My best friend and his wife visited this weekend to see my band play and see our beautiful new house and of course Aria, and we had an in-depth conversation about reconnecting with our past selves as a way of moving forward in our lives. Highlighting the people we’ve met, the friends we’ve lost touch with along the way, and how everything seems to come down to willpower and our own efforts, be it in work or relationships or eating and brushing your teeth. As daunting and maybe unfair as it is, the truth is that after a certain age, everything really is completely up to you and your ability to put energy forth into the world.
I’m a stay at home dad now. A client referred to me as such recently during a nice, casual session over Source-Connect (which is very nice and I love every chance I get to use it since it means I don’t have to edit), another reminder of why my job is great and that I should appreciate that more. Nobody had really put it that way to me yet, and it sounded odd to me at first. In my head I was like, well, no, I’m a voice actor. So that means inherently that I mostly work from home… so, yeah, I AM a stay-at-home dad by definition, too. Huh.
Also, that home is owned by my wife and me, so, that’s another job. Beyond cooking and cleaning, there are structural and mechanical repairs that need to be made, improvements needed to increase value and survive this ludicrous amount of rain we’ve been getting, renovations to the loft I’ve started but not finished, stuff we knew about from the home reports and stupidly postponed. A lot of stuff we didn’t and needed to address immediately.
It’s an incredible amount of work and mental energy to maintain a home. With a fresh, new baby in it which, turns out, needs like 60% of your life force on a daily basis (in a…good…way?). While also needing to force yourself to do every single job required to make your VO career work. I really took that time I had not fathering for granted, because I’m feeling heavily the effects of the reduction of effort I’ve been applying to my career. I’m learning about feast and famine on a much longer term scale than I’ve ever had to deal with before. I’m seeing my competition -ahem- I mean other voiceover talent pulling up beside me, appearing in my immediate surroundings, becoming more numerous and skilled and well-marketed, and I don’t know how to feel about that. And most scarily of all, I know what I don’t know about my abilities as a one man business owner, performer, and engineer. Basically, I’m realizing that I cut corners early on and I need to rebuild again.
But there is hope yet.
I recently booked a job, coming through my site (10,000% the best way to hire me, if there’s any question about that, regardless of how you found me, btw) that had retained my information from an introductory marketing email. From 2014. Probably four months after I started, probably touting demos that were not…good, considering I never put much money into coaching and made them myself in a studio I built…myself. Look, I’m bad at asking for help and have always gotten by doing everything myself, and I’m trying to change that.
The email had VO in the subject head, she kept it, did a search and saw my newer, God-I-hope improved site, and booked me. Which felt really nice, knowing even my paltry, unanswered opening cold email was eventually read and did a lot more than I could expect it to without me doing anything but be the professional I am today.
So even though marketing can be a droll slog and auditioning is literally screaming into the void on a daily basis, you gotta do it. Consistently too, evidently. And keep learning. keep figuring out tiny, inconsequential nuggets of information like how to incorporate and do your taxes properly and navigate the worlds of insurance, health care, industry banking, investments, home ownership, fatherhood, and the like with nothing but a creative writing degree, ten unrelated other jobs including wedding DJ’ing and audio engineering and stubbornness backing you up. And when you realize you need help, ask for it. Hard work does pay off, and so does easy work. So do. It’s not…THAT hard, I guess. If you have a lifetime to figure it out, that is.