Dee Bradley Baker's "All to Know About Going Pro in V.O."

Short form insight for (voice) actors, part 1

Thoughts on acting, VO and going for it, in no particular order:

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.

Become a magnet: The question isn’t, “How do I find opportunity, representation and work?” It’s, “How do I get good enough so that opportunity, representation and work find me?”

Wanting isn’t enough. Talent isn’t enough. You must earn the trust of the gatekeepers and creators.

One question leads to all answers: “What am I doing now to get better at this?”

The career of acting is like a casino game that many play for the thrill but few play to win.

The limits of “training:” With classes you pay-to-play, you’re safe and stakes are low. With a gig you are paid-to-play, vulnerable and stakes are high.

Talent cannot be taught, it can only be excavated and refined.

A mediocre demo is worse than no demo.

Don’t “follow your dreams.” Have you dreams follow you.

Try before you buy: Do you enjoy acting or just the idea of being an actor?

Auditioning isn’t about “people pleasing.” It’s about creating an irresistible proposition.

A good actor isn’t there to take something. They are there to make something.

You aren’t hired for what you’d like to do. You are hired for what you know you can do.

Nobody hires “polite” and you can’t charm your way into a gig.

An in-studio audition is two shows: One during the recording and one before and after.

Don’t apologize. Course correct.

You are hired not just to solve, but also to save time.

Wasting someone’s time is an insult not quickly forgotten.

An audition can take years to book.

Help everyone but avoid doing favors. Likewise, ask for help but not favors.

You set the low bar for how others value you: Don’t see or present yourself as a low-status servant. See and present yourself as a high-status, specialized, problem-solving collaborator.

Protecting your voice is vital to serving the script and delivering the goods. It is in everyone’s interest. It is your responsibility.

Step up: An actor is expected to have an opinion, add ideas and also to push back.

Voice actors: Would you hire yourself? Would you entrust your expensive production on your own performance?

Don’t just read words. See it as you say it.

You’ve either already arrived or never will, so forget that. You’ll feel less agitated if you pin your satisfaction on process and momentum rather than achievement.

Breathe before speaking. There is no rush to launch the words.

The three ADR “beeps” are a good opportunity for a deep breath.

“Ready” not “prepared”: Arriving at a session “prepared” implies the confinement of a single path. Instead, arrive “ready,” like a fully charged battery, primed to power a flow of choices in any direction.

You must continually earn your place and momentum.

Though they are of you, you are not the characters you voice.

You set the bar for how others value you by how you radiate your value of yourself.

You never know who else may be listening in on a Zoom session.

A good actor isn’t a blank slate. A good actor overflows with an abundance of available possibilities.

Strive to become yourself and you will become a better actor.

Artistry grows the more you paint from a pallet that is your own.

Pressure: In voice acting, as with golf and stand up, it’s all on you.

Which game are you playing?: Hustling to get a single gig is a different game than hustling to make a career.

What you say between takes can be as consequential as what you say during takes.

Perspective: There are a hundred people adding their efforts to your voice to create a character.

Value and defend yourself or no one will: Don’t give an authority permission to demean you.

Avoid people and situations that drain your health or cloud your sky.

Don’t curse the ladder: You may have to climb over a hundred rungs of “no” in order to reach that eventual “yes.” Remove any one rung below and you never would have made it.

Are you having any fun?

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© Dee Bradley Baker 2022

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