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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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