It pains me to say it…but the blush is off my rose.
The ambiance of a happy-go-lucky, encouraging, supportive, VO community, steeped in camaraderie and full of brotherhood/sisterhood is a phantom lately.
Why would I say that?
For more than 10 years, I’ve paid it forward on this blog. I’ve mentored, given advice freely, helped form a non-profit advocacy group for voice actors (WoVO), practically GAVE AWAY free advice in a book (lost money on that!) and encouraged all voice actors everywhere to give of themselves to avoid the “I am an island” mindset.
But that world is changing… and honestly, all the things I gave?…brought me not one dollar back to my business.
Sour grapes? Maybe. But time is, and always has been represented as a commodity, and I’m spending waaaay too much time in referral.
And this is where boundaries must come into play.
Someone wants a referral to a demo producer? I’m happy to help, but now I expect either a referral fee, or a kickback from the producer.
Need feedback on your demo? How much is it worth to you for my considered opinion?
Like an introduction to an agent? How much does that connection mean to you?
I’ve not been in this business as long as some, but I apparently have a reputation for knowing EVERYONE. So since choose not to coach (I won’t…I just won’t. Why are YOU?), and voice over work is not showing up like it should, then maybe my connections (my network) are worth something…no?
This is a sad state of affairs, but apparently too many people are expecting something for nothing these days, and my associations, my experience, my savvy, my knowledge is/are all worth SOMETHING.
Consider that gratitude can take the form of currency (as in simoleons)?…and not just “thank you”…or “I wanna pick your brain”?
I appreciate that people ask me for help. But THEY don’t appreciate that the help I offer came at great cost to me in time, commitment, involvement, immersion, relationship-building, and BEING PRESENT in this business for about 12 years, now.
Some of you may read this and say: “It’s about time, Dave!” “You’ve let too many people take advantage of your good nature.” “You need to value your business and your time, so stop giving it away!”
OK, so now I am.
The referral store is now open.
How can I help you? What’s it worth to you?