Follow Your Passion? Not So Fast

Hey, there!

OK. I’ll admit: I’ve given the advice of “Follow your passion and the money will follow you” more times than I can remember.

Guilty as charged.

I mean, it seems so logical – you’ll be happiest, and most likely more successful, if you’re doing something that you’re passionate about.

Well, I’m through giving that advice.

The truth is, following your passion is rarely even possible, especially in our business, for a very, very good reason.

So much of what we’re passionate about is being able to perform, and to do so for money. To pay the bills. To eat. To enjoy life.

And much of that is beyond our control.

But the main reason that blindly following our passion might not be the best strategy is that we can’t really follow our passion without a really strong base of skills, strategies and tactics.

I often say that you should be open to all forms of VO because neither of us can safely predict what we’ll end up being successful at.

Example: lots of young female VO talent come to me, stating very clearly that they are following their passion to be the next Disney Princess.

That presumes they are going to become a celebrity first, because all the latest Disney Princesses are well-known actors.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to have passion, and to have goals, and to have the drive to try to reach those goals.

The reality of life is that you’d better be prepared to follow that passion by being really good at whatever you have to do to get there.

And, you should be agile and open enough to allow for a zig or a zag in your life path. Agility means skills, openness means seeing the bigger picture.

And you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you find your passion via preparation and training, rather than picking a passion out of thin air and going about the training after the fact.

Colin Shillingford said on Quora recently:

“Telling people to follow their passions (without any other advice or guidance) simply sends them on a dream chase, which may be more harmful to their careers in the long-term.”

And Cal Newport did a whole TED-like talk for 99U on the subject, entitled “Follow Your Passion” Is Bad Advice.

Cal says:

“American culture is obsessed with the idea that we need to find our ‘passion’ in order to be happy and successful. But there’s a problem: it’s an astonishingly bad piece of advice. We have no pre-existing passion. Instead, passion is found by first building a rare and valuable talent and using it to take control of your career path. In other words, be so good and work so hard that no one can ignore you.”

(Thanks to Mashable for concatenating both of these quotes into one great article.)

My passion as a teenager revolved around computers and radio. Over the years, I’ve thought about lots of different passions, and realized that the better prepared I was, the more likely I was to find those passions.

Whatever you decide – train, strategize, prepare, commit, gear up and execute. And let your passion be found. Don’t just declare a passion, and face disappointment as you go about randomly “finding” it.

If I can assist you in helping you do that, I’m happy to do so. Get in touch.

I’m also committing to never tossing out that platitude by itself ever again. Rather, I’ll add that you need to train, strategize, prepare, commit, gear up and execute. And then, your passion has every chance of finding you.

Hope this helps.


10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

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