Leaving the socials behind

Sometime in March, I decided that I had had enough of social media. I was talking to my friend Angie and she mentioned how the various websites had become “another job” to her. I realized I felt the same way. What would be the harm in deleting the apps from my phone? So, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…gone! I did it! Now, two months later, I feel a kind of freedom I haven’t felt in years. I don’t race to check them every morning and see what’s going on. I realized they really weren’t enriching my life that much. I don’t have FOMO, as I, ahem, feared. I do miss seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews in Austin and Hungary. But I think we can work around that.

Last year, I read the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown. It was incredibly impactful. Here’s a link. I hear he’s working on a new book called “Digital Essentialism”. I read about a case study he did where people agreed to give up social media for 30 days. Some of the comments after the experiment moved me. Things like: “I took up painting again.” “I learned how to play guitar.” “I focused on what’s important to me…my family.” WOW! You know what? I can do that too! So, I did. I don’t miss it at all. I did get an e-mail from an old friend who missed me on “the socials”. I miss him too. I miss pictures of what he’s doing and his kids. SO, I added back Instagram to my phone, but I limit myself to 5 minutes a day of scrolling and/or posting. That’s working for me. That was McKeown’s idea too. Remove them all and add back what you miss the most.

Now I have time to do other things, like work on my craft of voice acting, do more auditions, go outside and walk, play on my tennis team and just enjoy life. Oh, and update my blog for the first time in nearly four years!

What to look for in a Voice Acting coach

Michael Jordan had a coach. Babe Ruth had a coach. Joe Cipriano has a coach. Why shouldn’t you or I?

Finding a good match isn’t always easy. But here are five tips:

  • If a coach promises you they can get you work, RUN, don’t walk…RUN AWAY! They’re not honest. Especially if you’re a beginner, they cannot know how your talent will develop and your performances will evolve.
  • Someone pushing you to make a demo before you feel ready and your peers-to-be think you’re ready is just in it for the money. Again, RUN!
  • Hard sell techniques to get you to study with them, via e-mail or on the phone, is a sure sign they are amateurs. Avoid amateurs.
  • Your coach doesn’t have to be a voice actor. You could take acting, improvisation or singing lessons. All of these things will help you with your VO career. If you’re taking voice-acting lessons from a coach who is NOT a voice actor, they better have some fine credentials. Ask for references. Talk to their other students. What have they booked? Who are their agents? None of my current coaches are voice actors, but their students’ body of work speaks volumes.
  • Allow yourself the time to develop. Our careers and skills are always growing. I hear stuff that I did two years ago and think it’s not great. That’s not uncommon. The reason is, that I’ve actually gotten better. I still study with a coach or two every month. If your coach isn’t helping your skills develop, it’s time to move on.

Lastly, you can look at WoVO’s list of Industry Partners to find a good coach. Or ask other voice actors you admire with whom they study or would recommend. One of the most fun parts of voice acting is learning new skills and techniques and then BOOKING with one of them. It’s a wonderful thing and I wish you well on your journey.

Welcome to my new VO website!

With it comes my first blog posting. I figured I should probably jump on the blog bandwagon. Some of them are very popular. I’m not sure that I’ll write anything here that will change the world, but maybe just give you a little insight into mine.

In voiceover, we work because people hire a professional. Years ago, when I was in radio, I was often perplexed as to why the local store owner wanted to voice his/her own commercials. Of course he was paying for the radio time, so if he wanted to have his own voice on the air that was his prerogative. BUT, a lot of creative and effective commercials went by the wayside when the person decided to do it himself. I thought to myself, would I go to the mechanic who was working on my car and say “No, that’s not the right diagnosis. I think my turn signal fluid is low. Why don’t you fix that?” Of course not.

So, over the years, I have learned it’s best to let a professional do it. I hire a CPA to do my taxes, as they are relatively complex. We hire a “bug guy” to keep the critters at bay around our home in the desert and I finally decided to employ that strategy with my website. I had one that I did, but it looked like it. Now, I have a shiny new site, made by a real pro and I could not be happier. Thank you Kathy!

I’ll try to put something up here every week or so, things that I find amusing, whether they be VO related or not.

Now, I gotta go. Auto Zone is having a sale on turn signal fluid.