By Stephanie Ciccarelli
September 20, 2009
What does it mean to be a working class voice over talent?
Whether you're doing voice over full-time or if you're pursuing voice acting part-time while another job pays your bills, being down in the trenches has its benefits.
Curious to learn more?
Vicki Amorose joins us with her perspective on what it means to be a working class voice over talent, championing the artists who persevere each day to make a living and build a life for themselves behind the microphone.
Reflections on Creativity and Paying the Bills
This summer I was in the Oregon Cascade mountains, getting to know the family of an old friend and trying to explain, once again, exactly what I do for a living. Gazing at their puzzled expressions, I surprised myself by saying for the first time, 'I'm not a celebrity voice talent, I'm a working class voice talent.' I continue to reflect on that idea. When you cruise around the VO industry sites, as I do, you will encounter the Voiceover Superstars. Their pictures smile out at you and you wonder if you'll ever achieve their status. You somehow feel smaller, plainer, meeker.
I've come to realize that how they craft their voiceover career has little to do with how I craft my voiceover career.
Consider this as the real beauty of our business; you get to make it up yourself. You get to craft a career that fits how YOU want to live and work.
Outside of Los Angeles, voiceover is a different playing field. I live in a Pacific Northwest university town, which is hardly the hub of voiceover activity. But it's a good place to live and raise kids and it is where I'm staying for now. So while some of the advice available from LA and east coast pros applies to my career, much of it does not.
The Northwest is where I choose to live and this is where I have to figure out how to be a voiceover artist. Don't let anyone else's business model deprive you of a sense of success. I was in voiceover for five years before I made $5000 a year. I persevered because I love my job. It's a blessing to be able to structure my time to nurture family, friends, and my other creative pursuits. I also hold a part-time copy-writing job, which does not make me less of a voice talent.
There are those who will imply that only full-time voice talents are real voice talents. Many of us working class voice talents hold second jobs that provide steady paychecks.
This does not make us less talented or less dedicated. We are simply paying the bills.
The fact that I'm still doing what I want to do--that's my big success story.
We live in a remarkably conformist time. People want to know why I don't Twitter. 'Everybody Twitters!' they explain. I have nothing against tweeting, but the last time I did something solely because everyone else was doing it, I was in the ninth grade. You'll get career advice that says, 'Record your demos this way, market this way, brand this way, take this class and join this group.' You will feel pressure to copy everyone else. Your individuality is the most important thing you bring to the voiceover industry.
Creativity is at the center of our industry and it should be at the center of our choices. Do not stuff yourself into a mold.
Regardless of your income or industry status, be an individual. Create your own career, and don't make needless comparisons with other voice artists.
"A working class hero is something to be"
- John Lennon
Thanks for reading,