At the end of each year, I review my journals to see what I accomplished. In doing this exercise for 2011, I found some comments that I want to share with you.
Just over a year ago, the media was in a feeding frenzy with news about a voiceover talent who seemingly became an overnight success.
You may remember the story of Ted Williams. In one day, he went from being a homeless person to someone who was overwhelmed with lucrative offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the NFL, MTV, Kraft, and other companies.
I might have been the only voice talent in America who didn’t write publicly about this story at the time, with the exception of this comment I left on fellow voice talent David Houston’s blog:
I am sooo glad to see you make the point that we shouldn’t spend time worrying about any voiceover career outside of our own!
I haven’t commented on anything to do with this story until now. I am amazed at the time and energy that some voice talent have used this week in all the blog posts, forum comments, social media updates, etc. that they have devoted to this one topic.
The reaction in the v-o community has become like the people who sit around and endlessly discuss any TV contest reality show, particularly American Idol.
I choose to put my spare time and energy into the pursuit of my own goals and dreams rather than waste it thinking and talking about those of someone else.
However, I did write about the story in my journal. I was extremely irritated that so many companies wanted to attach their names to the story AFTER Ted’s balloon soared. Of course, they all had to send out a press release to tout their benevolence in making offers of voiceover work to Ted.
More importantly, and the reason for this post today, is that my journal entry included 8 positive things I learned from watching the video of Ted and witnessing the reaction:
1. You have to believe in yourself and your talent before anyone else will.
2. You have to ask for what you want.
3. You have to persist and persevere through the bad times.
4. Chance or luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
5. You can’t be denied the good things that are meant for you.
6. The power of video is an incredible tool for reaching your prospects.
7. People who are labeled as an overnight success generally have been working diligently for years to achieve their new success.
8. You can’t sit on your past accomplishments and expect to continue receiving offers.
Although celebrated voiceover coach Marice Tobias did not mention Ted Williams in her recent blog entry titled Moving Forward, her words seem like a fitting postscript to this entry:
Enough railing about the business. It is what it is.
Concentrate on what you can actually do something about.
Too many reads just don’t hit the mark. Make sure what you are turning in will indeed stop people in their tracks.
Don McClendon says
Hi Karen. Just wanted to comment on your blog about VO’s and Ted Williams. First, I have been in the entertainment/announcing business for some time now, and have had some success, but not STEADY success as a voice actor in St. Louis. I’m trying to market myself, (short of going homeless) to other companies here and abroad. Most recently, I applied to a company in India that specializes in VO translations. Only thing is, they were translations from ALL languages spoken in India to english! But they were nice enough to send me their appplication criteria. I’m wondering if I should continue to persue this potential project or forget about it altogether. Second, I thought Ted Williams’ “discovery” was a great human interest story. I even called my agent and told them I wanted to be like Ted Williams (jobwise) and like Flo on the progressive commercials. The agency came through mid-year with a VO from Maritz (2 in one day!) and a huge project with the Veteran’s Administration that came at a time when my regular job quit on me, my car went out, and I had no idea what I was going to do. After all that I still don’t know what to do. No job of any kind has come through. Still on unemploytment, and don’t want to work for anyone anymore just to make them rich. Ok, I’ve vented and ranted to you, all that’s left is to say “help”?
Greetings, Don! Thanks for the note. In reading your post, it seems to me that you’ve taken a scattershot approach to your marketing. Scattered thinking leads to scattered results.
Here are a few ideas that might help you achieve the success you seek:
1) Any change you want to make starts with a change in your thinking. The “Focus on Your Goals” and “Make Course Corrections” sections of this post give you a quick intro to that topic:
2) Instead of thinking that you’d be working for someone else just to make them rich, how about thinking that you would be working to make YOURSELF rich?
I don’t mean to sound cruel or insensitive, but, if you’re on unemployment, the first order of business is to take care of your survival needs. A friend gave me the great analogy: You don’t go on safari until you’ve established a base camp. The base camp needs to be funded and functional
I had a day job for 33 years, and I worked the last 12 years part-time in voiceover. One of my mentors advised me early on to think of myself as a $100K a year voice talent who occasionally performs other work.
Here are some plugs for having a day job:
3) Once you’re ready to move forward in voiceover, read Michael Port’s book on marketing and Catherine Ponder’s book about prosperity as detailed in this post:
Even if you don’t read those books, I strongly encourage you to read and follow the steps given in my favorite marketing book, which is C. J. Hayden’s GET CLIENTS NOW! as described in this post:
4) Note that changing your thinking is an on-going, evolutionary process. Saying that you want to have jobs like Ted Williams is a step in the right direction. You will want to consistently think/write/speak what you want as indicated in this article:
5) However, you can’t think or say something once and expect your good to magically flow from it. You have to repeat the thoughts and ACT on the flashes of inspiration you receive.
Diligently following the 5 quick tips for following your dreams listed in this article will bring you as close to MAGIC as is possible:
6) I’m a firm believer in affirmations because they rewire your brain. My favorite one lately is: “People just LOVE to give me money!” Try it — I know you’ll like it!
I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. Best wishes for your health, prosperity, and SUCCESS!