The Scary Journey
Part 1 – Knowing when to quit your day job!
Halloween is a great time to talk about how scary this voice journey can be. It can be a very difficult decision in one’s life, to take the risk to become a voice actor. The life of an actor is a roller coaster business. There is never a guarantee if you will have money from one month to the next, so if you rely on this industry solely for income, it’s a scary place to be. That doesn’t mean impossible, just nerving. YOU ALWAYS have to be ON. You have to be available, adaptable, and confident – yet meld into whatever personality the client needs you to be to succeed. You must stay diligent and self disciplined to get yourself out there in the places you belong. If you don’t say determined, you might never get to the crossroads of the industry, that we don’t always discuss. When do I jump into this full-time and quit my day job?
It’s impossible to say that there is only one answer to this, but what I will do is give you my opinion. When I started in this ONLINE industry – on its first inception – it was easy to get myself out there and find work. Not as many people were doing this back then so it was easy and second nature for me to knock down doors and find my way in. Just like the veteran union talent from the beginning birthing of their careers found it much easier to just land into the work. Now you have to aggressively seek it – as it’s a saturated market. Keep in mind however that there are over 1 million commercials aired every day – and that doesn’t include the rest of the industry. There is a ton of work out there, but you have to really look for it and know where you are strong and can stand out. Waiting for everyone to just find you is proving more and more difficult, so you have to always keep moving forward and planning ahead so you are always busy.
If you are booking so many jobs that you can’t keep up – and it’s proving fruitful – then it’s probably time to go to part-time working and test waters. Then again when that gets too much – it’s obvious it’s time to quit. If you aren’t booking more than 1 or 2 jobs a month, then there is hardly room to quit your day job yet. Much like joining union, you’ll know what to do when the opportunity finds you.
However there is much to be said about needing to take a risk. It’s 100% necessary to really know how good you are before you can consider giving up the day job. If you don’t take a big leap to quit the SECURITY JOB, then how will you ever know…but you better know just what you’re doing so you can make it work.
You have to run a business full time now – which means you have to stay on top of it and be good enough to do it. If you’ve taken any kind of training – you should KNOW if you are good enough to make it full time. You have to trust in that to succeed. And if you are insecure about it – it’s probably a sign telling you that you haven’t learned enough yet to hold the confidence to ‘make it happen’, not just ‘want it to happen’. It’s easy to voice and teach for me because I truly feel I know my stuff inside and out…so it’s easy. I’ve taken a ton of years and a ton of training to possess this knowledge though. If you have invested 100% in your skills, you will know you are ready…..it will be there, so trust your instincts, but take the necessary steps to know your stuff. This decision is ultimately up to you…..the BUSINESS ! Can you run a business?? Then you can make it work!
Part 2 – Knowing when to throw in the towel.
A scary place to be in our careers is, ‘when to throw in the towel’. This is asked of us often, “When do I give up on this dream”. First of all if it’s truly a dream and passion, you should know the necessary steps to make it happen and follow those steps 100%. Just like anything else in life. It’s always ‘You Get What You Give’. How much time are you truly investing into your craft? If you are putting in time to just the pay2plays and finding no results, the first thing to consider is what you’re doing in the auditions as there are other talent that are booking each day or week. If you’re just rip and reading the spots and not truly understanding how to bring the copy to life, then maybe the time you’re investing could be better spent in areas that will achieve growth?
Even amateur talent can make things happen for themselves, they just have to stay dedicated and driven to succeed. Before you decide if you should throw in the towel, ask yourself, “Have I done everything I can to make this happen”? If you’re just feed milling auditions out there and not seeing return, there is something to figure out. This is why some people succeed and others don’t. Sheer determination. I truly believe with the right efforts and tons of creativity to make it happen, nearly anyone can achieve this. Most of you just aren’t willing to put in the amount of time and money it can cost to get good enough to make it work.
So many people get involved thinking I can voice things – it will be easy, but Just like university – it can take years to be an expert….while others can learn very fast. So the question really is, “How Bad Do You Really Want It”? It’s a ton of hard work, but a ton of fun when you succeed it. So if you really want to succeed it then do what is necessary to make that happen. That’s not going to be easy and you will have to take uncomfortable risks to find success.
If you truly don’t feel that you want to invest that time and money and dedication, then perhaps this isn’t the industry for you. But the true answer and only one that holds true with certainty, is that if you don’t have a love and passion for this industry, this may not be the right place for you. It’s work, even though it’s fun, so you have to be willing to put in the time and dedication at all costs. You know the answer – so do what is right for you. Rise to the challenge, or find another challenge to rise to. Life is work, and we all have to find our part in it. We all have to put in the time – so find the career that allows you to enjoy and value the time that you put in.
Until Next time everyone
All my best
VO Chef Deb