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 do 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. Your 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.”
People are nice. Mother Nature, sometimes not so much.
People have been calling and texting us during the weekend and in these past few days making sure we are OK in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which started last Friday and moved up the east coast over the weekend. Many states were hit but it seems North Carolina got more than it’s fair share of damage. Worse, fatalities here are in the teens and may still rise.
Our experience was misty rain all day Friday. Significant and steady rain ALL day Saturday (around 5″ in Cary to a high of about 9″ in Wake County, where we live). Sunday was sunny, cool and breezy, like nothing ever happened — Mother Nature’s way of clearing up the atmosphere.
We did not see much TV over the weekend so we didn’t see how the national news was portraying the storm in our area. It seems much of the talk was about eastern North Carolina so I can understand people’s concerns about us. We are in Cary, NC, just outside of Raleigh.
As you can see by the amateurish graphic (made by this amateur) we were on what turned out to be the safer side of the storm. But as you can see, safe by not much. People nearer to I-95 and east were hit much harder and some rivers have yet to crest but will almost assuredly to do so, causing still more damage in those areas.
Knowing that hurricanes are much more damaging than Blizzards (especially in areas built to combat and recover from blizzards like Buffalo) doesn’t prepare you for the uncertainty that hurricanes bring. Indeed, the weather folks were often citing the hurricane’s ‘cone of uncertainty’ — which follows not only the expected track of the storm but also a significant area around the track where the storm could unexpectedly alter its course.
We are fine and we are glad. But we are also thought-filled about the folks to the east, STILL dealing with mess, destruction and even death. It’s just another day for us.
Not for them. Not for a while.
Here’s one place you might be able to offer some help to those folks who need it in eastern North Carolina.
Thanks for checking in.
“There are legal obligations to assist the criminal, but who is there to help the families of the victims?”
When I was chosen as the narrator for the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network recent informational and fund-raising video production, that’s the line in the script that caught my attention.
Who DOES help the families of murder victims? Where IS the support for individuals and families whose lives have been ruined by violent crime?
In my new home state of North Carolina, the answer to those two questions is the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network (NC-VAN).
The well-produced video is an uncomfortable video to watch at first because none of us like to hear about or watch the suffering of others.
But without NC-VAN, many impacted North Carolina families would be completely adrift in some of the most awful ways one could imagine. NC-VAN gives violent crime victims and their family a kind of anchor, some direction and a bit of hope in an otherwise seemingly hopeless situation.
At the end of the video, it is the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network that asks for the help it so willingly offers others everyday. It is financial help they need. It is financial help they deserve.
If you can help them, I hope you will. Thank you.