Hello and Happy 2015 everyone! (about a month late…)
As it’s the time for resolutions (or maybe, a month into the new year, a time for NEW resolutions!), I think it’s a great time for everyone to take stock of their VO business (yes, I said BUSINESS, not career!) and make a really honest analysis of both where it is now, and where you’d like it to be in six months, and by the end of this year.
Someone famous (I don’t know who, but I’m sure they were wiser than me!) once said, “Fortune favors the prepared.” And because we all know that fortune really does play a significant role in this industry (after all, isn’t picking the voice or the perfect voice for a project subjective? — assuming, of course, that you understand the copy, the writer’s intent, and are delivering it accordingly…but that gets into the “prepared” part of this saying…), it behooves us all to make ourselves as prepared as possible.
So what does that mean, exactly? To “be prepared”? (Aside from being the Boy Scouts motto, of course.) The good news is that there are a myriad of things we as VO talent can do to be prepared! (The bad news is, that as VO talent there are myriad things we can do to be prepared…and only so many hours in a day/week/month/year.)
These things include (but are not limited to):
— Get coaching/take classes. No matter what level you are at in this business, you can always learn more, or learn something new, from someone new! And there are scads of amazingly talented, awesome coaches, many of whom can coach you via Skype or telephone, so you don’t have to be in the same time zone, much less the same state!
— Get feedback on your performance. While this certainly goes along with the “get coaching” suggestion, getting feedback from peers and other industry professionals can also be really helpful and help you step up your game. Think about submitting reads to the Weekly Workout on VoiceRegistry, or to the weekly script contest at Edge Studio. I guarantee you’ll get some advice or feedback that will help you out on future reads.
— Think about taking an improv class. Being able to shake loose the cobwebs, get yourself out of a rut and think on your feet can ONLY be helpful, especially if you’re working with a client who isn’t entirely sure what they want or wants you to try things lots of different ways. Plus it just gets those creative juices flowing! Don’t live in a major metropolitan area where there’s an improv theater group? Take classes or participate in workouts online at LoveThatImproVO!
— Create business documents and rate cards. Know what you want to charge for various types of jobs, and create templated rate cards, proposals, invoices, etc. to send out to clients. BE PROFESSIONAL!
— Know how to work your equipment. Maybe you’re lucky enough to get to record in an actual studio, with an actual producer and an actual sound person. But even if you’re only doing auditions from home, make sure they sound top-notch, and make sure you know how to work your own equipment so that you can quickly get top-quality auditions (or finished projects!) out the door. Not a sound guru? Check out George Whittam’s audio service, where he’ll create a personalized stack for you based on the specs of YOUR studio!
— Lastly, be a nice person who is easy to work with. Make every job as easy, painless and smooth a process as possible for every client. They’ll want to work with you again, and may even recommend you to other people!
No, this list is not comprehensive by any stretch. But this is certainly a good start to getting and being prepared so that hopefully, the next time we audition, we’ll nail it (because we’ve correctly analyzed the script, nailed the delivery to perfectly honor the writer’s words and intentions, created a top-quality audio file, and done it all with a smile!)
Good luck and break a lip in 2015!