Many call the Christmas season The Season of Giving. It’s the time when people purchase and exchange gifts with family and friends. That generosity can also extend to neighbors, clients, and work associates, well, you get the idea. But giving as a seasonal gesture of kindness and giving your skills to others for free is not the same. While the choice may seem in the spirit of benevolence, working for free can be at a cost to the giver, so choose wisely. Know your cost before you give your talents to others.
Budding performing artists like voice-over talents, actors, and singers in the early stages of their careers dream of success. So, it’s a no-brainer to accept a few free jobs. Getting exposure and building an impressive resume takes time and work, so if the paying projects are not coming in fast enough, a few free gigs should work just as well. The following points can help you think about your decision to hand out freebies to others.
Your Talent and Time Are Valuable
As a talent, you know or will soon become aware of the cost of getting good voice coaches, attending acting classes, developing an impressive website, and other essentials of working professionals. All the trappings of running a business take time and money; this is a fact. Investing your time and talent can be extensive in your professional career. Each day can only be lived once, so it’s gone once you’ve given it away.
You Are Paying Your Bills
When you work for free, you pay all your costs in the hopes of receiving future, un-guaranteed compensation. Moreover, if you are injured in some way or lose out on a paying gig while working for free, you are losing your investment of time and money many times over. Likewise, if travel, food, clothing, and other expenditures are passed on to you, your shell-out may be more than you bargained for.
How You Feel is Important
If you are giving away something precious to you, like your time and talent, you may feel like you’re being used or not valued once you’ve gotten over the honeymoon stage. Unless you are fully committed to your not-for-profit work, you may feel some resentment or regret. Deal quickly with any regrets so you can complete what you’ve started. Always be a person of integrity, and learn from each experience.
Potential Reason for Freebee Work
Let’s end on a positive note. Donated voiceover and acting work can be gratifying and lead to great things for your business and you personally. Think about these things when considering going forward.
“Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.” Wilson Mizner
Build Important Relationships
Wilson Mizner, American playwright, raconteur, and entrepreneur, famously said, “Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.” No matter where you are in your business, developing relationships with industry pros and the like can change your life. Successful people in the industry often produce pilot projects or new pro bono undertakings. Moreover, participating in projects with other voice actors, directors, or local businesses is a great way to get your name out there. Working in new areas can be your cue to great opportunities. A new relationship and learning experience can be on the horizon.
For example, acting in plays or small films are a great way of learning about the on-camera world. Voice acting is acting. Therefore, the more opportunities you get to know about character development, acting, or being on a movie set, the more it can help you grow as a talent.
Giving to Worthy Causes
Amy Morin, in There Are Only 4 Times You Should Agree To Work For Free, says, “When there’s an opportunity to get involved in a cause you believe in, it may make sense to focus on what you can give, rather than what you will gain.” If donating your time and talent to a project or cause is fulfilling, by all means, fulfill that need.
Many organizations work with undeserved communities and those first entering the job market who could not excel without skilled volunteers. But there is a difference between honorably submitting yourself through volunteering and becoming an injured party by supporting someone else’s vision. Don’t let the dreams of others and their ambitions keep you from respecting your dream.
As a creative voice talent, I love the voiceover business. My experiences have helped me learn and grow as a person. Wanting to give back is a part of showing compassion for others. My above recommendations hopefully can help you make wise choices when choosing to work for free. Make the choices that will benefit you and others. Now, go out there and break that lip—# breakthatlip.