Valuing what we do
It is easy for an aspiring voice actor to buy into the mistaken view that voice acting is less than acting, that we are somehow some lower species of performer.
Why “lower?” Well, our work is invisible. We don’t make millions of dollars per project and we aren’t featured in the tabloids’ newsfeeds. We aren’t part of the fake royalty of fame that garners such attention, such fawning deference, such hollow respect. We aren’t household names. Our booking a gig triggers no media frenzy.
Our modern “entertainment newsfeed” is dominated by click-bait TMZ distraction that is obsessed with on-camera actors and (eesh!) “influencers.” They get the attention, the buzz, the elevated media mind-space. This is the on-camera carnival of visually branded success that rises to the top of everyone’s newsfeed. Its desirability is linked and even conditional to its conspicuous visibility. Merit is awarded merely on the capacity to hold one’s attention.
The televised awards of Hollywood’s actors’ union doesn’t even have a “voice-over” category- and if they did it would probably dominated by the forces of on-camera branding and big corporate marketing.
For these, and other silly reasons, many industry pros, including other actors, don’t consider voice actors to be “real actors.”
It is little wonder that even voice actors buy into this horse crap. And it’s small wonder that voice actors might think less of themselves than they should.
I think this mis-framing of our worth is an impediment for many beginning voice actors, who under-value their talent and their work as something inferior, less worthy.
But here’s how it plays out: You see yourself as less and you thus end up allowing yourself to bring less. You then give others permission to see you as less too.
So many in this world earn their living by maintaining things or copying things or shuffling numbers around, but we actors create things for a living. We solve impossible puzzles. We conjure magic from thin air. We collaborate in an essential human activity– story telling.
To create with our acting, with our voice, is our unique and remarkable power that deserves respect and appreciation— especially from us.