Podcasts Voice Over Experts Performer Mindset with Kim Handysides
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Performer Mindset with Kim Handysides

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Geoff Bremner
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Tune in to hear voice over veteran Kim Handysides teach you how to think like an athlete for your voice over career. Kim takes us through the different levels of athletes and voice over artists: amateur, semi-pro, and pro. She also offers four key ideas that helps both athletes and voice over artists become a successful pro. Kim recommends dedicating daily practice to technical and performance exercises, setting aside 10 minutes each day. Kim also encourages learning from “failure” by studying successful auditions and exploring what works for others.

From “seeing yourself in the role” to “mining the richness that comes from failure”, Kim will show you how to adopt the athletic mindset and level up your voice over career.

Participant #1:
Hi there and welcome to Voiceover Experts, your monthly educational podcast helping you bring your voice acting career to the next level with insightful lessons presented by Voices voiceover coaches. This is Kim Handy Sides Your Voice's June Featured Coach I've been a full time, successful voiceover artist for over 30 years and have been directing, coaching and producing demos for other videos for the past five or six years. After all that time, I've got quite a bit of good information to pass along. I have degrees in theater and broadcasting was a DJ, TV, weather woman, did theater, film and TV before going fulltime in voice work. In fact, I've done everything, but my primary work is in commercials, elearning, explainers, and corporate narration. I've also narrated TV series, most recently the In Show Narrator for an NBC special, the Narrator for an IMAX film produced in conjunction with NASA, and my service award win was for an audiobook I produced this month.

We are diving into performer mindset, so I wanted to start off by saying voiceover actors and artists and anyone in the creative arts really have a lot in common with athletes. There are different levels of athletes and performers. You've got amateurs, gifted amateurs, semi pro, pro and elite. And in my long, successful career, I've seen amazing things happen in myself and others when performers make a mental shift and reform their mindset to better align with their goals. So what does this look like and how can you do it? Well, if you Google athletic mindset, you'll come up with a bunch of different lists. Nike's got one SportsEngine, sportsyke.org, and a lot of what they advocate translates to creative performance.

So in the Venn diagram between athlete and performer, what top four things do we have in common? In my opinion? Number one is seeing yourself in the role. Earlier in my career, when I was about to be hired as a disc Jackie and then as a weather woman and then work in movies and in theater roles, I would actually stare at myself in the mirror and talk myself into the belief that I already was an amazing DJ and an accomplished weather woman or a critically acclaimed theater actress, et cetera. So you have to see yourself in the role of voice actor before you get there. So visualization actually primes your mind for accepting your new reality as a voiceover actor. It will help you shift into that role more fully. You'll begin to zero in on the oral with an A oral magic all around you. Your voice, other people's voices, how we communicate with each other voiceover that is in the world, on radio, TV, pre roll, socials, overheard, in stores, on apps, on the phone, everywhere and beyond this, you'll envision you and your contribution to the voice world. And this will build your confidence and make you curious and guide your activity to improve and to risk. This is really important.

It sounds like it maybe isn't like it's too obvious. But in coaching hundreds of people over the past few years, I've come across very many talented individuals whose biggest stumbling block was themselves. Maybe it was lack of commitment or not respecting the work, like thinking, oh, it's so easy. Anyone can do it. No, it's not easy. Not everyone can do it, but a lot of people can with the right attitude. Another thing that can hold people back fear. I've coached a few people who just went from coach to coach to coach, building skills to the point where they were actually competitive but never diving in. Maybe because they wanted to hold on to the dream of becoming a voiceover actor instead of actually facing the possibility that they tried and failed and forgetting that failure only happens if you stop short before achieving your goals. So you can prevent that from happening.

By number two, owning your voiceover career and knowing that you get out of it what you put into it no excuses, no blame, just accepting and taking responsibility for your voiceover career. What this does is help you realize that your career is in your hands now. Getting the jobs is not necessarily in your control, but how you approach your career is in your control. And it comes down to time invested. When I asked students, how many auditions are you doing every week, so many say five or maybe three, and that is not going to get you anywhere. I mean, can you imagine a professional athlete saying, I only go to the gym for 90 minutes a week? No, it's a nine to five job. When my kid, who's now a voiceover actor herself in her late 20s, when she was a competitive swimmer as an adolescent, that meant 12 hours in the pool, minimum each week, on top of school and everything else every week. That's what it took for her to be competitive at a provincial level.

