It’s hard to believe it’s past the mid-point of this year. Wasn’t it just New Year’s, when we all made our best voice acting business resolutions? I always commit mine to paper. They are more like annual voice over career goals for me. I keep my list taped to the wall of my work station. But sometimes it seems like the hardest thing for a busy voice over talent is to get things done: so little time, so many obstacles, like the real work. Ha! I’ve been doing a lot of summer reading about what it takes to to be a professional voice over talent. For Wikipedia’s definition of a Voice Artist, review this. For a little inspiration, Check out Joshua Seth’s 10 Steps to Voice Over Success.
For me, this year my voice work business has been a brisk and profitable one. So much so, that when it comes to marketing, in the past, my attention as an aspiring voice actor in that area has only happened later rather than sooner. After all, there are all those administrative details in a professional voice talent’s life and work that need to be dealt with, emails, inquiries, auditioning, and on and on. Finding the time to devote to creating a sustained, focused and diligent marketing effort seems like it’s nearly impossible. But this year I’ve introduced myself to other voice actors and joined in a couple of voice over marketing collectives and made a commitment to the other voice over talents in my groups as well as to myself to make some new things HAPPEN!
Looking back, I’ve now figured out that the biggest obstacles of all is the voice in your head- you know the one I’m talking about, the one that’s not the voice over artist, the one that’s a royal pain in the you-know-what. So I say it’s time for a check up from the neck up; I give you the three biggest excuses a successful voice talent must avoid:
Voice Over Excuse 1 – I’m too busy!
It’s hard to feel creative at times when you’re in the recording studio all day and you’re impacted with a number of scripts. One must be careful with your read not to “phone it in”, but analyze the script and take some time to understand the problem and the resolve. This type of script dissection is especially important in commercial voice work. Dismiss that voice who thinks “Everything is just fine the way it is, so let’s not rock-the-boat, everything is just hunky-dory, thank you very much.”
You have to treat your business and marketing like it’s a shark: there can be no standing still, and if you don’t keep moving forward, you won’t survive. It’s a competitive world out there, especially in commercial voice overs, and now we’re not competing in our own local talent pool like it used to be. We’re competing with a vast ocean of voice over talent all over the world, so standing still is not an option. Just keep swimming! That little reminder makes me look to my goals list with a new found zest for time management.
Voice Over Excuse 2 – “I’m so Unique”
We all like to feel that we’ve created something unique, something different, something that no one else does. The fact is, business is business; it’s very dangerous to think that you are so unusual that you’re irreplaceable, so different that you don’t need to market your voice over work, so special that branding isn’t required, and so singular that positioning is a waste of time.
Be mindful of the fact that your ‘mark of differentiation’ is just as much an exercise in marketing as it is an exercise in product development.
Voice Over Excuse 3 – “But I’m Comfortable Here”
It takes self-discipline to grow your business and become a voice-over success. Growth can be painful, because it moves you out of your comfort zone. But you’ll never grow if you’re not experimenting, challenging the status quo. The human voice is capable of doing amazing things. I’ve been changing up some of my reads lately and I’ve joined a voice actor workout group, taking more voice over training, mixing things up and feeling more comfortable with expressing my point of view in the performance of each and every script.
There is so much more to say but so little time. I’m in the process of working on a thirty minute multi-media presentation I’ll be sharing over the internet very soon on my experience on the various aspects of running a successful voice acting company.
There’s still a good chunk of summer and the lovely fall to take a well-deserved vacation before the busy fourth quarter. Vacations are necessary, Embrace your time away to recharge and unplug a bit. Allow your mind to marinate on the tasks you need to do and do not neglect to tackle them when you’ve returned. Review the “to do” list and push forward into the second half of the year.
Gosh, before you know it, we’ll be staring at New Years soon. Time flies! Enjoy the rest of your wonderful summer! (And don’t forget to assess your time management when your return.)