Rerolled bros, a new chapter in my life is at hand and I don't have that many ways in my life of getting feedback. So I turn to the interwebs for some career advice.
I'm 41 years old and have always had neutral feelings about "climbing the ladder". So, many of my jobs have been modest and even mundane. From third shift convenience store worker to a manager of a multi-million dollar commercial business for a large box retailer. These jobs have always allowed me the time to pursue the finer things in life (like gaming ).
Throughout most of my adult life, since I was 27 everyone has made comments about my voice. Teamspeak and ventrilo were probably the first validations of my voice. It was nice to be known for something like having a nice voice. It was something I started to take pride in. When I gave into the temptations of Everquest in 99', Guildies would say, "Oh you have a great voice, you should be on the radio". The women I've been with over the years have always told me the same thing, "you should be the movie trailer guy" or "you should be a phone sex guy". I never listened to any of them nor took them seriously, until recently. I've been addicted to games until this year. Games were my life. Everquest to WoW, Battlefield to Minecraft and Skyrim to Fallout 4.
I started learning about audio quality and what makes a voice sound "good". Got better microphones and started using my voice to help with my social shyness. It was if I had two personalities. My online gamer persona and my professional work-a-day personality. (Now that I write it down, I guess we all have something similar to that). In 2006 I signed up at voice123.com, made a profile and attempted to "give it a shot". The thing was though, I was lying to myself. I didn't take it seriously and I was never invested in the business of voice talent. It became a hobby.
So, I've been working for a big box retailer since 2005 and have become very comfortable with my performance and role in that company, almost complacent. I was shuffled back and forth, from department to department until finally landing at where I had started, commercial sales. I enjoy the hell out of the people I manage and customers I deal with.
My frustration with gaming and some self-actualization led me to a conclusion this January 5th, 2016. "Gaming was stopping me from committing to achieving success with my career". If I could put the same amount of effort that I put into playing/mastering games towards learning the ropes of becoming a commercial voice talent I know I can be successful. So... since early January 2016 I've invested in audio equipment, purchased materials to design an in-home voice studio. Over the past 2 months I started absorbing EVERYTHING I could online about audio engineering and editing. I feel like I did when I was learning how to tank in EQ, how to pull mobs as my monk, heal as a priest play at the top levels of gaming. Until 2 days ago...
An opportunity at my day job has arisen. It's a large step up in salary (I would go from making 45k a year to making over 75k) I'm presently an hourly wage employee, this promotion would be moving into a salaried position with a bonus structure and stock options. The prestige, the money and the experience would be wonderful (if I cared about any of those things, which I don't). I've never cared about money or ambition, I've just lived my life and comfortably as it would allow.
My heart really wants to pursue/attempt the voiceover path, but my head keeps thinking I should just try and make this new corporate position work since it's more money but I don't think I would enjoy doing it. It's only been two months in actually attempting to learn about the voice stuff, but it's been extremely exciting learning it and I'm getting positive feedback from people on reddit, youtube content creators etc. A lot of people seem to think I sound good enough to make it work possibly even be successful at it.
If you're interested in listening to some of the sample recordings I've done over the past month here's a link to my SoundCloud profile. https://soundcloud.com/chriskanevoiceovers I would also appreciate any feedback/criticism about my voice. (I know the engineering/mixing is spotty at best so go easy on it). /shameless plug
If anyone has been through a similar "follow your heart or follow your head" situation before I would be grateful in hearing about it.
TL;DR, I can make more money by accepting a corporate promotion, or I can stay in my current position but have the time and effort to drive a voiceover career.
Thanks for you time and sorry about the wall of text.
Why not both exactly?
The money will allow you to spend more on voice lessons/equip/traveling for auditions/etc. It would also allow you to save up enough to potentially take that leap down the road.
I've listened to some of your samples and I will say that I am impressed, as you said your sound engineering needs work but that's not what you want a career in. I will say that we are entering a period of rapidly increasing understanding of voice and speech which means that such a job as 'deep voiceover guy' may not mean anything down the road - it's going to be personalities or cpu generated.
If you truly want opinions, can you list some examples of jobs you would take? Have you contacted an agent/company that does it? Done any auditions?
I'm a firm believer in following your dreams until they get in the way of guaranteed success. I work in an office though, so take it with a grain of salt. Maybe if I played guitar everyday for the last 20 years I could be famous.
Jobs I would take include, narration, corporate e-learning, explainer, radio/tv and web based ads.If you truly want opinions, can you list some examples of jobs you would take? Have you contacted an agent/company that does it? Done any auditions?
I'm cutting my teeth by working with some youtubers doing children's history videos. Also, working with a web-drama group doing voice acting (short stories/adaptations). I'm using CastingCallClub, VoiceActingAlliance, Reddit etc to get some experience. I've won a few auditions for fan dubbed stuff, but nothing major. I'm not diving into the Pay-To-Play sites like voices.com etc yet.
When I committed to doing this in January, I knew it would take at least 4-6 months of learning before I was competent enough to not sound like a total amateur. I had planned on going this whole year by being persistent and learning every day. That is, until this day promotion is dangled in front of me.
