THE THREE P’s. Guest Post by Lisa Costello.
The three P’s. No, you are not stuck in a plosive nightmare…
I’m talking about:
We all experience imposter syndrome, or we compare ourselves to others and feel deflated or overwhelmed. Sometimes we just feel stuck – stuck in our thoughts, our old tapes playing the same useless rhetoric that we must work to let go of.
It’s tough to be flyin’ solo with just a mic and a padded room to keep us company. But on this funny road of voiceover, or almost any creative freelance gig, what is most helpful in getting the career that I want out of my dreams and into my car, are those three P’s. (Points to those who get the reference there ; ) ).
Some days are just going to feel better than others. Sometimes you hit that flow. The challenge is how to extend those periods of time. And speaking of periods – ok, well, I’m not going to get all TMI here….but biology plays a part, at least for me, in how easy it is, or not, to overcome the negative thought patterns in my head and at least have a good chunk of productive hours on these ‘off’ days.
Motivation and persistence – even when you don’t feel like it, even when it seems daunting. It’s a mind over matter thing. So, yeah, a challenge.
Here’s how I think of it, or at least try:
I like to swim. And being in Northern California, pretty much ALL the water is cold. Lakes, rivers, ocean – by most folks standards, freezing. But I don’t really mind. At first, it sucks to get in. But I don’t think about it how cold it is, I don’t slowly wade in. I walk quickly in the water to a place where I can safely dip or swim, my body fully submerged. At times, it’s so BITTERLY cold, almost immediately I can’t feel my hands. Regardless, I just keep moving, slow down my breathing and eventually I feel fine. I don’t feel cold. I feel connected, light, floating and calm.
Now, am I advocating for you to find the coldest water nearest to you and jump in. Of course not. Instead, maybe you have something analogous to this in your life…? A situation or hobby where you are pushing through, mind over matter to get it done without so much pressure to succeed. I find that when I’m doing something I really like and want to get better at without the need to pay the bills as part of the equation, I tend to succeed faster, or persist easier even if progress is slow. I don’t worry so much about it. Of course, I like what I do but making a living as a creative is challenging. It brings up all kinds of demons that don’t rear their ugly heads when I’m developing a skill used in my hobby. However, having the space to flex that persistence muscle helps. I know that I have the capacity to do that when the work life brings obstacles. I feed off that previous experience.
No matter how much experience or success one has, coaching and workouts are very necessary and helpful in order to improve the craft. I highly recommend regular coaching sessions with a qualified and experienced coach to stay on your game. It can get expensive, but even just a few times a year is a great investment in your business. The progress you make in those sessions will pay off. Workouts, whether coach or peer led, are also resources worth tapping into on the reg. They are not as expensive as a private sessions and SO helpful to see others perform and hear the feedback. Peer led is great fun and can sometimes feel less intimidating and also (usually) free! You can even start your own! Just make sure you have a range of skill sets and levels so that it’s actually beneficial to the entire group.
Another practice that I find worth doing is auditing my own auditions. A fellow VO friend of mine, does this and suggested I try it. At first, I was thinking ‘ugh’ I don’t want to go back and listen to how awful I may have been! The self critic is strong with this one. Ha! Honestly, though, it is really an effective way to avoid making the same mistakes and then sitting in a bad habit. And, also honestly, this is a practice I’m just beginning to solidify. The way I do it is this: On Monday mornings, I pick a few auditions from two weeks ago. That way I have some distance from it and probably forget what I’ve even auditioned for! I then listen back and write down a few things that I hear that could improve and keep those things in mind as I audition throughout the week. For example: weak energy in the beginning, lost the storyline toward the middle or too polished. If I find I keep making the same mistakes, I’ll bring that up in a coaching session.
You are working everyday toward your goals. You have systems and methods to keep you focused. What you also need is patience. When you are marketing, for example, you are not likely to book something from that first outreach. You have simply planted a seed. Direct marketing works; it just takes time to come to fruition. This one is tough for me. I want to do the work, not hunt for it all the time. Ahhh! However, that’s 80% of the job. I find solace in knowing I’m doing something everyday to push forward and let buyers know I exist. What helps is taking a deep breath and, well, looking at my garden! Those plants didn’t just sprout up fully formed and ready to give me mouth watering fruits. It took time. It took patience.
There is a lot that goes into a successful and lucrative voiceover career. What I have found is that the three P’s are large part of it.
Much success in your voiceover journey!
BIO: Lisa Costello, Voice Actor, Audio Engineer
With decades of experience in the studio and on stage, Lisa can assure quality and reliability in recording and editing. She’s more comfortable behind a soldering iron than a curling iron and very often need to be dragged out of the record store. Her love of singing, the story of song, has helped shaped her sense of telling a concise and compelling story. She understands how the voice is a part of a larger picture. Audio can stand alone and create a rich visual texture in our imagination or it can support a visual on screen making it a more visceral experience.