Mental roadblocks are the enemy of many a gifted and talented voice actor.
The mental roadblocks (can be procrastination) we subconsciously and oftentimes innocently create can become true hindrances for freelance self-starters. Sometimes it takes a friend or colleague to help you see through it, and once in a while, in a moment of brilliant clarity, you can see it yourself.
If not, you may benefit from a little formula I’ve devised.
Access + Process = Success
Let me break it down for you:
The audio files we produce rely on a fairly complicated software/hardware interface associated with a deadline-oriented process. If even the slightest glitch or hitch interferes with you walking into your studio, turning on your audio chain, and beginning the recording; you have slowed your ACCESS, and over time, the glitch grows into a ginormous mental block, preventing, instead of facilitating your next audition.
You need easy access to your VO tools.
Example: My pre-amp came with no on/off switch. I had to reach around behind my monitor, find the plug, feel for the receptacle, and insert the plug. It was a hassle. Over time, I began to resent that, then used it as an excuse to just NOT do what I really needed to do. Once I realized that stupid little ritual was my major mental roadblock to conducting hassle-free auditions, I went to Home Depot, bought an in-line switch, and solved the problem. Click/Click… On/off. No hassle.
Maybe for you it’s something that interferes with quickly revealing scripts or an extra troublesome step or two that gets in the way of you launching your recording software. Eliminate the roadblock. The devil’s in the details.
See an audition you need to get out? Within one minute of your computer coming on, you should be able to start recording. Wouldn’t that be nice?
It is. (Granted: you may not have the tube warm-up to optimize your pre-amp performance in that time – see process below).
But ACCESS would be nothing without PROCESS.
1) A systematic series of actions directed to some end
2) A continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner
Synonym: a procedure; to handle or manage
In other words, once the access is there, you have to have a PLAN to use it.
THIS is particularly tough for us right-brain, set-our-own-schedule, creative talent-types. Sure you need to be an ACTOR to do your work, but the business side of your operation must be practical, and that means having a plan…a schedule…a calendar…a PROCESS.
I’m a night-owl. When I get home after midnight, I like crawling into my comfortable studio and record away – especially on the more moribund E-learning and technical narration jobs. That’s part of my process…my plan to tackle work.
But I’m finding a good many bursts of audition requests (from whatever source) tend to come during typical business hours. Since I’m hindered by my TV job’s hours from just reacting as I want to those requests, I’ve put into my process, about two hours of every morning – when my voice is a little rested – to plow through auditions, especially those that require a bit more creativity and acting.
Here’s the thing about process: devise the plan, then stick to it like a postage stamp, because this is something you can’t mail in! That takes discipline and will power…not something I can explain, but something you have to find on your own.
More about removing mental roadblocks:
‘Hope this helps in some small way!
[this article reprinted from 2009 as part of the reminder that my upcoming book: YOU NEED MORE THAN A GOOD VOICE TO BE A VOICE ACTOR, will be chock-full of great advice for all levels of VO professionals]