We’re already almost one- third of the way into 2014. How’s your voiceover career in this biz? You didn’t do much so far, and you’re not crazy about how things are going as you get questions from friends ,family, or potential clients or agents who ask, “Where can I hear your voiceover work, what have you been working on?” or, “What have you booked this year?”
I believe it takes a good five years or so of full-time, constant pursuit of your voiceover acting career before anyone really gets it. I have to laugh when I see so many boasting that they’ve figured it all out in 6-8 months. It’s usually before they’ve run out of their savings, or simply burn out, quit running the race and are unwilling to accept the fact it is a marathon, and aren’t heard from much thereafter.
It takes quite some time just to acquire the myriad skills to compete and meet people who you can possibly audition for who eventually can bring the work to you. That’s what the race is all about. It’s really more akin to a marathon or better yet, a slog.
Taking a six week class (worse=less time) and getting a demo completed post haste, no matter how much you paid, blabbing about your wonderful self in social media and in mass email blasts aren’t gonna do it. After all you don’t want to race to the bottom.
What may help:
- Gratitude. Remember what you DO have puts things into perspective and keeps away career bitterness. Celebrate all victories large or small. Maybe you did a gig that’ll be perfect for updating your reel. (Be sure to ask for a copy right after the session!)
- Getting out of your comfort zone and investing in a voice coach or a great new class suited to your learning style that will challenge as well as support you on your voiceover career journey.
- Try all modes of marketing ideas and see what works for you. The things that work for another person in your networking group may not work for you, so keep trying different things.
- Here’s a bit of advice I never forgot that came from one of my former voice coaches, the legendary Joanie Gerber. She said, “Don’t Brag, don’t bitch”. How many people want to hang out with others who constantly whine about how things aren’t happening for them, and how frustrating that they don’t have immediate success…NOW.
Get over rejection, as 90 percent of the time you will be. Conversely, the egomaniacs who’s favorite topic is themselves, constantly schmooze, name-drop and compare how many national voiceover gigs they’ve done with anyone else find themselves without any real friends before long.
- Be the kind of talent that collaborates, is direct-able and brings creativity and passion to the mic. Learn to make bold choices.
- Don’t quit! If you’re a voice actor, you’re an artist. Voice acting is a deep need, like breathing air. So keep priorities straight and keep your financial house in order. If you’re still committed to this career and you have to put food on the table and get a job waiting tables, do it. Many have and still do. There will always be ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Avalanches, and bottomless pits.
My successful voiceover friend, Beau Weaver once said in a conversation, “Let them know you’re not going away” In other words, act like someone who’s going to stick around a while. So, relax, do your best work, do your marketing and take comfort in the knowledge that you will be someone the industry wants to work with eventually. You just need to stick around and have faith.
- Take small breaks regularly. Get out of town for the weekend and recharge your batteries for a couple of days. Go to a ball game. Take up painting. Take yoga class. Do stuff! Be a full participant in life and in people. Have other interests. It’ll make you a better voice actor. Try to unplug or go without checking your smart-phone. Completely. If just for a day. Can you do it?
There’s always room to grow. And you’re still here. Your marathon race isn’t over yet. Remember that it’s a slog. Everybody gets there a different way and at different times. “There” is a moving target. Find yours while not burning out along the way. Remember, success is a journey, not a destination.