Doing the Time

by | Nov 6, 2013 | Ruminations | 4 comments

doingthetimeYou’ll hear the stories of a meteoric rise to the highest levels of accomplishment:  11-yr-old college graduates.  LeBron James.  Bill Gates.

But for the other 99% of us, “making it” means doing the time.

Think about it.  Anything with which you have a proficiency is probably the result of taking the time, over and over.  Such a commitment of time usually arises from an immersion into molecular topic minutiae — born of either passion or dedication.

Example:  Cliff Zellman lives, eats, and breaths audio.  Ask him virtually ANY question about the music industry — especially from his generation  — and you’ll be guaranteed an example, a personal reflection, and a tidbit of trivia.  The passion oozes from his core.cliffy-a

That passion doubtlessly spawned his career as an audio producer/director/engineer/technologist/demo maven.  But the passion alone didn’t carry Cliff.  The immersion did.  Cliff “did the time”.

Zellman is a convenient top-of-mind victim for my blog today, ’cause we just broke bread together during my visit to Ft. Worth to see my daughter play soccer.  My daughter is actually another example of “doing the time”.

So, what constitutes a voice-actor “doing the time”?  This can vary depending on specialties, niches, focus, and preference.  Regardless, you’ll find that accomplished voice-actors everywhere have an immersion in the detail of their work, a passion, dedication, commitment, and the WILLINGNESS to do the time.

Let’s list, though, some typical elements of a commercial voice-over talent honing her/his skill set (doing the time).

  • Practice
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Getting coaching
  • Practice
  • Trial ‘n’ Error recording
  • Auditioning
  • Learning business, marketing, promotional skills
  • Refining audio chain
  • Practice
  • Get feedback
  • Give feedbback
  • Join VO communities
  • Contribute
  • Get comfortable with the technology
  • Practice

This list could go on and on.  I’ve written about immersion, passion, and commitment  in this blog countless times.

As timeless wisdom explains:  There are no shortcuts. 

Celine Dion discovered Josh Groban one day when her usual male rehearsal singing partner was sick.  Groban showed up — but he was ready.  He had done the time.  His work met opportunity that day, and a star was born.

When your big break comes, will you have done the time?




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  1. Nicola Redman

    Very true. I like to think, the slower you go up, the slower you go down. Putting in the hours teaches you a lot and makes you grateful for when you do reach your goals.
    Northern Irish voice

    • CourVO


      Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your steady visits, and contributing to further the conversation.

      Best to you and yours,

      Dave C

  2. Thomas Dunn

    Thanks Dave for the advise/encouragement. For those of us that have not yet “made it” it helps to keep us on track even when it seems like nothing is happening. Plod On!

    • CourVO

      Hang in there, Thomas…old fashioned persistence DOES pay off.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Dave C


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