Since Drew and I love to travel, it's no surprise that we enjoy watching The Amazing Race on TV each week. The show routinely starts late during football season, so we sometimes catch part of 60 Minutes while waiting for the Race to start. A story from 60 Minutes a few weeks ago has been on my mind because I have noticed a growing trend among the questions I receive about getting started in a voice-over career.
Morley Safer reported on the work habits of the generation known as the millenials those born between 1980 and 1995. The following direct quotes are points raised in the story:
- They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special.
- They have climbed Mount Everest. They've been down to Machu Picchu to help excavate it. But they've never punched a time clock. They have no idea what it's like to actually be in an office at nine o'clock, with people handing them work.
- Zaslow says that the coddling virus continues to eat away even when junior goes off to college. "I heard from several professors who said, a student will come up after class and say, 'I don't like my grade, and my mom wants to talk to you, here's the phone,'" he says. "And the students think it's like a service. 'I deserve an A because I'm paying for it. What are you giving me a C for?'"
- And dear old mom isn't just your landlord; she is your agent as well. "Career services departments are complaining about the parents who are coming to update their child's resume. And in fact, you go to employers, and they're starting to express concern now with the parents who will phone HR, saying, 'But my little Susie or little Johnny didn't get the performance evaluation that I think they deserve,'" Crane says.
I'm sure every generation thinks that it is the one with hard-working folks, and everyone younger is lazy. I also believe that 60 Minutes targets an older crowd. Many of the statements are generalizations that don't apply to an entire group of people. Still, I found one kernel of truth in the report: some parents are entirely too immersed in their adult childrens' lives.
I receive a steady stream of e-mails and calls from people who want to start a career in voice-over. I frankly was shocked when I received the first message from a mother who asked for advice for her son, who was in college. It was the first such message, but it wasn't the last.
My first thought when receiving inquiries from parents is:
Why doesn't Johnny or Susie contact me on their own, or, better still, read a book about voice-over?
The dictionary is the only place where Success comes before Work.
A couple of recent situations made me think of this phrase. I believe that you can achieve any goal you set for yourself ASSUMING that you are willing to do the work necessary to achieve it. I also know that no one can do your work for you, and no shortcuts exist on your journey.
I have previously commented and voice-over coach and actor Peter Rofe noted in an article this week:
There are a lot of people who want to get into voice-over work
because they have the misconception
that it's a get-rich-quick scheme, that they can stay at home,
record their voice in their pajamas, unshaven in a T-shirt ...
and make lots and lots of money.
Now in some cases, that's true, but usually for well-established voice artists.
I frequently receive calls and e-mails from people who want to get started in voice-over, study with me, request demo critiques, ask my opinion on teachers and classes, etc. A few weeks ago, I saw a message on a forum where I'm a regular contributor. Like so many other people who contact me personally, this person wanted to get into voice-overs because she has always been told that she had a nice voice. A forum member directed her to search for my posts, read what I had written and perhaps send a private message to me if she still had questions.
At 12:24pm, she responded that she would take those actions.
At 12.30pm, I received a private message from this same person. She wrote that she posted the question in the forum, and someone suggested that she contact me.
Today is Halloween, a day that kids throughout the land adore because it means they get free candy, just by saying the magic words Trick or Treat! Judging from an e-mail forwarded to me from a friend, trick or treat also may be the outcome when dealing with a service provider like a voice talent, or, in this case, a cake decorator.
The story, according to the e-mail, was as follows:
We had a “going away” party yesterday for a lady at our Little Rock claim office. One of the supervisors called a Wal-Mart and ordered the cake. He told
Al Gore typifies my motto of "things happen for a reason."
I like Al Gore, and I voted for him in the hotly-contested 2000 Presidential election. While millions of Americans were immensely disappointed and even angered that he didn't win the election, we can see that it was better for him personally that he didn't become the 43rd President of the United States.
If Gore had become President, he would not have had the time or energy to lead the crusade for the environment. In 2007, Gore has achieved rock star status. First, he won an Academy Award for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and now, Gore is the co-recipient of the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. You don't have to agree with his assessments about the environment or his politics to be impressed by his monumental achievements.
So what do Al Gore and his push to save the environment have to do with you as a voice-over talent?
If it’s possible, I love traveling as much or even more than my voice-over work. In the past, I haven’t taken equipment with me on my trips. Since the beginning of this year, I have changed my equipment so that I can voice auditions and projects on the road. I now have a Macbook Pro laptop with Pro Tools LE running with a Mbox Pro mic interface. To facilitate the usual work here in my stunning soundproof studio, I just bought a Tranzport wireless
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.
I was thrilled to speak with Barry over the phone for a couple of minutes when he visited a local radio show as part of his continuing promotional efforts. While I
After another summer of sweltering heat and daily smog alerts, I especially enjoyed the weather today here in Atlanta. It's one of those glorious pre-fall days with postcard-blue skies. I say "pre-fall" because the temperatures are still in the 80s, but the late date on the calendar gives me hope that the crisp air of fall is soon on the way.
I was in the car earlier this afternoon when I heard a radio spot that sounded very familiar. I admit that I always feel a flush of pleasure when I unexpectedly hear my voice on the airwaves. Today, though, it was someone else's voice presenting copy that I also had prepared in a recent audition. Since I obviously was not selected for that job, I listened closely to discern what the producer might have been thinking during the casting process.
A voice-over actor will audition far more than she will be hired. I don't think about auditions unless I am selected for the job or have one of those lucky times like today when I hear the voice talent in the produced spot. In those cases, I like to analyze the coloration and stress on words and compare the broadcast spot with the audition that I submitted. One time, I heard a man's voice on TV reading copy the same copy I had used. It's easy to understand the differences between my read and a man's version! It's not so easy to distinguish between my performance and that of another female.
Today, I thought the reads between my audition and the produced spot were very similar. We were closely matched with our phrasing. She stressed one word that I didn't stress in my audition. Maybe that stress was her idea, or maybe she did it due to direction. The last line was changed, so I don't know whether the writer modified it or the talent perhaps ad-libbed it in her audition. In either case, I did think it was a better ending line.
The biggest difference I noticed was one I heard with her very first word -- the difference of tonal quality. Her voice was a higher pitch than mine. C'est la vie. Another talent being chosen for that job or any job doesn't take anything away from me or cause me any negative feelings.