Wow! There is just so much utter nonsense out there on the internet that it could make your head explode! Do this and earn a 6-figure salary, do that and have enough money to buy a yacht, sell your soul and we can make you famous! What has the world come to?
When did we stop relying on our own belief systems and doing what we think is right? Now, I am not saying that we don’t need some motivation once in a while but come on – taking advice from people who have absolutely no proof that they know what they are talking about is really a bit bloody stupid!
When I first started out in voiceover I made my own mistakes. Nobody else was to blame for them and the best part of that is – well, no one else was to blame for them. I had to learn the hard way. Being the parent of 4 children quickly taught me that you can tell people what to do until you are blue in the face. Sometimes you just need to go out there, make mistakes and learn.
I see so many people on creative and business forums who are constantly asking questions but not doing anything about it. I read so many so-called professionals saying that you shouldn’t put yourself out there until you are ready. These two things cause a never-ending cycle where people get stuck and are afraid to just bloody do something. Really. How bad will it be? How do you know if you are ready?
Do you think I’ve raised enough eyebrows yet? Well, if I’ve pissed some people off then so be it. We do not live in a nanny state. If you are in voiceover, I would never recommend that you send a sub-par demo to an agency. If you are in video production, I would never recommend you create a demo with your iPhone. If you are in E-Learning, don’t just buy PowerPoint converter software and think your course will be interesting. Once again, these are things that you should now are stupid. Deep down you know this. It might by hard to admit to yourself, but come on, you know it – right?
Getting back to just doing it. Nike did get it right. Just bloody do it! You will never be ready if you don’t put yourself out there in some shape or form. Find a good forum or platform that you can submit your creative work to for guidance. Find sites that hire Freelancers and put yourself out there. What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody likes what you did and wants to hire you!! (Obviously, don’t undersell yourself - know what the going rate is for your services.) Once again, that’s just common sense. You should know this.
Don’t get caught in the vicious cycle. I’m not good enough, I need training and help. You get training and help, and they tell you are not good enough and need more training and help. Nowhere in this cycle are you growing a set of balls and figuring some stuff out yourself. Honestly, I have heard some voice over demos produced by people who are supposed to be reputable coaches and I have had OMFG moments. How the hell did they convince the poor person that this was a good idea. They didn’t protect you from making a mistake. They just profited from your lack of confidence. This applies to all other creatives too. Do you think Vincent Van Gogh didn’t paint pictures until he knew he was good enough? Do you think Coldplay didn’t try stuff that sounded like shit until they found their own sound? Putting yourself out there gets you feedback. That feedback is essential to figuring life out. And you should be having fun while doing it.
I actually know people who are extremely talented, lack confidence and will not take the plunge. They feel safe in training mode because they don’t have to face failure. The fear of rejection overrides the elation of success. I know we all need training and it is worthwhile but we cant get stuck in this perpetual loop. It breaks my heart as they have so much to offer the world.
Every good creative looks back at their early stuff and thinks holy shit! Did I really do something that was that bad! But it didn’t kill them. It may be embarrassing but it wasn’t the end of their career. We all like a good laugh once in a while. I do it quite often. I listen to some of my early stuff and think – OK – what the bloody hell were you thinking!!!! Then I smile, move on and get better every time. I can assure you that there are only very limited scenarios where someone will judge something you created and vow never to work with you ever again. Think about that for a moment. How stupid do they have to be to think that just because you made a mess of something once that you are going to do it every time? They may miss out on hiring the best person for the job (you) the next time because of that pre-conceived notion. When I choose to watch a movie, I don’t judge it beforehand if the director had a flop previously. When I listen to a new album, I judge it on its own merits, not the performance of the previous album. Creatives are only looking for the best person for the job. At that time. Period.
So, get off your backside and go have fun doing something you love and put it out there for people to see or hear. If I think it was a bit shit, I will have forgotten about within an hour. If you moved me in some way, I may remember it forever. It would be such a shame if I didn’t get the chance to remember you……