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Career: Riding Out Speed Bumps
& Potholes On Confidence Road
By Kara Edwards
Voice Actor
When a business is based on creative interpretation, there are bound to be major ups and downs in levels of confidence. Voice-over would likely make a Top 5 list for jobs that truly test your self esteem.

Take my last six months, for example.
I never knew that relocating a voice-over business - in a family move - would test me to the limits that it did. There were times when I knew everything was going to be just fine, that my clients would stick with me, and that my studio would finally come together.
Then there were days I was ready to pack it in and head to Walmart for a people-greeter application.

Of course, you don't need to look back over months or years to see the roller coaster of emotion that our job can bring. Here is a little of the feedback I've received just over the last 12 hours for a variety of projects:
  • "Very good! I don't know if we could afford you, though."
  • "Very nice job"
  • "Thanks! I think it was just written a few words too long, but you made it work and sound great!"
Not bad, right? Well, here is some feedback I received for a mock audition I recorded for fun for a voice-over message board:
  • "Sorry, but the young girl sound may not fly for this purpose"
  • "Perhaps not the right voice for a dramatic read with 'bold, driving’ music. Maybe too young sounding to be the voice of wisdom. But could possibly work well with softer, more Hallmark-type music."
Hmm, not so good, huh?

I share these examples simply to illustrate my point. Along Confidence Road, we will all encounter speed bumps and potholes. It's the way life goes.
The important thing is not to ride too high during the good moments, and not to fall too low during the not-so-good moments.

How do you do this? Here are a few of the tricks I like to use ... 
When I'm feeling especially self-conscious or nervous, I picture my resume in my head. Seriously!
I think back to all of my successes, and all of the projects I've had the great privilege to be a part of. If it's a particularly bad day, I will go back and read my client testimonials.
Truth be told - I did this so many times over the past six months to help keep my confidence up, that I actually had the 'Kudos' section of my web site moved to the front page to make it easier for me to get to! Hah!

As for those “riding too high” moments, I find that any time my ego starts to swell, life always has a way of putting me back in my place.
When this happens, I like to consider the lessons I can learn from the negative comments, or low moments.
For instance, how can I use those speed bumps and potholes to better myself in the long run?
From negative feedback, I consider not just the message of the script, but the overall intent for the project. Instead of doing what I do best, I push myself to stretch in new and different ways.

Voice-over is always full of surprises. So while you want to avoid the dips and peaks - sometimes it's good to head straight for them!
Recently I was asked to audition for the role of a "mom" voice for a TV spot. This was way out of my comfort zone, as I'm known for my young sound, but I decided to face the risk of rejection and just go for it.
I was shocked when I was cast, and had the pleasure of recording the spot last week. I truly surprised myself when a "mom" emerged right before my eyes!
If I hadn't risked falling into the pothole, I wouldn't have discovered this great little detour in my journey. Now I know I can take that “mom” road whenever I choose - and I can do so confidently!
Kara Edwards is a voice actor, who at age 19, was one of the youngest full-time employees of ABC radio in Dallas, where she co-hosted The Squeege and Kara Show for Disney Radio. Her voices took her to the Cartoon Network and dozens more animated characters. Today her home studio voice acting includes radio and TV commercials, video games, and corporate and childrens' projects. She also writes a very thoughtful blog: The Voices in Her Head.
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