Friday’s ramblings – why I think VO is different

I saw this on Pinterest today, and it really resonated with me, particularly after the week we’ve been having in our house.

Many things have changed in our lives over the past few years, particularly over the last year. Among other things, I took the decision to take a career in voiceover more seriously – (If you’ve read any of my other blogs you’ll know how I have found the journey so far, I won’t bore you by repeating it here!).

Even at this very early stage, it has become clear to me that whatever you call this world – voice acting, voice over, voice artistry, there are very different sets of perceptions from those who understand it – compared to those who don’t.

“…you rock up and talk and make money from it…”

There is a fantastic like-minded group of people in the VO community – who show a remarkable level of support, kinship, friendliness and consideration for their fellow VO colleagues, and that community is a very special place – the like of which I’ve not come across before. (To those people, thank you for letting me be a part of it – I hope to be able to reciprocate that support if I can.)

Counting myself hopefully as someone who sits inside the group, I understand how other people’s perceptions are sometimes based on a view that VO is a simple thing, perhaps that you “rock up and talk and make money from it”.

We know it’s not like that at all – It’s about working work hard, being tenacious, persistent and determined. But surely the principles of tenacity, persistence and determination could be applied to any business really if you want to be successful?

Of course there are similar building blocks to any business: you need a plan, some equipment, income to support things while you get it off the ground, technical knowledge and so on.

However, in delivering the actual product, there is something different. For me the thing about VO is that quality of giving something of yourself to every recording.

We read someone’s script, interpret it, consider it, and then deliver it in the way we feel brings the words off the page. In doing so, the voice artist really gives a piece of themselves to the work. In the final cut, it’s in the purest simplest form, their voice.

And then it’s laid bare, and given to someone to judge. Someone with their own needs, values, priorities, perceptions, views – and they will decide if it’s right or not.

If it’s a “YES” – great.

If it’s a “NO” then it’s back to the next audition.

That’s the part that makes it different, that’s where you have to be MORE tenacious than a builder, or businessman or a taxi driver. Because rejection is 95% of what the VO artist handles – daily. And it’s a rejection of our purest, most honest self – put into someone else hands.

I recognise that primarily “NO” is simply that our voice/style/choices didn’t fit, we don’t get upset (if we did, we wouldn’t last very long!).

We do it with passion, effort, focus, determination – and that’s why this quote I referred to at the beginning resonated today. I can handle the individual “NO’s”, what I think they mean, what I do about them in terms of amending style, delivery, interpretation and so on.

BUT for every person who tells me “NO – VO is not a business worth pursuing” – I look at them and remember that they really don’t know what it’s about, and I’m not prepared to accept their limitations. Not this week, not next week – NOT EVER. Even when the person telling me is occasionally that little voice inside.

Thank you for reading, I hope you all have a GREAT day today, and that your “NO’s” are delivered with dignity, and your “YES’s” are plentiful.

Steve

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