or Arizona, and asks, "Do you have a moment to talk about your website?" just hang up. Generate your own content and be consistent. It’s what I’m doing and having a lot of fun while learning a ton. Don't believe me? Pay up and have fun...
7.) It’s immensely helpful to have a support system of friends and colleagues both in and out of the business. Surround yourself with people whom you can rely on for advice, both personal and professional. A select few people who inspire you to do your best work in your career as well as your personal life. Hopefully the feeling is mutual and someday you can take great pleasure in returning the favor.
8.) The take you hate is usually the take they love. Gets me every time.
Bad Movies Are Good Movies
9.) Watch a Steven Seagal flick from the 90's. Laugh at the weak plots, bad dialogue and the ass-kicking scenes. “Out for Justice" (pictured above) is one of his more violent films, but the script is so bad it’s good. Point being? Unwind.
10.) I’d hate (or rather, dislike heavily) to be starting my voiceover career today knowing what I know now. I wouldn’t know where to begin and I’d probably quit after the first few months.
11.) Wanna hear an amazing voice over? Hint: Ray Donovan. I’m blown away every single time and and it continues to inspire me in all my work. This is subtlety. Find yours. Hit PLAY whenever you're feeling not so great.
12.) Do we really need yet ANOTHER voiceover conference? What are they giving us? Is it all about networking with each other, or are we learning, growing, developing our talent and businesses on a real level? And what is their overall effect on the industry as a whole? Food for thought...
13.) We all make mistakes. Forgetting to buy milk, flubbing a line, mispronouncing a name or running out of breath. Someone who truly appreciates and admires your efforts will understand this. You shouldn't have to apologize profusely for being human.