Everybody Sucks On Day One

  • August 23, 2015

Alien Life Form

“No Problem!”

– Alf (usually said while ignoring a problem)

And yes, I mean everybody, even YOU. Take it from me- I know from experience.

When I first dove into the world of voice acting, I thought I had it made. Taking a look at my relevant experience, this is how my thought process worked on Day One.

  • 20+ years of stage experience means that I already know how to act, and that’s half of the phrase “voice acting” covered right there! This is gonna be easy!
  • Extensive improv experience means that I can think on my feet and take whatever comes my way during a session, including those big fat checks (hardy har har)- I got this!
  • Professional writing experience means that I can easily tap into a copywriter’s mind. I mean, ::humblebrag mode activated:: Ric Flair once spoke the words that I wrote in a WWE ring! ::humblebrag mode deactivated:: If I can somehow get inside of that head, getting into a copywriter’s head & deliver her words with the right intention will be easy peasy!

So, just how easy was it? Well, allow me to thoroughly embarrass myself by presenting to you one of my very first voiceover auditions. I went into this without a smidgen of VO training. That is, unless you count reading a few blogs on VO as “training” (SPOILER ALERT: it doesn’t count). The spec called for someone “intellectual, confident, informative, and credible.” Did I hit those specs? You be the judge:

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I could go on for decades as to what was wrong with the audition (the slate sounded like it came from a corpse, reflections in the room, volume too low, wooden delivery, mouth noise and plosives), but what it comes down to is simple: It was Day One, and everybody sucks on Day One.

This is why it should be your #1 priority to seek out professional training. While yes, it’s absolutely beneficial to step up to the mic on Day One with experience from other mediums, there is no substitute for good targeted coaching. You can’t just take what you’ve learned in other mediums, apply it to VO without any direction, and go. My friend Rob Marley (and by “friend,” I mean guy I’ve interacted with a few times on social media so please forgive me Rob for calling you a friend but I sit in a padded room all day and talk to myself) recently stated on his blog:

“If you are serious about getting into the voiceover business, you NEED a coach. Not someone you throw money at and they hand you a bunch of scripts and then take your recordings and produce a demo for you. No. You need someone that’s going to hold your hand and tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong and how to make the wrong stuff right. You need a coach.”

Rob knows his stuff, and couldn’t have said it any better (and I don’t just feel that way because I hum “Three Little Birds” to myself everytime I see his name). Get a coach and get proper training. For me, this meant hitting up Edge Studio (HIGHLY recommended) and putting in some serious work. The result? Well, I can confidently say that without proper training, there’s no way that I would have been able to spin that atrocious Day One audition into this commercial demo:

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You see, everybody sucks on Day One; it’s what you do on Day Two that matters.

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