Stop Mic-Blocking Yourself!
Hey y'all! I realize it's been awhile since I've blogged about anything. After about ten years in this crazy, voice-over biz, I am so grateful to have more work than I can handle most days. BUT as we all grow and get more work, be careful not to get in your own way!
I wanted to share a couple of recent experiences with you that could have gone terribly wrong had I approached them with a different attitude.
#1. Don't be like Linda Evangelista
Do you remember the supermodel Linda Evangelista who was infamously quoted as saying that she wouldn't get out of bed for less than ten-thousand dollars? As freakin' rockstar as that sounds, being so prideful that you NEVER work for anything less than top-tier rates can hurt you. I mean, you don't want to undervalue yourself, no. If you're working with top equipment, have a ton of experience, and have coached with the best, don't undersell yourself. But with changing technology it IS the Wild West out there when it comes to rates. While most pros don't take anything that pays less than a certain dollar amount—hard lines do have the potential to hurt you. Let me give you an example:
Honestly, I am part of that club that doesn't really like to take jobs under a certain amount—I am working on very expensive equipment and have invested tens of thousands into being able to deliver the best product I can. But on a recent and rare slow day, when I found myself perusing audition boards, I saw a rush non-broadcast job posted for $80 that nobody was auditioning for.
Since nobody was responding to it and I had nothing else going on, I decided to give it a go. Guys, it was basically one sentence and non-broadcast. I could either sit there and make $80 or sit there bored and make nothing. I didn't let pride get in my way; I was logical about how I was spending my time. Well, guess what? That person not only hired me, but they neglected to mention in the audition that they had literally hundreds more at that same $80 rate for me-- and that's not a bad long-form rate, guys. I. MADE. THOUSANDS.
Now, for those of you who are furious that I would ever consider/suggest working for a lower than "standard" rate. Remember, I don't do this all the time. I was having a rare slow day when I found the audition mentioned above- an audition that everyone else was ignoring. Most pros aren't auditioning for jobs with lower rates. Companies who can pay top-tier rates aren’t going to take their chances that a pro might be free and bored that day-- they're going to go to a trusted agent, who has nothing but pros, and those pros are guaranteed to be at their beck-and-call when they need them. You get what you pay for. If a company has money, they're not going to "chance it". They're just not, guys.
#2. Don't Underestimate Your Abilities
My second recent experience involves not putting yourself "in a box". Not a real box-- that's fun-- I'm talking about the metaphorical one.
Okay, so someone recently contacted me for an audition for a type of voice over that I don't normally do. Voice over has a ton of different niche areas: IVR, Explainer, Animation, Toys, Commercial, Promo, Books, etc. It's good to be open to anything, but because of the expense (and natural talent) that goes into working in each area most of us only specialize in a few.
So this audition I was approached about was an area I don't coach in, don't take classes in, don't have a demo for, and don't really listen to. I recorded my audition and as I listened back, I really thought it sounded terrible. "This is NOT what these type of voice over people sound like." I thought. "It just sounds like me."
Guys, I hovered my finger over the "delete track" button for a good thirty-seconds. If it wasn't for the fact that I felt obligated to submit something since I was specifically asked, I would have deleted it. At least I looked polite, I thought.
Two hours later I was contacted as being on of their top two choices out of over 100 auditions.
The lesson? Don’t micblock yourself from great opportunities! Be fluid as your grow. Grow with a healthy sense of humility. Be FLEXIBLE. And work outside of your comfort zone sometimes-- you might just shock yourself.