The Leap

by | Oct 21, 2011 | VO Community | 8 comments

A conversation with a fellow voice actor underscored to me a hazard of the occupation…or rather occupations.

Like many people breaking into voice overs, my friend shares a predicament with me.  We’re maintaining full-time careers in a separate field, while aspiring to be full-time voice-actors.

My understanding is that there are more than a few of us out there.  In fact, I’ve heard more than once from wise mentors: “…don’t give up your day job when you start VO!!…”

To some extent, I concur.  But then it becomes a Catch-22.

The very job that is enabling me to pay the bills, buy my wife new furniture and send my kids to college, is also the job that is preventing me from growing much beyond the accomplishments thus far in my VO career.

The “day job” is interfering with progress in the freelance job.

THE LEAP

THIS is the moment of truth.  The LEAP.  Serving two masters will drive you nuts.  So when do you accept the challenge?  When is it time to jump into your destiny in VO?

My friend was relating to me how he just barely woke up in time to prevent his face from crashing into the keyboard while he was up past 2:30am serving his two masters.

I’m there.  Burning both ends of the candle often leads to the e-mail from a colleague that says:  “When DO you sleep??!!”

No one can make “the leap” decision for me.  There are many thorny considerations and vectors to this choice that are highly personal.  It’s not just me…there are 4 others who depend on my decision, and they’re all women.  I am not straying too far afield from accepted behavioral science to say that women are more hard-wired (in general) to place a higher value on issues of health, welfare and safety in the family setting than are men.  The leap threatens that.

“THE LEAP” by Tom Ashbrook examines this predicament through the course of telling his story during the dot-com boom.  I’m reminded of that while I consider the pros and cons of my own “leap”.

THE CHALLENGE

I know my time is not ready.  I have yet to play out some eventualities in my “day job”.

In the meantime, my challenge in THAT job is….to find a challenge.

Why?

When a job stops being a joy and a passion, complacency sets in.  Complacency leads to laziness (cutting corners), and when laziness takes over, the work gets sloppy.

I can’t afford that.  I can NEVER afford to be sloppy.  Sloppy in one area of life will bleed into another.

“Sloppy” can be seen as your signature if you don’t catch it in time.  Sloppy becomes the enemy of integrity.

So I’m challenging myself to find a challenge.  It’s a daily mountain to climb.  Luckily the energy I get from my passion for voice overs fuels my energy level elsewhere, and I know I’m protecting my integrity.

‘Cause at the end of the day…what do you have if you don’t have your integrity?

CourVO

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8 Comments

  1. Adam Verner

    Ah, good stuff to think about Dave 🙂 There was a string on VOBB about this not too long ago. There were a strange amount of us who were kind of pushed off the cliff into The Leap by the “other job” laying off or going out of business. The Leap is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time – my other job bit the dust and I didn’t have much of a choice. I think sometimes fear can keep someone from making that Leap!

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Thanks for the comment Adam, and for reminding me that I’ve been too absent from the VO-BB lately.

      I kinda hope somedays that I might get “pushed” too…then the next day, I’m praying I don’t . It’s hell!

      Have a great weekend!

      Dave C

      Reply
  2. Anthony Gettig

    Excellent reflection, Dave. I totally understand. My wife and I have 8 kids and just made the leap this past June into full-time VO. I had been working it part-time for quite awhile, but my day job was coming to an end. (It was a grant funded position.) By this past March/April, I was really busy with my part-time VO work. I ended up doing VO work on Spring break even! We live very frugally and thought well, when my job ends it might be just the time to try this idea.

    For us, it really is a family business. When I book a gig, I come out to the family and tell them. We cheer and celebrate every time. They know that as they are quiet and behaved, I can work and make money for the family. So they really feel like a part of it. (Because they are!) Also, I recently hired one of my daughters to edit for me so I can keep recording.

    For us, the leap has been a good experience. No guaranteed paycheck is scary, but it’s also very exciting! There is no lid on the potential!

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Anthony,

      You made my day with your comments. 99% of the people who are “forced” into making the leap end up being grateful for the push. I like your business model….keep up the good work!

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
  3. Paul Strikwerda

    When to make the leap? You make it when the increase in business in your desired job makes it impossible for you to do your current job. In other words, the success of your desired career will ultimately drive you out of your present line of work.

    Until that time, stay put and have at least a 6-month cushion for a smooth transition.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Paul,

      Well taken counsel, my friend… I’d always surmised that’s the way it would work… I just need to keep on reaching for the dream, and having some faith.

      Best to you and yours!

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply
  4. Rowell Gormon

    …count me also in the “pushed” catagory, Dave. But if I hadn’t been eventually pushed out (I let it take years over several jobs), I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to do it on my own. (btw: this “push-ee” thanks the “push-ers” on a regular basis.)

    On the other side of things, our friend Bob Souer finally made the decision when he could statistically show himself he was earning more money from full-time VO than he was his “other” job, even counting for benefits, for an entire year.

    I would imagine it’s different for everyone.

    rg

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Rowell,

      I hear ya on being “pushed”. Some days I wish fate would deal me that hand…other days I’m frightened to death of it. After all, I worked REALLY hard for 25-30 years to be where I am in TV news, and I should be enjoying those fruits. Guess I’m not one to rest on my laurels, though.

      I appreciate your visit, and your comments, my friend!

      Best,

      Dave C

      Reply

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