Cool thing is, you are in charge of your schedule. One of the things I teach as a coach is how to set up your time from how much time to spend on equipment, marketing, the business of your career and your craft. Which means, yes, you should be spending a lot more time auditioning. Voices staff recommend a minimum of ten auditions a day. But that's game time or practice plays. If you're an athlete, you still need to spend time in the gym, on the field, weight training, doing aerobics, practicing stick handling, hoop throwing, and any other sports metaphor you want to throw in here. So for voice actors, that means practicing our technical skills and our performance skills before we do the work, which is the auditioning and the actual recording. So I break down performance into anything that has to do with the imagination and technical into everything else. I know it's not easy to transition from your day job to a Vo career. 31 years ago, I became a full time voiceover artist. But I actually began my part time pro Vo career four years before that and put time into practicing my skills for several years before landing that first National Yogurt commercial, which launched my pro career. So you've got to give yourself the gift of time to make it happen. Which brings us to number three discipline.

This is a craft, which means you can always improve. I've been doing this since 19, 82, 40 years altogether, and I still reinvest in craft every day with my time, through daily technical and performance exercises, and with my money by investing in research, books, workshops, and taking my craft into new and more refined directions with lessons from others. That's part of the work in my private coaching sessions, in that daily practice, I help people set up. I teach what I call sound booth shortcuts. These are things that help you get to your auditions more quickly on a more solid footing.

It's kind of like if you are a musician and you started every day with your scales, you want to create a time to Hone skills outside of the pressure of auditions, which will help you remove the pressure you may feel when recording auditions. I recommend devoting 5 minutes a day to technical work and 5 minutes a day to performance work every day, Monday to Friday. As long as you want to be a voiceover artist, no one can skip out of 10 minutes a day. Right? And though there are more mindset elements the pro athletes and performers share, I think I want to end this discussion with number four, mining the richness that comes from, quote, unquote, failure. It's not embracing failure.

It's embracing the lessons you can learn from not achieving a goal so you know what to work on and where to go next. It's like when Edison said he didn't fail 1000 times on his road to inventing the light bulb. He said the light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps. So look at your path as the steps you need to take to get there. If you're not booking, you need to find out why. The first thing you can do is create a study of your own work and what's missing if you didn't book something, try to find a link to the finished commercial, for example, and hear what the client went with. I auditioned for a GoDaddy spot where they went with Donald Sutherland, and I studied his read and style and vocal choices to learn what I could from their choices and his choices. I didn't see it as a failure, but an opportunity to discover what hit it out of the park for that client, that spot, that actor.

One of the most important tools you have in your Arsenal is listening to what is working for others, seeing if there's anything there that you can use, and then putting your own spin on it. What you don't want to do is have any regrets pro athletes put it all on the line. Do that. Build your skills in your daily craft, technical and performance work and lay it all out there truthfully and appropriately in your auditions then let them go. Don't be obsessed with the outcome. You can't control the outcome so work on what you can control your mindset, the number of auditions you do and the performances you create and share.

I'm Kim Handy sides your voices featured coach for June I coach privately and in groups and because I'm so very busy with my own voice work, my private sessions are limited to four to five Eastern Monday to Friday and I run group sessions three to four times a year with my daughter Lisa. That swimmer who is also an award winning full time voiceover artist now and a coach. I also have something called the Read Rate workshop. It helps you decrease the number of errors you make as you read which is really helpful if you're going to be doing anything long form, actually anything over 2 minutes. It's one on one bookable anytime, 3 hours and it works. If you'd like more information about any of those options please check out my website Kimhandesidesvoiceover.com or email me there it's [email protected] and make sure you subscribe voiceover experts for free wherever you listen to podcasts and grow your career today, thanks for listening.

Geoff Bremner
Hi! I'm Geoff. I'm passionate about audio. Giving people the platform for their voice, music, or film to be heard is what gets me up in the morning. I love removing technical, logistical, and emotional barriers for my clients to allow their creative expression to be fully realized.
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