When Uncle Roy first sent me the demo Wednesday evening, I must’ve listened to it about six times trying to convince myself it was even me. Seriously, guys. He pulled reads out of me I didn’t know I had. I’ve said it before, but now here’s the proof.
If you’ve been giving even the slightest consideration to making a new demo, I’m 100% throwing my support and endorsement behind Uncle Roy!
One of the big goals I’ve set for myself for 2016 is a new commercial demo. For many years, while I worked in broadcasting, commercial work was all I did. I voiced thousands of spots during my career. However, since leaving radio to pursue voice over full-time, I can likely count the number of commercial voice overs I’ve done on one hand.
Well, maybe two with a few toes.
Making the decision to pursue commercial work again wasn’t an easy one. I’ve built a very solid client base and successful business for myself without this type of voice over in my portfolio. However, I also knew if I wanted to advance to a new level, it would mean doing something different.
It would mean stepping out of my comfort zone.
Walking A New Road
Let me tell you a little secret about me. As much as I’m a go-getter, and as much as I preach (and practice) just figuring things out… the fact of the matter is, when something doesn’t naturally come easy to me, I get frustrated.
Today, I’m frustrated.
I knew making a commercial demo wouldn’t simply be a matter of booking a demo session with a brilliant producer. First, I’d have to do some coaching. I’d have to relearn the genre I’ve not worked in for several years. It’s a lot different from my rip n’ read radio days!
Perhaps I underestimated how different.
I’ve had two sessions now with Uncle Roy of Antland Productions. God bless the man for his patience, wisdom and guidance. Lord knows he’s needed a lot, working with me!
Coaching with Uncle Roy has been one of the most humbling experiences of my voice over career to date. I crush it in the explainer video market. I crush it in the eLearning and narration genres. Commercials however… well… who knew I’d sound like such a rookie?!
I’m sure if you asked Uncle Roy, he’d probably say it isn’t quite as bad as it seems. I hope he would, anyway! For me though, it’s been rough. We all have a natural way we speak. A natural way we approach a script. In these sessions with Uncle Roy, perhaps more than ever before, i’m truly learning what it means to be a voice ACTOR.
Guess what? It’s hard!
I share all of this with you for a couple reasons.
First, if anybody has ever told you this work is easy, they’re an idiot. Is that too harsh? Well, sorry. But it’s true. They’re an idiot and you shouldn’t listen to them and you definitely shouldn’t fork over any money to them to acquire their services in building your voice over career and business. Also, you may want to smack them and tell them they’re an idiot. Maybe they’ll realize it, and you could save someone else down the road.
Secondly, I want to be authentic with you. This blog, and my social media platform is a place where I speak frequently of success. Of growing your business. Of moving to a new level. Some may read all my words and watch all my videos and think it comes easy to me. Or that I make it sound like it comes easy. Trust me, it does not. Easy would be telling Uncle Roy, “thanks, but no thanks,” and sticking to what I already know and do well – while saving a few grand. Easy, however, won’t get me to places I want to go.
Finally, I want to encourage you to never be afraid to take the first step. If I waited until I was “ready” to pursue a commercial demo, I’d never pursue commercial work for the rest of my career. If I have to coach every week from now until the recording session at the end of February, then that’s what I’ll do (though I hope I figure this out sooner than that!). Waiting until you’re “ready” or waiting until the “time is right” are fancy ways of trying to legitimize procrastination. I’ll be ready when I make myself ready… and I’ll make myself ready by getting started. Which I did. Last week. With a February demo session already booked, I’ve given myself a very real deadline… essential to accomplishing a goal.
What’s your big goal for 2016? What are you doing to grow yourself? Stretch yourself? Step outside of your comfort zone? What steps are you taking to elevate your voice over career to a new level?
I haven’t experienced growing pains like this since early high school… but I know it’s going to be worth it!
Once upon a time, when I was a kid, we had this thing called cassette tapes. They were a fascinating little audio device that could both play and record sound. Music. Voice. Belches (not that I ever tried that, of course).
Then one day, along came a shiny new, frisbee / coffee coaster looking device the technology gurus referred to as, “compact disc.”
And cassette tapes went away.
Now, millions and millions of children will never know what it’s like to have your boom box chew your tape and destroy the listening experience of your favourite song.
Tragic, I know. But I feel good about the next generation. I think they’ll pull through.
Do you remember what the internet was like a few years ago, before anyone even knew what an explainer video was?
In voice over, much like in music media, there are trends.
Have you heard about this MP3 technology? Some new fangled music player they call, “iPod?”
What Will The Next Voice Over Trend Be?
Do you ever ask yourself, “what’s next?”
Think of the commercial market. For years, commercial jobs meant television or radio. Now we find ourselves talking about “pre-rolls” and “new media” and YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and Hulu.
Are they broadcast too, now?
Guess we’re still trying to figure that out.
Today, I did a job I’ve never done before. I’ve got a client that produces podcasts for the purposes of SEO. He asked me if I would be interested in calling experts in a particular industry, conducting an interview, and providing him with audio for said podcasts.
With my background in radio, it seemed like a good fit. Although, certainly not what many would consider a traditional voice over job.
Could this be a new trend?
It’s certainly not a type of voice over opportunity I had ever considered before. I’m sure thinking a lot about it now, though.
That’s the thing about this business. There’s always something new on the horizon.
I’m not gonna lie… there were some touch and go moments during the Apple Live Event yesterday when I’m pretty sure my heart nearly stopped and I was ready to curl up in the fetal position, giving up my will to live.
But eventually the live stream started working again. And I recovered.
Apple gave us three very cool new things to get excited about yesterday, assuming you’re a Fanboy like me. They introduced the iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Pay.
iPhone 6 Commercial
But that’s not the only thing Apple gave us. They also gave us this…
If you’re a voice actor, you’re going to want to pay special attention to that commercial.
Guaranteed, before the end of the week, clients around the world are going to be referencing it.
“We want a delivery like that new Apple commercial. You know, the one with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.”
So listen closely. If there is one way Apple impacts the voice over industry, it’s with their commercials. Every time they release a new one, for a season, at least, casting directors and clients all want reads that sound just like them.