Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Things that Clique

or go bump in the night.

If you have children, you've likely found that the word “clique” entered your vocabulary somewhere around the teen years, perhaps even before. I revisited the subject recently and as I was reading I suddenly realized that our “voiceover” industry, now that it has fully embraced social media, has started forming just that very thing. They're out there whether we want to admit it or not.

Sherri Gordon on writes in her page about bullying, “Kids are often attracted to cliques because they place a high importance on being popular or cool. Cliques give them a place where they can get that social status.”

The Nemours Foundation in it's on line article about How Cliques Make Kids Feel Left Out
says “Kids who get into cliques usually want to be popular and feel cool. Sometimes kids think that belonging to a clique will keep them from feeling left out.”

To the voiceover industry I ask these questions, and I don't have all the answers :

Does any of this sound familiar?
Is our industry falling victim to an age old problem of cliques?
Are you one of the chosen ones or being left along the side of the road?
Do we alienate people intentionally or is it just the cruel way human nature works?
Are we afraid to welcome new voiceover friends because they might be competition?

The Wiki How to Do Anything site How to Run the Most Popular Clique in School has a great little page about forming a clique. The article gives ten steps. (I have paraphrased.):

1. Figure out who you want in your clique.
2. Pick your clique members and hang out with them
3. Ask yourself: Are you cool?
4. Be aware of yourself and your looks.
5. Make rules for your clique to follow.
6. Have a badge that no one else can wear.
7. Make sure you have a way to communicate (Social media is an obvious one.)
8..Are you the alpha in your clique?
9. Have a few parties once in a while.
10. Oh and, have exclusive sleepovers.

I hear, all the time, comments like “our industry is very supportive.” Well that may be true but is it supportive of everyone or just those that have made it to the inner circle. How often have you seen a newcomer post something on a social media site, a very thoughtful and interesting comment or discussion, only to be ignored? Then when an “inner circle” member posts that same thought or story, the industry jumps in on the discussion. For some reason the original Disney Jungle Book comes to mind. I can hear Louis Prima singing now - “Ooh-bi-doo, I wan'na be like you. I wan'na walk like you, talk like you, too."

Have I hit a nerve? Take a look around. I hope so.