The best way to accomplish your own dreams is to help other people accomplish theirs. Since I don’t currently teach classes or workshops, I have found that I can be of service to those wishing to enter the voice-over industry by offering the advice page on my web site and these essays on my blog. Of course, I enjoying discussing the industry when people meet me and express their curiosity.
I usually don’t have the opportunity to directly help newcomers, though, so I was quite delighted when Doug Paul, owner of the wonderful Catspaw Studios, called me recently about an
I have provided the voices for 2 games, one of which had 4 characters.I think that job with the 4 characters was one of the most fun jobs I have had as voice actor. I was asked to portray some teenage girls yelling at the boys on the beach to pick up some diamonds. Who wouldn’t want to get paid doing that?
Many voice talent dream of working in the ever-growing gaming industry. Like anything else, though, it may be difficult to obtain paid work without prior experience in that field. I found a voice-over audition for independent
Drew and I have been on vacation for almost 3 weeks on a wonderful Greek Islands cruise. During the trip, we visited Greece, Egypt, Turkey and Paris. If you’re interested, you can look at our awesome photo album/scrapbook that we created with Drew’s amazing pictures at Shutterfly, the best company for photo processing and related products that you can imagine.
Even though I was on a fabulous vacation, I never stopped thinking of ways to progress my voice-over business. I have some stories to relate at another time. Today, though, I wanted to
From: The Universe
Sent: Sep 20, 2006 3:21 AM
Subject: TUT... A Note from the Universe
If it were fun and easy, would you do it?
If the pay was out of this world; more than you could ever spend?
If signing your autograph and being adored by fans never got old, and you truly relished retelling your story again and again?
Brilliant, Karen, because all of the above can be imagined whenever you visualize.
You are just ace -
Mike Dooley is the creative genius behind these weekday e-mails signed from The Universe. Many times, I receive a message that is uncannily on target with things that are occurring in my life. I especially wanted to talk about the importance of yesterday's message because I think many people don't understand the importance of visualizing their success prior to its appearance.
Athletes who win the big championship game will tell you that they have scored the winning points a thousand times in their minds before ever playing the game. Musicians know that to play beautifully on stage, they must first consistently create strong mental pictures of themselves walking confidently before an adoring crowd. The value of visualization is true for voice-over artists or anything else that you want to achieve in your life.
If you don't know what you want, how do you expect to attain it?
Gone With the Wind is my favorite movie of all time. I could give so many reasons for liking it, but you would wonder why I thought about it today when this is a blog about voice-over. True, I was born and live in Atlanta, but a ride on public transportation to downtown Atlanta this morning actually reminded me of something in the movie.
Remember the big scene early in the film at the magnificent Twelve Oaks estate, where everyone went for the barbeque? The camera panned to a sign on the grounds that said:
Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
No matter where I go, I always have things with me to advance my voice-over goals. I press any spare time into service. On the way to my appointment this morning, I studied background material for a major audition. Other times, I may:
- read books for upcoming audiobooks
- read marketing books
- write blog ideas and entries (sometimes jot the ideas in my PDA, other times write longer sentences by longhand)
- plan marketing strategies
- listen to audiobooks and podcasts on my iPod
- listen to accents, dialects and foreign languages on my iPod (I have loaded Spanish and French CDs, and I have Italian and German CDs ready to be loaded.)
- make notes about the podcast show that I am developing
- write in my journal
In addition, my PDA cell phone is a Pocket PC, so I can surf the web and get e-mail anywhere. I can read my voice-over newsgroups and blogs while commuting. I also can respond to inquiries about projects and review web sites of prospective companies. Time spent on public transportation or in places like a doctor's waiting room are always highly productive for me.
Whenever I ride public transportation, I have noticed that a majority of people get on board clutching their cell phones like Linus from the Peanuts cartoon clutched his security blanket.
In the words of Theodore Roosevelt:
Do what you can, where you are, with what you have..I saw a show on the Biography channel a few days ago about Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Their names may not be familiar to you, but I’m sure that you have used their marvelous invention countless times: the Google search engine.
