Questions Voice Talent Need to Ask Themselves During a Drought

Posted on November 7, 2012 by

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This is a post that will lend some voice over advice for Voice123 talent aimed at helping talent impose some tough love on themselves during a work drought. These questions need to be asked because all businesses go through highs and lows, and at times, have to adjust to different market conditions. Indeed, change always starts with the person behind the mic, and the world around you changes with each choice you make.

“What is my motivation? Why am I doing this?”

Not acting choices…I mean finding and rediscovering the real reasons behind why you want to do voice overs. Do you really know why? There is not one thing anyone can do to help a person, if they do not know why they want to be in a certain career. When you find out why you do this, write it down somewhere. During a drought, you will have a mission statement to live by, when everything else seems horrible. You may even discover that the reasons why you do something are not helping you get voice work.

“Am I being my own worst enemy?”

Working online can be a real ego-killer. There is a reason why it happens. The Internet is about empowering everyone. There is no “hierarchy”. Now, everyone knows everything, or at least has the confidence to think so. Working in a sea of brazen opinions means you will hear some hard truths, and opinions. You may have had control of an inner-circle in your local market, but online, you are vulnerable to how everyone really feels. If you communicate by leading with your ego-centric nature, the consequences will be simple and quiet ie. You will be ignored, and not celebrated, or at times complained about in public.

“Am I taking this all too personally?”

The entertainment business from A-Z is a business where success is determined by artists creating something that meets approval of strangers for money. Did you ever get on stage, and sing a song, but when you were done…people just stared at you? It’s not a bad dream. It happens always. You can defend yourself and say “the audience is wrong”, but the “audience” is paying your bills, so you need to find the audience who wants to pay you. If you take a creative opinion personally, you have passively told your audience, “I do not care what you think”. More so…if you take every comment personally…or worse…rush to make changes to something you heard in order to meet instant approval…you will turn into a lunatic. Think of the painter who spills paint on his hands. He knows it will wash off, so he keeps painting. It may be annoying at first, but it is a work hazard he deals with. Imagine now…if you took every rejection personally, and tried to change to make each person happy, after 20 years in the business your head would explode. Give yourself a steel gut. If you find yourself saying, “I know, but it’s hard when…”, you just stated you know it’s hard. It is just that simple. It is hard to not take things personal, when your voice is the product, but you have to keep your cool.

“Do I understand or ignore what people really want in this day and age?”

Last week, I heard “Big Bang Theory” creator, Chuck Lorre, state in an interview, “You are only as good as last week’s show. You should spend every minute doing your best to not be boring”. I know exactly what he means because there are days when I have done it, seen others do it, and it happens to everyone… They think they know what people want based on their experience, and as a result, they ignore what was requested and ‘phone it in’. Think about the last time you ordered food at a restaurant…Did the chef come out and give you his resume and prior experience, or did the waiter bring you the food you ordered? You have to understand what clients are expecting, especially when working with websites. Auditioning is not just “auditioning”. It is also “communicating online in the preferred method of the website”.

“Is my marketing boring and does my email etiquette stink?”

These are two basic ways you sell what you do. If marketing and emailing etiquette becomes boring or aggressive, they will assume “you are just one of those people who sounds great”. This is something I rarely see get talked about, and I understand why. It is a touchy subject. The fact is though, communicating in a digital atmosphere requires understanding how the other person may view your message, and knowing if that is the way you want to get work or present yourself. I hated working on Wall Street, but I loved what I learned there about email etiquette. Online marketing, to me, is a blast. It seems to be so fresh and without set rules for creative expression that anything goes (It just has to make sense).

“Am I being to negative to attempt this right now?”

Believe me it matters.  Take golf as a perfect example…A person swings a club and hits a ball. The ball stays on the club face for .001 seconds. If that golfer is feeling angry, tired, upset, not sure why he is doing it, etc. all of that energy will affect the result of the swing, which will send the ball flying anywhere. If a golfer is relaxed and focused, the ball usually ends up where you intended. Don’t throw yourself off your game by allowing random negative thoughts to control you. I used golf as an example because it’s a career where, if your head and heart isn’t into it, the result is immediate and negative.

“Do I study how people succeed or fail?’

Hey…whatever you study…you will perfect.

“Do I need to take a break, chill, relax, chillax etc.?”

If you have to take a break from the game…by all means…do it. It is a chance to absorb what happened, and organize your thoughts. Did you notice I did not mention copy reading and audio quality? There is a reason for it. In 2012, it is a must. No excuses. Compared to 2007, there is a great deal more competition to deal with. When everyone has great audio, and everyone knows how to read copy, you have to take your career to new levels of thought or communication and that means getting yourself mentally prepared.