Thoughts on thin skin and marketing

Last time I mentioned some of the things I didn’t know (and have since learned) after going into voiceover, and one of them was that I didn’t know I’d be making less money than I actually am at this point.

Welcome to reality, Zunardo.

Auditioning disappointments seem to go hand-in-hand with marketing attempts that don’t bear fruit right away, at least to me.  I guess that makes me human (with a rueful shake of the head). 

Had a good example just a few minutes go.  I auditioned for a job yesterday on Voice123 that was a commercial spot for a medical center.  It didn’t give a lot of direction other than to say the pacing and timing was important, and added a script with the video shots diagrammed along side.  I  thought I did a darned good job on it, but today I learned the client gave me one star out of a possible four.  One!  And I was tied for last place with one other person, out of 9 talents that auditioned.  How dare they!  Don’t they know how hard I worked, and how talented I am?

You get the idea.  And I have to admit, my instructor Ron Allan told me this was going to happen, and to quickly forget it.  He told me that a top defensive back in football who just allowed a receiver to score a touchdown better have a short memory and a big ego, and better keep his confidence and game high.   Easier said than done, at least for now.  But tomorrow will be another day.  It’s certainly not the first time, and it won’t be the last – but it still cuts like a knife for now.

Same thing goes for contacting potential clients and introducing yourself cold, and then getting permission to send them your demo and info.  Part of me expects a call back the next day, while the other more realistic part of me says it’s going to take a while. 

But, I’m counting my blessings and learning that marketing is where you find it.  I just did a VO job recently that came about because I play in a band where the other members work for a company that markets call center IVR systems for companies.  Understand, I wasn’t thinking about voiceover when I went to band practice for the first few months.  But after a while, I broached the subject of suggesting they consider advertising my company to their clients as someone who could provide a professional voice on their phone prompts.  Lo and behold, their Chief Tech Officer (also our talented keyboardist) hired me to record a series of sample prompts that he put on a Powerpoint presentation to show at a convention in Florida.  Not only did I get a paying job out of it, he agreed to take my business cards and rate sheet to the convention to pass out.  Nobody’s burning up the phone lines to call me yet, but the seeds have been planted.

And just last Friday, after doing my high school marching band’s halftime announcements at an away game, the home team announcer asked me if I did voiceover for a living.  After modestly answering “yes” (ahem) and talking briefly about it I asked him if he did also.  He said, “No – I’m an attorney with my own private practice.”   I must be thinking faster now, because I immediately asked him if he was considering any radio or website advertising (he was, in the near futre), and I was able to give him my business card and e-mail my demos the following Monday.  I don’t know if that will bear fruit, but again I planted the seed – and this case, there was personal interaction and a relationship established even  before the marketing contact took place.

Those two examples highlight how much I still have to learn, and how much patience and determination I still need.  I’m pleased that I’m making some progress – averaging roughly one job a week for the last two months – but I know I’m capable of much more, and I’m going to keep pushing forward while I am blessed to be alive.

How about you?  Anyone out there with an interesting experience you’d like to share about let-downs, disappointments, frustrations in the voiceover business?  Feel free to reply, I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, keep your best voice forward – and your confidence high.

-Z-

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