While Google is an Internet mammoth now, I was very impressed to learn about the humble origins of this company. After Page and Brin wrote the code for their search engine, they tried to sell it to other established companies,
When people ask me about starting a career in voice-over, I usually recommend that they first read a book about the voice-over industry. A book is a small investment of time, money and energy to see whether a voice-over career is the right choice for you. I have quite a few books and audio programs. You can never learn too much, and every author has different experiences and viewpoints to relate.
Since I haven’t found time to re-create the static page on the new site with my recommended reading list, I’ve created an Amazon list that features my favorite voice-over
because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
-- Thomas Edison
I have read that one of the fastest ways to achieve your own dreams is to help other people achieve their dreams. I think that universal law is true because what you put out in the world comes back to you. In fact, one reason I started this blog is so I could help other people achieve their dreams of thriving voice-over careers.
However, when I write these articles, I benefit, too. I'm reminded of the days when becoming a voice-over artist were just a whispering in my mind. I think about every step I've taken to change that whisper into the reality of being a professional voice-over talent working in my beautiful Parisian-themed studio, and I can see how my consistent actions over time have built upon each other to make this fabulous career that I love. If I give advice to someone else, I re-read it as if I am the recipient and immediately think of areas in which I might improve in my own business.
I really do like to help people who are getting started or otherwise building their careers in voice-over, but I don't have much time to help people on an individual basis. I'm finding that it's much easier and faster for me to point anyone seeking my advice here and to my web site.
In this age of incredible technology and abundant information, I also think that people should do some research and have some respect for others' time. READ AND ABSORB everything you can before you start asking questions. Building a career takes time, and no shortcuts exist. No matter how much I or anyone tells you,
your success is totally up to YOU.I can't decide any action you should take. I can't do the work for you.
I can, however, highlight some lessons that I have learned along the way. When I mentioned the Atlanta attorney in yesterday's column, I said he was a brilliant marketer. Observant students of marketing would have noted that I said he had repeated his message in multiple media. While his slogan is "One call -- that's all", his success is due to the frequency and repetition of his marketing message in several formats. He's not just relying one type of marketing (or even more simply, one call!) and hoping to bring in business. He wants to make absolutely sure that you see him everywhere you look, and you know exactly what he does and what he can do for you.
We have an attorney in Atlanta who has made a fortune with the simple and effective advertising slogan "One call -- that's all." The guy is a brilliant marketer who has worked hard for his success, and he has imprinted his business and niche on the minds of everyone in the city. His face and phone number are everywhere -- TV ads, billboards, Yellow Pages, park benches. He probably has an ice cream flavor named after him somewhere. If I'm ever in a car wreck and fighting with my insurance company, I know who to call to settle the case and get my check.
Unfortunately, I think that a lot of people enter the voice-over business with his slogan in their minds. As often is the case, I received an e-mail from someone who read my advice page about getting started in voice-over. This person had recently completed a commercial demo, was frustrated by the "lack of response" to it and was requesting my critique on the demo. Since I am not currently teaching or coaching anyone on an individual basis, it's my policy not to give demo critiques as I would not be available to assist anyone with any revisions they might want to make on the basis on my comments. I always suggest that people find a reputable coach in whose opinion they can trust and work with that person to make their demo the finest it can be. Of course, if someone is interested in the random opinions of other working voice talent, they can always ask the good folks on the various voice-over Yahoo groups and the www.VO-BB.com site to share their views.
Anyone who reads all of my advice page will see that marketing, self-reliance and
PERSISTENCEwill be critical to your success. The dictionary can list different definitions for persistence, so maybe I need to add some from the perspective of a voice-over actor.
When someone tells me they have had "no response" to their demo, I will ask a series questions, such as:
- What is your marketing plan? Do you HAVE a marketing plan?
- What steps did you take to elicit a response?
- How many people who could hire you have you contacted about work?
- What follow-up steps did you take?
- What methods are you continuing to use to put your demo in the hands of as many people as possible?
- Do you have a web site?
- Do you take steps every day to market your talent?