Posted on

The Importance Of Being Adaptable

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in nearly 15 years as a firefighter is that you’ve got to stay adaptable. Firefighting is not a job you learn in a few training sessions before you start, and then carry on for your entire career.

In my department, we train weekly. At least.

Things are always changing. New tools. New techniques. New information. The way we did some things when I started is not the way we do them today. When you make a commitment to becoming a firefighter, you also make a commitment to lifelong learning.

The Importance Of Being Adaptable

ebola-training-bulletinIn yesterday evenings training session we received a new piece of literature. An Ebola Virus Disease Training Bulletin.

Given the significant media attention currently being given to Ebola, and the concern Ebola has caused across North America, emergency services are taking proactive measures to ensure their first responders are prepared and trained. As a firefighter, that includes me.

So last night, when I returned home from the fire hall, I spent time reading the 10 page training bulletin, and the corresponding email from our Fire Chief outlining protocols that the fire department is to follow in the event we are dispatched to a call where the potential for Ebola exists.

A couple weeks ago, I would’ve just shaken my head if someone asked me if I was prepared for a potential Ebola case. Today, things are different.

As a firefighter, you’ve got to stay adaptable. Things are always changing.

Adapting As A Voice Actor

Two years ago, I don’t think I had ever heard the term explainer video. I’m not sure any of us really had. It was something shiny and new. A niche of voice over work that was still in it’s infancy.

As I began to learn more about this type of voice over, I began to realize that it was something that really could be in my wheelhouse. The few explainers I had watched were voiced by people with similar sounds to me. The style of read was light and fun and friendly. I was pretty confident I could do it.

So I tried.

By 2013 I had a custom explainer video demo and began marketing to explainer video production companies.

This year, I ramped it up even further. I built an entire sub site at to showcase my explainer video voice over work. I also built a new landing page at to use in my marketing efforts.

The result… I’ve voiced somewhere around 200 explainer videos already this year alone.

Study The Trends… Get In Early

Adaptation-754937Do I actually think I’ll ever respond to an Ebola call as a firefighter in my town? No. At least, I certainly hope not! Does the potential exist? Sure it does.

That’s why we prepare. We train. We adapt.

There are always new niches opening up to the voice over market. Explainer videos has been a huge one. How about voice over for Apps? Another massive market that’s only getting bigger.

If you want to continue to grow your business, you’ve got to keep up with the current trends and you’ve got to keep your eyes open for emerging ones that could create new opportunities.

Always be adaptable and you’ll always open up new avenues for work.


Posted on

Be A Mentor

It’s hard to believe, but I’m now in my 14th year as a volunteer firefighter. Even harder to believe is that I’m considered a veteran member within my station. I don’t feel old enough to be a veteran member. I’m even an Acting Captain, and have been for three years.

I grew up in the fire hall. My dad served for 33 years. At the time I joined, even though I was a rookie, in some senses, I wasn’t. I had been around the guys and the equipment my entire life. I didn’t go through the awkward phase of learning who everyone was, making friends, figuring out how stuff worked and what stuff did. I just came in and fit in.

Being A Rookie

Hello-Im-New-LOGOIt’s not easy to be a rookie on the fire department, especially if you’ve got no experience with firefighting. A ton of new information gets thrown at you in a very short period of time. There are so many aspects to the job beyond holding a hose. So many different pieces of equipment. So many scenarios. Variables. It can be very overwhelming as you try and navigate these brave new seas.

Each January new recruits show up in our hall. I consider it a privilege to get to know them and, in essence, become a mentor to them. I want to be someone they can trust. Someone they can come to with a question with no worries of being mocked or judged. Someone who can guide them. Who can teach them. Who can watch out for them.

One of these recruits could hold my life in their hands one day. I want to make sure they know what they’re doing!

Be A Mentor

mentorshipIt’s tough being a rookie in the voice over industry. In my experience in social media and other outlets, newbies to the business are little more than bugs to be crushed. Veteran talent are often hard on them. Their questions are often mocked. Their mistakes are often put on display for all to see and judge.

I find it very discouraging, if I’m being honest.

For those of us that are veterans in this industry, I believe we have a responsibility to help shape and mould it. It’s our job to help the industry grow and flourish. One of the ways we can do that is by taking a leadership and mentorship role with new people trying to break into the business.

What’s More Productive?

  • Seeing a talent make a mistake and correcting them with kindness or seeing a talent make a mistake and mocking them?
  • Tearing someone down for charging a low rate or teaching them the importance of market and personal value?
  • Insulting a talent for the quality of their audition or demo or instructing them on how to make it better?
  • Insulting new talent in social media or guiding them and building their confidence?

If the industry is going to continue to grow, if rates are going to continue to remain fair, and if jobs are going to continue to exist and get better, a big part of that is on the shoulders of veteran talent to lead and develop the next generation of voice actors.


Be a mentor.

QUESTION: What can you do today to pass on some of your skills and knowledge?


Posted on

Are You Surrounded By The Right People For Success?

This weekend I took an Advanced Auto Extrication course for the fire department. Although I’ve been doing auto ex for 13 years, it’s a skill that must continually be updated as car technology changes. The way we cut apart cars today is not the same as we did it when I started. Continue reading Are You Surrounded By The Right People For Success?

Posted on

Do You Know When To Rest Your Voice?

My other office. Photo by @ttslote.
My other office. Photo by @ttslote.

Sunday afternoon I was looking over some pictures I had taken in Las Vegas. I had returned the day before, but was exhausted when I finally made it home. I hadn’t had much of an opportunity to look over the pictures I had taken.

Shortly after 3pm my pager went off for a structure fire. I dropped everything and made my way to the hall. I geared up, jumped in the Pump, put my air pack on and started preparing myself mentally for whatever we were about to find. Continue reading Do You Know When To Rest Your Voice?