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A Glimmer Of Hope For A Voice Actor

A Glimmer Of Hope For A Voice Actor

As a voice actor, this may seem unrelated but, did you know that the odds of winning an Oscar are 1 in 11,500?

Doesn’t that sound like your chances are amazing? It sounds like we need to do as the Beverly Hillbillies did and load up the truck and move to Beverly!

What I am discovering is that 1 in 11,500 makes things sound WAY too simplistic. It simply is not easy to get traction in the acting industry. At all. The names you associate as being the biggest of stars in the movies or acting industries, the chances they took, the luck they stepped into, and the work they put in to get there….it’s typically pretty astounding.

Sure, some are overnight successes and chance ‘discoveries’. But those are usually flashes in the pan. Here today and gone tomorrow. 

To have a sustained, long-term career such as is enjoyed by the likes of Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Jack Nicholson, one has to do everything correctly. Especially in the early years of their career. Many times one stinker of a performance can sink a career for good. Here today and gone tomorrow. 

He made a successful comeback but look where Kevin Costner was prior to Waterworld and where he was for a decade or more after Waterworld. It can be a cruel world.

These are things I find myself thinking about as I am 48 but still in the early stages of my voice acting career. It is funny because you always feel you are in some precarious position poised on the edge of a cliff and making the wrong move, especially this early on, could spell disaster and doom!

That is a tough thought to process. The good thing is that not that many folks know about me yet. But….isn’t that the bad thing as well? 

On the one hand, it is important to keep moving and progressing your business one step at a time. On the other hand, you cannot afford to be bogged down and suffer from ‘paralysis by analysis’. The risks of a misstep are all around but the show must go on. 

For these reasons, I have tried to take my time and make smart decisions yet continue with forward movement and forward progress. Trying to choose coaching, training, and marketing instruction wisely. Most have a limited amount of financial resources to throw at it so decisions need to be made with the ‘return on investment’ being kept in mind at all times. 

For the first six months of this journey, I was almost convinced I had made a terrible mistake. To be honest, I still wonder from time to time. But, signs of progress can off that boost of encouragement one needs to continue. A shot of adrenaline, if you will. 

That is what has been happening slowly. It started with finally getting a commercial demo created. That was the first real shot in the arm.

Then I began submitting the demo to talent agencies. The second BIG shot in the arm came with signing on with Crown North Talent out of San Francisco/Los Angeles. Wow! If you told this life-long resident of the Texas Panhandle that he would be signing with talent agencies at the age of 48, I just would not have believed you. 

Then, more encouragement started coming along in the form of small little jobs. From auto sales and church programs to Cajun hot sauce! When you find out that you really can do this voice actor thing and you can do it in one or two takes while making the clients happy, it’s exciting and, of course, encouraging. 

So, that is where I find myself at the moment. Slowly building a resume. Slowly building a client list. Slow building a voice over actor’s career. 

The slow nature of this business makes me reflect again on what the actors mentioned before did and what they accomplished. It may look easy. But doors are shut. Until they are opened. 

So…..here’s to continuing to open those doors!

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Jeff Williams is a voice over / voice actor from Texas. Jeff is best described as having a young and middle-aged baritone voice lending itself nicely to a multitude of projects. Jeff can be described as having a deep narrator’s voice with a Texas, Southern charm when requested. His style pairs well with Home Depot, Ford Truck, Stick-this-burger-in-your-mouth style commercial. He has been described as the BLUE COLLAR voice for the WORKING MAN!

An equipment or tool commercial voice over project is ideal for his voice-over styling.  Jeff has ‘folksy’ nailed down firmly.

 

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Beginning A Voice Over Career On Voices.com…..

Beginning A Voice Over Career On Voices.com…..

…..Is like waking up and having your partner rare back and give you a good swift voice over kick square in the crotch to start off every single morning.

voices.com sucks

Before you’ve even had your coffee.

Right now, if someone were to ask me if they should pay for VDC and they were new to the voiceover industry, I would have to tell them that it is not worth messing with right now.

For me to explain why I say such a thing, I have to have some level of confidence in myself and in my abilities while beign sure to stay humble and understanding that I’m still very very new to the VO industry.

I am constantly reminding myself that it is a marathon. Not a sprint. However, I am, admittedly, an impatient person.

I’ll start by saying that I’m only about six months into voice over. “Why the long face?” you may ask. “You just got started!” Well, I come at it from a ‘hard work pays off’ perspective. I have been successful in business. Very successful actually. Certainly in the last 10 years or so. I’m used to results. I’m used to putting effort into and taking results out of the machine.

I have listened to the experts and have gone down the path with gusto and professionalism. I have done the things recommended of me by the folks that know what it takes.

