In Inner Voice by Steve Zarro

A lot of factors go into the voiceover decision making process when the auditions are being filtered through by the end client.

Many of these factors are completely random and not even close to being able to be swayed by the performer. Even if the specs are well-written and you hit them perfectly, one never truly knows what the producer or creative teams are hearing in their head. What criteria they seek to match in order to make a selection.

After a couple hundred MP3 auditions get whittled down to 5 or less, what decides it from there?

Sometimes it’s nothing more than the cosmic alignment of even more factors beyond the performer’s control.

Availability.

Scheduling.

Travel.

Last minute “directional” changes. All out of your control.

Shoot, once it reaches that point who even knows what criteria they use? “The dog’s tail wagged when we played this one, so that’s the one we chose.”

…I’ve heard crazier.

Some components, however, are in your control. Things like the vocal performance itself, how well you took the specs and direction, the audio quality, your existing web presence, etc.  Another key component within your control is establishing and maintaining a reputation of being easy to work with.

Being nice. Businesses and creators want a good final result, of course, but they also want to work with good people who are easy-going and nice.

It’s very much like what I tell my son, and what he learns at school. If you don’t play nice, no one will want to play with you.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how good your dodgeball game is, or how many cool toys you have. It doesn’t matter how clean your audio is or how much training you have.

If you are boorish and unpleasant you have less of a shot at catching on somewhere and staying on. You might get “a call”, but you might not get “called back”. The work may have been good, very good even. But if the experience left the client feeling like their vendor was difficult and problematic, they will remember that next time for certain.

Sometimes work requires seriousness, and focus, yes. Sometimes there’s no time for games or shenanigans. Sometimes you just have to buckle in and get it done, of course. This can all be done while simultaneously being nice, though, and does not have to leave a sour impression on your client.

It is possible to convey a sense of priority and urgency all while maintaining a pleasant and positive disposition. It’s also critical that this be the case right from the start. From Day 1 on the launchpad, one’s goal should be to build a solid reputation of quality and ease.

The importance of being nice. Some early feedback from a corporate client.

Your energy is just as important to the team and the project as your vocal contribution. That’s one of the extra miles.

Some of my earliest corporate clients confirmed this for me. Their feedback about the product itself indicated that they were thrilled with and impressed by the level of quality, and not just in my audio but in the quality their finished content reflected once my voice and audio were added. But they always went a step further by saying how much they enjoyed the process of working with me, and stating that was one of the reasons they kept coming back.

In returning to the 1st Grade as a 40-something father along with my 6 year old, I am frequently reminded of little lessons such as this which can and should still be applicable in our adult lives. Something as simple and basic as “be nice” ends up playing a gigantic role in one’s success. The deciding factors aren’t always one’s voice, or one’s audio quality, or how far one can kick the ball.

Whittling 200 or more auditions down to 5, or 3, is not easy at all.  Make it easier for the decision makers.

Give them a reason to say, “We’ve selected you (again) because you are always so great to work with. You’re always so nice!”

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