My Roots are Showing: Plans Change and that’s Okay
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
Wow, super deep way to start this blog off! I wanted to help settle you into the mindset of today’s post. Spoiler: it’s not going to be about voice acting; not really.
I have mentioned the evolution of this blog at least once before. How it started truly as a personal journal cataloging my progress. And now it sort of developed into a quasi-advice column for the VO inclined.
The thing is… I don’t think that’s what I want.
Don’t get me wrong; I like helping others. I like to share what I’ve learned and experienced so that others don’t have such a frustrating time of it. But the flip side of that is it feels a little bit like A Robin Hood Scalper, in a way. Stay with me, this analogy will make sense:
I take a voice over course for say, $300. I learn and grow from that. I then decide to write on a topic from that lesson each week and within the course of 4 posts (perhaps not chronologically), I have essentially re-iterated that course. You have now obtained that knowledge for free. “Take from the ‘rich’, give to the ‘poor’.”
Except, who is that truly helping? It’s not helping the coach; yes, I do mention who I’ve learned from so perhaps someone reading my blog will want more information and sign up for the class, but that’s not how my blogs are written.
And before I continue – I have not plagiarized anyone’s work. There have been some “secret anagrams” and such which I have purposefully left out – because that is the intellectual property of that coach. What I share is arguably fact; if the advice and tips are so contrasting between one coach and another that you can identify who said what, then there’s something wrong beyond my blog content.
No, I merely take great notes and retain information through doing. Most of what I write about comes from personal experience but I do always research what I say, so that I can confirm that what I am telling YOU to do, is correct. That’s just good journalism. Get the facts straight.
But that’s not really helping me either. I have never proclaimed to be a coach although I have been toying with the idea of putting together a very beginner-intro course together (we’re talking 101 “What is Voiceover”) that I believe I am qualified to teach. Why? Because I’d be explaining how to find an actual coach to teach you the techniques – I would be merely instructing people of the initial foundations. The stuff every current talent gets asked by aspiring talent. But I’m sharing all of my information for free. No, I’m not going to write a book about this and those who would sign up for such a class would want to hear it in-person, but the concept is still the same. I wonder, did Robin Hood keep a portion of the stolen goods or was he wholly altruistic?
Finally, it’s potentially a disservice to you – the aspiring talent. No, I don’t think it would harm you to read blogs. In fact, studying up on the topic is highly advisable. But let me bring up two points from my own personal experience:
(1) Analysis Paralysis: “the state of over-thinking or over-analyzing”. I suffer from this, a lot. Sometimes, it’s a good thing but more often than not, it leads to a troubled mind. Should you read advice and keep up with current trends in your profession? Yes. Is there such a thing as too much? Yes. I follow blogs from talented VO as well as professionals on Twitter, I have VO friends on Facebook and I’m even subscribed to a few subreddits and YouTube channels. Voice over is EVERYWHERE for me. I never stop learning. Why is this bad? I never get a break! I focus a 10hr day on networking and marketing and when I’m in my scheduled ‘me time’, my friends’ baby posts are intercepted by more talk of voice over. Obsession creates burn out. At least it does for me.
(2) We humans learn by doing, over the course of time. Watching one Seminar or reading one blog article is not going to make us experts. Now, I think we all use blogs to supplement our practice and training but again see point 1. Your mind is going to be worn out if you read every blog, watch every YouTube Video, and attend every seminar.
Which brings me to my ultimate point, it’s bad for me. I already said that? Oh. Well…. but it’s true for another reason as well.
As I’ve said before, I started this blog for two reasons: (1) for myself (2) to stay relevant I have had this blog since 2013 and I have 12 followers. Bad marketing? Definitely – try no marketing. Bad networking? No, I don’t think so. I have 700+ “followers” on LinkedIn and a little over 600+ followers on Twitter. I have occasionally posted my blog on each medium (I’ve even tried Facebook and Instagram). One of my blogs actually got a bit of traction in the VO community – I giggled when I saw it shared on Reddit! And what happened?
I still have 12 followers. WordPress helpfully told me the most recent one started following me in August 2018 – that’s when I did a “Shoutout” reblog thing on Twitter; that’s right, most of my followers don’t seem to even care about the content I’m putting out.
Now, that’s not completely true. There are a few I do think are into VO (at least one started following me back in my Bubbleisha days of 2015)
But my point is that my attempt at growing my voice over business through a blog is not working.
If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal…. – Unknown
What is my goal, truly? Allow me to analyze myself a bit for a moment:
I have wanted to entertain others since I was 4
That desire translated to acting and converted specifically to voice acting.
I enjoy pop-culture, entertainment, and the arts
I love writing; creative writing and blog articles both. It’s just fun.
Let’s look at some other points:
Staying top-of-mind and relevant can be achieved in many ways
Lots of voice actors have other professions
Creativity is contagious
I’m reminded by the meeting I had with David Hayter, where he said (and I’m paraphrasing) that being a writer and director pays the bills, voice acting is just fun.
I also think of success stories like Arin Hanson of Game Grumps, who through his art and videogame play, not only lent his voice to projects but also developed his own game. Or how about Lilly Singh and yes, even Justin Bieber. They both started on YouTube – Lilly has become a television host and Justin is a house-hold name.
Success can be many different things and the Journey to get there can take many different turns.
So I’m taking back this blog for myself.
I want to write. I want to write about things I am passionate about. Yes, that still includes voice acting. But that also includes Video Games, Movies & other Pop-Culture topics, Cosplay and crafts – the list really is endless.
I want to go back to my roots. I want to ENTERTAIN.
I hope you’ll come along for the ride. It’s going to be CRAZY.