…got call from a second person in as many days, asking if I teach voiceover for locals. I keep deflecting calls and emails like these, offering a boilerplate document instead which outlines my observations on what it takes to get started.
But more and more, I’m wondering if I’m doing the person calling a disservice or a favor.
I do spend time with anyone who calls before offering to send the “Basics” sheet. I’m mindful that the only way I’ve ever advanced my own career has been through others who’ve taken time with me when I came with questions. The ones I’ve paid charged a fair price. Most never asked for anything at all. However, as I listen to myself responding, I often have to backtrack and rephrase so I don’t sound like I’m just saying, “Forget it, kid. It’s too hard, and there’s too much competition.”
It’s a quandry with very few obvious and concrete answers. Do I freely give as much time as everyone needs? Do I look at my own precarious finances and decide it’s time to profit from what I know? Do I really have any business advising others, given the scattered and uneven financial success I’ve had? Do I owe it to others to pass on my experience, hoping it will benefit someone just starting out?
My friend Doug Turkel (the UNnouncer) frequently adds to his witty tirades against an un-named “Guru” who packages common sense or easily-found-for-free info at a hefty price as “Secrets to Voiceover Success”. I know I don’t want to be perceived as one of those people. But I also don’t want to be seen as a jealous gatekeeper, anxious to squash anyone’s dreams or stifle the budding career of someone who might turn out to be the next Harlan Hogan, Randy Thomas, or Tom Kenny.
Finding a point of empathy is a talent I’m told I possess. It’s not only helped me in voiceovers, it’s helped me successfully direct other talent to measurably improved performances. I’m even being hired to direct other talent now…by other directors! So am I foolishly ignoring a viable revenue stream? Or am I being noble and assuming I don’t know enough that’s valuable enough to charge for?
I sometimes wonder if being an expert in the field simply means little more than being the one who’s still stubbornly plugging away at something when all the sensible people have bailed!
— over and out —