Anyone who knows me knows that I love Barry Manilow. You may have heard his name lately because he is promoting a marvelous new album. One reason behind his longevity in the music business and his millions of fans is that Barry is constantly involved in some new venture, and he isn’t afraid to let people know about it.
Rodney Saulsberry, a voice talent known for his work in commercials and movie trailers, agrees with Manilow. Saulsberry wrote in his fantastic book You Can Bank on Your Voice: Your Guide to a Successful Career in Voice-Overs:
and there is no time to be modest when it comes to letting
potential clients know you are the person for their next project.
Many people seem to be more passive about ensuring their career success. I have heard many voice actors and others using the expression “when my ship comes in”, meaning that your luck, opportunities and hopefully your fortune have just become more positive. I read a story once about the origin of that phrase.
In the time of world exploration hundreds of years ago, a ship coming in to the harbor was a big deal. The monarchs and wealthy patrons who financed the explorers did so with the knowledge that the ship might sail away and never return. If the ship did return, it might be damaged. At the very least, the explorer might return with nothing more than a bad case of sunburn and stinky clothes to show for the adventure. However, the financiers of these operations would continue to send out ships, hoping that one would return with the motherload of treasure.
The point of the story is applicable to voice-over talent or anyone in business for themselves:
If you want your ship to come in,
you have to keep sending the ships out.
Some of your ships will never return. Some will return carrying letters like the one I quoted in a previous entry. A glorious few will sail in with a new client on board!
Like Barry Manilow and Rodney Saulsberry, I send out as many query and promotional ships as possible in as many directions as possible. You can be sure that when my ships come in, I’m not at the airport, but sitting in my stunning soundproof studio and ready to get to work!