You'll go from 45k a year to 6 figures probably after bonuses and stock. You can still work on your dream, just at a much more comfortable pace and in-between both, take a trip somewhere and enjoy your life.
You can easily do both without feeling like you are selling out. I know single moms who work 2 jobs and go to school full time, if there are people out there who can do that, you can figure a way to make this work and position yourself for a much better life no matter the outcome of your voice over career, be it successful or not.
Oh snap. If only Batman were here.
Yea, I'm pretty much sold on the idea of pursue it while having a good career. The 3 hour employee/perma-temp/minor league contract labor scheme is pure aids. If you had a slot you could take doing shows for Nat Geo or something then it might be a competition.
I run into this all the time. People can never find the time to do their "passions/dreams" They always say I work too much etc. The reality is, it's not your real dream if you can't find the time for it. People say thing like I work 60 hours a week at my job. I don't have time to do X. Yes you do, you choose not too.
You've got 168 hours in a week. Lets pretend you actually work 60 hours a week, which most people don't They work like 45 and claim it's 60. Then you've gotta sleep. Give yourself 8 hours a day. That leaves you with 52 hours for everything else in your life. Lets say you persue your dream 40 hours a week. And it leaves you 12 hours for travel/eating/whatever each week. People who say they can't find the time/worried they'll have enough time just don't want it bad enough. Talk to any business owner who is really trying. At the begining you'll work 100 hours every week. It's no different if you work for someone else for 60 of them, then 40 yourself.
So do yourself a favor. Take the higher paycheck, and still spend your 40 hours a week on your side business and be happy that your day job pays for all the equipment etc for your side business that is most likely going to fail. Instead of giving it 100% of your attention and failing anyways.
Just do your daily grind at work, and then do fiverr gigs after work doing voice overs to learn the business. Then if you love it keep giving it more time. You can always quit your high paying job because your own business is too successful. But you can't magically make a high paying job appear once you're done giving up on starting your own business.
I know its a stupid article that you probably read before but this broad has done exactly what you are intending to do.
Woman becomes Voice Over Success on Fiverr
Why not just do that until it picks up steam? I too have become kind of bored with Corporate Life and started taking on more interesting side projects that allow me to just use my skills (programming) to solve problems as opposed to endless meetings and dumb shit like that. I'll do it full time when/if it picks up enough steam.
B.Net: TJT#1179"Let go your earthly tether. Enter the void. Empty, and become wind."
The reason that I can't do both the new position and pursue the voiceover full steam is indeed what Tenks said
Today I spoke with several people who hold the same position they're considering me for and it was quite the eye opener. 70 hours is not uncommon (while presently I work a very comfortable 40 with no work on the weekends - and still I live comfortably). Weekends would be gone since I would be "on call" for customers. I think one gentleman I spoke with put it out there in black and white, he said "You have a lot of responsibility but no authority". In my current position it's reversed.If he has to work that many hours it would be really, really hard for him to pursue side interests not only for a lack of time but for a lack of energy.
I do appreciate all the feed back here. Especially about Fiverr. I have been aware of them ever since I started learning, but there seems to be this stigma about the site from seasoned voiceover professionals that look down on it. They claim it cheapens the quality of content you might get from a voice over talent. Even so, I think it sounds like a way to gain experience as well as attempt to side some income.
Last edited by McFly; 03-03-2016 at 11:15 PM.
You sound a lot like Jim Cutler - great voice.
Probably not great advice but, if possible, and depending on how loyal you are to this company, you could just take the job and go the scumbag route. Slack off enough to give you the time and energy to pursue the voice stuff.
The first choice will not allow me to dedicate the time to what my heart really wants to do. The second choice allows me the time to do what my heart wants but comes by saying no to an assload more money.
"Needing 100 hours a week in the beginning" is a red herring. I know people who have spent part time hours making their business grow to eventually becoming self-sufficient. So I don't really buy that. As far as being blackballed, it's the type of company where I know enough to not allow that to happen, since I've turned down offers before.
Lyrical, I just want to say thank you for this feedback. It's genuinely helping me come to conclusions. Even if it only forces me to think about things from another viewpoint it truly does help. No homo.
...and I'm gonna start using #rapey as a tag in my recordings when I upload them!
It sounds like B is the only option there is. At the end of the day, you don't want to be there at the end of your life, wondering what could have happened. No one can blame you for chasing your dreams and failing. If you aren't going to be blackballed, and you can't stand the notion of working 20 hour days, then it sounds like you've already made the decision.
When I made the transition, it was not comfortable. My free time was me trying to get to the other place in life I wanted to be. I was OK with that, because I was passionate about it. I'd work during the day, and meet with business owners at night. Thank God, my wife was supportive of it.
Do you have support at home for this?
I'll have all the information I need to make this decision by the end of business today. Just one more colleague to call and try and drag their true feelings out of them about their job.
Right now I'm 80%/20% on Heart Vs Wallet
Any job I've ever taken in life "for the money", I've ended up regretting and quitting not too terribly long after. Unless you have tons of debt, massive familial obligations, or are living paycheck to paycheck, "more money" in a job doesn't mean shit. It almost always ends in more responsibility/headache than it's usually worth, especially when you already have your head above water in life.
