The Seed Was Planted
Back in 2015 I heard Bill DeWees say something ot the effect of “be elective about who you take advice from” for your voice over business. This stuck with me. I have always solicited advice from Bill, because I think he gives very sound guidance, but there are not many people beyond my husband and a few in my inner circle that I trust for true guidance. With the new addition of Clubhouse on the social media front, I think we have to ask ourselves who is really qualified to advise us about our voice over business, and who do we actually want to take guidance from. There is a slippery slope of participating in the dialogue and identifying as an expert when someone is actually far from it. Yesterday I sat in on some Clubhouse sessions during my lunch hour. As a seasoned professional in voice over with years of experience, I can easily evaluate which information has relevance and value to be and which should be tossed out immediately. My concern, though, is that for those who are knew to the voice over industry, they will look to both Clubhouse or social media in general in lieu of much needed coaching and not know enough to filter out the mis-information. So, this begs the question, who should you be taking advice from in voice over?
The job of a voice over coach is to teach voice talents to succeed. Whether a coach is working with you on your craft, or on building your business, a good coach can be trusted to help you build a solid foundation for your business. When I work with students, I always work on both professional development as we work with various scripts, but every session also works on business goals as well. Whether you are working towards a demo, or marketing a new demo, voice actors often need direction to help move their business along. The right coach will help you with your individualized goals.
There are talent agents who cast voice actors all over the counts, and they, too, are outstanding for career and rates advice in voice over. A good agent not only secures industry leading rates, they also direct you reads and let you know when you are on the mark and when you need improvement. An agent has both business savvy and a good ear, so if you are lucky enough to be on their roster, work with them! Seek their guidance and build a rapport. You can learn so much for a good agent. Both you and the agent benefit from you learning as much as possible, so they would likely want to help as much as they can.
Established Voice Talents
Advice from established voice talents is very valuable. When I say established, this is not necessarily an amount of time. Instead, a good indicator of how a talent is doing is their client list. If they are booking a lot with brands we all know and love, that is a goos sign indicator that they talent knows what they are doing and you can trust them to give sound advice.
I have blogged before about my accountability group, but I cannot stress enough how much this group has helped me daily to grow my business and make better choices. They have pushed me beyond boundaries I would have never thought to challenge, and they have made me look beyond. I am so much better because I am in the company of these women.
I have also blogged about voice over conferences before, but this is another great way to interact with voice actors. Typically you can learn so much from those who present at conferences. You can also meet others and build relationships with many at the conferences, and these bonds endure, even during the pandemic.
Many voice actors offer guidance on social media. On Facebook their are groups for voice actors. For those of us who have been in the industry, we know who is new and who is established, and we can determine who we want to listen to. If you are knew to voiceover, please be discerning while online.
As professional voiceover actors, we put so much of ourselves into our businesses. It is not just the time we spend training and building our booths, but we invest a lot financially too. Between the equipment, the demos, and the websites, starting a voiceover business is no small venture. So please, do not just jump on the bandwagon of every ninny with an iphone. Scrutinize your options and be clear about who you are following and who you take guidance from. As a voice actor and business owner, you have choices. Choose wisely and safely for yourself so that you can build a consistent and sustainable business.