Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lessons Learned at the Close to Six-Month Mark

Trying anything new can be frustrating, rewarding, maddening, boring, enlightening, but mainly, frustrating.  My case in point is the glacial speed in which my business in voice-over is expanding. 

For those of you new to my experience, please review the blog.  For regular readers (not even my mother reads my blog, and that's probably for the best), you know how I came out in a blitzkrieg of demos, pay-site memberships, and bravado looking to take the world of voice acting by storm.  Looks like the storm has turned out to be a cut-off low that is causing early morning drizzle with the chance of scattered showers.  Turns out, this shit isn't easy. . .or at least as easy as I thought going in.

There's a lot to know, learn, and do.  Being a voice actor involves so much more than reading scripts and making up stupid voices.  I was prepared for some of the extra duties that come along with the job like audio production, editing, and writing.  What I was not prepared for, and still need to work on are marketing skills, taking direction, copy interpretation, and just "letting go."  My radio experience went pretty far in preparing me for this new venture.  What it didn't do was teach me how to use those tools I had recently abhorred (Facebook and Twitter) to build my success.  Now, I post, tweet, blog, and constantly update my website (see the sidebar for the link).

I've learned that I don't know everything about reading copy.  Sure I can make funny voices.  Sure I can sound like an announcer.  Sure I can hit time marks without breaking a sweat.  The question is; can I sell?  So far the answer has been, "maybe."  I think I know what I have to do.  I think I know who I need.  I know that I know who I don't need (see earlier posts about "coaches;"  turns out, they're a dime-a-dozen, and most aren't worth a tenth of what they charge. . .as a matter of fact, if you're reading this and you're interested in getting into the voice-acting/voice-over/commercial voice field, check out Bill DeWeese; the only guy I know in VO who coaches and puts his money where his mouth is. . .to use a very appropriate idiom). 

So, the bottom line here is this; the world of VO is just like any other part of the entertainment business; natural talent and ambition will get you so far, but grinding it out and constantly working to get better is where it's at to get the gigs.  Luckily, I have time on my side.  I may have touted my impatience in the past, but it's my patience and willingness to learn and grow that will win out in the end.

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