As time marches on, it becomes more and more important to have multiple skill-sets in most any field.
In a recent interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, hostess Terry Gross asked actor/comedian/musician Jack Black what challenges “larger actors” faced in getting roles in Hollywood. I found his answer both intriguing and very true. He said, “The real challenge is if you don’t look super sexy, like a Brad Pitt, you’re going to have to try harder. You’re going to have to make up for it in other ways. You’re going to have to charm the pants off them. You’re going to have to make them laugh. But those are good hoops to have to jump through. You’re going to have to do some writing. Let’s face it, the great comedians now that are handicapped in the looks department are tremendous writers.”
He’s talking about diversification. Gone are the days when a person gets the luxury of being able to focus on a single aspect of any given industry. The same is certainly true of the Voice Over industry.
There are a plethora of full-time Voice Over Artists around. We’re not exactly a rare breed anymore. But many of us have chosen to employ other skills in addition to our ability to “say words.” There are many strong VOAs who also provide coaching services to both polished professionals and up-and-coming talents. Some also provide demo creation services. Still others also specialize in full-blown production work (which, as digital technology has progressed, has become an entirely different animal since the days of razor-blades and tape…in fact, the word monster may be a better term).
Recently during a conversation with my very good friend Dustin Ebaugh, I was encouraged to branch out a bit as well. And I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that in addition to providing a variety of VO styles for “any occasion”, I’ve decided to hang out my shingle as an Audio Editor as well. (For the fast and dirty details, see: http://editing.abvoices.com/)
After all, not everyone can edit with detail, accuracy, and speed. Just like not everyone can put the appropriate bells and whistles into a movie promo or imaging piece. On that note, I should admit there was a time I thought I could do that kind of thing quite well, and in certain respects, I’m not bad. But given my choice, I now prefer to leave that kind of thing to someone who’s really good at it. After all, in the immortal words of Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
However, it’s true that if you’re truly diverse, and can admit what you’re not good at as well as embrace what you are good at, you can thrive at whatever you set out to do or be. (I realize there’s a Frank Sinatra joke there, but let it go…) I suppose, in fairness, we should go back to the Dirty Harry reference and remind ourselves of one other thing: “You gotta ask yourself a question…” Except in this case, the question is simple: “What am I good at, and how can I help others while helping myself?” Remember: things that you do well and probably take for granted might just be something that someone else isn’t that good at. Can you teach it? Can you do it for them? Can you enhance your living while doing either one or both of those things?
Chances are you can. You just have to believe that you can.
And then get out and work your hiney off to let people know you can.
And if you don’t know where to start marketing yourself…well there are some pretty diverse people out there who can help you with that too. See how that works?
Now get to it!