We all have areas of curiosity in our search for the career that fits our personality and will give back to our pocket. The voice acting business is a creative way of self-expression and to help clients connect with their audiences. Running any business involves keeping a watchful eye on its structure and progress. If you find you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for as a voiceover artist, it may be time to move on and seek another creative pursuit.
Recently, I did a little moving on from Golf when I tried it over a year ago. As a former tennis player, I thought it would be a good fit (maybe I wanted to be like Althea Gibson). The concepts seem similar, and I felt I had a good eye for focused contact with a ball (or any other object hurried at me). So, I took a few group lessons and semi-private classes then spent time at the range practicing my swing. Well, a couple of months into new pursuit, I realized my assumed natural bent to hitting the ball at least most of the time, may have been a little off. Not willing to give in too soon, I kept at it for a few more months.
Then one day while leaving the golf course, I asked myself an honest question, “Is golf something that I have the time, the willingness, and the finances to continue until I reach my perceived success?” Although my intentions were good, I realized that learning to play golf would take years and substantial finances to achieve a good handicap. Not only that, but I didn’t really enjoy my new pursuit, it wasn’t my passion. The activity was just something I picked up because it looked fun, and I thought it might be an excellent way to expand my friendships. It was time for me to move on.
Cost of the Learning Curve ( Don’t make your clients pay for your learning) – In a new pursuit, there’s always a learning curve. A professional voice talent must make the time to learn the business, which includes recording, editing, marketing, and other skills. This time usually involves long hours of study and reading. Costs can consist of hundreds and even thousands of dollars spent before reaching a comfort level as a proficient voice actor. So, it’s not a good idea to venture out for clients until you’re well equipped to provide your best. Producers expect the very best from professional voice talents, so determine the amount of time you will spent practicing and learning new voiceover skills and then double it. Determine if you can financially operate your business and pay for your training with no incoming revenue for (sometimes) long periods of time.
Think About Your Passion – When I think back on my golf experience, the pursuit was not wrong, I just was not committed and passionate about spending the money and time to become proficient in the game. While I liked and was fascinated by the skill, I was not willing to pay the fees, dues, and other costs long-term. The sport was not my passion, just an interest.
Voice acting must be your passion. Know why and what you want from the career field. Again, there will be more long hours learning, marketing, and running the business than you can imagine. Only a passionate pursuit and purpose can fuel a voiceover business in the making. If you’re not excited about voiceovers, you may want to consider a different career field.
Know When it’s Time to Go or Stay – A new voice actor can take years to solidify himself or herself in the industry. There are no shortcuts to voiceover success (read my earlier blog). Know when you are on the right path to reaching your business goals or if it’s it not working out for you. Don’t spend all that you have physically and financially on a passing curiosity.
I meet a lot of folks who are fascinated with the idea of voice acting. However, when I explain to someone what it takes to become a successful working talent, he or she usually losses their zeal. But, I think that’s a good thing. It’s better to understand the costs of time and resources needed now or within the first year or two of a voice acting business, than after spending thousands of dollars on equipment and coaches to realize voice acting is not one’s passion.
There’s no shame in deciding to move on with your shirt (financially speaking). So, you may not see me on the golf course, but I plan to be in my vocal booth for as long as I can. Is voiceover your fun pursuit (my golf) or your real passion? Only you have the answer and the way to the best commitment in your life.
Break a lip.