If your day is anything like mine, you pretty much grind away in front of a computer all day. Searching for leads, auditioning, improving your website, making connections, on and on, playing the numbers game day in, day out. It’s isolating. It’s lonely. And on the days where the inbox is barren and the phone is silent, it starts to feel like you’ve locked yourself up and thrown away the key. Your own personal Chateau d’If, especially if you’re prone to depression and anxiety spells like me.
Get Outside and Be a Social Creature
It might just save your business.
I have a long history of isolating myself; however, I am also not forced into being social, which for a lifelong introvert can be dangerous. In an effort to increase my productivity, I’ve started scheduling everything I do, from auditioning to marketing to waking up to when I eat. I made sure include exercise and social time in my calendar, and not just drinking with buddies. As soul-searingly awful as my old day jobs were, at least there was some sort of social interaction so I didn’t feel as though I’d disappeared off the face of the Earth. And since our industry is all about recreating real human moments, having those moments on a regular basis seems fairly crucial to acting believably.
So make sure you build in time away from your dungeon. Jog around the neighborhood. Grab lunch with a colleague. Go shopping if you’re lucky enough to have spending money and you’re into that sort of thing. Long hours and hard work are certainly admirable feats, but don’t sacrifice your social side in the process. Or else you might turn weird.
Get Out of Your Head
This can be an odd industry to navigate. You can be told, by the same person in the same breath, that you need to find your one true “money voice” and also that you need to be as versatile and far-reaching as possible. And they’re both correct statements. However, those qualities may apply more to one area of the industry than another. For example, in animation and video game work, the further away from your own voice you can get and the more truly original, different styles of voices you can make, the more useful you’ll be. But, in commercial work, you really only have to be yourself. And be as “yourself” as possible.
But, being yourself doesn’t mean “don’t try”. It means being able to really let your personality shine through in any read, with bold choices that only you would make. I look at voiceover training like karate: you work on the mechanics (script analysis, inflection, diction, posture, and on and on) and when it’s game time, you put it all out of mind. You don’t want to get in your own way when you step up to the mic. Your money voice is easier to find than you might think. It’s really a matter of training yourself up then letting it all flow naturally when it’s time to do the work.
Your Relaxed, Natural Voice
The next time you read a spot, think to yourself, “Am I reading this as me or as a voice in my head?” The casting directors want to hear you, not you doing an imitation of what you think they want. It may feel weird at first, but trust me: it’ll feel more natural, genuine, authentic, and believable in the end. And guess which direction keywords show up way more often than any others?