Expertise is directly proportional to the focus you pay a certain skill or talent in your life. Practice eighty hours a week and think about nothing else in between and you’re bound to be the best. Some people focus so intently on their work or passion that even menial skills cannot compute. If you want to master a skill or trade, are you willing to give it your all? And I don’t mean some vague notion of heart and care. All of your time. All of your focus. Oftentimes at the expense of other aspects of your life. Are you prepared to make those sacrifices? If not, do not lie to yourself or pretend to be something you’re not. You’ll sleep better at night if you accept and understand your priorities.
As an artist, it’s important to understand who you are and where you came from. You must iterate from old pieces – learn from what worked and discard what didn’t. Develop a genuine voice over time, understand the reception of your craft, and grow. Revisiting past projects helps you appreciate the trajectory of your skills and values. It helps you remember who you were and stay true to yourself. It helps you improve and move on.
Do not ignore your past. It is the key to mastering your craft. It is the compass for your future.
Have a great voice? Want to work from home everyday? Want to have a lot of time on your hands? Then consider being a voice-over artist!
There is a large army of people out there who have recording setups at home and read scripts into a mic for a living. As a voice-over artist, you can make between $5 and $200 per word you read (the pay varies depending on where your voice will be heard – television, web, theater, radio, etc.). Reading just one paragraph a month for average-priced spots can earn you a livable annual salary. Because audio files can be sent back and forth digitally, you can live anywhere you want. Most VO artists have their workflow optimized online so that they never need to speak to another human being again (except through email).
Want to get started? Buy yourself a decent microphone, hide in a closet or sound-proof room to record, and post a demo reel to a site like voices.com. Most projects solicit and cast from web networks like this one. More legitimate voice talents hire an agent to represent them and drive higher-profile, lucrative projects. You can graduate from infomercials and web spots, to theatrical movie trailers and documentaries, to animated feature film characters.
With enough unique character and range in your voice, you can make decent bank for as little as three hours of work per week.
People are important. To a business, their skills are important. Skills + People = Talent. Talent should not be undervalued or underappreciated.
I understand that most businesses and projects must start small to afford necessary tools and have room to grow. Money runs out, and you need to work within your budget to avoid the crash and burn.
If you ask for a favor, make sure to repay the favor with a service or a raise. Raises demonstrate that the sacrifices made are appreciated. Appreciation is key. If you do not demonstrate appreciation in some way, your talent will burn out or resent you. Your “savings” from not paying them more will end up costing you more long term. You will run out of favors eventually and you will fail.
If you cannot handle giving people money, do not be an employer for a living.
Today, I am taking a break from our regular programming to announce the launch of our latest web series, Talent. For those who do not know, I currently produce and supervise post production for the New Media division of Alloy Entertainment. We have been charged with tackling large scale narrative form on the Internet.
Talent is our latest and greatest, little over four months of hard work in the can. We wrapped production in February and have been busy cutting ever since. Below, you can find Episode 1 of a ten episode series. New episodes will launch every Tuesday and Thursday for the next four weeks. Enjoy!
Justin Hamilton alerted me to this figure of speech over dinner last night. The ordeal with general education, I think. One can learn a little bit of everything or learn one thing really well. Which direction should you choose?
In the business world, niche is king. It is much smoother to specialize, carve your name, and turn a profit. Expert a trade skill and you will never have a problem finding a job in your field again. A specialist is far more straightforward than a generalist – more simple to rationalize and far easier to market.
The risk? You can get boxed in, branded, stuck. Known as a great musician, it will be difficult making your name in other art. Known as a great assistant, you will have trouble being seen as anything but a great assistant. Known as a talented comedy writer, you will never be taken seriously. The list goes on. Think you might want to change gears later in life? Be weary of specializing. Mastering a skill is great for those who prefer simple lives, terrible for others who live to explore.
Being a “jack of all trades” heightens your exposure to a wider variety of crafts, trades, fields and skill-sets. You have more options and therefore a broader opportunity to discover your true passion and talent. You may never be the best at anything specific, but you know a lot about the world and can be a broad resource. You can be the center of it all, a leader. Great leaders can speak the language of their collaborators and must understand the all of the trades involved. I would argue “jack of all trades” status is a prerequisite to leading strong teams.
Master of none? How about mastering the jack of all?