When the legendary voice talent Don LaFontaine uttered those famous words on a movie trailer, you would be ready to go to a quiet, dark theater to escape — escape the weather, escape obligations, and escape the chattering voice in your head. That inner voice can be especially critical to a voice artist who is feeling discouraged with her progress. Since my brain has come up with numerous scripts having that kind of negative inner dialogue, I thought it might be helpful if I shared 3 techniques for keeping a feel-good mentality about your voiceover career as you direct the movie of your life.
I’m a lot better about this one than I used to be, but even I occasionally still fall in the trap of negatively comparing myself to other voice talent. For instance, I recently read a review of an audiobook voiced by a talent whom I know. While I truly am thrilled for that person’s success, I admit that I also had the thought of wishing for both the recent audiobook narration gig and the favorable review.
It’s one thing to make comparisons as part of a learning process. We all can improve in a variety of ways, and analyzing others’ success is a good way to start. I’m talking about the kind of comparisons when you think envious or discouraging thoughts like, “I just can’t get a break-through. I never win any auditions. I’m not good enough. It will never happen for me.” These kinds of thoughts can be debilitating and will actually slow or completely stop your progress.
If you have these kinds of thoughts, the first one may appear on its own. You may not have been in control of that first thought, but you ARE in control of the second one. Remind yourself of the steps you have taken toward your dream. If you feel frustrated, find some action that you can do that will propel you forward. In all cases, think/write/speak what you WANT into being.
When other people comment about the great voice-over work that you have performed for them, I hope that you ask them for a testimonial that can be included on your web site. Not only do these comments from past clients serve to convince potential prospects to hire you as a voice talent, but they can bolster your self-esteem if you feel down on yourself.
In addition, I notate my accomplishments and review them as my own evidence about the manifestation of my dreams. If I feel a hint of discouragement because the level of success I envision in voiceover is taking a while to appear, I only need to take a quick look at things I’ve done in just over a year — recorded a new commercial demo, launched a new web site with new branding elements, and gained several wonderful new clients, all while mourning the loss of my mother and dealing with my parents’ estate. When I stop to review all that I’ve done, I feel pretty darn good about my place in the voice-over world!
This morning, as I walked Yogi, our adorable miniature schnauzer, I was thinking about the message that I wanted to write in this blog entry. I also was thinking how Yogi lives completely in the moment. He sleeps, eats, and plays without dwelling on the past or fretting about the future.
Once we returned home, I turned on the TV and scrolled through the program guide. For some unknown reason, I felt compelled to watch Joel Osteen’s oration today for the first time. This choice is all the more unusual since I’m not a religious person and normally would steer clear of televised church services.
The reason was clear to me from the first moment I heard Osteen speak. He was talking about living in this moment with the constant expectation of receiving the good that is on its way to you, no matter how long it takes to arrive. He encouraged his audience to awake every day with the thought that “THIS could be the day!”
Osteen used Mel Fisher as an example of this type of positive thinking. I, too, have drawn inspiration from Mel Fisher and can’t believe that I haven’t written about him previously.
You see, Mel Fisher was absolutely convinced that a Spanish ship laden with treasure had sunk off the coast of Florida in the 1600s, and he was determined to find it. Each day, he told his crew, “THIS will be the day!” Every night, after they didn’t find the ship, Fisher would tell the crew, “Tomorrow will be the day!”.
Fisher maintained his positive outlook and searched for the ship for an incredible 16 years. He faced innumerable odds, including an array of critics and doubters. I read once that his son died during the search efforts. Still, Fisher pressed on, doing things each day toward his dream and feeling perpetually confident of the good that would come to him.
Like so many people, the realization of his dream was far bigger than Fisher could have imagined. He found the Spanish Atocha, with treasures of gold, silver, and gems worth over $500 million!
Fisher proves that patience and persistence are the keys to realizing your dream. People expect instant gratification and are disappointed when nothing seems to happen. However, you have to maintain the hope and expectation each day since the manifestation of dreams rarely occurs on our timetable! Whether it takes a day, a month, a year, a decade, or longer, you need to have the unshakable inner KNOWING that the fruition of your dream is on its way to you.
Osteen said you should ask for things now and live life today, knowing that your desires may not be fulfilled immediately. He pointed out that things can suddenly change for the better. Finances can suddenly change. Relationships can suddenly blossom. Dreams can suddenly materialize.
For a voice talent, a new client could suddenly book you. You could suddenly have extra money to get that fancy microphone. Your latest blog article could suddenly capture the interest of the media and catapult you into the recording booths at Disney, Pixar, and other animation houses. (It could happen!)
By using these 3 techniques, I hope you will be able to silence the inner critic. As the star and director of your life’s movie, consistently feeling good about your voice-over career will enable you to live happily ever after!
Movie clapboard photo credit: TPopova/iStockPhoto.com