A Stalled Voice-Over Career Isn't Funny ...
Unless Rosemary Watson Advises What To Do
May 29, 2019
Note: Among her many talents, the author is known for hilarious dead-on "famous lady" skit impersonations. Check her website for links to these (below). And that wit bubbles into her recent blog about jump-starting a stalled voice-over career ...
By Rosemary Watson
Voice Actor, Actress, Vocalist
Hi, it's Rosemary … voice-over actress to the stars, no wait, that's voice-over actress of the stars.
If I am known for anything, besides my uncanny ability to measure out liquids by eyeballing them, I am probably most known for some of my "famous lady" impersonations. (Hillary, Melania, Dolley Madison - the early years, etc.)
But who the hell am I kidding? Ninety-five percent of you reading this have probably NEVER heard of me before by name. And I say 95% and not 97% because I'm sending this to my entire family tree.
Okay, so you don't know who I am, but that doesn't matter. What matters is YOU! And YOU are here reading this because YOU are a voice actor and your career has stalled.
And by God, you don't have much hair left to pull out.
Take it from me. Mine has stalled too. Once it did it 14 times in just 24 hours.
And that, dear reader is why I can tell YOU what to do.
FIRST, CALM DOWN
For starters, put the Chivas or Manischevwitz away and CALM THE HELL DOWN.
Now some VO experts are gonna tell the newbies out there to work harder, check your technical crap so that it doesn't sound like crap, get a coach and stay positive. But ...
Piece of advice numero uno: It's your relationships stupid!
Are you talking down to people, name-calling? You know, that sort of thing? Cuz if you are, that's your problem right there. Duh!
Jokes and put-downs aside, if you want to inject your career with some juice, focus your attention on your relationships.
MAKE 'REAL' CONNECTIONS
You email, you dropbox, you post on social media (MY GOD, do you post on social media!!), but you probably don't spend too much time actually TALKING to human beings and making real connections if you are a typical full-time VO person with a home-studio.
You have spent years building skills, improving your repertoire of voices and styles, making reels, putting together demos. Now spend a week or two making a concerted daily effort to connect with your buyers (and even non-buyers - I'll get to this in a minute.)
Because, if you're like me, you don't like people, which is why you chose a career that means you get to spend quality time by yourself alone in a dark space. Of course, that's a joke. I am kidding!
BUT, and that's a big BUT, if you are like me you have become VERY accustomed to doing your work in an isolated way.
It's easy. It's hassle-free in a lot of respects. I can go weeks and weeks without ever talking to anyone on the phone! I have gone years(!) working for people with whom I have never spoken on the phone. Not once. And this is not something I am proud of and is definitely something newbies SHOULD AVOID.
GET THEE TO A PHONE BOOTH
- NOT AN ISO BOOTH!
Please deposit 25 cents.
LOG YOUR JOB INFO
Which brings me to TIP number one for my next article entitled:
The thing I should have done, which all freelancers should do in any field, I would imagine, is to keep a very orderly log of your clients, the job you did for them, what it paid, the contact info and mostly, WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO CONTACT THEM AGAIN with a note to say ...
Don't waste time reinventing the wheel, trying to 'find' clients when you already have four hundred and twenty in your database. (And yes, I really did just pull that number out of thin air. I don't do drugs but obviously you do.)
Don't do what I did, and get drunk on the idea that you peel off an audition, win the job, make your little $250 or $300 dollars - THAT same day via PayPal - and you don't need to bother building a relationship because it was such a fast and easy 'one-off'.
I have pissed away years of one-off clients because I never did any follow up, because it was all so easy at the time.
CLIENTS WILL MOVE ON
You will see, if you are like me you sad, sad person, that when you contact them six years later because you are desperate and have time to go through your inbox, some will respond and remember who you are, but many are no longer at the email address you have.
What could have been a long-lasting relationship with a human being was a cheap $250 one-day stand, you quick-tongued tart!
Piece of advice numero two: Read Dave Ribble's book, The Conscientious Connector. Especially Chapter Four, Everyone Matters.
It goes back to what I was saying about connecting with non-buyers. People in VO seem particularly intent on connecting with other talent - but they aren't your buyers 9 out of 10 times.
But wait, you say. If they aren't my buyers, then why the hell would I connect with non-buyers like you and that Dave guy are recommending - and where can I get that book anyway? You can get the book at www.daveribble.com, I imagine? I don't have time, honestly to check as I'm spending it helping you people with stalled careers get unstalled. DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE?
In a nutshell, if we drill down, the point is, in summary: your plumber's brother is married to a lady who does all the video production for the big tech company in town. They use voice-over people all the time. Everyone matters.
And be nice to everyone.
SEE WHAT HAPPENS?
Okay, now here's where the spooky part comes in (cue the theramin).
There you are with your stalled career and you take my advice and you start calling clients - and whomever else - from your near and faraway past on the telephone.
Somehow, and I DO NOT KNOW HOW, something is going to happen, as if the snow-globe you are living in gets a good hard shake.
SOMETHING from out of the sky, that is totally unexpected is going to come to you. I DO NOT KNOW HOW THIS WORKS BUT IT DOES.
When you put energy out, you will get something back, and it might not be at ALL connected to the thing you have your attention on - but SOMETHING positive is going to wow you.
Just try it for a week or two, and if I'm wrong, I'll buy you a glass of Maniskewivtis.
Coming Soon: Part 2!
Rosemary Watson has worked in and around the Arts for decades, wearing many hats as well as wigs. She has appeared on The View, performing her impressions of famous political ladies, on The Queen Latifah Show singing jazz with her band, and was a presenter on PBS's 16th Annual Mark Twain Prize for Humor Honoring Carol Burnett held at the Kennedy Center. Her chance letter to the legend led to their unique friendship, and Burnett has since gone on to tout Rosemary, calling her "one of my favorite new comediennes'. Rosemary has been in commercials and appeared as a host and guest on HGTV and The Discovery Channel in the mid-90s. She is a singer, pianist and bandleader and regularly provides entertainment for corporate and special events as well as appearing in self-produced concerts around Southern California. She loves to teach vocal performance workshops when she can, and is thrilled when called upon to share her humor and perspective as a comedic/inspirational keynote speaker. She has a home-studio in Carlsbad, where she records and produces voice-overs every day for TV and radio, apps, e-learning courses, medical tutorials and corporate web videos. She has a vast repertoire of characters, but it was her 2007 impersonation of Hillary Clinton that gained her world-wide recognition as an impersonator. Her work has been featured on CNN, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Live! with Jimmy Kimmel, and The Howard Stern Show as well as shows in Australia, England and Sweden. In 2018, she was nominated for Outstanding Body of Work, Best Voiceover by The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences.
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