10 Questions I’m Asked About My Voiceover Career – The GKN Weekly Update 2/10/15
NEWS AND NOTES!
I’m gonna be on TV! And by TV I mean online. But it’s TV. Sort of. Actually, it’s the best of both worlds!
I will be a guest on “Talk Center America“, a new online interactive series hosted by my friend Diane Dimond. The episode is called “Inside The Job: Voiceover Artist” It will air live this Wednesday, February 11 at 8PM EST. Please tune in and support the show!
I love being a voice talent. It’s fun, it fulfilling, and I get to work with amazing people. There is almost no downside to it.
I can only think of 1 1/2 things. 1 1/2? Yes, 1 1/2.
The 1 is the unpredictability of the voiceover industry. You can work with a client for years and suddenly they just vanish. Sometimes they lose their end-client, hire a cheaper voice talent, or go out of business. These things are uncontrollable and are just part of the business. That’s why you need a consistent marketing plan to manage your client churn.
The 1/2 is the questions.
Almost every week through various circumstances (attending a networking event, standing in line, etc.) a stranger discovers what I do for a living and many if not most of the questions below invariably follow. I say 1/2 because the questions and the questioners are mostly harmless and most days I (and my ego) are happy to answer them. Other days, not so much. Why? Look at the questions and tell me what you think:
- You’re a what? Most people don’t think about who is the voice in this cartoon or that commercial, much less that it’s a vocation.
- Where have I heard you? There are two motivations behind this question. Some ask because they would be thrilled to have heard you in the past and listen for you in the future. Others ask because they think if they haven’t heard you, then you’re not really a voice talent.
- How did you get into that? Once again, two motivations. Some ask because they’re genuinely curious. Most people divide occupations into two categories: those you go to college for and those you don’t. Who ever heard of a voiceover major in college? The other motivation is because they want to know how they can get in to it.
- Is is good money? If you know what you’re doing.
- Where do you go to record? I record mostly from home but I go to various studios in New York and New Jersey.
- That must be fun, right? Yes!
- Do you have an agent? Most people can’t imagine how a performer gets work without an agent. I have multiple agents and a manager but I get most of my work on my own. Which leads to the next question…
- So how do you find work? It only takes a few seconds for their eyes to glaze over after I start to explain positional branding and action plans.
- My friend has a good voice. Can you get him a job? No.
- How can I be a voice talent? Finally, an honest question! Thousands of dollars, lots of coaching, a home studio, lots of free time, and the ability to embrace failure. Hearing “thousands of dollars” is enough for most to lose interest.
TIP OF THE WEEK:
Here’s what some think but never ask: are you ever going to get a real job?
Is that a fair question? From my end it’s a bit insulting, but I understand why some folks think that way. Most people are hourly employees or on salary so the idea of doing something fun for a living and working from home just doesn’t compute.
If that question is ever posed to me, this is probably how I would answer:
Being a voice talent is not a job, it’s a career. I’m self-employed and I put in as many hours as anyone else does. Just because those hours are put in at my home doesn’t make them any less difficult. Also, most of those hours are not spent recording inside the booth. They are spent doing clerical work and marketing myself in a myriad of ways to develop relationships with both potential and existing clients.
My point is that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. However, I do enjoying mowing my lawn!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
STUFF!: I saw “The Imitation Game” last week. It’s a fascinating story and the actors did a marvelous job!
From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere: GKN News…