Embracing the Hustle and Living the Dream in Voice Acting

Living the dream.

Living the Dream in Voice Acting

Success is often seen as an enigma, a puzzle waiting to be solved. It’s a journey that many embark upon, but few truly understand. In our quest for success, we often overlook the simple truths that have been right in front of us all along. So, what does an empty bench have to do with success? The answer, as we’ll discover, lies in the profound simplicity of it all.

The Ever-Evolving Voice Over Industry

The voice over industry has undergone remarkable changes in recent years. A decades ago, there were a handful of people in L.A. and NY who worked all. the. time. Fast forward a few decade, and that number is in the 100,000’s of thousands; many talent who are unlikely working full time but that’s still an absurd increase in potential competition.

The game-changer? The ability to record from home. This innovation allows talented and educated solopreneurs with recording abilities to join in the party.

For many years before, voice talent, like other performers such as actors and models, relied heavily on agents to secure work. A voice actor would create a demo on a “cassette,” land a coveted meeting with a potential agent, hopefully secure a spot on their roster, and then be called into a studio to audition, with the ultimate hope of landing a job. These jobs were often high-paying, and veterans of the voice over industry built their careers, reputations, and bank accounts through this tried-and-true method.

Technology Revolutionizes the Game

However, technology changed EVERYTHING. As soon as the internet allowed audio files to be shared, suddenly we had the technical capacity to receive a script, record a digital file, send the audio, and be paid(!) all by computer. My experience has been that of the latter—enjoying the convenience of working from home without the need for an agent or a commute to a fully loaded studio.

What I Do With My Days

Here’s a glimpse into the daily life of a productive voice talent:

  • Training
  • Goal setting
  • Industry research
  • Business planning
  • Market strategizing
  • Demo creation
  • Studio setup
  • Knowledge of editing software
  • Office systems setup
  • Rate card creation
  • Technical troubleshooting
  • Creating promotional assets (business cards, promo photos, web pages, and potentially social media accounts)
    And that’s just the beginning.

Successful Voice Actor Must-Haves

But what does it take to truly succeed as a voice actor? Here are the must-haves:

  1. Talent: Enough said.
  2. Business Acumen: You need to know how to navigate the business world and remain professional in spite of your artistic need to simply act.
  3. Technical Ability: While we can be supported by technical experts, running ones’ own voiceover business requires understanding your studio equipment.
  4. Sweat Equity: There is no dramatic success unless you work at your business—a lot. If you read between the lines, everyone works their tail off right from the beginning.

Ongoing Efforts

The voice acting journey doesn’t stop with the basics. It involves continuous efforts such as:

  • Consistent training
  • Auditioning
  • Networking
  • Relationship building
  • Lead generation
  • Demo updating
  • Administration (database management, accounts receivable, bookkeeping)
  • Collecting assets (completed work, testimonials, client logos)
  • Inbound and outbound marketing (content creation, social media participation)
  • Industry education
  • …And much more, which seems to go on and repeat itself daily.

The True Secret of Success

So, one of my must-haves mentioned above…it’s what we call “sweat equity.” This revelation came to me in my mid-20s. Success demands hard work, dedication, and relentless effort. It’s not about shortcuts or luck; it’s about putting in the hours and pushing yourself to excel. Whether you’re in the union, have an agent, or are a solo entrepreneur working from your home studio, success is attainable if you’re willing to do the work. Embrace your unique journey, and let your passion drive you towards mastering your craft.

Defining Success in Voice Acting

In the voice over industry, success has taken on various meanings over the years. Some define it as simply being a part of the actor’s union, SAG-AFTRA. But for most, the definition remains elusive. The industry has evolved significantly. The question of what constitutes the epitome of success has been a topic of contemplation. Is it about wealth, high-profile gigs, or fame? While these factors matter to some, I propose a different perspective.

Living the Dream

Being in voice over has always meant “living the dream”—having the time and flexibility to lead a fulfilling life while being compensated for full-time work. If sweat equity is the secret, then simply being paid for doing what you set out to do is success in itself.

The Symbol of the Empty Park Bench

So why an empty park bench? Well, it’s a symbol of both the dream and the reality. The dream is having the time and flexibility to sit and watch the world go by, and the reality is, we’re likely too busy to sit there.

In the world of voice acting, success isn’t an enigma. It’s a journey of dedication, skill, and unwavering passion. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting, the secret to success lies in the sweat equity you invest in your craft. So, go ahead, embrace the hustle, and make your mark in the ever-evolving world of voice acting.

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