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. If you’re just afraid of trying it, then either get over it and try it or find something else to do. Despite all excuses, you must want it enough to overcome all of this! Acting is about “doing” not “thinking about doing!” And an actor’s life is never about feeling safe and secure. 

You gotta put your self out there to be an actor. You can feel exposed and scared, but it 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 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 and isn’t worth the power you give it over your ability to decide and act on what you want to do.

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 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 that.

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. Turns out, some things you are good at you won’t enjoy doing and some things you enjoy doing you aren’t all that great at. But 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.

Okay. For those 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!

17 Responses »

  1. I am a south african who is living in the U.S and I have always wanted to do this with my life and I just wanted to thank you for your help along the way! Thanks

  2. [Is it] a bad thing if i start voice acting in high school?

  3. [G]iven that my native language isn’t English, should I practice [voice acting] in English or in my native language.

    • I would spend most of my time practicing for the market I wanted to become a part of. Analogy: You may like and feel comfortable playing baroque harpsichord, but if you want to play jazz piano, that’s the musical language and instrument I’d spend most time with.

  4. I would love to become a voice actor someday but I’m only 13. My question is how do you find available characters to voice?

  5. I live in Las Vegas and can travel to LA. When I lived there I had to focus on other peoples acting careers and could not go after my dream. I dont know what to do now. I have a passion for this career and am so infatuated with character Voice work. I dont know where to start… I want to share my talent but do not know how or where to start!

    • OK- you can start by reading my entire site (sorry it’s long, but at least it’s free). Then you could perhaps try driving or flying out to L.A. for a five week VO class and see how that goes. Choose a casting or voice director teacher who works on shows you like or is well recommended.

      It’s good that you are focused and want to share your talent, but your bigger project is to excavate, discover and develop your talent and then see where you stand competitively with that, assuming you want to do this professionally in L.A.

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