Mindset and Motivation: How Voice Actors Stay Motivated
For more than 15 years, Voices has watched in awe as hundreds of thousands of people said “Yes, I want to become a voice actor,” and “Yes, I am a voice actor.” We’ve also seen the voice over community support one another through moments of doubt, educate one another through times of change, and cheer for one another through times of success.
This month’s Voices Insiders topic was inspired by the great support taking place in our Community Forum. It got us thinking about all the unique and magnificent ways voice actors harness their ability to be vulnerable and honest in order to help a fellow voice actor get through a rough patch.
We asked about the routines that help to keep them motivated as well as protect their mental wellness. We asked about the comfort and camaraderie found within the VO community. And lastly, we asked them what advice they would give to an aspiring voice actor who felt they were running out of steam.
The Voices Insiders, as always, shared their perspectives in such thoughtful ways. This piece is definitely one for the voice actor who needs the reassurance that while growth can be uncomfortable, growing as a voice actor is not something you need to do alone.
Let’s get right into it:
How Do You Stay Motivated as a Voice Actor?
Motivation can come from many different places. For the Voices Insiders, it’s all about the experiences, connections, and outside-the-box opportunities that come with this line of work.
Kristy Reed hits the ground running every day knowing that no matter what, it will be a day filled with learning. Whether it’s researching a new client’s industry, or improving one of her own skills, she uses the opportunity to learn as a big motivator:
“It is really the learning I get to do every day that motivates me and keeps my interest with every script. I get to meet so many people and companies and with every script I learn new details about industries, interesting history and see the creativity in so many. It is fascinating to me to wake up each day not knowing exactly what I will learn but anticipating that it will be something really cool.”
Sabahattin Cakiral has similarly altruistic motivations. He feels lending his voice is serving a deeper purpose:
“I know that I will reach and touch others with my voice. And this touch may change something in their lives positively.”
On the same note of touching lives, Melanie Scroggins says touching the lives of other voice actors is her motivator:
”Sharing what I’ve learned in my experience as a full-time Voice Actor the last two years has motivated me so much. We all have a unique approach to the industry, so getting to help aspiring and beginner Voice Actors (like we have all been) has kept me excited about this industry.”
Melanie’s comment provides the perfect segue into the next question asked: “Do you find comfort or motivation within the VO community? And if so, how do you prefer to receive that connection or encouragement?”
All of the Voices Insiders say that the voice over community is so uniquely positive and embraces everyone no matter the skill level. Mentorship, camaraderie, and peer-to-peer working sessions are all vital elements to success for them, and they echo each other in saying it’s one of the best things about the VO community.
“I love the feedback in one on one training sessions with other VO artists,” Kristy Reed says. “I truly believe iron sharpens iron and that is certainly true in our industry.”
Craig Williams agrees and says, “The VO community is amazing and I love my regular Zoom chats, phone calls and meet-ups. They keep you current and help you if you have problems. It is also great to help others when they need it.”
Perhaps Voices Insider Tiffany Grant is onto something. She explains that the VO community is so supportive simply because everyone in it understands how unique the work really is:
“I talk to my peers regarding trends, advice, etc. It’s such an unusual, different area of work that really only people involved in the same field understand the challenges and opportunities.”
How Do You Practice Self Care?
In an industry where professionals hear “no” quite often, it’s one thing to find motivation to keep going and another thing to find ways to protect your mind for continued wellness. The Voices Insiders felt this to be true as well. They identified the different strategies they use for protecting their mental wellness from what they use to stay motivated.
Michella Moss says a change of scenery does wonders for protecting her mind from the grind:
“I go outside between auditions/work, and do something completely the opposite. Like pick a bunch of flowers and vegetables from my garden, or shovel some snow, or build something with wood, or walk the hound, or have my own spontaneous dance party in my living room.”
Jay Salas takes the same approach, but for whole days at a time. He said, “Disconnect for a day – Turn off all equipment and take a mental break.”
Melanie Scroggins and Kristy Reed both use similar techniques. They practice visualization as a way to keep themselves grounded and enjoying their voice over careers even on the hard days.
Kristy Reed is using visualisation as a recommendation from a coach she once worked with:
“A coach once told me to go into every audition like you already got the job. So for 5 or so brief minutes I get to act like the voice of every major brand out there.”
Melanie Scroggins applies visualization in her own way:
“Remembering where I started (an RV diner table four years ago) versus where I get to work now (my custom built at home VO studio). It’s a humbling exercise and keeps me accountable to my personal motto—work with what you have, until you have more to work with.”
Alexa Brown reminds herself that outlook is often a choice, and for her, a positive outlook keeps her cup full and mindset protected:
“You don’t need to count the nos! (Auditions, marketing, pitching, whatever.) You don’t need to keep track of what doesn’t happen. Just throw yourself at [the gig]!”
Sabahattin Cakiral shared his wisdom about protecting mindset. It simultaneously had us in stitches of laughter and in full agreement:
“I know that everything has an end except a sausage, [It has two].”
This is to say that all good things end, so it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing while you do it. This expression encapsulates what it means to stay light-hearted and grateful for life’s journey even when faced with challenging days. It’s about accepting and appreciating the day’s work for what it was and letting it all go when you step out of the booth for the day.
This advice is transferable to most—if not all—creative or performance-based careers. Every challenging audition will come to an end, every challenging client project will come to an end, and every ‘off’ day will come to an end. Staying grounded and knowing that tomorrow will bring new beginnings—and sometimes a few anticipated endings—is helpful in protecting your mindset and staying motivated in your creative field.
What Would You Say to a Discouraged Voice Actor?
To support and encourage a fellow voice actor who felt they were running low on motivation, the Voices Insiders imparted messages that are sure to fill any voice actor’s cup and get them back in the booth!
“Your voice is unique and divine. And somebody, somewhere, is waiting to hear you, but you don’t know where he or she is. Keep searching and make your longing higher, better and more intensive. The more patient you are the higher your reward will be, both physically and mentally.”
“Make auditioning fun and remind yourself why you do this job.”
“Be honest with yourself about where you are in your VO journey. In my VO career, I’ve noticed that a lot of aspiring and beginner Voice Actors come up against, what I’ve termed, ‘the gap’—the space between the excitement of starting out and making enough money to be a part-time or full-time Voice Actor. Most beginners will stop completely before they really put themselves out there. My advice is to take the time necessary to analyze your business and technical skills as a Voice Actor, which we don’t know until we start. From there, give yourself a time frame to see if this industry really is for you. Six months to a year of auditions, connecting with other Voice Actors, and taking a chance on yourself in whatever your spare time may be will give you a solid idea of if you should continue to invest time, money, and energy into becoming a professional.”
On that note, if you need some extra support getting started or you want to simplify your search for voice over work, create a Voices account today!
Let us know in the comments below if these insights made your day in the booth easier.