As long as you're "content" with your salary currently, what is an extra 10kish or so a year after taxes really going to buy you that you need, not just want? That's one of life's greatest pleasures about being a man: we know contentment. We can be "content" on a fairly meager existence/salary/etc.
Besides, after several long days of information gathering about this potential promotion, I've come to the conclusion that it's really not worth it. "Worth", in all its meanings how much is something worth?
Taking this promotion is not "worth" the time away from doing something I enjoy. The money I would make as a result of condemning my spirit to something I care very little about is not "worth" losing an undeniably positive pursuit.
To each his own I suppose.
I'll just leave this here: Why Small Businesses Fail: Top 7 Reasons Startups Fail and How to Avoid Failure
Still a pretty damn high amount.According to statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about half of all employer establishments survive at least five years and a third survive ten years or more. This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years.
Last edited by Vinen; 03-05-2016 at 02:47 PM.
People always say follow your passions, but for me when passions become jobs, they stop being passions.
Here's my story what I've done the last few years. Maybe it will help.
In 2012 I kind of got bored and burnt out of working in finance. So thought I'd try something else. I'd been playing a little poker and enjoyed that, so thought I'd give it 6 months or so and see if it had any potential as a way to earn a living.
Now a few years later i'm still playing poker full time but it is no longer a passion, it's a job and it's a grind. The first couple of years I really enjoyed throwing myself into it, learning new things and improving. But now... eh I don't know how long I'll do it for. It's gotten pretty stale, games are getting tougher with less recreational players to go around as popularity decreases. Plus it's pretty much close to solved so I can't really get much better, which is the part I enjoyed the most. I'll probably give it up after this year unless things drastically change somehow, which seems unlikely.
No idea what I'll do next. Anyone hiring?
Well, I sent a declination letter out for this position. Worded in such a way that's not ambiguous nor too harsh. Hopefully that will at least keep me in the talent pool. Thanks for everyone who took time to comment in this thread. I know it can be hard to solicit opinions from this site, but with your help and my own opinions I was able to make this decision.
Even if the voiceover pursuit doesn't "pan out", I'm still having a blast recording for people who like the sound of my voice. I didn't think I would enjoy learning the technical aspects as much but that's turning out to be much more enjoyable than I thought.
I've been working with a person who makes these youtube videos for kids. It's call Simple History and it's been fun to watch these projects develop. Even though the animation is basic, the scripts are rough, and production quality isn't that high, it's been fun doing the voice for these.
/shamless plug for these viedos. Simple History YouTube Channel
I'm only ~2 months into this whole endeavor and it's been great every day I do it. I'm learning about the process and getting criticism, feeback, and opinions. There will always be the naysayers and people who derive schadenfreude from others misfortune. All I know is, I will continue to enjoy it in the foreseeable future.
Once again, thanks to those that contributed to this thread. You helped a person in need and allowed him to find an answer.
See you back here in a few months when you realized you fucked up.
I always tell to this to my employees. Life is short, if you aren't having fun, go someplace you will. Money doesn't make one happy.
I never have listened to naysayers. Hell, when I stepped away from a good paying job to be self-employed, everyone I knew thought I was crazy. But I make more now, and I control my schedule. I love the empowerment of being self-employed and not owned by corporate overlords. From the time I contracted on the company, people kept telling me it would flop. The loans are almost paid off now, and we never missed any payments.
The problem with listening to people tell you your future prospects, is that they are almost always lower than they should be.
Speaking as someone who went from making $80k a year working a very half-assed 40 hour week to running a business where I now pay myself under $30k a year (and it was less when I started) and work twice as much there's more to life than money. I am passionate about what I do now and it's much more satisfying and so much easier to work hard at.
Can you do voice-over from Rhode Island? I'm sure you can do a lot of shit online these days but it seems like you might need to be in LA or NY or somewhere that productions are going on at some point?
I would inquire as to how much overtime you'll be expected to put in at the new position.
Yeah I think I would want to at least have demonstrated that I can make money at it before moving and it sounds like that's what he is planning. I was just asking if that is something that might have to happen down the road.
I'm presently going through a self-imposed learning phase which will last 4-6 months, where I will learn about all aspects of the trade, marketing, business etc. My short term goal is to make $xxxx by a certain date. Whether through Fiverr (which is looking like it might be the way to go) or through pay to play sites like Voices.com and Voices123.com -- I'm exploring my options at the moment. I have made money doing this already this year so I know that with the right amount of time and effort it will pay off for me.
@McFly those history videos are sweet and I'd what more, all
Warrior, Innoruuk Server
Thanks man. The creator of that series is working on producing a whole range of videos and I'll be doing some of them. He's been great to work with, and he's given my name to some production companies based in China. It's been fun working with those producers over there since apparently I sound like what an American should sound like? /shrug As long as the work keeps coming I'm fine with anything.
Not sure if it has been mentioned yet, but have you considered doing audio books for Audible, etc.?
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