Putting Yourself Out There: Voice Work

Over on my personal web log, I revisited some of the issues that stop me – and a lot of us – from getting stuck into the things that, if I gave myself a chance, could lead to my earning a living wage out of the things I’m honestly interested in and enjoy doing.

But from that post alone, you’d think I’ve not been making any progress. I’d like to apologise for that impression.

Because in the last couple of weeks, I managed to score myself a freelance gig.

I have a few interests that could lead to me getting paid to play: Writing fiction, blogging, science fiction in general, podcasting, games. Lately, though, I’ve been devoting my attention and time toward getting work in the field of voice acting.

For starters, I’ve talked about my interest in voice work.

For years people have been telling me, “You’ve got a great voice for radio!” And usually I nod and tell folks about how I volunteered for CairnsFM 89.1 back in the day, or how I’ve got my own radio show (this one).

Recently, I’ve been responding with, “Do you know anyone who could help get me in?”

Not long ago, just after I finished interviewing a guest for Paid to Play, she mentioned the voice for radio bit – and when I asked her if she knew anyone, she made a couple of calls to someone at the local radio station with whom I could get in contact.

For seconds, I’ve worked on marketing myself via other avenues.

This one, for me, is a little tough. I have a profile up on Voices.com and I recorded a couple of samples, but you’ll likely notice that the whole thing is a little bare.

The trick, I’ve been learning, is to come at these things with the mindset not that your prospective employer is doing you a favour by giving you a job, but that you’re doing him or her a favour by renting your awesome talents, some of which are X, Y and Z, to their business.

I, of course, have a hard time believing in myself as someone awesome, despite copious evidence and testimonials to the contrary. So giving that profile a good, solid revamping is on my agenda.

For thirds, I’ve acted on offers when they came in.

Sometimes, you just have to trust that by putting yourself out there, things happen.

Matt Bond's Portable Studio

Matt Bond with his Portable Recording Studio, set up in the Paid to Play office.

Out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, I receive an e-mail from the manager of a local media production studio. He’s heard I’m interested in doing voice work and he has a client who needs a voice for a fifteen-second commercial. It’s an impersonation of a well-known figure, and while my wife Vickie tells people that I do a great Sean Connery, it’s not of him.

But the personality in question is within my capabilities, so I say yes; the manager and I discuss terms, deadlines and price, and I organise some studio time with Matt Bond, my guest for Episode 21, who as well as having a flourishing photography business, has a pro-quality recording studio – including a portable setup, which Matt brought over our place on Thursday night.

We did some recordings on Thursday night which went over well; I’m back in with Matt this evening after the manager’s client decided on some script changes.

The work itself has been good, too – but the thing I notice the most about it is how scary it all is. I’m way outside my comfort zone, not just in doing an impersonation (with all the attendant worries about getting the voice right) but also doing this playful-non-serious thing as “work”.

I’m having to think about what the client needs, how I can do it, whom I have to hire to get the job done, how much I’m paying them, ensuring I meet deadline. It’s a heck of a thing – and for all the fear, I’d love to do it more often!

Getting Paid to Play is on its way.

In that post on The Blog of Living Curiously, I mentioned Debra Russell, life coach on Scott Dinsmore’s Live Your Legend team, who said, “People overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten.”

Well, it’s been over a year now, and sure, I’m not the meteoric success I hoped I could be by now. But I am a success at the things I’ve put my hand to and been honest with myself and others about.

So in another year – or in ten – who knows?

What about your play?

Tell me about your successes in getting paid to play, big or small. How did you get to them?


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