Time of Thanks
This season, I think it’s natural to spend time thinking about what is going well in our lives and what we are thankful for. Thanksgiving seems to bring that out in all of us. I have a wonderful pilates instructor, Gwen, and when we are alone and I can actually breathe, when tend to talk about real issues. Recently we were chatting about health and well ness and how we are amazing that you can get to a point where you reach your goals, that are or were not so easy to reach, and how quickly they can all be undone. A run-in with some candy or a birthday night out and we are set back on our endeavors and it feels dreadful. How easily we are reminded when we give thanks that perhaps we are always teetering on the brink of perhaps being in a state we do not want to be in.
Of course this chat with Gwen about our health made me draw a parallel to voice over and think about how easily it can all be undone. Imagine years of hard work and suddenly the ups and downs of voice over just continue to spiral down. I of course thought back to hearing Dave Fennoy, world famous voice actor best known for his video game roles, who I had the privilege of hearing speak for an entire day back in 2016 at a conference called VO Revolution. Perhaps it was his lack of pretension that got me, but Dave talked about how after a few big bookings he thought that he had made it. He shared how his business peaked and then plummeted. He advised working as if every day is your first day in voice over and warned that if you don’t you can lose it all. I carry this with me. This has always had my wheels turnings. So, if all that we have worked hard to build can slip aways so easily, here are some of my best tips to lay a strong foundation for your voice over business:
You need a support system within the voice over community to be accountable to. When I first started in voice over, I used a journal system where I wrote my goals and focused on them and revised them. This was good but it was not enough. You need a group of others that you will meet with and answer to. I have met with and continue to meet with my accountability group weekly. They are my secret sauce and without them I would not be where I am today in my career. Every group is different. Some groups work on craft. Our group is more focussed on business. But, you need to answer to someone other than yourself.
Auditions matter. Sure it’s great when you are on rosters and clients hire you without auditions, bur how do yhou expect to get new clients and new bookings? I once heard Bob Bergen, world renowned voice of Porgy Pig say the audition is the job. He talked about how he gets up in the 5 o’clock hour to begin his day so he does not miss out on any work opportunities. That was Bob Bergen, not some struggling actor no one has heard of, but one of the industry leaders talking about the importance of starting your day and getting on those submissions. Now, some voice actors like t submit more than others. I like to audition a lot and submit a lot. Others don’t. Remember, the better your booking ratio is, the more chance you have of getting more clients, all from auditioning.
Maintain the Client Relationships You Have
This should be a joy to do. These people already like you. They have already hired you. Now you simply have to keep in touch and remind them why you being there makes their life easier. Don’t let them forget that you have already done great work for them. Make sure they remember you are available. You can send follow up emails, newsletters, holiday cards, thank you notes, and try to get to know the people you work with.
Continue to Work on Your Craft
Remember, trends in voiceover shift. What was sought after five years ago is likely not en vogue today. You need to continually have your finger on the pulse of what is booking right now in all of the genres you work in. From continuing to attend conferences, to working with coaches, to on-going practice, your work on your craft in voice over will never end. Just as doctors and lawyers must attend conferences and professional development work shops, so must voice actors. If you see a dip in your bookings, it is often because trends have shifted and you likely need some coaching to understand what is booking right now.