Are we voice folk really just a bunch of haters? 3


I certainly hope not; however, I have found plenty of evidence to support the notion.

Several years ago, I decided to investigate voice acting as a potential source of income and, like always, jumped online hoping to find out more. Not surprisingly, I found a zillion (give or take a few billion) links to voice actors, vocal coaches, schools, workshops, agencies, and even a few websites selling herbal remedies for damaged pipes. It might be discouraging to see millions of people trying to do the very same thing; however, I took heart in the fact that if there are this many people desperately trying to break in…well, maybe there’s good reason.

But then I read further, and before long, I really did begin to feel discouraged.

It seemed like everywhere I turned, I read things like, “…just because you have a good voice doesn’t mean you’ll work in this field…”, or “…just because someone tells you that you sound like you should be on the radio doesn’t mean you’ll break in…”, or “…just because you have a deep, resonating tone doesn’t guarantee you’ll be the next Don LaFontaine…” (And just for the record, I never heard any of these things…didn’t know if that was good or bad either!) But okay, fine. I get it: Yes — I’ll have to work very hard at this. Yes — I’ll have to learn to act. Yes — I’ll have to get an agent in order to audition for jobs of which I’d otherwise be unaware. And yes — it will require an endless expenditure of money, effort, and time to maintain a competitive edge (or at least try and keep up) with my competition. But, so what? I’m used to all of this. Isn’t there anything positive out there for me to read that didn’t come with an invoice attached?

I even recall one voice actor (who gets a lot of work, mind you) who said, “Being told you have a “good voice” is like being told you have “nice hands”: Having a good voice no more guarantees you’ll work as a voice actor than having nice hands would guarantee you’ll work as a piano player.” At first I thought, “Wow. Man, considering all these statements put out by working voice folks, there must be a preponderance of wanna-be voice actors out there who are clueless about what this game really requires.” But even if that was true, why was I having such a hard time finding any positive suggestions for all us ‘helpless souls’ wandering aimlessly into this veritable mine field of voice acting?

I began to think that there were two reasons for this kind of negativity: (1) Maybe these voice actors who were spouting such discouraging sentiments had perhaps, themselves, suffered these very circumstances, and as a result felt the need to run right out and discourage the rest of us out of pure bitterness. Or, (2) Perhaps these voice actors were, in reality, extremely successful and were jealously clinging to whatever voice jobs they had — believing that if they encouraged the rest of us, well…maybe someday we’d turn out to be some real competition for them. In fairness, I do believe that some of these people meant well with their admonishments, but overall I just couldn’t understand why there was so much resistance toward newcomers from the current crop of working voice actors. I mean really…what’s the point of taking delight in pointing out how wrong we all are? Wouldn’t it be in your best interests to simply leave us to our ill-fated quests? And if your rants really are intended to be constructive…well, I think I’ve made my point about that.

Therefore, I am hereby making two promises: First, I will NEVER engage in the serving of Haterade to anyone…especially those who are just starting out and are interested in joining us in the wonderful world of voice acting: If anyone wishes to hear something positive about this game, please reach out to me — I’ve got plenty for you. And second, I will do my best to constantly provide positive affirmations to anyone who stumbles across my writings. You will often find them in the form of my own personal experiences — many of them being failures from which I’ve learned — but hopefully with a greater number of successes.

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Tom


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