Typically training for the average actor and voice-over are categorized into one of three camps: beginner, intermediate or advanced. Problem 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 really 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? Maybe that’s the litmus test…

The truth is you’re always 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, because you have to train a LOT throughout your career.

Much like when physically working out, training means 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 social media that coaching isn’t all that necessary or required.

Yet, anyone who holds disdain for training typically is either:

a) Rationalizing a cheap attack

b) Coddling an undeserved ego, or

c) Has never had proper training in the first place, so they honestly don’t have any reference with which to value training in the first place

As the saying goes, “Stop asking people who have never been where you’re going for directions.”

The techniques you practice become your discipline. Whatever your “process” might be ultimately determines your confidence out of competence. Besides relying solely on raw talent is completely unreliable.

And yet I’d venture to guess, given 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 can account for the terrific failure rate.

The voiceover industry isn’t static, and neither are you. It will continue to 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.

Continued training is expected at every level among professional talent. Every talent is required to invest in them selves a few times a year if you hope to remain competitive and sharp. It keeps you current with industry advances, changes, insights and updates, and with advancements to better manage your small business as a working talent. Considering voiceover relies on advancing technology as much as it does, staying up-to-date may be even more imperative.

Additionally, nothing you do as a voiceover is done in a group, so private coaching is imperative. As helpful as workshops may be from time to time, if you’re only on mic once a week for a total of 15-20 minutes during a workshop, it will only serve to lengthen the runway between you and any consistency in your work. It’ll take you a lot longer to develop your skills and accomplish anything if this is your only formal training to date.

All talent must learn to self-direct if you intend to master the ability to seamlessly apply direction when it’s offered. Momentum matters.

Training defines professional standards in any field not solely the entertainment industry. Confidence develops with knowledge of a subject, followed by practice. A proper audition routine should allow you the stability needed to create with each take. How you conduct business speaks volumes about you before you ever utter a word from the script regardless of your level of experience.

Suffice it to say, however you think of yourself, whatever you practice, and whether you continually commit to improving yourself are all factors that determine your mettle and your value. These elements define every professional, regardless of whether you’re just starting out, or starting again.

Copyright © 2021 by Kate McClanaghan, All Rights Reserved.


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