Integrity and Taking Responsibility
The voice-over business and the entertainment business in general can be wildly unpredictable. At times it seems like an endless marathon of hoops you have to keep jumping through, just to get noticed, let alone to thrive. This may seem counter-intuitive, but all of that has to begin and end with you.
Your attitude, your work ethic, your level of dedication, your willingness to play. Giving yourself permission to have fun, acknowledging that you don’t know it all, being willing to keep doing it even when it gets hard, and it will. Remembering to cheer others on when they get the part and you don’t. Continually taking risks and being open to colossal failure, while being open to learning amazing lessons from that.
All of that begins with you.
In general, most of us expect people to keep their word and do what they say they’re going to do. The fact is that just like in life, people in this business are going to let you down too. They don’t always do it intentionally, they may mean the promises that they make, but then they get busy and forget, or plans change. Perhaps they end up giving the gig to somebody else after they promised it to you. Or they don’t make time to help you when they said they would.
Rather than expecting others to be in integrity at all times, bringing it back to you is where your power truly lies. One of my favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and in it he suggests that the first thing you can do is to be impeccable with your word. Your Word. No matter what other people are saying or not saying or doing or not doing. You can’t control that stuff. You’ll never be able to. You don’t have control over that, but you do have control over you. You have the power to take personal responsibility for what you put out there in the world and how you react to things in the world. If you make a promise, just keep it as best you can, whether it’s to yourself or to somebody else, and even if you slip up, just keep circling back to you and what you can do.
If you make a declaration that you’re going to study voice over, keep that promise to yourself. If you signed up for classes with me and you haven’t watched all of them, get in there!. Watch the class archives and do the exercises and read the newsletters.
If you say you’re going to be at an audition, show up on time and be prepared. Read the copy in advance if they give it to you in advance. Do your homework, study the craft and keep yourself healthy too. Pay attention to what’s going on in your body. Don’t overexert yourself. Do your warm-up exercises before you get there. If it doesn’t go perfectly, at least you’re putting yourself out there. You’ve kept your word with yourself and with everybody who’s in that process with you. If you don’t get the job or things don’t go as you expect, that’s ok, and if somebody says something that makes you feel bad about yourself, for whatever reason, you don’t have to let that have an effect on you. You always get to choose.
When you do this work, when you choose to do this work, you’re going to get all kinds of opinions from all kinds of people. People you know and love, or not, casual acquaintances and sometimes complete strangers. They’re all going to be offering their opinions. Even if it is personal, which many times its not, you don’t have to accept that as your truth and act on it or react to it. You get to choose.
The essence of Responsibility is having the Ability to Respond. You get to decide what you’ll do with all input that comes your way. That includes everything you read in these blogs or hear in classes with me!
I urge you guys to take responsibility for your life and for your actions. Start with you. Take responsibility for your reactions and just know that you have a lot more control over that than you think, and for your art. Take the time to squeeze every bit of juice out of this journey that you can, because it really is about the journey.
And lastly, remember those Four Agreements: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. And always do your best.
Get a copy of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” HERE!