They’re all the same, right?
No, uh, they’re not.
Ever been told you have a “face for radio”? This is a kind way of someone telling you that your face is hurting their eyes. It’s another way to politely say “Please stop hurting me visually.” I have never once been told this, because I only hang around blind people. It helps with my confidence level.
In all sincerity, I’ve never once been told “Hey, you’ve got a great voice! You should do voiceovers!” Not once. Never. I hear that other people have been told that. No one has ever manufactured such a sentence and aimed it at me. So either:
- I’m in the wrong field
- I’m in the right field, it’s just that no one around me speaks English
- I’m in a completely different field in a completely different ballpark on a completely different planet where it’s just me and grass, and grass doesn’t say anything except “please sir, may I have some water?”
So I’m going to go with 4) I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me, final answer.
Jack of all Trades, Master of None
You know those people. The "Jack of All Trades, Masters of None." The ones that think that they’re just great at everything. The ones that want to do voiceovers because they’re a singer. Or sing because they do podcasting. Or do radio because they’re a voice talent. Or zipline because they eat Cheerios. One thing doesn’t have anything to do with the other, like Ben Affleck and acting.
You can be good at a few things, but that doesn’t mean that you’re great at everything. Nor does it mean that you’re automatically an expert at one craft just because it uses a microphone just like that other craft does, which is about as truthful as “I load luggage into an airplane so I therefore must be able to pilot one.” The frenetic and panicked look on your passengers’ faces should validate this truth, as will their screams of terror coming from the cabin behind you. Please be a nice pilot and bring the plane back; it doesn’t belong to you, nor do those people. The policeman will be along in a moment.
I meet a lot of people who want to get into voiceovers because they have been on the air. I’m also friended on Facebook by a ton of people who, after a cursory look at their profiles, are clearly radio DJ’s, post cat videos, believe in leprechauns, snap foodies and post those annoying “if you agree with me repost this and send it to eighty trillion of your closest friends or this planet will explode in five seconds no its true you must believe me on this lives are in peril where are you going get that straightjacket off of me” posts. Also they believe in the Kardashians. I maintain no such belief, nor will I link to them.
So, with that, I kindly hit the “delete request” button and fill out the restraining order paperwork.
The “I can do everything” people are nice people deep down, I’m sure. They are friendly, capable people who just want to try their hand at something new; believe me, I get it. But a Crossover SUV is still an SUV. If it really wants to be a sedan, then it needs to learn how to become a Sedan, which is a different type of vehicle entirely. Ya like that? I wrote that comparison. You’re welcome. I take tips via Paypal, Venmo, and with offerings of your firstborn child, as long as I reserve the right to name them Shaniqua.
When someone tries to do everything, they usually fail at something, unfortunately. Take me for example. I believe with every fiber of my being and the fire of a thousand suns that I can do voiceovers AND put up a curtain rod. However, one of those things is bound to fail. Putting it in checkbook context, I make money with voiceovers. When I try to install a curtain rod, I then have to expend money to hire a Fixer to fix the fix that I fixed and actually put up the curtain rod above the window and not accidentally install it into the backyard, which is what all-competent me has done. At the point where your normal man would be finished, that’s when I’ve lost the will to live, and I decide to live in a tent instead. Therefore, I choose voiceovers, because A) we keep more money and B) my wife isn’t forced to stay on the second floor for privacy reasons because there are already successfully installed curtain rods up there. Sidebar: Darn you, Make-It-Look-So-Easy-DIY Home Depot videos.
For example, it’s been rumored that it’s possible for men to change their own oil in their car. While this may be possible for men, I, a man, seem to not be able to do this. Each time I try, it ultimately results in tears and a disaster of Biblical proportions, and then I have to buy a new car because that one just doesn’t want its oil changed by me. Cars generally don’t seem to want to allow me to do things most men can do. For instance I remain very unable to look like Matthew McConaughey driving a Lincoln while at the same time being Joshua Alexander driving a Nissan Rogue. My Rogue doesn’t want me to do that, and it continues to pull over to the side of the highway when I try. Exorcisms don’t help: they just make my Rogue more angry and people look at us funny.
So don’t you see? All things are not possible to those who believe.
I Think I Can I Think I Can We Know You Can’t
Being able to talk into a microphone does not a good voiceover artist make. I realize that in so saying, you might now like me about as much as giving birth with your femur bone cracked in half. If you are unable to understand the comparison, then I suggest giving birth with your femur bone cracked in half. Then you’ll know.
Overconfidence is a big thing, just like Shark Week. It’s inescapable, it’s terrifying, and it dominates the programming for a while, until we come to our senses and need to take a break from all those sharks and go get some shark-fin soup. (Dangit!). In the same light, remember The Little Engine That Could? It’s a great story. The big train thought that it could do it all by itself. But ultimately, the big train required a tow from a little think-i-can train to get it over the mountain. Both needed willpower, and they both needed to believe. But the object lesson I’m making here is that one train did one job, and the other did another job, and they each needed different skills to successfully make it over the mountain.
Let’s get something straight. I’m tolerant and accepting of other people’s choices and their desire to be who they think they are. I know this is going to offend some people, but here goes.
The other day, this podcaster wanted to be a voiceover artist. We were on a voiceover video consult, and from the beginning of our conversation I could hear Michael Bolton in the background blaring loudly. We had a nice chat, and then he told me he was gay. His boyfriend came on the line, and I could hear kissing. I can tolerate a lot, but there was something new to all of this for me. They kept on kissing, and they just wouldn’t stop. Now, like I said, I’m tolerant, so I politely reaffirmed who he was and who he wanted to be. It’s all good. But then they went even further and they started complimenting my hair and my eyes and my voice. I had had enough. I shouted at them. I couldn’t believe I was shouting! But I told it to them straight: “Dude! If you’re a gay podcaster, be a gay podcaster! If you want to be a gay voiceover artist, be a gay voiceover artist!” And here’s where I let him have it. “But you’ve been playing Michael Bolton since the beginning of our conversation, and you’re still playing Michael Bolton!!!!”
I hate Michael Bolton.
HEY! WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!!!
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