When I talk to my students and clients, and prospective students and clients, I never seem to hear how easy they think VO is going to be to break into. They think it’s going to be extraordinarily hard.
And guess what? They’re right.
Until it isn’t anymore.
So. What’s the secret to making VO easy?
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Let’s be clear: anyone who tells you that VO is a snap, or they can get you working in 90 days, or that VO is money in the bank, is lying to you. VO is hard. It’s hard to break into, it’s hard to learn, it’s hard to get good at, it’s hard to get into the unions, it’s hard to be consistently successful at VO, and it’s hard to maintain a VO career over a long period of time without constant attention to your work.
And certain categories of VO work, like ADR and looping, and trailers and promos, and network animation, and network commercials, are almost mind-numbingly difficult to crack.
Yes, it’s really hard to get on the radar of Barbara Harris or The Loop Troop to do looping work. And the network promo producers and movie trailer guys are even more difficult to track down and get to know. That is, until you do.
Because eventually, if you work at it, and you’re ready to do the work, because you’ve learned your craft and you’ve practiced and you’re suitable for the work, and you’re willing to do the work, and you take the time to network and meet the right people and are available for the audition and you nail it…you’ll get your chance.
It’s those who give up, because they’re tired of the grind, and/or are angry because they’ve been lied to about how easy VO is, and/or are cynical about “the industry,” and/or are suffering from audition fatigue, and/or are jealous of other VO talents’ success…they get a taste of bitterness, and realize just how hard VO can be.
But when you get in the studio, finally, and you get on-mic, and the session flies by, and you get that substantial check a couple of weeks later, and you’re networking with other VO talent who have paid their dues as well, and you get to work with them again, and you see or hear your work on the air, and you feel a part of the industry, then you realize that, yes, VO was really, really hard.
Until it wasn’t.
And hopefully, you’re in this, not for a set number of months or years, but…until. Until it’s not so hard anymore. Until the work is fun, and yes, easy. Then, the hard work begins of maintaining all that hard work and skill building and marketing and promoting and keeping your VO career vibrant and alive. That can be hard, too.
Until it’s not. Until…it’s fun. And satisfying.
I wish for you that very state of affairs.
You can do it. But…it’s hard.
Hope this helps.
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This response is simple — I stopped being something and someone I wasn’t and simply decided that being me was good enough — and then it became about being more selective about the “me” I allowed to produce work — and I began to get better work — even though it came in slower, it was better and in the long run, it has served me well.
I love these videos, David.
I’ve been in the business a long time. I think I’ve experienced all those things you mention, because it changes all the time. That can be scary but it never gets boring. I have reached points when I knew I was successful, and these were resting points but not stopping points. Success is not a place you stay, it’s a thing that needs to be renewed.
So I would say the best parts are the times when I am focused on and enjoying the work itself, and yes, when I receive acknowledgement for it. And the worst parts are the times when I don’t know what to do next. At those times, I just make a decision. It doesn’t have to be the perfect decision, just a decision that moves me forward.
I could go on and on. But I’d rather you did!
These videos are great. It changes all the time. It’s a little more easier than when I first started.
For me It’s wow I booked a bunch of gigs and then crickets for months and even a year and I think
I’m still not good at this. What am I doing wrong or missing?
Thanks David…Well said!!
I LOVE this! It makes me feel so hopeful. Right now one thing I feel is standing in my way is being able to make good use of my time. The good news is I am BUSY! With VO, performing, and my day job. I can feel me being able to quit my day job coming…very soon. I sure could use those extra 40 hours/week to put towards my craft!! But until then, I know I need to practice getting up earlier and maybe doing a little more work and a little less play!
I am enjoying these one-a-day VO vitamins.
My challenge: confidence.
I am moving from theater to film/tv and have taken acting training for almost three years, got an agent last March (one of the best in the city) and have been out for a lot of auditions since then. Last week I took Agent Claire out for lunch. Claire reminded me the CD’s are still getting to know me, like me, and I am still getting out to lots of auditions (including some commercials.)
I know lack of confidence stinks like sheep poop (studies show it’s the stinkiest fecal matter), so aside from what I am doing to continue my confidence growth (occasional therapist appointment, eating healthier, getting enough solid and uninterrupted sleep, taking courses (like this, and getting on camera coaching prior to film/tv auditions, and casting workshops, and reading/watching content that supports my personal growth) what else can you recommend?
As mentioned in our Pro-Connect class today, I am also managing with a serious shoulder injury.
No matter, I am “hair straight back” (a cowgirl term for) going fast, and I “keep on, keeping on.” I am tenacious.
And I’m excited, and eager. I am in the ACX class next month and really looking forward to that as well.
Nikki in BC Canada
I wouldn’t add to that list of things to do, I would concentrate on going deeper on the ones that are already on the list. I love reading this.
LOVE you have included this information. On a much smaller level, I present a workshop a few times a year through my local Parks and Rec on the Business of Voice Acting, I always give the REALITY of Voice Acting. I have heard “No” far more often in bookings than Yes, but I persevere and tell the students to do just that. In fact, I am gathering my marketing cards and headed off to a Business Networking event this afternoon. :).