Updated: Jul 21, 2021
A tweet popped up in my feed recently proclaiming that, to be successful in the voice-over industry, you must be available to your clients and agents 24/7. "Ew..." I thought to myself.
When I was first starting out in freelance VO about 7 years ago, I was overwhelmed by opinions and Facebook group posts and coaches all claiming to have the secret sauce. The answer to breaking into this industry. The inevitable steps you would have to take to "make it." I was able to sift through and find the people that would truly show me the way (more on that next week), but finding those gems was tough. And it required wading through a lot of bullshit. Here are some of the recurring "red flags" I found within the sea of said bullshit:
Words like hustle, grind, disruption, and sacrifice.
A baffling level of confidence that a simple internet search would reveal to be unearned.
A self-proclaimed "brutally honest" approach to answering questions or sharing opinions. A quote to make you ponder: "People who are brutally honest generally enjoy the brutality more than the honesty." - Richard Needham
An ignorance or disregard for the need of proper representation in voiceover as well as equal access to opportunities.
Let's focus on the first red flag: words like hustle, grind, disruption, and sacrifice. Are these words pleasant to you? If you look at a baby do you think, "May you sacrifice yourself and have the most hustle among the grinders so that you may disrupt an industry forever and always. Amen." No. You wish upon them fulfillment, love, and a healthy mix of safety and adventure. Simply, you wish them life. And life is not hovering around your email 24/7 and teaching your clients that you will accommodate their procrastination. In the 7 years I've been doing this, I can count on one hand the amount of times a client just couldn't wait until Monday for audio.
You set your boundaries. You set your email notifications. You decide when you log out for the day.
Of course there are going to be times that are busier than others. Occasionally I'll need an extra hour in the booth to get my work done. Or I scheduled too many audiobooks too close together and need a couple hours on a Saturday to catch up. Or a client I've worked with on multiple projects will ask for a rare favor and, because they're such a good client, I'll accommodate. But it is not my baseline. It is the exception.
Have I missed out on an audition because my husband and I committed to a fun day together? Yep. Lots of times. I don't even remember what those auditions were for. But I do have loads of memories and adventures to reminisce about.
Your career will not be made by one audition showing up in your inbox on a Saturday night. Your consistency, reliability, and integrity will ensure those career-changing opportunities come your way again and again.
Don't let any dude in a Facebook Group tell you otherwise.
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