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


Here’s a reprint of a note of reassurance I recently wrote to a friend who has had success in VO as well as on-camera, but was experiencing anxiety, partly due to the virus, partly just from life and a recent professional dry spell.

How do you orient yourself in an industry where change and disruption are built in?

Hi [Friend]!

It’s always a good thing to reach out for support or affirmation. No shame in that ever. It’s smart.

[…] It’s nice to have voice acting affirmed as a mobile career for us all, providing one can set up a decent simple studio in a closet or basement […]

The pandemic heightens the sense of instability in our freelance workspace that is consistently unstable by nature. The only constant is “change,” which says to me that it is best to take “success” as well as “challenge” both with a grain of salt, as each ultimately proves ephemeral.

[Facing this,] it’s best to focus on process instead of achievement. Process endures and it’s something you have some control over. Achievement evaporates once attained, or becomes its own obstacle and distraction.

I’m glad to hear you found good connection and joy with your traveling. Perhaps that needs to be a more regular thing for you- really anything that feeds you in this way is a good thing to build into your life.

[my friend expressed anxiety comparing their current apparent level of “success” to fellow actors]

You understandably seek a sense of traction and consistency [in your career], just remember your time scale is unique as are your talents. The show offer that evaporated due purely to fate should persist as an affirmation that you have what it takes. […Remember,] there are always dawning advantages in this environment for you to exploit.

Your imperative remains to continue to fortify your creative powers as you feed your happiness in all ways you can. The goal would be to sustain satisfaction from both.

I always prefer an active stance. I would ask myself daily:

1: What am I doing today to strengthen my craft and get better at delivering my unique creative talents, and,

2: What am I doing today that further fills my sense of satisfaction, joy and happiness?

These are things you have control over and don’t have to be big efforts. They reinforce each other.

The main thing is the regularity of the effort along both of these angles, not the degree or measure of the effort [or any “progress” attained]. Essentially, it’s not the number of “push ups” you do, but that you do “push ups” everyday- in any amount- both to feed your joy and fortify your craft.

Given regular focus, efforts along both of these angles combine to yield a good feeling of progress while fortifying your web to capture more work [because you have ever more to bring to your work].

If you want a reading assignment, check out the book “Atomic Habits” and the author’s website.

No matter your apparent “progress” or lack of it, you are a proven artist with untapped potential that you have yet to discover and refine. These are powers that you can choose to share with the world or keep private, but they are always yours. And you are never finished if you continue to feed the well that you tap into.

You always have within you more unique creative artifacts to excavate, dust off and render into life. You can always surprise yourself and the world.

Keep up the good work.

January, 2021

© Dee Bradley Baker 2023

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