Remember that line from the movie Field of Dreams?
It wasn’t the ever-memorable “…if you build it, they will come…” but the intent of that “distance” statement still ricochets in my head many years later. I find it especially germane to those with voice-over success stars in their eyes.
Staying power. Do you have it?
Hearing the personal stories of VO Pros like Scott Rummel and Bob Bergen remind me of the value of sticking with it. I’m not sure that’s a characteristic that appeals to an up-and-coming generation regardless of the field of endeavour. But with voice acting, there is simply no substitute. Raw talent, compelling marketing, brilliant audio technique…none of it takes the place of hard work, persistence, and determination.
Those are perhaps even more valuable tools than passion. Passion can provide a huge reservoir of energy, but can also fade quickly. What I’m talking about is resolve, discipline, and dogged action over and over and over — paying homage to a conviction and certainty of focus.
Did you see the brief vignettes on the Golden Globes last night of film actors talking about where they got started?
No seasoned VO professional I know got to their heights of achievement out of high school or college. They all (we all) did something else, or are STILL doing something else to keep the bills paid (isn’t it ever so with actors?). Those lucky enough to be working full-time often did demeaning or low-paying service-industry jobs for years. Yes, years…before finally finding their success in voice-over.
I am contacted by many eager voice-actor newcomers every week. I invariably help. Why? Because people have helped (still do help) me. Don’t I owe some debt of gratitude by doing the same? But there’s almost no way to convey the demands of going the distance. Luckily, I grew up on a midwest farm, and learned early the duties of sometimes mind-numbing repetitive tasks. It took me more than 10 years to get where I felt I had achieved something of value as a TV news anchor. Now, after almost 8 years of determined voice-over effort, I’m not yet near to calling myself a self-sustaining success.
Foundational encouragements like the one in today’s blog often verge on the cliché or seem to be hackneyed sentiments. The world is full of such admonitions. Some may strike at your heart, others may seem motivating. Use what you will, discard the rest.
But don’t abandon the work.
Nothing of value comes without going the distance.