11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over

bad voice over secretsMoms are great.

They are caring, strong, and pretty much kick butt.

Sometimes, it can be hard to be honest with them about some stuff, even if the truth might not be the best news in the world.

Voice over is no different.

I’ve come to realize that there are some not-so-glamorous things about voice over that moms everywhere deserve to know, even if I don’t want them to.

P.s. Pay special attention to the part right after number 11. After reading this, you’ll be glad you did.

 

1. I’m not famous and (probably) never will be.

I don’t like saying never, but even if I was trying to become famous, this is not the route I would take. Recently, I asked a few friends of mine if they know who voices SpongeBob SquarePants. In case you don’t know, SpongeBob SquarePants has become one of the most well-known cartoons of the past 10+ years and probably of all-time and has become an $8+ billion franchise. Plus, my friends are part of the SpongeBob generation of cartoon watchers, so why wouldn’t they know? Yea, they had no idea it was Tom Kenny. For all you non voice actors, did you know that?

 

2. I don’t have a guaranteed salary.Money

Yes, this is one of the scariest things about being a professional voice actor. It is all up to me. There is no guaranteed salary. If I decide to just zone out for a few days, it will cost me big time. Even if I do work my tail off every single day, there’s no guarantee anyone will hire me.

 

3. I don’t get benefits.

On top of not being guaranteed a salary, I don’t get any benefits like healthcare, dental, vision, retirement accounts, etc. Technically, if I became part of the SAG-AFTRA union, I would be eligible for some benefits possibly. But alas, I’ve chosen to be a non-union voice actor. I have to pay for all of those things out of pocket.

 

4. People aren’t lined up down the block to hire me.Line of People

Moms are our number 1 supporters and think we are the bee’s knees, but unfortunately, not everyone else thinks that. Unless I call, e-mail, snail mail, talk to everyone I can and bust my ass (sorry for swearing, moms) marketing my services and building up business relationships with people who may or may not hire voice actors, no one is going to know who I am, let alone hire me.

 

5. Clients don’t care if I have a “nice sounding” voice.

Clients seriously don’t really care about the sound of my voice. They care about me being able to represent their brand, product, or message in a way that is believable, grabs the audience’s attention and causes the audience to do what the voice over is trying to get them to do.

 

6. Sometimes, clients don’t pay me (on time).

I know this will make all moms mad. Can you believe this could happen to your own child?! Fortunately, all of my clients have been pretty awesome and have paid me. *Knock on wood* But there have been a couple that have needed some gentle reminding. And I’ve heard a few pretty bad horror stories about some not-so-good clients.

 

7. I stand alone in a dark, enclosed box most of the day. Cat in a box

No, I’m not crazy. It’s just my recording booth. And yea, I don’t have any coworkers in there with whom to socialize. But I am definitely NOT asocial. This is just the reality of the situation. Most of the time, I’m in the recording booth recording auditions and gigs or sitting at my desk in my office by myself editing audio, calling clients, marketing my services, etc. Moms shouldn’t worry about this though, because I actually like it.

 

8. I am applying for a job every single day.

Remember how frustrating, exhausting and hard it is to apply for a job? I get to do that every single day! Every time I audition, cold call, record a spot, talk to a client, or even come in contact with anyone who may possibly need voice over at any time ever, I am potentially applying for a job with them. So, I literally have to be on my “A Game” all the time. I have to tell ya… it can get tiring.

 

9. A project can be taken away from me at any moment.

Remember when our moms taught us the value of sharing? I think I may need another lesson, because even if I get hired to do a gig, a client can take the job away from me at any time before I hit record and even after… If I have a specific contract signed, that’s another story, but most projects don’t have contracts. I don’t like sharing a lot of my hard work for free (except when I’m helping my mom mulch her yard, of course), but that’s how this business works sometimes.  Hopefully, the client will pay me for my time if it gets to be a lot. But clients are picky about who they choose to voice their projects (which I understand) and sometimes change their mind about using voice over after they’ve already decided to use it. It can get frustrating, but it’s part of the business I understand and just have to accept.

 

10. One awesome project does not guarantee more projects from that same client.

Even if I get a really cool, important gig from a client, there is absolutely no guarantee I will ever be hired by them again. It’s nothing personal. My voice just hasn’t fit right with any of the jobs they have produced since then. All I can do is build a strong working relationship with them and be available if and when the right project does roll around.

 

11. I fail…a lot.Missed catch

I hate to admit this, but I fail A LOT. A lot of my marketing techniques don’t work. Most of the time, I don’t land the gig after I audition for it. Heck, I’ve even made some mistakes with this blog.  It’s a learning process, and I am unfortunately not perfect.

 

It gets better, I promise!

You’ll have to wait a week, but next Friday, I promise I’ll tell you what I DO want your mom to know about voice over.

 

To read what I DO want your mom to know about voice over, please subscribe in the upper right hand side of this blog by entering your name and e-mail address. That way, you will really see if everything will be alright.

 

Please share this blog post if you think all moms (and everyone else) deserve to know the cold, hard truth about voice over.

 

Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing!

15 Comments on “11 Things You Don’t Want Your Mom To Know About Voice Over”

  1. Tara Tyler

    For sure!! When you tell friends/family that you do voice over they immediately want to know what cartoon you’re starring in and which national commercials you’ve voiced! Definitely saving this link to send to them. Thank you! 😀

    1. John Lano

      Tara, I can totally empathize with you. I just spent the weekend with family and experienced the same thing. Let me know what they say after you show them this.

  2. Garnet D Stencill

    And with the eleven you have grown John and mybe in the future have another eleven 🙂 good article

  3. Brent

    Brilliant John you nailed it. My mom still doesn’t really ‘get what I do’. She’d much prefer a more ‘steadier’ career for her ‘baby boy’. Even though I am quite successful and recently bought a home (due to my VO success)and had a 200sq ft Broadcast quality studio built in my new home, its still not really sinking in! Alas we dare to dream…

  4. Sam

    Like many other careers, voice over is probably not a career move your mum would be thrilled to hear about. Very funny but very true!

  5. Dan Bonebright

    Really nice post, John. As a marketing professional, I know how much work it can be to constantly market not only your clients (or company), but yourself. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. It’s always refreshing to learn from people who are chasing their dreams despite the long and uncertain journey. Cheers!

    1. John Lano

      Thanks, Dan!

      Yea, it is so difficult to constantly market yourself. However, it’s a necessary step to making things happen and achieving your goals. What are you working toward in your career?

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Nicola Redman

    Hi John. Another good read. It is always difficult when people say “what would I have heard you on?” But luckily my parents have developed a good understanding of the industry. If I get bored of fielding questions I just say I was the voice of something they would have heard but I couldn’t have possibly voiced and watch their amazement at my vocal talents! Then slink off and record some on hold messaging for a local business…. One day it’ll be Pixar!
    Nicola
    Northern Irish voice
    http://www.nicolaredman.com
    http://www.nicolaredman.com

  7. Linda Coelli

    Hi dear!
    It’s a very funny approach of such a ‘serious’ question.
    Would you allow me to translate your post into brazilian portuguese for my blog, with credits of course?

    Thank you very much in advance!
    Best regards,
    Linda

    1. John Lano

      Hi Linda!

      I responded to your email, so you already know that of course you can translate this post. Thank you for asking for permission.

      Best,
      John

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