Most people wouldn’t think that Talledega Nights, Will Ferrell’s recently-released comedy movie about NASCAR racing, would have anything to do with a career in voice-over. However, even though the movie probably wasn’t meant to teach anything, I found a few lessons in it anyway. I promise I won’t give away any surprises from the movie!
1) From the day he was born, Ricky Bobby knew he wanted to go fast. Like so many people who have an inner calling, he didn’t heed it initially. He first worked in a pit crew and had to be urged into taking the driver’s seat. You could also look at his experience another way. He took a job on the pit crew because he did whatever was necessary to be in the environment where his dream job awaited. If you’re an aspiring voice-over artist, you can always ask to volunteer or work in another capacity at your dream location to gain experience.
2) Ricky Bobby was overflowing with confidence about his ability. When he finally got his break into his dream job, he never doubted himself. He continually built upon his successes. He didn’t endlessly analyze how he could have done something better in a race that was already gone. As a voice-over actor, you have to let the past go. Once you do an audition or a job, you need to realize that you did your best and be ready to move on to the next challenge. Looking back only crystallizes your thinking.
3) The hero of the movie surrounded himself with people who believed in him. When the going got tough and he forgot how to believe in himself, Ricky Bobby had people who could remind him of his accomplishments.4) While the premise of the movie was based on competition, I noticed the cooperation between and resulting abundance that flowed to Ricky Bobby and his best friend Cal. They helped each other on the race track and in life. The more you live your life in service to others without expectation of reward, the more the Universe will be your servant.
People will tell you that becoming a voice-over actor, like joining the NASCAR circuit, is an extremely competitive venture with the odds stacked against you. Those who are in computer programming, interior design and basket-weaving would say that their fields are also competitive. Gaining skills sufficient to enter any field takes an investment of time, energy and education, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. If you think that you live in an abundant Universe with more than enough opportunity to go around, you will get your chance. Not every NASCAR driver is right for every race; not every voice is right for every project. We all have talents, gifts and unique personalities that come through in our voices. No one else can see the world in the same way that you can.
5) Don’t run the race for the wrong reasons. So often, people contact me because they have been told they have a nice voice, and they think the logical conclusion is to make money as a voice-over actor. Voice-over is a business like anything else that requires a lot of marketing and ability to take rejection. Ricky Bobby showed us what it’s like to be in business for yourself and because you love what you do. Don’t become a voice-over actor because someone else thinks you should do it, because you think you can make some easy money at it or because you think it sounds like a cool thing to say you do. Become a voice-over actor because you love it.
6) If you’re not first, you’re last is not the best philosophy on which to base a career. Ricky Bobby struggled under the weight of this sentence for most of his career. He later realized that the sentence is completely meaningless! To a voice actor, you could spend lots of time and money to get ranked first on the popular search engines only to discover that your business didn’t increase exponentially like you thought it would. Maybe most of your new business comes when you network in person at industry meetings or send direct mail to your bulging mailing list.
7) Never give up. If you believe in yourself and your talent, you will always keep the finish line in sight!