Mythbusting and diplomacy when change challenges your superhero status

Posted on April 3, 2012 by

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The job I had prior to Voice123 involved training people who had worked with paper filing for decades. Along comes this cherubic smiley guy (me), easy to throw darts at because of his big head, who now wants to show them how to do the same tasks…”better”…with an online filing system. You have to imagine it was not easy, especially given my position on the corporate ladder. I realized from such experiences and job history that you can never convince a person that something new is better, if they enjoy the old way.

BUT…my diplomatic side knew…if they did not change, there would be some sort of New York State audit that would suddenly push a person out of their job. This type of story has been happening for hundreds of years, but there is a way to break this cycle…

In all instances, those with experience saw “change” as a challenge to their superhero status, and we all fight like champions to protect it…myself included. But in the end, change is inevitable. So how do we all move beyond it? My diplomatic method is…

  • Seek truth as to what ‘really’ happens
  • Mythbust that which we think happens all the time.
  • I seek a common familiar ground containing something old/something new, because after all, Everything is a Remix.

Moving back to Voice123, and mythbusting…I want to touch on things that I discovered working here. Mythbusting at Voice123…

Myth: “I have to audition against 200 people”

  • Busted: On average, 10-13 people submit per job on Voice123.

Myth: “Voice seekers request 200 people all the time”

  • Busted: For the past 600 jobs on Voice123 … 6 seekers requested 200 talent, 4 of these jobs were disapproved after verification, and 2 of them received a total of 63 auditions combined.

Myth: “Quality voice talent is cheapened with online casting sites”

  • Busted: In truth, this one illustrates how disconnected one is from Voice123, with no idea as to how they poked at their own colleagues. The staff here, over the course of 10 years, has heard 3 million auditions. After a while, you get to know everyone. It is a small industry. If you think Voice123 talent are NOT skilled and NOT making money, take a look at this page: http://youtube.com/voice123voiceovers  A special note about that page is that there would be more videos uploaded, if I had 12 hands. Voice talent send me things always.

Myth: “I compete against thousands of people”

  • Busted: For all the punches Voice123 takes over using SmartCast, keep in mind, the technology narrows the field down so that you compete against the same set of people each time.
  • Did you ever audition offline in a casting director’s office, and you realize that the same people keep showing up to the auditions you get called to? That is happening with SmartCast.
  • Would you like to see how? Click Hear Similar Voices on your Voice123 profile.
  • In short, you compete only against a small demographic, depending on how many similar talent there are to you….yes….even on the Internet.
  • In fact, the demand for technology is even greater for online casting because counter-intuitive behavior makes simple solutions impossible. Ask anyone who runs a web service what I mean.

Myth: “The jobs cheapen the industry”

  • Busted: Voice123 and other sites face this complaint, but this is where one must dare to think different, as I did before working here back in 2007.  Just because we know something exists, does NOT mean “It exists everywhere, all the time, and is a dominating force”.
  • I learned years ago that I had to stop watching the news because the way it was presented made me think the world was going to end tomorrow. Yes, Voice123 crowdsources a type of work that has always existed; small businesses needing voice overs, and it exists.
  • Does that spell doom for the industry?  No, because the best paying work comes through the site for the people who understand that if they wait for the best work, it will come…or if it does not, they will show higher in the Voice123 search feature and get directly invited.
  • I still see those online who are convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all jobs online are cheap. To me, that is sad because it is not true. There is so much work going on right now, that if you remove yourself from it, your choice to do so costs you work, not the website. The videos above share the opinion that we fight harder when we feel we are losing control of what we once had, but change is a part of life, and it happens for a reason. I cannot recall a time in history when society decided to not grow with change, as a means of growing a career.

Myth: “There are no professional talent on Voice123”

  • Busted: Knowing how to use a website is a two-way street for both voice seekers and voice talent. I have actually discovered over the past five years, a shift in industry behavior.
  • When I first started, voice talent were treated as people who should just get behind the mic and do the job because that is all they knew how to do. Read scripts.
  • Voice talent today know how to use websites more than voice seekers. This means that voice seekers will at times make requests through online sites that lead to negative results, because the voice seeker “did not know how to ask for what they wanted”.
  • Simply put, you cannot order a steak well done, and then complain they should have known you liked it medium-rare. This has also led to many voice talent building strong relationships with voice seekers, because the talent is offering assistance to the voice seeker to get work done. Talents have more control over what happens online these days than they ever had before in the past.

Myth: “You have to be first or you have no chance!”

  • Busted: That belief will lead to you losing work on Voice123. Maybe it works elsewhere, but not here. An important thing to remember about any industry…You have to know the right people to get information from, especially in a world where the Internet provides so much distracting information. In fact, I challenge anyone to not listen to me, find out what you know, and then present to me what you think you have learned about Voice123. Being first can count against you on Voice123, because simply put….Haste makes waste.
  • Back when I started in 1992, I was a naive, energetic, fresh-faced actor who would believe anything with the assumption that in doing so, I was being compliant with those who can get me work. Some time around 2000, I started to question my mentors.
  • When that made them upset, I realized I was talking to the wrong people, and I quit the industry to learn about life, people and business…for myself. After a bunch of jobs including one on Wall St. that sucked the very soul out of me, I realized I belonged in voice overs.
  • The journey has led me to a place where I get to meet people around the world, including those that inspired me as a child. This leads me to my last myth bust…

Myth: “This industry is saturated”

  • Busted: This is not a saturated industry. Technology has become the commodity, not the voice talent. It is just that not everyone has the stomach for both at the same time.
  • No one ever mentioned this to me when I started…but they should have…A voice over career is a journey. You do not discover gold overnight. Those who treat it as a journey are making a career of this. When we want to stop this journey, we are choosing to end the career. Years ago, I was told that every 3-5 years I would have to evaluate what I am doing, and like a good boy scout, that is what I did. My journey has taken me (while doing voice overs) to trade shows, toy stores, film premieres, classes with celebrities, Wall St, Egypt, Colombia, Guam, all over the United States, and working with Voice123.

Bravery, courage, hard work, open-minded thinking, and the ability to stay creative despite the assault of negativity that comes with media and web content, does not come in a pill. It happens because you surround yourself with positive thinking people who care about your success and offer positive encouragement…and yes…love you for who you are and what you do. And no one has made a website that can provide that…yet.🙂

One final note…”in a world” of 700 million Internet users, you are bound to disagree with someone for what they do. That is fine. There are plenty of people to work with. Whether you believe you can, or not, may make the difference. People tend to fight hardest when fearing possible loss, and that is when we all will say and do anything to prove a point. Yet, at the end of the day the question to ask is …Are you working and doing what is required to do what you love most, and getting paid for it?

Stay creative and positive!  Any other topics you would like to see me mythbust? Hit me!

No dart throwing please😛

Steven Lowell Steven is the Community Manager of Voice123