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Working Online - Five Survival
Tips For 'Remote' Voice Talent
 
By Steven Lowell
Voice Actor & Public Relations Manager
 
Each day, voice-over talent from around the world wake up and go to the Internet to find job opportunities.
 
If you think back just 10 to 15 years ago, the most common way to get voice-over work was to commute to a job, or audition in person.

In 2010, more and more voice talent have the opportunity to work from home, either full-time, or part-time.
 
On the surface, this sounds absolutely wonderful. But still there are some things to consider once you have made that commitment to a voice-over career. Let's call them Survival Tips
 
Survival Tip #1:
Create A Commute
 
Create a routine that 'feels' like a 'commute to work'.
 
This may sound silly, but when the commute to work becomes 'going from the shower to the studio,' what gets lost is that built up 'sense of urgency..
 
Earlier, pavement pounding to auditions gave voice actors a physical boost, and time to mentally prepare for the audition. It was a trip to think about it, and maybe walk it off, or celebrate.
 
You can imagine that by waking up, going to the kitchen and then to the studio in your house, the physical effort may be missing. The walk sure is not happening.
 
So create a fake commute, such as taking a walk to the store before you allow yourself to start auditioning. The physical effort wakes the mind up, gets the blood flowing, and gets the body prepared.
 
Survival Tip #2:
Delete Distractions
 
Isolate where you audition away from the rest of your domestic responsibilities. Again, this is psychological, but very important.
 
For instance, if you are reading copy in full view of the laundry you did not do, or those bills you did not pay, the mind cannot always focus 100% on the task of getting work.
 
Auditioning involves interpreting copy, which requires that you sound 'in the moment.'
 
If you are distracted by your surroundings, whether you know it or not, others may simply feel you are not connected to the script, and that alone, is enough to sink an audition.
 
Do your best to create a separate space for yourself, where you know you can focus on work, rather than what you did not do around the house.
 
Survival Tip #3:
Get Out!
 
Voice talent are very dedicated and competitive, but there comes a point where dedication becomes unhealthy.
 
This usually happens when one starts to believe they do not need to eat, drink, get sunlight or fresh air.
 
Working online can create the illusion that you must sit in front of a computer all day to survive because you have to submit faster than everyone for when that one big job comes along.
 
However, to perform at your highest level, the body must always regenerate.
 
EXPERIENCE LIFE
 
Things like Wi-Fi, a BlackBerry, iPhone, etc., allow us to work on the go. So It is a good idea to get out once in a while, and network face-to-face.
 
When you travel, find hotels that offer Wi-Fi or Internet service, to put your mind at ease.
 
Traveling is good life experience, and great in a global market. Since 'acting' is always 'the performance of life,' spend time getting to know life beyond the home studio.
 
Survival Tip#4:
Dress for Success
 
Dress up, even if only for yourself.
 
t is statistically proven that people who shower, shave, and dress nicely, as if going to work in an office, have more productive days than on days when they just roll out of bed, straight in front of the laptop.
 
Survival Tip #5:
Commit to Relocate
 
Understand that 'deciding to work from home' is relocating your business. 
 
When you commit to this relocation, you cannot expect the rules of how you once worked to stay the same.
 
Treating auditions online like they are offline auditions, or practice, is a mistake - one I made myself.
 
You cannot cross different methods of getting work between markets. Online is its own market, and so is offline.
 
NOT THE SAME
 
For example, you cannot sell a newspaper on the street by advertising on the Internet. Why? The Internet cuts out usage of paper. So heavy Internet users wont buy newspapers.
 
Now, the way news is presented and spread on the Internet has changed as well.
 
Working from home, you cut out middlemen that were once hired to find talent. You are now a 'DIY' (do it yourself) voice talent, finding work on your own. Others who are looking for you will be using new methods, too.
 
Keep that in mind.
 
Being your own business means you follow your own rules. Whether or not people are buying them will tell you if these rules are working - or if something else must be tried.
 
ABOUT STEVEN ...
 
Steven Lowell is a voice actor based in New York City, and public relations manager for Voice123, the online voice-over marketplace that provides online auditions and work for its members.
 
 
 
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Comments (4)
Heather Anne Henderson
5/4/2010 at 12:50 PM
Really helpful pep talk for all of us out there in Virtual Land, Steven. Thank you for writing it. What an interesting tidbit about getting dressed for work - supported by research, no less!
Heather
Maxine Lennon
4/30/2010 at 8:55 AM
Thanks Steven - great tips that I'll paste on the wall in front of the laptop. There's a lot of appeal to working from home, I thoroughly enjoy it, but the possible pitfalls, as pointed out in your article, can cost more time and money than realized.
Lady VoiceOver
Lisa Rice
4/30/2010 at 7:21 AM
Such practical ideas, Steven. Thank you!
Number three is one I've been working on. By scheduling lunch with a friend or taking time to exercise, the "in-a-booth" and "at-the-computer" monotony diminishes. In addition, @twittercize on Twitter offers quick suggestions for followers to boost their energy and strengthen muscles. Funny how little steps like these can make us sound better!
Marcus Weems
4/30/2010 at 7:00 AM
Always great to hear from you Steven. I love your little nuggets of wisdom. One thing ... Does this mean I have to shave EVERY day, or can I just go every other day when I've got the casual reads? Just kidding. Keep up the good work. So, what did you think of my new site? www.MarcusWeemsVoiceOvers.com. Let me know!
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