Getting Rid of the Ghosts of Christmas Past

Deb Munro

It seems that each year it’s hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone. Whether you celebrate or not, this time of year is a turning event for many. It is the time we create goals and reflect on the past.

Instead of talking about the future today, I’d like to reflect on the past. My incredible assistant, and fellow voice talent, John Harris, suggested this topic, and I think it is most fitting. Many of us dwell on what isn’t, instead of focusing on what could be. It’s so easy for us as a society to blame, make excuses and focus on the negatives that set us back. I tend to focus on the positive, and this isn’t always easy. There is always something or someone getting in the way of your success. Most importantly, you!

I encourage you to reflect on what you’ve done this year to create success for yourself, and to flesh out what has held you back. Many of us hold finances accountable for slow progression. Whether it’s investing in coaching, demos, equipment, marketing or branding, we are all forced to put significant money and a ton of time into our craft. There are many out there who truly can’t afford to invest further to obtain more productive results, and so they stop investing. But isn’t that the same as saying, “I can’t afford the schooling to be a lawyer, so I’m just gonna wing it?” It’s interesting that if we pursue a conventional career or trade, we make whatever efforts are needed, so we can accomplish the degree or certification that allows us to draw an income from that profession … yet with Voice Acting, people assume that all they need is a voice and some equipment, and they will just make it work.

Those of you who are no longer investing yourselves should realize: By winging it as I’ve described, you may not see the success you were hoping to obtain. Are you blaming the industry? The pay2play sites? Your lack of time? Limited finances?

It’s interesting how many people will pursue a goal (such as the VO career) that they can’t afford to reach.

I would never want to squelch pursuit of a dream, but neither would I feel comfortable encouraging false hope. If you can’t afford to progress, maybe this isn’t the right industry for you at this time? I have many students, and potential students, who tell me they can’t afford the demos, the equipment or the necessary training and branding, yet they still pursue. You wouldn’t be able to do this with any other profession, so why do we think we can in Voice Acting? Apparently people think that, because we each have a voice, we should all be working. Unfortunately that is not the case.

Consider: If it were that were true, what would it say for those who have made the investment? Those who have sacrificed finances, time, family and more to make success a reality? Shouldn’t they be the ones who are hired to do the work? In fact, they are. Not because their sacrifices made them more deserving (that’s seldom the basis for a business decision), but because they made themselves more skilled, more capable, more professional and more appealing.

And because, as a result, they make it look easy. We never hear about all the setbacks that a successful actor has throughout their journey. Once they make it to the top, it just looks like it was that easy.

So if I have one point to leave you with in this season of hope and good cheer, it’s this: If you’re not fully invested, don’t necessarily turn away from the industry. But do be realistic in what you expect.

If you truly want to succeed and create a full-time income for yourself, you must put in full-time hours. I am a firm believer that you get what you give. How many hours a day do you spend auditioning? Marketing? Finding new clients? Training? Invoicing, etc. This is not an industry where you can just wing it, or depend on being at the right place at the right time. In voice acting, you need to be as good in any other acting field. In fact, VO is the rawest form of acting.

And in today’s market, you also have to be good at business.

Let’s designate 2014 as the time to get rid of everything that has stood in your way. Fight the odds and take huge risks to make this happen.

Even the ancient Mayans agree with me on this. The Mayan calendar ended, and there were many who feared the world would end, but while I was on the Mayan Riviera recently, I inquired as to what it really meant. I learned the “end” was actually seen as a time for re-birth. It’s a time for change. It’s time to stop procrastinating and start being productive. Quit reflecting on whatever stands in your way, and find solutions for tomorrow.

Happy Holidays to you all – no matter what you celebrate, celebrate!! WE ARE ALL WORTH THE INVESTMENT, and should never let any obstacle stand in our way. Every year is another opportunity for change and growth, so let’s start this one off right, and make the entire year obstacle-free.

Here is to a most successful 2014; I wish us all nothing but success.

All my best,

VO Chef Deb

www.DebsVoice.com

Deb Munro is an Edge Studio coach. For more information about coaching with Deb or any other Edge Studio instructor, please call our office at 888-321-3343.