Success is one of the most over-burdened, misunderstood, and maligned notions in American culture.
The popular (and most unenlightened) definition invariably includes some mention of money, status, or power. It’s unlikely I am going to shake that foundation in this blog. No one really can. Much better writers than I have tried.
Money, status and power DO reflect success on many levels, but those marks are just convenient and largely measurable affirmations of success… not very deep or reflective of the work that’s gone into it.
So let’s keep money, status, and power in the mix, but I’m going to peel back some layers, and mention some other factors that you can legitimately claim as measures of success in voice acting.
PROGRESS. This is a tough one to define across the entire population of voice actors, but YOU know. You know how much progress you’ve made. So this can only be judged on a personal scale. Remember when you started?…the mic you were using, the questions you had, the environment you were recording in…the auditions you first sent out. Makes you cringe? Then you’ve made progress…maybe a little, maybe a lot, but there’s forward movement to celebrate there, and always room for more progress. Progress is a success marker that can always be depended upon. Today reveals more progress than yesterday. You’re going somewhere, and it’s contributing to your success.
AUTHORITY. Now you’ve arrived. You understand what it takes to call yourself a “success”. There’s a plan…goals…work to be done… regardless — you get it. There’s a certain comfort and confidence in that knowledge. You’ve paid attention, listened to mentors, done your homework. You don’t know it all, but you know a lot. You find yourself able to offer advice, answer questions with a certain mastery, and even mentor a little yourself. You have ideas to contribute to the VO community, and people are listening, because you have authority. Have you been approached about how to break into VO? Then you have been judged to have authority.
CONSISTENCY. Reliability, dependability. You’re on a roll, and the roll is uniformly good. The peaks and valleys now are all on a high plain of professionalism. Gone are the panicky moments of insecurity. The voice product is always good. Maybe not good enough to always get the gig, but good enough to be in the top 10%. You’re hitting on all cylinders, and there are almost no misfires. We’re not talking cocky here, we’re talking quiet confidence. The audio chain is crisp and clear…the prospecting and marketing is a well-oiled machine, and you have control over your daily schedule.
Your challenge is to impress upon your prospects that these 3 factors are in your wheelhouse. You ARE a success, and everyone wants to be part of success. Who wouldn’t want a voice-talent with a consistent work-ethic; someone with the authority to deliver the copy with a knowing interpretation, and a person who exhibits improvement from one session to the next.
Build on THESE, and the money, power, and status (if you want them) will likely come too.
Congrats on your success!