Having been in the voice over business for almost three decades now, I feel like I’ve learned a decent amount about the industry and myself as an actor. I’ve had experiences that have ranged from terrible to amazing, and a few that have been downright crazy. I’ve reached what I thought were my limits as an actor, only to discover I could push beyond those. I worked with clients who have become dear friends, and I’ve been starstruck by other actors.
Suffice it to say, it’s been an awesome ride... and it's still going!
If I had a time machine, I would definitely hop inside and program it to the time when I started doing voice over work, because boy do I have some things I would like to say to “newbie me.”
Here are 5 of those things:
1. Rejection isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can actually be a good thing. When you receive a “no” from someone, it forces you to stop and think about why, and what you can do to change that. And if it’s not something you can change, you learn to accept it, focus on your strengths, and move on.
2. Making mistakes isn’t going to end your career. Everyone makes mistakes, and like rejection, they can actually be beneficial. Mistakes mean learning and growth, and every time you screw up, you become just a little bit better at what you do.
3. Patience is a virtue. It took me a long time to figure this one out, but being patient is one of the keys to success and happiness in this biz. You are not going to become an in-demand, household name in a day. It takes time, tons of hard work, and then some more time. So be patient.
4. Quit talking and listen. So many of us actors just love to hear ourselves talk - we’re voice actors, so what did you expect? But all that talking means there’s not a whole lot of listening going on, and this is what you need to do. Listen and observe what’s going on around you, and seek out information where you can. This is how you grow as a professional.
5. Just be yourself. When you listen to a highly successful actor, it can be so tempting to say “I know! I’ll do what he’s doing!” Except this is a bad idea, because you need to be YOU. That guy is already taken. Find your unique sound, build your unique brand, and just be yourself.