In a recent discussion among members and executive board members of the international pro voice actors’ organization WOVO (World Voices), we were sharing the virtues of various technologies to record remotely: ISDN, ip DTL, Source Connect etc. This question then emerged:” isn’t the real issue how do I get enough work to use these technologies?” The response, so beautifully and simply put by our esteemed president Dustin Ebaugh, was this:
My secret to getting the WORK has been doing at least 100 auditions or marketing contacts per week, every week. The work seems to come when I do that. 🙂
So, yes, that’s the answer to the myth of “downtime ” for voice talents, i.e. between bookings: there is none. Other than vacations and “personal days” we give ourselves (such nice bosses we have!), the hours other than what an attorney would call “billable” are really the times we must be building our business and our skills
This will help me explain “loss of work hours” to a lawyer soon – and serve as a reminder that all work hours, whether billable or not, are important hours when you run your own small business.
I write this post with one hand – my non-dominant one – due to a car (with distracted driver) vs. pedestrian (me) incident last month. Long story, and not the point here. I will, eventually and gratefully, be able to use both hands again – at least that’s the plan, and I’m going to work hard until it’s true. But, in the meantime, I find myself musing about what we voice actors do, and how we must spend our “down time” so that our futures contain possibilities.
As I am discovering, there is much that is difficult even within those billable hours with only one usable hand — editing, for one. Effective body language, for two. Not to mention working through the pain and energy-sap as bones heal. I’m proud to say that I haven’t disappointed my clients, and have met my deadlines so far. But still. I have had to turn down projects due to the need for a little extra time. And while my main priority is to not hurt my body right now, (the leg was injured as well), I can’t help but think about how this may hurt my future business.
Why? Well. that is what the inquiring minds will want to know when I say I have lost work hours due to this injury. “After all, your voice still works, right?” But you and I both know there is so much more to this business than voicing in the booth, or editing the files.
So – what the heck do we do when not technically “earning money” , as voiceover entrepreneurs? Bearing in mind that some of us have related skills and income streams, your list may be different, but basically we are preparing and growing our businesses. This is as necessary to our work as recording and editing are.
- research and contact (phone, e-mail etc) new potential clients
- send handwritten thank-you notes and reminders
- shop for client gifts, and send them
- invoice clients, do the bookkeeping, send out statements
- write blogposts and articles (for some of us, books) to increase visibility and outreach
- practice new genres
- respond to inquiries
- send out demos
- travel to outside-studio gigs, in-person auditions and networking opportunities
- enter info into databases
- practice new genres and studio skills
- update demos and reload them to rosters/agents
What’s on your down-time to-do list?
(And, hopefully, you have two hands to use while you do it. Dictated to Siri, with gratitude for technology advances)