Hi, it’s Rosemary…voiceover actress to the stars, no wait, that’s voiceover actress of the stars. If I am known for anything, besides my uncanny ability to measure out liquids by eyeballing them, I am probably most known for some of my “famous lady” impersonations. (Hillary, Melania, Dolley Madison (the early years) etc.)
But who the hell am I kidding? Ninety-five percent of you reading this have probably NEVER heard of me before by name. And I say 95% and not 97% because I’m sending this to my entire family tree.
Okay, so you don’t know who I am, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is YOU! And YOU are here reading this because YOU are a voice actor and your career has stalled. And by God, you don’t have much hair left to pull out. Take it from me. Mine has stalled too. Once it did it fourteen times in just 24 hours. And that, dear reader is why I can tell YOU what to do.
For starters, put the Chivas or Manischevwitz away and CALM THE HELL DOWN. (Do they even make Chivas anymore? Note to self…1) see if Chivas is sold 2) check spelling of other beverage.)
Now some VO experts are gonna tell the newbies out there to work harder, check your technical crap so that it doesn’t sound like crap, get a coach and stay positive. But what about if you have had success in the industry but things are just slowing down?
What happens when what you have been doing doesn’t seem to be working any longer? You know for a fact you couldn’t work harder or take more time on your auditions, and your technical crap is fine!
Piece of advice numero uno: It’s your relationships stupid! Are you talking down to people, name-calling? You know, that sort of thing? Cuz if you are, that’s your problem right there. Duh!
Jokes and put-downs aside, if you want to inject your career with some juice focus your attention on your relationships! You email, you dropbox, you post on social media, (MY GOD, do you post on social media!!) but you probably don’t spend too much time actually TALKING to human beings and making real connections if you are a typical full-time vo person with a home-studio.
You have spent years building skills, improving your repertoire of voices and styles, making reels, putting together demos. Now spend a week or two making a concerted daily effort to connect with your buyers (and even non-buyers. . . I’ll get to this in a minute.) Because, if you’re like me, you don’t like people, which is why you chose a career that means you get to spend quality time by yourself alone in a dark space. Of course, that's a joke. I am kidding! BUT, and that’s a big BUT, if you are like me you have become VERY accustomed to doing your work in an isolated way. It’s easy. It’s hassle-free in a lot of respects. I can go weeks and weeks without ever talking to anyone on the phone! I have gone years! working for people with whom I have never spoken to on the phone. Not once. And this is not something I am proud of and definitely something newbies SHOULD AVOID.
GET THEE TO A PHONE BOOTH - NOT AN ISO BOOTH!!
Which brings me to TIP number one for my next article entitled: THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING THE MINUTE YOU BOOKED YOUR FIRST JOB, YOU FOOL!
The thing I should have done, which all freelancers should do in any field, I would imagine, is keep a very orderly log of your clients, the job you did for them, what it paid, the contact info and mostly!!!! WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO CONTACT THEM AGAIN with a note to say “Hi…I loved working on that project with you 8 months ago. I’d love to have the opportunity to do it again should something come up that I am right for.”
Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel, trying to ‘find’ clients when you already have four hundred and twenty in your database. (And yes, I really did just pull that number out of thin air. I don’t do drugs but obviously you do.) Don’t do what I did and get drunk on the idea that you peel off an audition, win the job, make your little $250 or $300 dollars - THAT same day via Paypal - and you don’t need to bother building a relationship because it was such a fast and easy ‘one-off’. I have pissed away years!! of one-off clients because I never did any follow up, because it was all so easy at the time. You will see, if you are like me you sad sad person, that when you contact them six years later because you are desperate and have time to go through your inbox, some will respond and remember who you are, but many are no longer at the email address you have. What could have been a long-lasting relationship with a human being was a cheap $250 one-day stand, you quick-tongued tart!
Piece of advice numero two: Read Dave Ribble’s book, The Conscientious Connector. Especially Chapter Four, Everyone Matters. It goes back to what I was saying about connecting with non-buyers. People in VO seem particularly intent on connecting with other talent. . . but they aren’t your buyers 9 out of 10 times! But wait, you say…if they aren’t my buyers then why the hell would I connect with non-buyers like you and that Dave guy are recommending. . . and where can I get that book anyway?
You can get the book at www.daveribble.com, I imagine? I don’t have time, honestly to check as I’m spending it helping you people with stalled careers get unstalled. DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE?
In a nutshell, if we drill down, the point is, in summary. . . your plumber’s brother is married to a lady who does all the video production for the big tech company in town. They use voiceover people all the time. Everyone matters. And be nice to everyone.
Okay, now here’s where the spooky part comes in (cue the theramin). There you are with your stalled career and you take my advice and you start calling clients - and whomever else - from your near and faraway past on the telephone. Somehow, and I DO NOT KNOW HOW, something is going to happen, as if the snow-globe you are living in gets a good hard shake.
SOMETHING from out of the sky, that is totally unexpected is going to come to you. I DO NOT KNOW HOW THIS WORKS BUT IT DOES. When you put energy out, you will get something back and it might not be at ALL connected to thing you have your attention on but SOMETHING positive is going to wow you. Just try it for a week or two and if I’m wrong, I’ll buy you a glass of Maniskewivtis.
Oh and last but not least. . .if your career has stalled, write a blog piece offering career advice. Seriously, everyone will then associate you with being an expert on the subject and it drives traffic to your numerous social media posts, which in turn might land you a new client.
Want to hear Part 2, Sign up for my newsletter at www.rosemarywatson.com or send me an email rosemary at rosemarywatson dot com
Update: That Dave guy said his book is available on Amazon dot com