Who you should listen and never listen to for voice over advice: Part I

Posted on September 5, 2012 by

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As promised yesterday, I wanted to tell the truth and start tackling issues that have been plaguing voice over talent online for years. Voice123 staff is no different. We all dealt with it as talent, and working here gives access to new perspectives unseen by almost everyone. The first topic to attack:

“Who you should listen and never listen to for voice over advice online…and why”

Let us keep it simple. This is not to attack anyone. I believe many are generous, but for working online, all advice may not apply.

Who you should listen to for voice over advice online:

  1. Experts in a specific skill that applies to your specific skill ONLINE
  2. The websites offering information for how to work on their own websites
  3. Voice coaches who take interest in your personal growth
  4. Voice talent who succeed at working ONLINE
  5. Clients who spend a great deal of time hiring ONLINE only
  6. People who have built successful web businesses ONLINE

Why you should listen?

  1. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Mine is audio engineering. What is yours? Copy reading? Online business? Job selection?
  2. Yes, listen to the websites, and customer service staff. If you don’t work, we don’t work.
  3. Coaches are teachers. Good teachers feel a sense of reward when their students succeed, and love to see growth. Your success should be theirs.
  4. If you want to learn how to cook, talk to a chef.
  5. If you get a client who hires online often, pick their brain for perspectives on why they hired YOU. Don’t use it as a chance to learn why others were not.
  6. They know the expectations require a different approach to get work and keep momentum. It is easy to come out of the gate strong, but are you a sprinter or a marathon runner?

Who you should NEVER listen to for advice online:

  1. Blogs that try to convince you that online casting is wrong for reasons related to low-balling, non-legit clients, or amateur talent.
  2. Websites that do not give you access to the staff within the company.
  3. Coaches who promise to help you quit your day job, and make you money instantly
  4. Voice talent who did not do well on a website.
  5. Clients who did not hire you, or ranked you negatively.
  6. A good majority of what you see in social media, including those who claim there are “standards” and “etiquette”
  7. Websites beating up other websites

Why you should NEVER listen?

  1. Online casting has not changed the personality of the business. It just made things faster, easier to recognize, and easier to make smarter business choices. The people are all the same, for better or worse. Those who get voice work have kept online casting sites afloat for nearly a decade, and indeed will have an influence on the future. BUT…I have also met famous voice talent, who never heard of any P2P site. It does not make either form of work “wrong” or “bad”, but you may not vibe with being a “DIY talent” because not everyone does. It is not always easy. You cannot listen to what is being said. You should examine the motives, however.
  2. If you contact someone specifically, and they do not answer personally, that is a problem. Technology aside, we all need humans to work with.
  3. Back in 1996, I attended a class with Peter Fernandez. He heard me read copy, and told me, “Steven…Always keep two jobs.” That suggestion clicked with me, and I have done it ever since…12 years later…It became a full-time job. All stories are different, yet truth be told, instant gratification in this business is a myth. I believe in thinking positive, but I also believe working hard makes success more rewarding. It makes the journey feel worth it.
  4. Your failure is owned by you, and no one else, as is your success. If you stick yourself in a room with a group of people who had problems working online, you will only teach yourself why people fail.
  5. Clients only know what they want when they want it. What they want, in the bigger picture, is not always what you want. Don’t listen to critics.
  6. I say not to listen to advice in social media because this is YOUR career. It is an age of discovery. Answers and guideposts to answers cannot be shared in 140 characters. It ranks up there with deciding on who to vote for president, based on the best “meme”. Taking advice on websites in social media reminds me of the acting teacher who tells a student “commercial acting is not respectable”, but then shows up at the same auditions to compete against you. It has happened to me, it happens online, and offline.
  7. Websites compete for your love, and in the process, say hurtful things to get attention. They almost “audition for talent”. The signs you should stay with a website? “You get work enough to call it a career” and “You deal with transparent individuals”. In fact, that applies to any career.

These are my perspectives. This industry is filled with poker players, chameleons, thieves, and generous, noble souls. When you go into an online environment, you are exposed to ALL of it everyday. To think there is one “black and white absolute truth” is unrealistic. The best thing you can ever do for yourself is align yourself with someone successful, who is like-minded and understands this is a long-term career, if you want it to be. Only you will know what choices to make, if you listen to yourself, first.πŸ™‚

Did you find this helpful? With good intentions…In part II, I will start naming names of those I witnessed as great people to listen to for advice.πŸ™‚