It’s the start of a new year and many have embarked on new ambitions, fueled by heartfelt resolutions and good intentions. That’s a good thing as far as we’re concerned. Anything that supports you in creating the life and career you desire is something you want to embrace. So what’s out there to inspire success in the world of voiceover acting? We put together a few tips we believe will encourage you to take the actions that will serve your dreams and goals. Remember “Dreams without goals remain dreams.”
Acknowledge that you are deserving. The good news is that you are the one in control of taking the actions that will give you what you want. First, honor the idea that you deserve the life you want and resign yourself to being accountable for achieving it. Many confuse the idea of deserving with something due for good deeds done. That’s not it. You were born deserving! Make this a daily mantra until it becomes part of your spiritual psyche. The idea of not deserving stops you from pushing through when the going gets tough. It’s that little voice in your head that says, “I’m not strong enough, tall enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, talented enough, or good enough.” You were born deserving. It’s an inalienable right. With that, all you need is personal accountability: Say what you mean and do what you say, period. Plan your work and work your plan, period.
Find your inspiration. Surround yourself with positive, knowledgeable, and supportive people. Outside support reminds you that you’re not in it alone—that you’re part of a network of positive energy. But inspiration is also within and you can tap into it at any time. As human beings we are as much as anything else, the very sparks that make up the universe. We are self-generating engines of inspiration. To have success in the voiceover business or in any other pursuit, get to the root of self-generated action. We have worked with some students who see a voice acting career as a way out of something else; a job you’ve grown tired of, an unfulfilled lifestyle, etc. Whatever that something else is, you are at the heart of it. You are the answer. Continue getting in touch with “you” as you pursue your dreams and goals in voice acting. Start a practice of self-reflection, be it therapy, meditation, yoga, Zumba, etc., and get in touch with the inspiration that lives within.
Respect the new faces of voiceover. It’s smart to look to the experts and experienced pros for guidance on how to launch your voice acting career, but don’t overlook the moves of the emerging new VO talents who are blazing the paths that will serve as the roadmap for voiceover success in the next generation. Their moves may not seem like the ultimate path today, but neither did the humble beginnings of those we deem to be today’s master voice actors. Those who are ahead of their time rarely appear practical in the current time. Can you spot the emerging tigers who will be tomorrow’s breakthrough talents? Are you making similar moves? Sure, learn what you can from the masters, but also learn from the future masters who are rising right beside you.
Get into acting classes. Voice acting is a subset or category of acting. As such, take advantage of immersing yourself in a traditional acting class where you practice the craft and technique of human sensory and emotional recall along with the interpretation of words, ideas, and human circumstances. Acting classes are fun and enriching in their own right, and will ignite a fiery blaze under your voice acting skills. Traditional acting training will not only enhance your nimbleness as a voice actor, it may give your talent agent reason to introduce you to their on-camera department, increasing the number of auditions and jobs that come your way. It may come as a bit of a surprise, but when you chose voice acting, you chose acting. Embrace it, baby.
Treat auditioning as your job. Last November, during the 2014 That’s Voiceover™ Career Expo, Sondra James—who founded and directs the infamous SpeakEasyADR loop group out of New York and is herself, an actor and voiceover artist—rendered the most revealing and powerful remark of the entire event: “Your job is to audition.” You will never hear truer words. You can soak this in for the rest of your career and it will always be new and regenerative. Most people look at the booking as the end game. Not true. Jobs are events that happen in the throes of a life auditioning. Avoid the trap of looking at auditioning as a necessary evil where rejection awaits. Auditioning is the work, the practice, the life blood of your career. The sooner you recognize the affirmative nexus between auditioning and employment, the sooner you’ll fall more deeply in love with your voiceover career. Consider that auditioning is acting. That it’s called auditioning is a designation for what the casting directors do. Casting directors audition actors. The actors, on the other hand, act!
Manage your expectations. Don’t get caught up in the fantasy that becoming a successful voice actor is going to be easy. Nothing worth having comes easy and a fulfilling career is no different. We’ve met many who, at the start of their training, claim they fully understand that voice acting is a tough, competitive business that takes time to master. Then, four weeks into training they’re chomping at the bit to produce a demo reel and solicit an agent. Though they’re not ready for either, it’s easy to see how their personal timeline and expectations are out of sync with the rhythms of the industry. Read “Secrets of Voice-Over Success” and you’ll see what it took for 21 diverse voice actors to achieve success. Getting clear about the realities of the voiceover business will help you manage expectations. It will maximize the time and money you invest in developing your career. With a little patience, you’ll find that you have everything you need to have everything you want. And you deserve it!