Some days in the voiceover business are a real ego boost. You get nominated for an Audie Award. A friend from high school calls to say he “heard your voice on TV”, or listened to an audiobook you narrated. You get to work with a celebrity on an animated series (and discover that she is just a regular human being too). Or maybe you call your niece at work and recognize your own voice on the voicemail system. ?You land a major ad campaign and want to plaster that fact all over Facebook. Yay.
But there are also days where you audition for 20 gigs and land none of them. Or the project you are voicing is “only” going to be heard by Government workers who are forced to take an online course in anger management. Maybe the explainer video you are narrating has a horribly written script. Or that awesome gig (!) that was so much fun, and man you sounded fantastic and did some of your best work ever…it never gets aired and you can’t even find it on YouTube to show it to your Mom.
Sigh. What’s a Voice Talent to do?
Love the WORK, that’s what. NOT the results.
In the latest episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” Jerry Seinfeld talks with President Barack Obama about the problems that come with success and fame. Keeping politics out of it (yes, please), and seeing it as just two famous people having a conversation, I love what Seinfeld says about his years as a struggling comedian vs. his position now with money, fame, influence, etc.
How does he keep from getting carried away by his own ego, in the past when facing failure, and now when in danger of being carried away by success?
“I’ll give you the the real answer…I fell in love with the work. And the work was joyful, and difficult, and interesting – and that was my focus.”
And that, too, in the secret to success in the voiceover business. That online training in Global Compliance is fascinating – to the person who needs to learn it. And your fascination makes it better for that listener. You may not win an award, but it’s the work that brings the importance. Sure, maybe your date is more impressed that your voice was heard on an ad during the Superbowl, but if you got into voiceovers to impress people, you should probably rethink your choice. Your ego will take more hits than boosts. But none of that matters if you can pay your bills doing what you love. Don’t love the fame. Love the work. Value the listener’s need. And love “bringing words to life.” (yeah, it’s my position liner for what I do).
This way, you can never lose. Being a Voice Talent is indeed joyful. And sometimes difficult. And always interesting. Focus on loving what you DO – not how many people applaud it. Unless, of course, they are signing the check for your services.