Making Your Art Your Business
Join Voice Over Expert David Bourgeois of Voice Coaches as he talks about “Making Your Art Your Business”. As a voice actor, you are a small business owner, a realization that is critical to your success; it’s not just about your voice.
David Bourgeois, Voice Coaches, Business, Business Plan, Small Business, Voice, Voice Overs
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Transcript of Making Your Art Your Business
Julie-Ann Dean: Welcome to Voiceover Experts brought to you by Voices.com, the number one voiceover marketplace. Voiceover Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voiceover. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voiceover talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform, and succeed from the privacy of your own home and your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else.
This week, Voices.com is pleased to present David Bourgeois.
David Bourgeois: Welcome. I’m David Bourgeois and I’m the President and Creative Director of Voice Coaches. The wonderful folks at Voices.com have asked me to speak with you about making your art your business.
Now, the first thing I want you to consider is that individuals that work in creative fields like voice acting are almost always aware that they need to continue to develop their creative skill but where a lot of folks run into trouble is imagining that skill and voice ability is the only component to building success. Now in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not always the person with the best voice who gets the job.
So, in addition to recognizing that skill development is important throughout your career, there’s an additional critical component to success that often gets overlooked. Voice acting is a business. Voice acting is a business where money changes hands. Therefore, voice acting is a business where there’s an expectation on the part of those who hire you that you’ll be able to deliver professionalism in what you do and frankly, voice acting is a business that other voice actors are involved in and if you don’t recognize the importance of effective self-marketing, you may find yourself with a lot of free time on your hands wondering why everyone else is doing all the work.
So for starters, if you’re a voice actor, you’re a small business owner and although voice acting is a unique field, the majority of factors that can affect any small business can also dramatically affect you both negatively and positively. Now one of the first things you recognize when you start to look at voice acting as a business is that you’ve invested money in this. You don’t spend money on training or demo development. If voice acting is your business and there’s an expectation of a return, you’re investing money in things like that.
You’re also investing time and that’s another thing many people lose sight of because you’re investing money and time in your business, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a positive result and one of the best ways for a small business to achieve a result is to develop a business plan. Although you may have never though of developing a business plan to be successful as a voice actor, trust me. Developing a business plan can help you clearly define your goals and help you work towards success.
In this case, there’s no need to go to the bookstore and get a book on writing business plans. I want to keep this very straightforward. Here’s what I suggest. Go get yourself a brand new notebook then go into that notebook maybe 15, 20, 25 pages and write down a goal that you want to achieve, maybe a goal that you want to achieve in voice acting in the next 12 months. When you’ve done that, put the notebook away and whenever you have a creative moment and an idea pops into your head, grab that notebook, start at the first page and begin to write down the steps that you’re going to take to arrive at your goal. That’s a business plan, a goal and a set of steps that you’re going to take to arrive at that goal.
Oh and added piece of information, the steps won’t do you a lot of good just on paper. You actually have to do the things that you write down. So let’s say you now recognize that you’re in business for yourself and you’ve developed a business plan. Though I can’t get into too much detail, I do want to take another minute or two and go over some of the basic components of self-marketing that we cover with our clients at Voice Coaches.
One of the things we talk about are the five requirements of success, commitment, perseverance, persistence, professionalism and awareness of opportunity. Basically speaking, when it comes to commitment, we found that though there are a lot of people out there wondering if they’ll be successful. Individuals tend to do better in our field if they make a decision to be successful. This goes right back to creating a business plan.
To build success in voice acting, you first need to see yourself as a voice actor and commit yourself to this at some level. It doesn’t have to be full-time. Most people endeavoring into voice acting don’t do it full time but recognize you’ll do better if you’re committed to success. When we speak about perseverance, in essence we’re really talking about sticking with it. One of my greatest fears for a voice acting student that we work with is that they’ll stop trying the day before they were going to get the big job and in reality, your competitors are counting on you to not persevere.
Success for any small business including voice acting does not usually come overnight. When we talk about persistence, we’re really suggesting that we want you to be thorough in your marketing effort. In the real voiceover world of sending physical demos out to clients, it’s not enough to just send the demo. You should follow up with a thank you card. You should follow up with an updated demo when you’ve done more work and your demo changes.
You need to recognize something. People who hire voice actors, we tend to be creatures of habit. We tend to go back to the same people. We go to the people who we know and to the people who are easy to hire. You want to make yourself one of these people. In fact I saw a study recently that demonstrated that it cost five times more in money and effort to develop a new client relationship compared to getting continued work from a client who you already have a relationship with. In other words, a client who you’ve already worked with is five times more likely to hire you to voice something when compared to a new client.
By being persistent in your follow-up in your communication, individuals who hire voice actors are more likely to be aware of you and to consider you for an opportunity. Now, professionalism is also important. Again, voice acting is a profession and I can tell you personally when I hire a voice actor, I have an expectation that they know how to do their job. They know what their job is. They know how to prepare their voice for the job. They know how to behave professionally and interact in a studio environment appropriately. It’s not just about the voice. Professionalism will determine whether or not that person becomes somebody that I continually work with.
Finally, when we speak with our students about requirements of success, we talk to them about awareness of opportunity. I would hope it would make some sense to you that if you want to work in this field, you need to know where to look for work. Now, Voices.com is a great place to start but assuming you’re out there locally and regionally as a voice actor, it’s important to know who does the hiring. Today in addition to recording studios, audio-visual production facilities, advertising agencies, public relation firms, audio book publishing companies and entities like cable television stations. There are an incredible number of emerging opportunities. Two of the greatest emerging opportunities are related to companies that develop internet content and companies that develop electronic gaming.
Also, I strongly suggest you get your hands on your local business newspaper. Pay attention to what’s going on in your community. Get involved with your Chamber of Commerce. There are tremendous ways for you to have detailed information about what’s going on in and around your community.
I’d like to thank everybody at Voices.com for the opportunity to speak with you. I invite you to visit our website, www.VoiceCoaches.com. Again, my name is David Bourgeois with Voice Coaches. Thank you so much for listening.
Julie-Ann Dean: Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voiceover Experts show notes at Podcasts.Voices.com/VoiceoverExperts. Remember to stay subscribed.
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Your Instructor this week:
Voice Over Expert David Bourgeois
President and Creative Director
David Bourgeois has worked in professional music and audio production for more than 25 years. Compositions and audio post-production for film, television, advertising and multi-media are all part of David’s resume. As the CEO of White Lake Music & Post, David produces music, audio and voice over content for clients including Discovery Networks, TLC, HGTV and the WE Network as well as numerous other regional and local clients. David recently completed the original music score for The Last Round, an independent feature starring former X Files Smoking Man William B. Davis.
Since 1990, David has been active in developing training methods in effective communication through conversational reading. His effort was initially aimed at helping clients get better performances from their Voice Actors in the studio. David’s methods soon became the model for Voice Coaches’ individualized training process.
Today, David and his team provide training to aspiring Voice Actors and communication professionals across the country.