Season to Taste
As some of you may know, I like to cook. Actually that’s not completely true. I like to cook for other people. I love putting something together that delights the senses and excites the taste buds of my guests. But if its just me, hanging around the house with the cat, I’ll probably just order Chinese food and watch Netflix.
When I’m cooking, I like to look at a variety of recipes before I start preparing the dish. Let’s say that I’m going to make an Etouffee (for those unfamiliar, this is a Cajun stew that involves shellfish slow cooked with spices and served over rice). This is a pretty straightforward dish and I’ve made it enough times that I don’t really use a recipe, but when I made it the first time, I watched several videos, studied several techniques and learned the various ways that the dish could be put together. There are probably 100 different ways to make it. And in the end, I’ll probably take a few ideas from each method I’ve studied and try to come up with my own way of doing it.
“Season to taste” is something that you almost always see in recipes because some people like their food salty or spicy while others don't. So adding seasonings to a dish is never an exact science. The art of cooking is about combining the right ingredients in the right proportions to get the right results. What might be right for others may be completely wrong for you so you season to your own personal preferences. Can you see where I’m going with this?
Voiceover is a lot like cooking. It’s all about combining the right ingredients in the right proportions to get the right results for your individual tastes. What may have worked for some artists, may not be the right choice for you. And the best way to know what works and what doesn’t for you specifically is to look at everything, study all the different ways and pick which one you think is best, then fine tune as you go along.
Take for example the recent brouhaha over the pay-to-play marketplaces. For some voice artists, the pay-to-play world is a viable way to generate work for their voiceover business. I know several artists that make a fortune this way. For others - like myself - the marketplace was profitable, but very time consuming and the amount of money made, versus the amount of time spent auditioning made it not worth it. And for still others, they've spent the money to become a member, spent a lot of time auditioning and not made a dime. What worked for others, may not be right for you.
As you progress through your voiceover career, you’ll find things that work really well, areas of the industry that you really gravitate towards and perhaps other parts of the business that are not a good fit for you. Success is not an exact science. Give it time and pick and choose the things that work best for you.
Just like a chef, season to taste. ------------------------------------------------
About Rob Marley - A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin Texas.