Posts tagged Getting started in Voiceover
My friend Michael Minetree has just unveiled a custom search engine for voiceover called Voiceover Online. Pretty cool stuff you’re doing there, Michael.
Nancy Wolfson provides a cogent, actionable list of steps for you.
My friend Doug Turkel has just released an eBook called Voices of Experience. Doug provided me with an advance copy and I have to tell you, I think this is a seriously first class book with wonderful insights from a number of very experienced voice actors. I think you will enjoy this eBook, Voices of Experience, a great deal. I sure am.
(Update: This was supposed to post a few days ago, but my blog software decided to hold it until now. Computers are wonderful, when they work. Otherwise, not so much.)
Kevin Delaney starts an online course on voice acting for video games this Sunday. Details are on his website VOforGames.com
Pat Fraley is a top flight voiceover talent, a superb and thoughtful coach, and a friend. He’s also prepared a number of free voiceover lessons on a page at his website called, originally enough, Free Lessons. He’s just recently posted 3 new lessons on demos, confidence and flow, but really if you haven’t visited the page in a while, it’s well worth exploring.
The power of accumulated time is something most of us don’t understand or if we do, we don’t really want to. My friend Dan Friedman blogged today about this subject with great eloquence in a post called The Most Difficult Part to Being in Voiceover. I’ll wait a minute until you’ve had the time to read and absorb what he said. When you’re done, click the “back” button and we’ll pick up again.
Good, but a little difficult to swallow in some ways, isn’t it? We don’t want to have to wait, but Dan’s right. Waiting is part of the deal. By the way, the waiiting bit is true for those of us who have been doing voiceover for years, just like it is for those who are just getting started or who’ve been doing voiceovers for a short time. And not just in looking back. We all have to wait, sometimes for a long time, in lots of different ways. It’s part of the deal.
The cool thing is that there’s something you can do to make the time pass a little more quickly. It’s to harness the power of the magical little E.L.B.s. You can read about these magical little creatures in the archives of the Monday Morning Memo, if you’d like to know a bit more. But, here’s the short version.
Every day, every single day, don’t go to sleep until you’ve made at least one step forward on your journey. It doesn’t matter how big or small the step. It doesn’t matter if it’s publicly visible or something only you know about. But every day you have to take some kind of action, move at least some tiny bit in the direction you’re going. If that’s success doing voiceovers then that’s the direction you need to head.
And the cumulative power of those little steps, taken one day after another, day after day will amaze you because it’s not one day’s action added to the next day’s and the day after that and so forth and so on. They don’t just add one to another. They begin to compound and multiply and before you know it, you’ve made an amazing amount of progress.
For 26 years I worked on voiceover as much as I possibly could, and things have gone pretty well for years; but it wasn’t until just the last 5 years or so that things have really taken off.
If you really do want an avalanche (remember I’ve all ready warned you it’s not fun to be sitting until that avalanche when it falls on you), you’re going to have to work at it every day, one little bit at a time. Unlike a real avalanche, which can be accelerated by explosions and the like, the avalanche of work has to be started one little bit at a time.
Are you ready to do the work? The only thing necessary is for you to start.
The other day I posted some thoughts that flowed from a Seth Godin blog piece at The Domino Project about luck and work and the old way of doing things in the publishing business. I made the analogy that auditioning for voiceover work is, in some ways, similar to the way the publishing business was run.
Now, I have nothing against auditioning as a way of getting voiceover work. I audition for things myself and in fact book work from auditions multiple times each year. But, auditioning is a process that leaves only one person with a job when many applied for it.
It’s much better when the work comes directly, without an audition, through relationships all ready established; or through relationships based on referrals from existing clients. This works very well for those of us who have been doing voiceovers for a while. But, as one of my good friends pointed out the other day, what about those who are just getting started? They don’t have a pool of existing clients from whom to get work or referrals.
Those comments from my friend have led me to think about this subject quite a bit in the last few days. I certainly don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that building relationships and getting work repeatedly from clients happens by magic or just by thinking about it.
Actually, thinking about it is important. But, after the thinking comes the doing.
For example, are there things you could do based on your own creativity that can lead to work? One friend came up with an idea to market her voiceover services directly to a category of businesses in her area. Made some phone calls. Put in some effort turning her idea into something practical and useful to those businesses. It didn’t happen overnight and it took some concerted effort and persistence, but it paid off.
Or, are there people who write about marketing (on a blog or in a freely distributed newsletter for example) from whom you can draw some ideas that you can implement yourself? Now, people writing for the general marketplace probably won’t offer an idea that can be used directly. You’ll probably have to think about how to adapt their ideas to the world of voiceover, but you’re a creative, intelligent person. You can do this.
What are the businesses that hire the kind of work you do or want to do? For example, let’s say you want to narrate audiobooks. There are a few big players that you can find with little effort; but what about the other publishers who are in the second or third tier of the business? It make take some extra digging to find those companies and, having found them, to learn how to submit to them. Everyone wants the low-hanging fruit. Your goal is to find the fruit that’s not so easy to pick.
I hope these few random observations help you start thinking about what you can do to move forward. And I’d love to hear how you make strides. Comments are always open.
One of Seth Godin’s newest enterprises is The Domino Project. Several days ago Seth posted on their blog this question: Are you feeling lucky? Now, because The Domino Project is an effort to reinvent publishing, the most obvious point of that blog post about feeling lucky has to do with publishing. But the application to voiceover is equally important and valid.
In voiceover, the obvious parallel to the publishing model is auditioning for a job. Just like there would have to be a bestseller every week, there is going to be someone who books the job when auditions are sent out.
Now, this is not a rant against auditioning. I’ll leave such literary explorations to others. The point I’m trying to make here is that if you build your voiceover business on the basis of auditioning for work, then you’re always operating from the position of being “one of many” and only some of the time are you going to end up as the one who books the job. Sure, in an ideal world, auditions are only sent to a select number of talent; but in the real world where we all live and work, that’s not how it always happens.
There are lots of factors that contribute to the way things are. Again, I’ll leave the enumeration of those factors to others. What I’m hoping to persuade you to see is that auditioning isn’t the only way to book work.
Last year was a good year for me. And over 80% of my income came to me directly. An email or a phone call arrived with a message to the effect of: “Dear Bob, we’d like to send you a significant sum of money. Would you record the attached script for us?” This experience isn’t unique to me. Many working professionals in voiceover have learned the value of building relationships with people who want to work with them.
It takes time, a deep commitment to excellent service, and hard work. Put in the time and effort and you, too, can get those kinds of calls or emails. As you do, I’d love to hear from you.