Last night I taught “Extended Studies” class #4 (of eight) at Norwalk Community College, on The Basics of Voice Acting. Although the topic was “Acting Skills plus Technique: Variety from Both sides of the Brain”, so many of the students needed to hear the VO Business info again that we spent almost an hour reviewing the fact that, yes, it will take work to get work! It reminded me of this article I wrote for Technorati about how my book got to publication at last – and these principles apply to Voice Over as well – or any goal.
Article first published as Persistence and the Ping-Pong Ball on Technorati.
My book, Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope has launched. Suddenly I have an author’s page on Amazon, and I’m being asked to serve on panels about “how to get published” – on the success side of the table. (Wow. Really? Me? You want my advice?)
Persistence and Publication – (and Voice Overs too)
Well, OK. Here’s what I know, at this point in time, about success.
• Know your gifts. Recognize that feeling in the zone – when you love doing something enough to keep at it, just for the joy of it.
• Improve your skills. Make sure that thing you love to do is good enough to present to the world. We all know someone who thinks he can sing. Enough said. If self-belief is really self-delusion, you are going down a dead-end road.
• Partner. As you’re improving, get some trusted peeps to chime in with their expertise, advice, encouragement, and support. Let yourself be accountable to them. Hard to give yourself a deadline – at least it is for me.
• Persist. This alone will not work without the other three qualities. But the other three won’t get you anywhere without this one. To remind myself, I use a ping-pong ball.
Yep – there’s a ping-pong ball on my desk with a message written in black Sharpie: KEEP SERVING. Every day, when I’m not actually earning money directly, I serve a few ping-pong balls out to the universe. Research possible new clients. Send an email I’ve been putting off. Do a blog post. Rewrite an article. Tweet something. Connect to a group on LinkedIn. But I must admit it feels kinda random. (Well, sometimes I am kinda random).So, below KEEP SERVING, I have another message: & AIM! Well, at least sometimes, you have to serve with an eye toward where you want the balls to land.
So you serve every day, and a few come back to you. Some right away, others when you least expect it.
Example: My book’s publication.
Know your gifts? It is a story that needed to be told. Once started, it’s almost as if it had to be written through me. Time flew.
Improve your skills. I took a writing class. Then another. I wrote, rewrote, hired proofreaders, editors and a consultant.
Partnership. See above. I wasn’t going to get much better with myself as judge and jury. I asked friends and family to read and comment on sample chapters. Posted some excerpts on my blog.
Persistence. Well, first of all I had to keep reminding myself that this was a story that would help my reader to understand, learn, cope and hope. That kept my motivation high. Then it was step after step, ball after ball. Proposal, queries, literary agent. Rewrite for the agent. Submissions, nice rejections. Agent quits the business. I start over. Rewrite proposal, and queries, learn about self-publication. Yikes. Someone says start blogging. What’s blogging? So I learn. I blog. The blog leads to interest from my current agent. I rewrite again. She takes us on (yay!). A year later – at last – a publisher. Soon – the launch. And then, people may ask me about this “overnight success.”
“Ping-pong balls,” I’ll tell them. Keep serving – and try to aim. At least some of the time.
Your Voice Over comments welcome!
What’s your Voiceover Persistence story?
What do you do with a “no bookings” day to keep your business flowing?