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The GKN Weekly Update 3/5/13 – FAME! I’m Gonna Voice Forever…

Happy Daylight Saving Time! It’s early this year, March 10th. What’s up with that…?

Alright, lets get one thing straight: I’m sick. I woke up with a lovely cold Saturday morning so now I’m on Day 4. Sore throat, fishbowl head, the works. I was damn careful, too! I was in New York twice last week as well as two other recording studios so heck knows where I picked it up. And no, I’m not gonna make this blog about what to do when a voice talent gets sick. The good news is the recording session I was scheduled for yesterday got postponed because the script isn’t ready so yippie for that.


My latest audio book “Steam Punk Specs” is now on sale!

I narrated six of the eight stories along with my dear friend Vanessa Hart and the wonderful Nancy Linari. This was a fun batch! I got my German on as well as many British dialects. I also had to do a sort of French-Middle Eastern hybrid dialect. Trust me, I would get laughed out of Algeria  if somebody from there heard it!

So last week I was Accountabilibuddy-ing with my pal Trish Basanyi and the subject of success came up. What is it? How do you achieve it? How do you know when you’ve achieved it?

We agreed that success is very subjective. What it is depends on who you ask. For some, it’s a certain level of income. “I know I’m a success when I can quit my day job.” For others, it’s fame/status in your chosen field. It can also be very specific. “I’ll know I’m a success when I sell my first painting.” or “I’ll know I’m a success when I get that promotion.” It’s different for almost everybody.

How success in the voiceover industry is measured depends on a lot of things. What fascinates me is how many people who aren’t voice talent have a rather, shall we say, Hollywood-y perception? How many times have you met someone and when you tell them what you do they immediately ask “So where have I heard you?”. Then you rattle off a bunch of products & services they’ve never heard of and their eyes kind of glaze over, so you move on to the next subject. Another question that is frequently asked is “So you’re waiting for your big break, right?”. That always makes me cringe!

In my humble opinion, success in the voiceover industry has little to do with “big name” gigs and nothing to do with luck. I don’t even believe in luck. I truly believe in the cliche: Luck  = Preparation + Opportunity.

Here’s an example. My first audiobook was a Danielle Steel novel. Lucky, right? Nope. I cold-called every contact in the Audio Publishers Association directory so when the Danielle Steel project came along, my demo was on file. Luck had NOTHING to do with that!

So was it my “big break”? Absolutely not. I haven’t done an audiobook with that much exposure ever since. Does that mean I didn’t capitalize on the opportunity? Not necessarily. To be honest, when I narrated that audiobook, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing! I’ve narrated over 60 stories since then and I still feel like I have a long way to go as an audiobook narrator. The only place where you see people getting their big break is in the movies or on TV shows. You know, fiction? And don’t come back at me with “American Idol”. The winners on that show would have found success in some other way because they work extremely hard and don’t give up!

TIP OF THE WEEK: Don’t get caught up in the ideas of “success” or “getting your big break”. Success in the voiceover industry is not vertical or even horizontal. It’s spherical. It’s not about big clients, it’s about more clients. Paul Payton once said he’d rather have five two-hundred dollar clients than two five-hundred dollar clients. Get it?

It’s also about making a positive contribution to the industry, at least it is in my opinion. I feel like a success when I’m able to take what I’ve learned and share it with someone else so they don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

The biggest challenge of aspiring voice talent is to be able to handle to demystification of this industry, and it is as follows: it’s not about being rich, famous, landing an agent, or doing big-name commercials. It’s about building a business and acting like one!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: The prospect of a long day at the beach makes me panic. There is no harder work I can think of than taking myself off to somewhere pleasant, where I am forced to stay for hours and ‘have fun’. Phillip Lopate

STUFF!: “Inception” gets better every time I see it!

From Tom Dheere’s plague-ridden apartment, this is Tom Dheere; GKN News…


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