You will get things wrong and that's OK
I LOVE the voiceover community. I think it is the most generous and helpful community I have ever been part of. I look forward to my various Zoom meetings every week like a kid on Christmas Eve. Immersing myself in this world has made me a better person. I have seen a genuine evolution in my personal outlook due to the wonderful people I have met. It has made me a better person and I am thankful for that.
But it may have one dilemma. How do you know who is telling the truth and who is deceiving you? How do you know if a particular piece of advice is absolute gold or a huge pile of shit? How do you know if someone is coming from a genuine place or if they have ulterior motives? It can be very difficult to discern, especially to those starting out in this industry.
Critical thinking seems to be a declining life skill. Tidepods anyone? OK, that is maybe taking things too far. It just seems that people are just so desperate to believe things without putting in the effort to discover if they come from a place of substance. “You can earn 6 figures in voiceover” they may say. Yep, I know quite a few people in my close circle of voiceover friends that do. So, absolutely it is possible. Will you earn 6 figures in voiceover? Whether you like it or not, the only person who can answer that is you. You are the only one who knows how much work you are prepared to put in, how much time and money you are willing to invest, how good your recording space is, how computer savvy you are. The list goes on. And that doesn’t even touch on whether your voice is sellable or not.
There were two instances this weekend that made me shake my head. Not because a person asked a stupid question. It was because people who come from a place of authority and experience said some things that weren’t helpful. They used a post or comment to write about their jaded perspective of the industry rather than give any form of constructive feedback to a question that was asked, or they espoused information that, although well meaning, was not entirely correct.
And, as Tom Jones said, “it’s not unusual” for this to happen. Just thought I would show my age there. After being involved in the voiceover industry for nearly 7 years now, I have started to discern the different factions out there. The Fiverr brigade who think that driving down rates to book work has nothing to do with anyone else. The people who think Fiverr and all online casting sites are the devil. Those who have been in the industry a while and created a successful business with direct marketing and contacts they made in radio and tell you stay off P2P’s. And those who have been in the industry for a long time and tell everyone to “get off my lawn”! And there are more that haven’t been mentioned.
My point is that everyone comes from “their” unique perspective. None of them are particularly right or wrong to be honest. And they usually mean absolutely no malice by it – usually! I suppose it is just like the audition process. It is subjective. They are commenting from “their” truth, and it all makes absolute sense to them. An example is an old diehard radio guy telling you that making love to the microphone with your mouth and use compression up the ying-yang is the way to go. Or a newbie saying that buying a one-week course for $1,000 with the promise of a demo at the end makes absolute sense. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you only know what you have been taught.
So, what can you do? When I get to this part, I suppose I should have a good answer. Shit, I really should have thought this out more. In truth, there’s no real good answer. If you’re just starting out – you are going to make mistakes. You just are. You will take advice from someone, apply it, finally figure out that it was as much use as a chocolate fireguard and move on. But there are some universal truths. The biggest of them being “if it’s too good to be true – it usually is” and “you get what you pay for”. If you apply these and add a little critical thinking, it might just stop you from making ALL of the mistakes. You don’t want to NOT make any mistakes because then you won’t learn and grow. And in my mind, there is just nothing better than watching people learn and grow. It just gives me all the feels. So, I hope to see you at one of the voiceover community Zoom sessions or, even better, at VO Atlanta in a couple of weeks. You might even catch me doing Tom Jones at the Karaoke!