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

Afraid of Acting?

“I’ve been thinking about trying voice acting. Should I? It all seems so [difficult/ lonely/ uncertain/ scary, etc.]”

Well, acting is all those things. And so what? If your goal is comfort, go get a massage, but don’t choose to be an actor.

Acting takes both vulnerability and guts. You have to be open and accessible to find an authentic performance. And you have to be fearless to step out and try something that might fulfill the story, but it might not. And an actor’s life is never about feeling safe and secure. 

Certainly with experience comes greater confidence, but there will (and should) always accompany your efforts a willingness to take off your armor and find authentic emotion to pair with clear intent and colored by the story’s specific context.

If you’re just afraid of trying this, if this is too daunting a prospect, then perhaps it’s not for you. But if your curiosity still calls, you must find your own way to surmount your hesitation. You must want it enough to overcome all of this! Acting is about “doing” not “thinking about doing!” 

You gotta put your self out there to be an actor. You may feel exposed and scared, but this can be exciting and fun, too.

If you think you want to try this but never seem to get around to it, perhaps you don’t want it enough. Perhaps acting feels too daunting or it’s not right for you, in which case, you won’t go for it.

But really- what’s the worst result from trying this (or anything you’re curious about)? It doesn’t work out? You don’t like it? You find out it’s different than you thought? Are such outcomes all that awful?

If you want something enough, you will at least give it a good try, I’d hope. If it works out, great! If not, you’ve learned from it and you move on. If you find it thrilling and fun you’ll keep it up.

Still hesitating? Ask yourself “What is the worst that can happen if I try this?” and “What am I afraid of?”  “Are my fears well-founded enough to prevent me from going for it?” Take a hard, honest look into yourself. You may find your fear is insubstantial speculation and isn’t worth the power you give it over your ability to decide and act on what you want to do. 

Are you afraid of what might actually happen or are you afraid of your speculative idea of what might happen?

So either try acting/ voice overs– or don’t. Just don’t twiddle your thumbs too long. Life’s too short for that, right? And please don’t ask for my permission to give it a try, or to give anything a try. Don’t ask anyone!

The only person you need to ask permission of is yourself.

“I don’t know if I have enough talent to become a voice actor…”

Try things because you like them or are curious, not because you (or anyone else) thinks you have “talent,” or some clear path to a career. To start, forget about all career stuff. That’s for much later.

It took me 25 years of acting/performing for fun before I realized I had enough talent to voice act professionally (earn my living at it) and that I wanted to commit to that. If you think I didn’t start out with my fair share of acting face-plants and false starts, you’d be wrong.

You may well have abilities as yet unearthed and likes and passions not yet revealed. You’ll find that some things you are good at you don’t much enjoy doing and some things you enjoy doing you aren’t all that great at. That’s life. No matter your ability, if you enjoy doing it, then do it!

No one- including you- can say for sure if you have what it takes to do anything really well- until you try it for a while- sometimes for a very long while. But none of that should matter if it’s fun for you- that’s the reason to do it.

A more objective affirmation of talent can come much, much later.

Learn like a baby!

Everyone who’s now a working voice/actor started at the very beginning, just like you. Yes, it seems daunting and intimidating to take the first steps of what may be a long journey, but it’s just one step after the other. Focus on that. What’s so hard about taking a step? And then another?

Want to know how to learn well and quickly? Look to the ultimate learning machine– a baby. Is a baby afraid to take it’s first steps? No. Does a baby stop trying to walk after repeatedly falling or taking a few bumps? No! Is a baby dissuaded from even trying because of the long road ahead? No! The little tyke learns from the stumbles and face plants and doesn’t give up. That’s why a baby is crawling one week then walking the next!

A baby’s incredible developmental quantum leaps are made possible by putting obstacles and missteps to good use and ignoring the frustration of missteps! We grownups too often focus on obstacles, we manufacture and reinforce our own obstacles before the journey has begun! We pre think everything and plant pessimism along our future unnecessarily.

But optimistic little babies are not distracted by this nonsense. They are unbendingly focused on achieving their goals step by step. They learn and grow without the distraction of self-imposed mental blocks.

That’s why I say, “Be the baby!”

The only permission you ever need to take a step forward is your own.

Are you still sitting on the fence?

If you want to try voice/acting–or anything, really– no one is going to wave some kind of checkered flag to get you moving forward. Sitting around wishing and wanting will ensure that you never leave the starting block.

Don’t waste your time or life waiting for someone else to wave that flag and start the race for you! Your own permission is all that matters!

You want to try being an actor? Then don’t think- act!

27 Responses »

  1. Hey, I’m 16 years old […any] advice or […] tips […], also is it possible to start voice acting at my age?

  2. …I am introvert and shy to speak on stage. … I don’t know any good, legit classes…

  3. […] I’m worried if I’ll ever be able to persist. […] I feel like I don’t have the level of self-confidence to thrive as a voice actor. […] Do I have a hope in hell of becoming a decent voice actor?

  4. […] There aren’t many local opportunities and we don’t have the money to travel often. […] Is there any way someone my age where I live can start?

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