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Pay: Your Goal For 2008 ...
Make It “The Year of the Spine”
 
By Philip Banks
Voice Talent
 
“Hello. My name is Marv. I’m a voice talent and a victim of bullying.”
 
So go the introductions around the room at the most recent meeting of Bullying Victims Anonymous, or BVA. In Los Angeles there are such groups specifically for voice-over artists.
 
Believe me?
 
Of course it’s untrue. But it ought to be true because the number of victims in the voice-over world is huge.
 
Combine insecurity, ego, and desperation with a sprinkling of sycophancy and cowardice and you have the perfect target for a bully.

Make it your goal not to be the victim of a bully in 2008. Make it "The Year of the Spine."  And watch yourself for declining standards of behavior.
 
HOW IT HAPPENS

Here’s an example: An agency sends you an audition for a job, but you notice that the fee is neither here nor there, and that it’s a cattle call.
 
So you delete the audition and ask the agent to contact you only with actual jobs - or when a client has specifically requested that you audition.
 
Ahh. Maybe you just started to say something like:
  • “But it doesn’t work like that.”
  • “I don’t want to upset the agent.” Or,
  • “An audition is good practice.”
If so, take a black marker pen and write VICTIM on your forehead, because it’ll save people time.
 
To quote Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Woman: “I decide who, I decide when, I decide how much!” Look in the mirror and say that out loud.
 
YOU SET AGENDA

The pay-to-play (audition) voice-over web sites tell talent how much, when, where, and how to - but they pay talent nothing!
 
Talent pays the site and then allows it to set the agenda. For $100, $200, $300 or more, the audition site should work for the voice, not the other way around.
 
You say “I’m a voice-over professional and I understand the way things are done.” Well, no you don’t. You’ve just fallen into line.
 
Try saying this to the mirror: “Oh no. I’ve become a coward.” Can you bear to repeat it? I hope not.
 
STILL WITH A SMILE

I’m certainly not advising you to become an arrogant, pompous moron, but I am asking you to think about the way you behave and the way you are perceived.
 
It is possible to:
  • stand your ground,
  • let people see things from your point of view, and
  • not let people waste your time, money or talent.
And you can do all this with a smile on your face and an agreeable manner.

When I took stock of my own attitude a few years ago, the following year my income increased by more than 50%. I slept better, too.
 
Philip Banks is an international voice talent based in the United Kingdom – which, he says, “Thanks to technology, means nothing.” From his home studio he delivers commercials, promos/imaging, corporate voice-overs and more – including (per a whimsical note on his web site) “just making strange noises.”
 
 
 
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