The New Humble Brag

by | Jan 14, 2019 | Ruminations | 6 comments

Why you’re reading this blog I don’t know.

By almost any measure of VO success, I’ve failed.  I’m good at writing blogs, though.  Maybe that’s what I should do. Full-time writing.

…only

That’s even more challenging than voice-acting.  ALL the freelance endeavours seem to be a challenge.

So maybe I’m just letting the peaks-and-valleys nature of freelancing get to me.  Most of us – I would think – gauge our VO success by how steady business is, and keep track of our revenue to find the evidence of our hard work.  It’s not always cause and effect.  Hard work can leave you with little to show for it.

January has blessed me so far with one voice-over job.  $350 dollars for a phone-patch session.  One job…14 days.

Now, I realize this may not be the experience of my colleagues, many of whom remind me of their “busyness” alla time.  

I call it the new humble brag.

It usually happens when there’s an agreed-upon appointment on the schedule.  At the last minute, the other party offers their regrets  “Something’s come up, and I can’t make it” they’ll say.   Then they feel the responsibility to offer a reason for their absence; an excuse for missing the meeting…kind of a teacher’s note for voice actors. 

‘Laudable.

The success of my VO comrades is encouraging. They're finding work, and that means the marketplace is active...but... Click To Tweet

But this is where the humble brag begins.

All that’s really needed to explain the absence is: ” ‘got a last-minute gig”. 

Of course!  A paying gig always takes precedence.  Good onya!

But the apologizing party goes further.  “Yeah, it’s just one several agency jobs I’ve gotten recently in the big city this year…I’ve been steady driving back and forth to their studio!”.

Or: “I’ve got this long ‘n’ involved eLearning project that’s taking me two weeks to finish.  Big Bucks!”

Or: “I’m just so busy, that I can’t afford to take a break in my day.  HUGE job that’s on a looming deadline!” 

Those are all legitimate reasons to beg off an otherwise low-ROI meeting with me.  But I don’t need to hear the details.  That’s salt in my no-work-coming-in wound.

Now…there are those reasoned voices that claim you should never judge your success by any one else’s metrics.  I get that, but it’s never worked for me, and from what I can tell, it’s almost impossible to do.  I understand the argument, but I have always turned it around to say that others’ success spurs me on.  The work is out there!  I just have to try harder, I’ll say to myself.

Then the new humble brag comes along. 

It’s defeaning.

I admit this is sour grapes.  The success of my VO comrades is encouraging.  They’re finding work, and that means the marketplace is active.  So…then…why one measly job in the last two weeks?

Back to work, I guess.  ‘Just gotta try harder.  More marketing.  More networking. More cold-calling. 

Just don’t call me to say you can’t make the meeting today because you’ve got this lucrative mongo job that is consuming all your time and schedule, and it’s so nice to be BUSY!

A simple:  “got a last-minute gig” will do just fine.

CourVO

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6 Comments

  1. Cochran

    I tell my friends that I must really like what I do: auditioning. It’s true. I love to interpret scripts. Now, if I could just fall in love with marketing myself. Keep pushing Dave. You know you love it!
    Cochran

    Reply
  2. John Ford

    Well, that’s the most honest thing I’ve ever read regarding VO I think ever. In a world filled with snake oil salesman and ‘3 easy steps to VO success,’ some simple honesty. I often feel the same pain Mr Curvo, it gets downright frustrating. I too came over from the broadcasting word, and no, I do not have a typical ‘announcer’ voice. So everybody tells me, they say, ‘get some training and then get away from the pay to plays.” So yea, I did. Trained with a very well known VO coach here in my large city that I moved to after getting tired of the broadcasting rat-race of NYC. So, many thousands of dollars and and three demo’s later, no love. In fact, I used to book more on the p2p BEFORE I spent all this dough getting training and attempting to get an agent, because, well, that’s what everyone said “was the right thing to do.” During my last session with my coach for my industrial demo, I asked them, “do you make more money training people or doing VO’s?” With a look of resignation they said, “training.” One other coach in a large market I worked with who is very well known told me, “they don’t even bother doing VO’s any more.” On reddit last week there was some guy saying they book 5K a month on voices123, I’m lucky if I book,well I won’t even tell you. Still, you have me beat this month, I’ve booked on very small job for a hundred bucks.

    Reply
    • Timothy Phillips

      Great post, this business is indeed filled with snake oil salespeople and folks who really make their money on the periphery. Even the “top talent” supplement with books(that state the obvious) and reviews. Some of the most hired talent have been reduced to begging via go fund me. I am proud of my voice acting business. I work for the jobs I get and have a few loyal customers. I have had to navigate through the well connected and the scam artists but after over a decade in the business (5 years full time) I have come into my own. Work hard, follow your dreams and avoid the nonsense. A deal is only good if you retain your integrity and your soul. (You figure it out)

      Reply
  3. CourVO

    Thanks, John… I get approached with the question of whether I coach at least twice a week…but I just can’t. I only wanna do the voice work. If I start going down that street, it’ll take too much attention away from what I want to do. Plus…as you said… too many coaches already!

    Onward!

    Dave Courvoisier

    Reply
  4. Michael Howard

    I greatly admire your honesty and humility, CourVO. I don’t think I’ve ever read, seen, or heard ANY VO Pro admit that work has been more than slow.

    What you have said, before, and what some other posts reinforce, is that there are so many greedy and conniving snakes, out there, who thrive on the excitement of those who feel they have the goods to be a Voice Over Artist. I’ll admit that I came close to signing up and paying for one or two “Ultimate VO Trainers” to show me what I must know if I expect to have any form of success in this business. However, the more I researched, the more I uncovered things that just didn’t sit right with me, so I passed.

    Being new to this, I’m incredibly fortunate to have a younger brother who is a VO Pro and has been getting paid for jobs from various clients for at least three years. His advice has been absolute Platinum for me. The one thing that I’ll always remember is, “You’ll have to do a lot of Auditions. I use that as a mantra whenever I get behind the mic. I know better than to ever think that I can just do a few Auditions and the Clients will be banging on my door.

    You’re doing the right thing by just doing the Voice Acting and not becoming a Trainer. Granted, I think you would be one phenomenal VO Teacher/Trainer/Coach, but if your heart is in just recording your voice for projects, that’s what you should do.

    Things will get better, Dave. As I like to say, Good Things Happen To Good People. And you are one of the best, out there!

    Michael

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Thanks, Michael… from my point of view…there’s too much posturing in the VO world, and not enough transparency. Maybe others can learn from my story.

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

      All the best,

      Dave Courvoisier

      Reply

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