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Yes, You Can Use Some Voice Over
Career Inspiration Today. Take Five ...

By Roxanne Coyne
Voice Actor

Here’s a short list of inspirational thoughts to guide you in voice overs … or anything else!

1. Make Yourself Indispensable. 

This was the mantra of my dear college film production teacher, Ron Alexander.

As we tried to learn about cameras and lighting and lenses and screen direction, Ron would remind us that the only way to remain continuously employed in Hollywood was to ‘make yourself indispensable.’ 

Do your job efficiently and better than expected. You will be memorable that way.  

2. Know Your Boss’ Job As Well As Your Own. 

I learned this when I was a 2nd Assistant Cameraperson.

Anyone on a film crew knows that it’s a team effort. You have to watch each other’s back in order to work more efficiently and minimize mistakes. If you know the job of the person you are responsible to, you can anticipate his needs. 

Like the OR nurse, have the scalpel in your hand before he asks for it. You will look like a superstar. 

In voice work this means understanding the pressure your client is under and doing everything possible to minimize his level of stress. It also means being sensitive to how you point out errors in the copy and knowing when to suggest improvements or simply let it ride. 

If you’re recording an audiobook it might mean understanding the post production work flow and properly marking your manuscript so the next person in the chain has an easier time of it.  

3. Know Your Business. 

This one I learned from Bob Souer (the second nicest man in voiceover!). 

Bob says he is not in the voice over business. He is in the customer service business. His focus is always on his client. 

It’s not about YOU. It’s about YOUR CLIENT. Your clients are a blessing. Take very good care of them.    

4. If I Don't Book The Job, I’d Like Someone I Respect And Admire To Book It. 

This one comes from my colleague and mentor, Kevin E. West, president of the Actors’ Network. 

Let’s face it. You aren’t right for every job that comes up.

Last week something came up and I was too old for it. Yikes! I could have been bitter, I suppose. Instead, I decided to try to help my client cast the job. I ended up meeting a lovely actress who happens to be new in town and lives right in my neighborhood.  Perhaps we will have a chance to work together on another project some day.  

5. When You Catch Yourself Complaining, STOP And Be Grateful. 

I complain a lot. I am too busy. I am stressed out. My house is a mess. Dinner is late. My client didn’t give me enough lead time. The translation is terrible. Yadda yadda yadda. 

You know the drill, right? I think we all do it now and then. That’s when I consider the following:
  • I have a successful business. 
  • I have clients who have stuck with me for several years … some of them have even looked me up after changing jobs. 
  • I don’t have to commute.
  • I am proud of the work I produce. 
  • I have a cozy recording space.
  •  I have a wonderfully supportive online community. 
  • I have met some very special people over the course of my career.
  • I contribute in a meaningful way to my family’s finances.
  • I have access to the information I need to improve my knowledge and skills.   

Do you have favorite bits of wisdom that you’ve garnered over the years? Let us know in the COMMENTS below.

I find that these little tidbits come into my life at opportune moments, and they are always in the forefront of my thoughts. I hope they help you as they’ve helped me.      
Roxanne Coyne has been continuously employed in Hollywood since the late 1980s in many different jobs, including production assistant, 2nd assistant camera, 1st assistant camera, grip, news camera operator, teleprompter operator, copywriter, Spanish language set liaison, actress, tutor, office assistant, corporate spokesperson, mom, voice actress and audiobook narrator. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, twins and Chily Palmer, a very Angry Conure.

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Comments (18)
2/17/2013 at 12:46 AM
Well said! And it is my privilege to say that Roxanne is true to her word. It has been my pleasure to work with her and be able to hire her more than once. Nice article, simple but profound and helpful.
Roxanne Coyne
2/11/2013 at 11:00 AM
Robert--wow. She actually cried? Well, there you go. You were her hero!!!
Hey, MJ!! It has been a long time. My babies are almost as tall as you are now. Time sure flies.
MJ Lallo
2/9/2013 at 12:06 PM
Hey Roxanne! SO cool to see you on John's site. Hope we can work together again soon!

How's the babies?
Robert Costales
2/9/2013 at 9:41 AM
Nice article Roxanne, you nailed it with the bit about "knowing the pressures your client is under."

I got a call yesterday (Friday) from a learning designer I do alot of narration for. She's panicked and has to have the narration by Monday. I said "no problemo, you'll have it."

She cried....she's such a girl. ;/
Jay Lloyd
2/8/2013 at 6:47 PM
What wonderful and timely thoughts, Roxanne! It's good to re-visit the wonderful elements of what we do. Some people clean toilets to enjoy the essentials in life. When people ask me what I do, I tell them, "I work indoors, there's no heavy lifting and I make a living with my lips...and it's legal!" Thanks for the reminders!
Roxanne Coyne
2/8/2013 at 5:01 PM
Rick, I find that it's hard to know the boss' job in our industry. We are so isolated. It was easier when I worked on the set every day and I could observe my colleagues. Now, it's about staying informed. Asking lots of questions. Knowing the intricacies of the industry you work in. It's always a challenge, but I think it helps me do my job. By the way, I am looking forward to seeing you every day in November.
Marc Scott
2/8/2013 at 4:44 PM
I feel like the most blessed man on the planet for being able to do what i do for a living. I can't imagine doing anything else.

And on a day like today, when the snow is coming down hard, I REALLY love the fact that I don't have a commute!
Rick Lance
2/8/2013 at 4:22 PM
Very good points here, Roxanne!

I especially like the "Know your bosses job too... idea. That can keep us one step ahead of everyone. I find confidence in being prepared like that. Things always go smoother when I at least think I know the program.

Appreciate your thought for our awesome business!
Liz de Nesnera-Bilingual English/French VO
2/8/2013 at 4:11 PM
Great Roxanne!
The "bad translation" bit made me LAUGH!!! :-)
Roxanne Coyne
2/8/2013 at 3:56 PM
So happy to hear your reactions to this article. I never realized how many little bits of wisdom I've been carrying around. It's wonderful to find mentors. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, friends!
Johnny George
2/8/2013 at 3:29 PM
Wonderful insight. Always good to be reminded. Appreciate your thoughts very much. We should be so happy that we are blessed with a talent we can bring to the masses from the comfort of our homes.

Thanks with my shoes on, not slippers.

roxanne coyne
2/8/2013 at 2:12 PM
Yes, Dan. It IS an awesome business and filled with great characters and stories. Abrazos, chico!
Elizabeth Holmes
2/8/2013 at 12:34 PM
This IS inspiring, Roxanne!

For many years, my 'day job' has been the 'business of business' (accounting). My most successful clients understand and honor these principles.

Thanks for this succinct summary! It's solid gold.
Lori Furth
2/8/2013 at 12:19 PM

Right on! Too often we forget to be grateful, and to take rejection too hard. I've found many VO people (like you!) to be very giving and resourceful, which helps all of us become better business people.

Thank you!
Ann M Richardson
2/8/2013 at 12:06 PM
Roxanne, you are right on the money! Thanks for sharing!
Lisa Rice
2/8/2013 at 12:01 PM
Excellent reminders, Roxanne. Every one of them!
One that's helped me put impulsive emotions and actions in their proper place is:

"Don't exchange what you want the most for what you want at the moment."

It's helped with career goals, customer relationship management and project deadlines.

Laura Branch-Mireles
2/8/2013 at 12:01 PM
It seems we're living parallel lives in different parts of the country, Roxanne. Thank you for writing exactly what I needed to read today.
Dan Hurst
2/8/2013 at 10:50 AM
Excellent thoughts Roxanne!!! Thanks for the reminders!!!

It is an awesome business, isn't it!?!? !
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