It can be difficult to start, well, anything really, but especially a new career in which you are investing your time, energy, and money. A career in voice-over requires faith, determination, and a host of other qualities and factors (including a supportive community and teachers/mentors who will guide you along the way). As fear and doubt are very natural by-products of starting anything new, keeping a balanced and positive mindset is necessary. Here are four helpful reminders for anyone taking the leap into voice-over:
1. Everyone will have an opinion.
I love research. I can spend all day immersing myself in any new subject of interest:
watching countless YouTube videos; reading articles, reviews, archived blogs, Facebook group posts, or even actual, tangible, books. If I am interested in something, I try to learn as much about it as I can from the people who already know. As far as voice-over is concerned, it’s great (and even necessary) to learn from the pros! And yet, it is important to remember that anything anyone says about any subject is usually just their opinion. More often than not, it is their subjective take based on personal experience. So if that is the case, when it comes to getting advice from VO professionals, be open but mindful. If their advice is constructive, helpful, and actionable, then great. But if their advice seems to be coming at you with bitterness, negativity, and purposeful discouragement, then maybe it would be helpful to reconsider your source. Overall, it is best to take what you need and leave what you don’t.
2. Everyone will have a pathway: yours will be yours.
When navigating any new territory, we typically try and follow in the footsteps of those who have already ventured in that direction. And yet, this can only ever take us so far. Chances are, your trajectory towards a successful voice-over career will be unique to you. There’s no way to predict the how’s and who’s and what’s and where’s that you’ll encounter along the way. And would you even want to predict it all? Wouldn’t it be super boring to know beforehand exactly how everything was going to line up? Most likely, the biggest concern in starting your voice-over career is whether or not it’s going to line up at all; whether you’re making the right decision and moving in the right direction.
Now, there’s no easy, one-size-fits-all answer on that one. You’re the only person who can determine what is the “right” thing for you. It’s hard to trust you’ll get to where you want to go. It’s hard to trust that you’ll find the success you hope to find. BUT if you really feel excited about voice acting wouldn’t you regret NOT trying at all more than trying and learning/gaining/expanding beyond what you could do before? When it comes to finding your unique career pathway, follow those little “breadcrumbs” of opportunity you discover along the way. Say yes to what peaks your interest. You never know what talents you’ll unearth, connections you’ll make, and future working relationships you’ll begin to build.
3. Continue your education but make sure you go beyond the classroom.
I do think it’s important to keep studying and workshopping, even if you’re already working professionally. Taking an ongoing acting and/or improv class is excellent for keeping your skills fresh. And yet, while training is necessary, it can also become a crutch. It’s a great procrastination technique to tell yourself that you just need to take one more class or one more workshop and THEN you’ll finally be ready to pursue voice-over work. If you’ve already been practicing for awhile, if you’ve already been encouraged by your coaches and mentors to seek outmore professional work opportunities, then get out there! Start marketing yourself as a voice-over talent and put yourself in the position to find voice-over work.There is so much gained from real life experience. On the job training is often the greatest teacher.
4. It’s more than ok to be a beginner.
At the start of your voice-over career it’s really easy to compare your “beginnings” to someone else’s “middles” but that’s like expecting a first time driver to be as seasoned at driving as you are; as if they should be as comfortable behind the wheel and have already driven themselves to as many places as you have. That would be a ridiculous expectation, right? And yet we do it all the time! We expect ourselves to have arrived somewhere faster than our feet (or vehicles) can actually take us.
A voice-over career – and any career for that matter – should be a continuous, evolutionary journey. If we’re not constantly learning and expanding our knowledge and skill-set, trying new things, and playing and having fun in the process, then wouldn’t our work (and our lives) become incredibly stale?
Whether you’re at the start of your VO career or you’re a full-time pro, it is helpful to take on the mindset of a beginner. In this way, we are more focused on the process, more open to experiences as they come, and more present with our work in each moment. And ultimately, that’s all we’ve really got anyway: moments to be present and opportunities to enjoy them.
Check out our free PDF with pro-tips from real working voice-over actors here!
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