Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tossing in the towel...

But wait. I'm not ready yet.

When I was younger I swore that I would never fall into this scenario. But, here I am facing the inevitable, asking the question: When is it time to just say “'screw this” and toss in the towel? I'm not there yet. But my list this week certainly is weighing heavily on my decision making process.

I know I'm not alone. Many in this business have spent years and years developing skills that have been honed and refined only to be told that they are no longer needed or desired or just not hired. The reasons, if given, are often shallow, not valid and youth driven. I was told early on to refrain from criticizing those that write the paychecks. However, when you reach my age, a ripe old 66, risking being labeled an ogre is no longer a concern. Hey, I still have Social Security to fall back on. So I put together a list of things that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Here is that list:

1. Youth and experience don't mix. Age and experience intimidate youth and youth intimidates age and experience. Youth have to fail on their own initiative and do. The angst goes both ways. Seniors, like me, often stand firm, a stance that breeds inflexibility.

2. Shallow excuses. They are used in the voiceover business to easily reject. I don't buy them at all. You have heard them: too announcery, not conversational, too folksy, too dry. I would much rather hear: “I didn't like your sound.” “Your interpretation sucks” ”You're too old for the part.” Just be honest, which leads to the next one.

3. Lying and insincerity. These permeate our business. There's a Jack Nicholson line “You can't handle the truth.” The fact is, I can. So just be honest and look me in the eye tell me how you feel. I can deal with it. Honest rejection is easier to accept than shallow lies. I don't need sugar coating. If I piss you off, tell me so. If my personality bothers you. Say so. I won't audition for you in the future, saving us both time and frustration. I'm real. Be real.

Image - man at microphone4. Technology barriers. You don't have ISDN. You don't have the right microphone. You don't use the software we use. Letting technology stand in the way is a poor excuse and is a lazy way to weed out the cast of candidates. The fact is technology has increased the talent pool, making the selection process a little more difficult. Picking from a group of ten voices is much easier than selecting from 100. I will change my technology if the reason is valid. If it means I need to buy an Apple product (Are curse words allowed here?) or one from the great Northwest, then so be it. So, let's have some standardization and not use technology as a barrier.

5. Distance. You're not in LA. You need to be in NY. Job requires talent to be in Dallas or Chicago or Atlanta. Go back to #4 and update your technology. If you do, I will. But we both have to be willing to adjust.

6. And this is the granddaddy of 'em all. The announcer is dead. What a friggin' lie. I hear it ever day in national commercials and promos, from the top people in our business and I won't name names. The fact is the announcer is NOT dead and is VERY much alive. So, don't give me that weak excuse.

So, there's my list. How bout you? Any others you would add?

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