It’s been a few months since I started this blog and one of the things that I’ve been doing is monitoring the industry. The trends… the culture… the traditions.
In much of my life I am very inquisitive. Like children when they are 3 or 4 they become a headache to their parents. Why is the sky blue. Why can’t I drive a car . Why do I have to sleep by 8 pm. etc.
The only difference is I am the one asking my self these questions and I give myself a headache sometimes when I can’t find a logical answer to them.
Like any dysfunctional family we have allot of problems, we the members of the voice over family of performers. We wish we were more successful but we don’t do anything about it. We want to be decent human beings and good siblings to our fellow voice over talent. But we have no problems undercutting their price or being envious of their success.
And there is one more thing that bothers me.
Many of us are negative. We try to dissuade anyone thinking of joining our ranks from doing so. We claim that it is because they bring down the prices or that they give us a bad name because they don’t provide good quality work. Or their performances are lacking… how can they even sell their work and get paid… The client should be getting paid to even feature their work.
You’re a mean person Mr. & Mrs. VO. I won’t generalize. But I have seen it with the directory I put together… and trust me I’m not trying to be holier than thou and tell you that I’m better in anyway because I compiled the directory. A few people helped me. But that’s what’s bothering me so much… I can count the amount of people that helped me on 1 hand.
Why is that?
I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it now. You’re afraid.
You’re afraid that if other people are given the online resources that you have that they will somehow steal the jobs that you could have gotten. You are afraid that your business will sink in this economy and you won’t be able to take care of yourself or your family. You’re afraid that you’re dispensable, disposable or replaceable.
Trust me … you arent. We are on a planet that consists of 6.6 Billion people. At least 1/4 of these people work.
so around 2 billion people work… at least 1/4 of these people have businesses … so 500 million businesses.
and that’s enough to keep all of us working and happy. I mean even in projects that I am involved in … the job is usually a localization project that requires more than one voice over artist to record and get paid for the job. 1 project… multiple voice overs.
So you speak one language. If you are professional, have an excellent product and easy to deal with… then you are already way ahead of many of the competitors you are worried about. Plus there has to be someone to record that english track in the localization project.. right?
…Those Who Can’t Teach
In our industry raw talent is exactly what it sounds like… Raw.
For you to go from a diamond in the rough to a proper cut diamond (which is more valuable after the cut) you need coaching and teaching you need to learn and to apply. You need to learn how to use your voice, how to use your microphone, how to use your software, how to read, how to emote, how to conserve your voice.
This list is long and necissary.
I do not agree with the adage ” Those who can do, and those who can’t teach.” My mother was a teacher and she was an excellent teacher. To this day when I am shopping with my mother, women in their mid thirties or early forties remember my mother and come and hug her and show their respect. Now to give you an idea of how amazing that is. My mother taught these girls back in Kuwait… not in Egypt. These are women who recognized my mother 20 years after she taught them in a different country walking around with her son whom they remember as a 10 year old.
Pretty wicked huh!
But I have noticed that allot of the more established talent are trying to sell me something. Whether its a workshop on how to take care of my voice or how to do social networking or how to reach further with my internet based business.
And honestly I’m sick of it. I’m sick of these workshops that, In my opinion, only mean that these people have allot of time on their hands. I gotta tell you in the past month God has blessed me with a number of jobs all at the same time. And I thank him and praise his generosity. But I noticed that while I was doing that work… I had no time to myself… it was constant and grueling and tough.
The Cult of VO
So where are these people getting the time? If you are a voice over coach… and this is what you advertise… then power to you. I like honesty … if this is what you do for a living then by all means share your knowledge and I will pay you to do so.
But don’t tell me that you’re getting so much voice over work that you can’t breathe. After observing the American voice over industry specifically I’ve noticed that it reads almost like an infomercial. The voice over artist tries to diversify and get their fingers into as many pies as they possibly can.
Power to you. That’s fine with me. But the truth is… your workshop won’t make or break my talent so please stop trying to make it sound like that’s the case. If you are trying to give me tips on marketing my voice over business … write a book about it and go on a lecture circuit to a few of the places where many of the voice over artists can congregate to.
Sometimes I feel like Its an Evangelical Voice Over Sect. Send in your money And your career will be saved and maybe even your soul!… Glory be… Hallelujah.
Conferences to Confer
I like the idea of conferences specifically because I like meeting the people that I communicate with online. I like seeing their reactions to me. Oh I thought you were taller, Shorter, fatter, your voice doesn’t sound so deep, your voice is so deep I can’t make it out. You’re so funny, you’re so serious…
That to me is intriguing the person behind the voice… in my case its also the person behind the writing since I write about the industry. So here we have voice over centric conferences where people get together to confer on the state of our industry. They get involved in lectures, meet vo coaches and network. It’s all about the networking right?!
Hand out your card, advertise your website, keep me in mind for your next job. Again that’s all acceptable and I highly recommend it. In fact, I’m a little jealous that I can’t attend these conferences because of my location, because of my job, my responsibilities.
But I think they’re a good idea (conferences that is). As long as we don’t abuse them…
There is no conclusion… these are just my observations…
I’m sure allot of you disagree with me… so if you have something to say… go ahead… I’d appreciate it.