Saturday, February 23, 2008

i'm versatile

every once in awhile, a voiceover gig would fall into may lap and i'd tell myself that i would make a demo and start my voiceover business for real. and then i'd forget about it until some other voiceover gig came out of nowhere and i'd go, wow, i really have to get it together and make a demo. and then i'd go back to whatever i was doing before. back and forth i went. you'd think i would have learned my lesson from the voiceover work i did in lackawanna blues, but no. it took a year of residual checks from that oh so happy afternoon in the recording studio with george and most of the cast of caroline or change that made me think, am i nuts or what? and then another gig fell in my lap: a musician who'd seen me with jc hopkins' biggish band found me via j walter hawkes for a PBS children's cartoon called Word World that had me playing "elephant" and singing a little song called "bit by bit" about putting words together. sooooooo cute. i was in and out in less than an hour and the check was lovely. and it was fun! hm, i thought. wouldn't it be great if i could do this all the time?

i'd been getting newsletters every month from dan and carol duckworth at AAA Voiceover Casting/Voiceovers Unlimited for God knows how long, so when their "january jumpstart" came around this year, i jumped on it. their total package is more like total immersion. they don't just help you put together a demo, they show you how to run your business, for real: classes to develop and maintain your skills, regular mailings to business contacts, seminars to teach you how to market yourself, workshops and one one one sessions to hone in on your weaknesses and strengthen them. everything is so goal-oriented. and i'm a compulsive list-maker, so that's going some, for me to say that. i loved the way dan kept referring to everyone as the president of our respective companies.

once i realized that recording at home to audition and take voiceover work via your laptop, garageband and a mic was the wave of the future, i thought, hm -- wouldn't it be great if i didn't have to leave the house to go to work? then again -- wouldn't it be even better if i could do this voiceover business anywhere?

dan said it in our first marketing seminar, but i've always known it to be true: most actors just call themselves actors. they don't know how to treat acting like a business. they don't know how to hustle, how to make it rain, how to generate work for themselves whether the phone rings or not. they don't know how to market themselves. here's a perfect example of what i mean: most actors don't do mailings regularly -- that means a postcard with updates every month, to keep everyone up on the latest things you've done, after you've sent a headshot and a letter of introduction. it goes without saying that you having all the talent in the world doesn't mean anything if the casting agent in question with the perfect gig for you has no idea that you even exist.

i have one friend in particular who is convinced that the postage to spend on such things is a waste of money. whatever.

all i know is, i'm versatile. and i'm pretty sure that's a part of what can keep the residual checks rolling in. whaddya know: i'm only a few weeks into this total package and i just found out today that an in-house corporate gig just landed on my head. nutty.

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