  • I have done the group and private coaching.
  • I have bought the equipment.
  • I treated my room (which is in my basement) and it’s QUIET.
  • I have had my equipment professionally tuned in.
  • I have already attended a seminar. Albeit virtually. Still, I learned a lot.
  • I have attended online webinars and small classes.
  • I joined all of the websites and Facebook groups.
  • I made this website

I have paid for the demo.

And all I have to show for it at this point is absolutely nothing. Just a lot of out-of-pocket expenses. No profit. No voice over income at all.

Now that might sound bitter. I know. Maybe even spoiled and entitled on some level. And while I’m certainly frustrated, I’m not bitter, I don’t believe I’m spoiled (maybe a little), and I don’t think I’m entitled. Gen X’ers like me aren’t typically known for their ‘entitlement’ attitude.

Actually, at this point, if I’m anything, I’m more determined than ever. I love being an underdog. I love being underestimated. That really is fuel for the fire and Voices.com (VDC) is providing that for me right now.

The most frustrating part of my voice acting journey so far has been VDC. The lack of other paying gigs is simply because I was in a holding pattern until I got the demo completed. Which just happened a couple of weeks ago. I’m in the process of submitting to agents as we speak.

So there are reasons for the process dragging. Understandable reasons.

What is not understandable for me is my lack of any progress on VDC. I have auditioned 612 times and have had 424 actually listened to. I am getting shortlisted about 12% of the time that I actually get a listen.

That means that out of over 45 shortlisted gigs on VDC since I started, I have yet to land even one of them.

What’s that about exactly?

Now here’s the part where a person can come off as egotistical. I promise I’m not. I’m my own worst critic. I pick myself apart regularly and don’t have the confidence I would like to have. Some of that is directly due to VDC and my lack of being able to book even one gig in about 5 months of trying. And not just sort of trying. Really trying!

I found out I need to be one of the first to audition so I try to get in there early and be one of the first. I was told by a veteran that I need to lay down three takes. So I do. Yet, here I am. Still waiting for the first message saying, “We loved it and we want you.”

Now, one might be thinking, “Hey, Bud….sometimes you just suck. Get over it.” Maybe I do suck. Maybe I’ve sampled my own kool-aid too much. But I don’t think that’s the case. Again, I’m brand new and I’ve got so much to learn and figure out but, I have the ears of veterans that I have a lot of trust and faith in. They have all shared that they are impressed with me (especially for being new) and that it’s just a matter of time.

They are also clear to let me know that I have a Texas accent. Although subtle, it’s there and noticeable which will limit the gigs for me when compared to a neutral accent.

So, while that’s been good for my self-confidence, it hasn’t’ formulated into gigs just yet.

It deepens the frustration when you see people in the Facebook groups talking about how they booked their first VDC gigs 3-4 weeks in. Ugh. That’s great for them and I wish them all well but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a bit jealous. I can be honest here!

What I wonder is instead of me just straight up being awful at voice-over or voice acting, could there be another explanation?

What I think, or hope is happening rather than me just being bad, is that I get shortlisted and the client has a handful of people they’ve narrowed it down to. When they look at my profile, I have no testimonials. Because I’ve never been hired. I have no previous clients. Because no client has signed on just yet. And I have no voice over work history. Yet!!

So the decision probably gets made to go with the voice actor with some work history and testimonials from previous clients. And I’m left riding the pine and waiting for the coach to put me in the game. Someday. Not today though.

I have heard several times that this is a business of rejection. Well, if VDC is the only thing you have going on in the voice over industry, wear that rejection like a warm coat, my friends. Invite it in and embrace it like a BFF because it will be the overriding theme. That’s what VDC is right now. At least that’s what it is for me. I thought it would be a place where I could pick up some smaller gigs and pick up some experience on the way to bigger and better things. Things that would allow me to drop VDC like a bad habit sooner rather than later.

The good thing is, auditioning over 600 times is excellent practice in auditioning! I feel like I’m getting pretty darn good at it and can knock the auditions out fairly quickly. This will be handy and give me a leg up when the time comes.

Now that the demo is wrapped up, I can start really marketing and trying to put VDC in my rearview mirror.

Hell, maybe I can dump it before I ever even get a damn gig through them!! While that would be satisfying on one level, it would be nice to get at least enough work out of VDC to at least cover the yearly fee it costs to get kicked in the nards daily by their platform.

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Jeff Williams is a Deep Male Voice Over / Voice Actor – Southern, Texan, Gravel, Wisdom, Experience, Conversational, Believable, Authoritative, Blue Collar Working Man
 
Please visit my voice over homepage and listen to my demos at www.jeffwilliamsvoice.com
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