VO Newbie Corner: The Time Is NOW!

hourglassI noticed lots of chatter in the various voice actor forums this month about new talent being unable and/or unwilling to begin auditioning. The reasons vary wildly but there is a lot of “my demos aren’t ready and/or good enough”, “my website isn’t ready and/or good enough” to “I don’t sound like I think I should sound” and “I’m only good with my coach in the room” and on and on. But they are all versions of the same theme: “I’m not ready, I’m not there yet”.

I want to say that this is all nonsense and does not belong in either your internal or external dialogue. There is no “ready” or “there” to get to. As an artist you must continue to risk and grow. You never get there.

Just a brief look at Face Book, on any given day, and you’ll see talent at all experience levels posting about redoing their demos. And those who aren’t posting are reading those posts and saying “OMG – I’ve got to do that with Demo A” and “OMG – I’ve got to do that with Demo B”. No matter what your experience level we are all constantly either redoing those dang demos or thinking about it. We are all also constantly taking classes. We take classes from our peers, from people we are friends with and people who are strangers. We gulp up knowledge, tips and info from anyone and anyplace where it is being offered. This is all because we understand that as soon as you arrive at one “there” or “ready” – you can begin to see the next “there” or “ready” around the corner.

For instance, my audiobook was produced (one on one) by Pat Fraley. Now it doesn’t get any better than that. However, I’m in the process of redoing my demo to include actual clips of my audiobook work. The demo Pat produced is top notch however (thankfully) I got better, a lot better from the work I’ve done in the actual field. This happens with everything and all demos.

No demo that you make will “stand the test of time” – unless, of course, you stop getting better and getting work. Trends change, you change and so will your demos. Everything will change and get better – the quality of your auditions, your studio, your demos, your business acumen. The time to begin is now. This is like any other profession. The pre-med student doesn’t get hired to do neuro-surgery in his 2nd year – but he continues to learn and practice until he does get that 1st surgery and then the next and the next. Each time being a better Doctor than the time before. He doesn’t wait until he has neuro-surgery down pat – no, he starts with taking blood and studying everything he can get his hands on.

It may seem as if some people simply explode onto the scene. The old “overnight success” myth is just that – a myth. There is no such thing. For instance, Pat Fraley sent me a student of his who wanted to self produce a book that was in the public domain. Working together we were able to not only get that book sold but he also got another contract with the same publisher for a 3 book deal after this one. This talented man had never done an audiobook before. But he fell in love with this book and worked to make it happen. He continues his studies at UCLA as a Theatre major and we begin recording the full audiobook next week. So, years of study, following his passion, networking with the right people and then working like crazy on the sample for consideration. Overnight success? No! Lots of time, work and money and then success. And this success will only continue for him because he understands what it takes and is not afraid to begin.

Now you might snag a huge job early on – that’s wonderful. All it means is that you’re doing lots of things right. However, it may be a while before you get another like that. That doesn’t mean you’re now doing most things wrong. All it means is that you, like the surgeon, are building a career. Building is the operative word here. You keep building and one day you’re the in-demand neuro-surgeon with a waiting list. But you cannot build on nothing. The time to begin is now. No more excuses. Excuses and procrastination do not serve you or your goals.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Your time is NOW.

Vanessa Hart

About Vanessa Hart

Vanessa Hart is an in-demand voice-over artist who has performed hundreds of commercials, narrations, and national TV Promos, and has performed dozens of award winning audiobooks. She was the 2009 Voice Award finalist for Best Female Voice, and was also recognized as a finalist in the Audie 2008 awards. Vanessa is a veteran voice coach and demo producer and author of The Power of 5: The Fundamentals, and now Audiobooks A—Z available at her e-mail address below.

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