Training for the average actor and voice-over typically categorizes talent into one of three camps: beginner, intermediate or advanced. The thing is: nothing in this business is lumped into those categories. You’re either a professional or you’re not, right out of the gate.
Anyone who might hire you, even from the very start of your career, needs and wants your very best. They expect your professionalism.
No one looking to hire a talent figures, “Well, this project needs a beginner voiceover.” Or, “We could really use an intermediate actor for this commercial.”
That’s never gonna happen. A pro is a pro is a pro, regardless of experience level.
So, at what point do you consider yourself a professional? Once you start auditioning? Once you book your first gig? If so, what happens during that session that flips the switch and changes everything? Maybe once you join the union?
The truth is you’re expected to instill confidence by making your potential client feel stable and secure about hiring you in the first place. The convincing is in the doing. You’ll only undermine your authority, after scoring the job, if you suddenly state, “This is my first booking!”
And I get it. When you’re just starting out you train. Yet, many of the greatest lessons learned occur on the job, just not all of them. You have to expect to train… a LOT.
When you train, much like when physically working out, you’re discovering new things, new muscles, new ways to expand your abilities so you can offer greater options with your performance, regardless of the medium. You’re expected to continually develop and sharpen your skills with techniques that challenge your comfort zone that typically aren’t initially intuitive.
Coaching, by design, challenges your comfort zone, and demands more from you than simply showing up and winging it. This is the case throughout your career, regardless of what you may read from a few seemingly intelligent, seemingly experienced individuals who crab on Facebook, or various social media, that coaching isn’t necessary.
Anyone who holds disdain for proper training is either:
- Rationalizing a cheap attack
- Coddling an undeserved ego, or
- Has never had proper training in the first place, so they honestly don’t have any reference
As the saying goes, “Stop asking people who have never been where you’re going for directions.”
The industry isn’t static, and neither are you. It will continually evolve, and so will you. Therefore, developing and maintaining your skills, rather than leaving them unchecked without any yardstick to go by, or any ability to self-assess lacks critical thought and foresight. Personal taste is one thing, ignoring industry demands, and standards is entirely another, and a recipe for disaster. This has always been and will likely always be the case regardless of your experience.
The techniques you practice establish discipline. Whatever your “process” might be ultimately determines your confidence out of competence.
Raw talent is unreliable.
And yet I’d venture to guess with all my experience and insight into this business that better than 85% of all talent attempting to “make a go at it” are doing so by the seat of their pants. Which could account for the terrific failure rate.
Training is a given at every level among professionals. It doesn’t go away. It’s required of every talent a few times a year if you hope to remain competitive and sharp. It keeps you current with changes, insights and updates. With better and smarter ways to manage your small business as a working talent, it may be the case even more so when it comes to voiceover considering this work relies on technology as much as it does.
Also, nothing you do as a voiceover is done in a group, so private coaching is an imperative. As helpful as workshops may be from time to time, if you’re only on mic for 15-20 minutes a week for 8 weeks during a workshop, it’s going to take you a lot longer to develop your skills and accomplish anything. All talent must learn to self-direct if you ever hope to master the ability to take direction. Momentum matters. These are all standards. This is what a professional understands in any field, not solely the entertainment industry.
How you conduct business speaks volumes about you before you ever utter a word from the script. How you think of yourself, how you remain inspired, curious and hungry to continually improve are all factors that determine your mettle. Its what determines your value. These are all elements that define any professional, regardless of whether you’re just starting out, or starting again.
Copyright © 2019 by Kate McClanaghan. All Rights Reserved.