Legendary is the childhood schoolyard memory of anyone lining up on sides, and getting picked by a team captain.
If you don’t go as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd seed…let’s face — it you’re just an also-ran…or the wrong captain picks you, and you’re on the “bad” team.
The “cool” kids always got picked first, and everyone wants to be thought of as cool. The syndrome can last into adulthood.
Since voice actors operate on an individual basis 99% of the time, you always get to be “in the game” as long as you’re still earnestly auditioning, marketing, training, and trying. When the client picks you…then you’re the cool kid…and that’s probably the only approval process that really matters.
Where the ole story of playground popularity seems to arise among voice-actors these days is being picked online. First, there are all the forums, groups, communities, and cyber organizations. Some of them only require a membership fee to be a cool kid (P2P’s?). But there, you gotta wonder how exclusive or “cool” is the community if all it takes to get in is the price of admission.
It reminds me of the old cliché quote from Groucho Marx who is attributed with saying: “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any organization that would have me”.
Then, with other communities, all you have to do is sign-up and you’re in! But after seeing all the ads, you realize you’re just another set of eyeballs helping to make the creator of the site a little bit better able to sell ads.
I like the method of The CyberVoices Forum in the UK. Under their scenario, you apply to access their online forum, and the administrator in turn puts your name before the other members, and you either make it or not according to the response.
The VO-BB is kinda like that, only the Board Czar — DB Cooper — is the sole gatekeeper, and has well earned the right!
Terry Daniels runs the FaceBook Group: Voice-Over Pros, and has the goal of allowing only serious and tenured voice-actors with some jobs under their belt. His criteria is not posted online, but it’s a fairly elite group. I administer a popular FaceBook Group online, too called Voice-Over Friends. I’ve vetted every single person as either a voice-actor or producer, or from some other closely-affiliated association (agents, coaches, etc.)
There are quite a few VO-related LinkedIn groups, and there, too, most creators of the group choose to approve all those who petition to get in.
The Grey Areas
Where you start to feel a little anxious whether you’re being picked for the “good team” is with VO associations that purport to qualify you with more formal rules, and those rules are usually stated, and applied assiduously. SaVoa tried to do that, but we all know what a disaster that became (if you don’t know, PM me, and I’ll edify you).
Now, The World-Voices industry trade association is also instituting some clearly-stated entry qualifying criteria along with the application. A team vets the application, and makes a recommendation to the Executive Board, which votes on the recommendation during a meeting. (Gone are any “certification”, “endorsing”, or “accreditation” protocols). The process has been arrived at through a grueling, thoroughly transparent debate, and is always open to reconsideration.
Additionally, the highly regarded FaffCon “un-conference” is adjusting the sign-up procedure as a way to seek some fairness in awarding access to its coveted events. Chief Faffer, founder, and force behind the meet-up — Amy Snively — along with her highly competent staff is instituting what amounts to a lottery-style process for removing the craziness and unfairness of what has become a rush-to-register.
I’m not about to paraphrase the cogent explanation Amy has so well stated on her site: FAFFCON REGISTRATION CHANGES. Please visit and read, and if you are so-moved, offer comment. Several have contributed their well-placed thoughts, and all sides have merit.
The new FaffCon registration process does NOT apply, however, to FaffCamp, where there is limited barrier-to-entry, but still some advance rules of registration apply for sake of event-planning purposes.
It’s nice to feel you belong…even nicer when you’ve truly earned that right, and it’s recognized.
Associations don’t create exclusive “online country clubs” for VO’s. It’s no one’s intent to keep uncool kids out. They do it to reward those who’ve paid their dues the hard way…not with money — but experience, reputation, and earned relationships.
Don’t worry about being picked for the “right” team. Work hard, practice harder, find success…and “cool” will find YOU.