Only 3 tips! I know, I know. It’s usually 5, 10 or 20. 5 tips to earn 6 figures. 10 ways to improve your life. 20 ways to become a better person (oooh, I need that one!). Full transparency. I struggle sometimes to come up with topics for my weekly blog so I’m trying to keep some good stuff for later! So, here are three things you will need to make it in the voice over world.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I cringe when looking back at some of the questions I asked on Facebook groups and bulletin boards when first starting in voice over. How many auditions does it take to book your first job? When will I get an agent? When can I expect to earn 6 figures? Am I good enough to make it? These were all questions that I wanted answered. These are all questions I needed to ask. They were essential for my voice over journey. The answers, in many cases, were brutal. And so they should be. NOBODY knows how many auditions you need to do before you book your first job. NOBODY. But that is how you learn. You learn that there is more subjectivity to this business than you would like to know. You can’t win them all. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop trying. Ask questions. Be curious. Learn something new every day.
Patience. Human nature is a bitch. Especially these days. We are used to instant gratification. If you want it, you can get it. Delivered to your door. Today if you want! I call it the Veruca Salt syndrome! Yet, if you take a deep dive into any career that seems to be an overnight success, 99 times out of 100 you will find that they put in enormous amount of work for many years before this “overnight success”. Voice over is no different. I like to use the analogy of opening a bakery. Let’s say that you are one of the best unknown bakers in the world. Everyone who eats your patisserie genius is blown away and told you should open a shop. So, you decide to do just that. You rent a store, convert it to the best bakery in town and open the doors. The smell of your pastries will have everyone lining up! Right? Day one, no customers. Day two, no customers. This continues for a month with a trickle of passing trade. What’s wrong? Why don’t people want my beautiful pastries? “NOBODY KNOWS YOU EXIST” you should all be shouting! Advertise. Get your name out. And you do. Slowly you start to see a pick up in trade. A few months pass and word of mouth starts to work its magic. And within 24 months you are voted the best new business in your town with awards for best pastries. Things take time. Be patient. If you are good enough, success will follow if you put in the work and get your name out.
Listen. Wait, what? We talk for a living. Why the hell do I need to listen? A trained ear will only come with time and at first it can be frustrating (see above for patience!). You don’t know what you are listening for. You try to listen so hard that your head goes numb and you feel like giving up because you can’t hear the nuances. Stop listening for “things” and listen for what you like. If you hear something on the TV or radio that made you think - WOW – then use your DVR and play it back over and over again. Hopefully, you will be able to hear what made it stand out. If not, at least you are programming your brain to listen for things you like. And if you like it, chances are others will like it too.
So, did those three tips help? I hope so. They took me a while to learn and accept. ESPECIALLY patience. 5 years later I am know reaping the benefits of these three tips. I am still asking questions. I am still building relationships with others who know more than me and I am having a blast doing it. I hope you are too.