Voice Over Is LIke Online Dating

September Day Carter HeadshotBy September Day Carter

In most industries, there’s a position to be filled, a job summary is released, resumes are submitted, interviews happen, the position is filled with a few years stability. Unless you joined Merrill Lynch in 2006. Then, you were screwed. But, hey, do you have a nice voice? Great! Read on.

In voice over, there are literally thousands of positions to be filled each and every day. It’s a veritable cornucopia of work. Some jobs pay well. Others pay in pesos. Every day you will read job descriptions and try to convince the job posters that you are the person for the job without sometimes really getting what the actual job might be all about. You will clamor to stand out from the crowd so that a person will pick you. You might even buy some add-ons or participate in a few workshops to get a leg up.

And you’ll do all this for people you’ve never even met face-to-face! Sound familiar? Then you’ve probably posted a profile or three on some internet dating sites. Booking jobs, finding a coach and getting representation in voice over is like trying to date online. Allow me to elucidate.

Some jobs, like some online profiles, are true head-scratchers. Some are all over the place about wanting someone who loves to cook (need a warm and natural voice), but then hates everything except raw Velveeta (must read all 500 words of copy in 30 seconds with a touch of Gilbert Gottfried). Some are rather cryptic and contain only a one word greeting like, “Hi!” (Need male talent), while others are a little more detailed in their life story, opting to begin profiles with “I was born on a Thursday…” (Need a male voice with 48% George Clooney, 12% Enrique Iglesias, and a dash of Sean Connery without the accent. Would be great if talent could sound as if he were recording just about 15 degrees south of the Mason-Dixon line).

In voice over, and online dating, it’s important to know how much you want to work for that person. Maybe you’re fresh and full of life and hope and energy. By all means, you go for that high maintenance project! But, if you’re a little more seasoned, you might choose the client, and person, who has a clear vision of what makes them happy. In all situations, avoid the stalkers.

Some agents are like those weird models on Instagram: tons of followers, mostly people who are not in the industry and are just there to be cool, like some agents are more about wearing the label of “Agent” rather than hustling to get work for their roster. You’re never going to date the Instagram Model and you’re never going to get on that Agent’s roster.

The good news? That’s great! Both are not worth your time and energy. The model has low esteem issues and you’d be forced into a life of constant reassurance of his/her beauty. The agent has high self-esteem issues and you won’t be getting any auditions. Better to find the account belonging to the person with pictures of them doing actual stuff with actual friends or family and better to find that agent who is too busy finding work for their roster to post on Facebook every 10 minutes.

Which brings me to…if that person has always “logged on in the last hour”, when do they have time to have a real life? If a talent or agent or coach is flooding your Facebook feed day after day, when do they have time to do all this work they claim to have? As you learn the dating game, you understand it’s easier to date someone who has their own life and interests.

As you learn the voice over game, you begin to see the more work you’re doing, the less time you have to comment on every single conversation on every single voice over group. Being consistently logged into PleaseMarryMe.com isn’t healthy and being logged in consistently to comment on everything VO isn’t healthy for your career either.

There will be trial and error. You will put yourself out there over and over. There will be times you feel in your gut that you NAILED IT, and the phone still doesn’t ring. Times where you’ll think, “If I could just talk to them, they’d know I’m The One!” Times where you’ll see that very special person out with your very own acquaintance and hear that spot voiced by your very own close colleague.

But coveting other voice talents’ success is very much like the lyrics to Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”: tasteless and wrong. Most voice talents, like Jessie, worked hard for their bliss, and for you to glare and plot their doom means not only are you wasting time not getting your next gig, it also makes you kind of a creepy jerk, even if you are bright enough to rhyme “cute” with “moot.”

In the end, you’ll enjoy some one-job stands and you’ll also find clients who stick with you. Some things you will voice like you were born to voice them. And some will have felt like a good idea at the time. Some jobs will have substance and some you will do just for the money. Early on, you might even experiment a little with different…voices. Don’t give up! Remember what Steve Martin’s said in L.A. Story, “There’s someone out there for everyone – even if you need a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find them.” And it’s true in voice over, too.

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September Day Carter joined the voice over industry in 2007 and began coaching in 2009. Her clients include projects for Amazon, Mary Kay, Disney, The American Red Cross, MTV, and Bravo TV. She enjoys all types of music, reading, and horseback riding. September lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her business partner, best friend, fellow VO talent and soul mate, Bob Carter, and their three children: Cadence, Patience, and Jack, whom they are raising to voice as well as star in the 2032 Olympics.

 

September Day Carter

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