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CAREER
What Else Can You Do Now
To Supplement Your VO Income?


By Andy Bowyer
Voice Actor

As time marches on, it becomes more and more important to have multiple skill sets in most any field. 

In a recent interview on NPR's Fresh Air, hostess Terry Gross asked actor/comedian/musician Jack Black what challenges "larger actors" face in getting roles in Hollywood. I found his answer both intriguing and very true. He said:

"The real challenge is if you don't look super sexy, like a Brad Pitt, you're going to have to try harder. You're going to have to make up for it in other ways.

"You're going to have to charm the pants off them. You're going to have to make them laugh. But those are good hoops to have to jump through. 

"You're going to have to do some writing. Let's face it. The great comedians now that are handicapped in the looks department are tremendous writers."

DIVERSIFY TO THRIVE

He's talking about diversification. Gone are the days when a person gets the luxury of being able to focus on a single aspect of any given industry.  

The same is certainly true of the voice over industry. 

There is a plethora of full-time voice over artists around. We're not exactly a rare breed anymore.  

DO MORE THAN SAYING WORDS

But many of us have chosen to employ other skills in addition to our ability to "say words."
There are many strong VOAs who also provide coaching services to both polished professionals and up-and-coming talents. 

Some also provide demo-creation services. Still others also specialize in full-blown production work - which, as digital technology has progressed, has become an entirely different animal since the days of razor blades and tape. In fact, the word monster may be a better term. 

ENCOURAGEMENT FROM A FRIEND

Recently during a conversation with my very good friend Dustin Ebaugh, I was encouraged to branch out a bit, as well. 

And I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that in addition to providing a variety of VO styles for "any occasion," I've decided to hang out my shingle as an audio editor, too.

After all, not everyone can edit with detail, accuracy, and speed - just like not everyone can put the appropriate bells and whistles into a movie promo or imaging piece. 

KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS

After all, in the immortal words of Dirty Harry, "A man's got to know his limitations." 

However, it's true that if you're truly diverse, and can admit what you're not good at as well as embrace what you are good at, you can thrive at whatever you set out to do or be.  (I realize there's a Frank Sinatra joke there, but let it go.)  

I suppose, in fairness, we should go back to the Dirty Harry reference and remind ourselves of one other thing: 

"You gotta ask yourself a question " 

Except in this case, the question is simple: 

"What am I good at, and how can I help others while helping myself?" 

FIND WHAT COMES NATURALLY

Remember: things that you do well and probably take for granted might just be something that someone else isn't that good at. 

Can you teach it? Can you do it for them? Can you enhance your living while doing either one or both of those things? 

Chances are you can. You just have to believe that you can. 

THEN MARKET YOURSELF

And then get out and work your hiney off to let people know you can. And if you don't know where to start marketing yourself, well, there are some pretty diverse people out there who can help you with that, too. 

See how that works? Now get to it!

ABOUT ANDY ...
 
Andy Bowyer is a nose-to-the-grindstone voice actor who has been cheerfully "saying words" for a diverse clientele for over 20 years. He also participates as a member of the SaVoa Advisory Board, and plays a mean game of backgammon.

Web: www.abvoices.com
Email: abVoices@gmail.com
About audio editing: http://editing.abvoices.com

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Comments (3)
Rob
5/11/2012 at 1:02 AM
Love the blog Andy! I believe you are on the right track with diversifying. Voice overs, blogging (with some affiliate marketing thrown in) and, like you said, some instructing, etc could fill in the gaps.
Bobbin Beam
4/30/2012 at 11:44 AM
While I agree diversification is OK and may help the bottom line, I mostly agree with Paul. Perhaps diversifying within the voiceover niche itself could be the best. For instance if you do mostly commercials, take a narration or audiobook class, etc. Learning how to do something you haven't done yet, and learning if you can do it well could open new paths of income. Education and the right voice training with the right coach, along with self-education may serve to motivate in ways that can provide the perfect answers to career the needs to evolve.
All The Best,
Bobbin
Paul Strikwerda
4/30/2012 at 7:40 AM
What to do when the pickings are getting slimmer?

Before branching out into different directions, I would first look at the cause of the problem.

If you're offering a great product at a good price and the market is still hungry for your services, what's preventing you from increasing your sales?

Let's assume that marketing is the Achilles Heel of your business. In that case, the solution is not to start offering a new service but to improve the way you find clients and the way clients find you.

Starting a new branch of your business will take away your time and your focus from where it is needed most. It might actually sabotage your success.

For others, lack of work might have to do with the quality of their product. In that case, venturing off into new territory is not the solution either. Training and coaching is the answer.

In many cases, people's rates aren't high enough to sustain a profitable business and they end up doing more for less. If that's the case, audio editing might not save the day because rates for editing are considerably lower than for voice acting.

Mind you, I'm not against versatility or flexibility, but find out what's wrong first before you try to fix it.

If the well has dried up, perhaps you're not digging deep enough.


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