Well maybe not letters so much as emails. Often the emails are clients or prospects wanting a quote on a voice-over project they are working on.
But almost as often I get emails from people wanting to break into the voice-over business. Many established voice talents receive these types of emails.
I try and answer them as honestly as I know how, even though I know most want me to paint a rosy picture of their voice-over future for them. I don’t to that but nor do I want to shatter their dreams.
Every person has a right to try to follow their dream and it’s not my place to knock them down. Nor is my place to set false expectations.
Just as an illustration, I will share with you an email I received this evening (yes, on a Sunday evening). Such an email on a Sunday is not so uncommon, as many people are facing the prospect of another Monday at the job they don’t like with great dread. I know that feeling from my past lives and I am not unsympathetic to their plight.
So anyway, here is the email I received and my reply. I’ll leave it to you to decide if I am a helpful realist or a soulless dream crusher.
“I am a 22 yr old kid looking to fulfill his dreams. I’ve wanted nothing more than to be involved with voice acting since I was little. It’s truly what makes me happy and I do believe I have the talents to do some great things. Just looking for someone to take a chance with me. Just want one shot. I cant do an office job anymore. It isn’t the life for me at all. I’m miserable. I need to be around people and to make others happy.”
Here is my reply:
“Fortunately for you, you have an objective. A goal.
Now you need a strategy.
Know this first and foremost….working in voice-over is pretty much running a one-person business. You’re in an office 90% of the time and a studio 10% of the time. Those % can vary but not much on average.
Do you want to run a small business? I know you think you want to be in voice-over but what you’re really saying is I want to run a small business. You’re saying I want to take the financial risk (money is not huge for many) I want to be responsible for sales, marketing, human resources, accounting and toilet cleaning. It a one person gig and you do it ALL.
Are you ready for all that? ALL of that?
I’m not trying to scare you…I’m just offering you the facts. You’re dreams of what voice-over could be will not jive with what the reality will be. It is hard work. Hard. Work. 24/7/365. And in all of this, I haven’t even mentioned turning on the mic.
If you have the financial resources to withstand significant dry times (no VO jobs) and start -up costs (studio, marketing etc), if you have the acumen run a small business and the personality to create positive business relationships, then consider starting your new voice-over business up on the side. Keep your day job and work VO in your off time. It can be done and is done by thousands everyday.
Take a look at my free e-book and see if that helps you on this proposed journey as well. The Voice-Over Entrance Exam can be found at www.voiceoverentranceexam.com
Go in with your eyes WIDE open to the work ahead.
Be afraid. Be worried.
Then, as you’re consumed by uncertainty, do it anyway.
You’re 22. If you fail, you’ll recover. But what happens if you succeed?
You miss 100% of the shots you never take in life. Just remember to take SMART shots, not emotional shots.
I hope this helps. Good luck.”