Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ways to Take Positive 2009 Voice Over Inventory

Working in the voice over industry, or any media field, is the most exciting and challenging of all careers. If you think about it, it is the only career you can spend a life-time in college or classes learning about, and educational degrees are no guarantee that you will always land full-time work. It is definitely an adventure, not a '9 to 5' gig, so it is very important that every voice over talent stays positive about upcoming adventures in 2010, and leave negative days in 2009, behind us.

Psychologically, the end of the year brings with it the potential to start feeling negative about working in the voice over industry. There is typically a business slow-down, while people doing the hiring enjoy the holidays. Business slow-downs are not easy for creative, energetic voice talent, who are ready to work at anytime.

What I wish to give to you are positive ways to take inventory of the past year, and a 'belief system' that used to get me through the holidays, while working as a voice talent in New York City:
    1. Take care of the bills first:
    Around this time of year Voice123 is emailed consistently asking for receipts of payment by those looking to gather information to do taxes in the first month of the year. Knowing this career is not about 'steady paychecks', it gives peace of mind to know that finances are managed before going into the holidays. Stress has been known to affect a person's body physically, and we all want to be healthy and ready to start 2010.

    I also tried something a few times that gained me experience I consider priceless. If money is really tight, find a part-time 'holiday season' job. This was something I used to do in New York City to keep my spirits up during December. Being around those who are smiling and enjoying the holiday season rubbed off on me, while working part-time jobs in Times Square, or FAO Schwarz. When the season was done, I also had a nice paycheck to handle some minor bills going into 2010, and literally, I felt like I was paid to be part of a month-long holiday party. I also made some great connections in the voice over field because the people I worked with were also voice talent. In addition, I was learning how to sell products that gave me experience towards future voice over jobs I booked. Selling over 400 Incredible Hulk action figures to kids in an 8-hour shift is not easy. Knowing 'how to sound' played a part in it.

    Some may not see how that is related to voice overs, but being that we all 'sell' with our voice, I found a way to apply it to my voice over career. The opportunities for voice over work will always be there. December is just typically a slower month. It is best to emerge from December, in shape and ready to go for January 2010.

    2. Take note of the amount of voice over contacts you have met this year, online and offline: Contacts are essential to this industry. Feeling like you have a large group of people to start working with in 2010, makes 2009 feel like a success.

    3. Take an honest look at what helped you get voice over work in 2009:
    Life is all about decision-making. Some decisions maybe did not turn out the way we had hoped, and some were surprisingly successful. The importance of taking a look back at decisions during the past year is to leave behind what did not work, and most importantly, build on what worked for you in the voice over industry to have a fresh start to 2010.

    This leads into creating a 'belief system' for yourself as a voice over talent for 2010:'Success' is usually determined by how well a person learns from mistakes they have made, even if at times, they seemed like the right thing to do. The one great thing that makes being a voice over talent so great is that you are your own boss, in control of what you decide to do to get work. Bosses make mistakes, too! Do not beat yourself up over something you decided to with great intention, and found it was not the right move to make.
Voice123 does stay open on certain holidays simply because we all understand that the voice talent's quest for work rarely takes a holiday. Given that this company is international, we know work must be out there everyday. So, in closing, cut your boss (you) some slack this holiday season. Do not beat yourself up over anything. Spend time around your family and voice over friends, either online or offline, and use that support group to prepare for a positive 2010!

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
Steven Lowell
Public Relations Manager
Voice123 Premium Forums
Steven's Blog
Twitter: @stevenNYC123


Lynda said...

Thanks, all great advice and a nice Christmas present! Merry Christmas to you!

Joshua said...

Thanks, Steven, and way to stay positive! My take-away from 2009 is that the more I think I've got it all figured out, the less I really know. For instance, after a pretty bleak 14 months of either very slow work or a surfeit of low-paying gigs, this November and December (when my work usually dries up completely) are turning out to be my busiest two months in a VERY long time. I booked a computer training manual, a state dept. of health disaster preparedness course, a holiday TV special (airing this Sunday on ABC at 5E/2P, if you're bored) - all of which, incidentally, from contacts made originally on V123 - and some Nick billboards (an ongoing gig) as well as a variety of other projects (I'm a writer/producer/director as well). So I suppose my point is a lot can happen very quickly (I didn't see half of this stuff coming) so stay open to saying yes because hey, ya never know. And keep some caffeine around, just in case. Happy holidays to all!

Daniel Goldman said...

Hi Steven,
Thank so much for your inspirational message and comments. Very valid points and perspective you have shared. Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours!

Robert Coster said...

I think this article is extremely negative in its assumption that we are all down in the dumps. I ALWAYS look to the near year as a positive thing and think many others do too. Additionally, an article that I think would have been more useful would be helpful tips for 2010. For instance, networking or a tip about landing a job when there is lots of competition, or rather general tips on how to make 2010 a success.

Tim said...

Wow! Great advice Steven and just at the right time. You must have been reading my mind! Happy Holidays to you and I look forward to 2010!