Anyone who is in the voice over business knows that it’s a people business. Still, there are those prospective voiceover talent that come to me thinking and hoping it isn’t that way; they’d actually rather end up alone in some dark booth with only an engineer on the other side, voicing some documentary or book and then quietly slinking off into the night. It’s amazing how many peoples’ bubbles I have had to burst concerning this oddly reclusive vision of the business.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that voice acting is anything but a solitary venture, even if you are voicing most of your auditions and job from home. You’re always meeting new people, conversing, making connections, relating to agents, engineers, producers, directors, and casting people, constantly putting your energy out there for anyone and everyone to see and hear. Every time you go to or get a job, you are putting the best of who you are on the line. Now, being continually outgoing and charming does take a lot of energy, and it is one of the only businesses where you are selling yourself, not just your voice, as the product needed for the job.
Put into its proper perspective this can be tremendously fun, but it can also leave some people feeling depleted and vulnerable. This sets up the subtle expectation of recognition and even praise in return. Because this experience is so personal there is the hope of some kind of personal response. This is where a lot of voiceover people get hung up. If they don’t get a personal response for all of the energy they are putting out, they take it personally. It affects their mood and their ability to follow through in an industry that’s all about follow through. In this business you’ve got to get used to the reality that your voice, your persona and your charm are commodities. The better you’re able to represent these personal qualities the more attractive they become to any potential buyer. So it’s important to remain extremely personal in a sometimes very impersonal business. And that’s not always easy for everyone, because not everyone can always separate their own self worth from their perceived worth as a voice over talent. You have to decide who is going to be the keeper of your self-esteem: you or some industry to which you have given away your power. Is some director not picking you for a particular project going to overwhelm and negate the amazing amount of fun you had auditioning for it?
When I was a young actor in NY I defined my sense of accomplishment and self worth by whether I was acting or not. If I was, then you saw a guy on top of the world, but if I wasn’t then I was a worthless nobody. That up and down roller coaster of an existence is tiring and debilitating, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. The world of actors, agents and directors had power over me, not the other way around.
Too often we give away our power in hopes of acceptance, recognition, a feeling of belonging to some elite club. We make the mistake of desiring status over fun, recognition over the exhilarating act of creation. Why do people yearn so much for these things? Just take a look around. We live in a culture that pimps these qualities as being the most rare and attractive and desirable. We want the unattainable. But that status, especially in the oh so fickle entertainment industry, can be quite ephemeral. It will build you up only to leave you at a moments notice for the next great thing.
Gaining a perspective from the much larger framework of community, of your place in the world, allows you to see your relationship with this industry from a more encompassing vantage point, and to create a much healthier working relationship with yourself as a voiceover artist. Find that inviolable sense of self inside you and let it burn bright as you venture into this enjoyable and demanding world of voice over. The only expectation I would love for you to have going into an audition or a job is that you’re going to have fun, and to know that the fulfillment of that expectation lies solely on your shoulders.
Interested in working with David Rosenthal? Click here to view his upcoming classes and 1on1 coaching sessions
Want more information on GVAA services?