Thinking Versus Knowing as Voice Talent
Updated: Jun 30
There’s a big difference between knowing you’re the right person for the job, and thinking you’re the right person for the job.
Now before you read on, this is not a "you're not ready for it because you're inexperienced" type of read. It’s a fact versus opinion mindset that I hope you will carry with you as you grow as voice talent. It's really important to our careers. Let’s dive into what it means for us as talent…
KNOWING is certain. There is calmness, clarity, maturity in it.
Knowing is accepting that you are only a small part of a huuuuge team. You’re there for the success of the product, but you are not the product itself.
Knowing is being comfortable with being directed how you have anticipated, and then delivering any other possible way under the sun and through the universe! If you know, you know - finding that comfort when you perform? It’s incredibly rewarding.
It's trusting that the team who’s been hard at work up until until the point you’ve been brought in, are experts that have the project’s best interest in mind. It’s understanding that while casting decided on you, there are a ton of other amazing talents who would be incredible as well.
It is also accepting that a number of different factors out of your control could change the directory of a project, at any given time. You could be a part of it one day, and not the next. It’s not being worried, or insecure about that potential.
It's being aware that whether you get cast, you don’t, or you’re recast - your worth as a performer does not, and will not change. Knowing allows room for growth, confidence, and strong working relationships in this career.
But knowing is not to be mistaken for thinking.
THINKING you’re the best fit for a project or role, looks a little different. Some will say ignorance is bliss. Here’s my take on that:
Ignorance my be bliss for the individual - but in reality - it’s a drain on everyone else.
When you *think* you make or break a project, you can develop a sense of entitlement to more than your role. Whether you’re conscious of your mindset or not, you take up space, or time that is not yours to take.
These thoughts and opinions can bleed through to production, and direction, and this is where it directly affects the success of a project. A big way that many folks who think they are the best fit for a job do this, is through defensiveness in their work.
This can look like a need to justify ones self, or inflexibility in reads, making you tricky to work with. It can seem innocent enough when we're not aware of it, but it adds up.
Say you're in with a client for a 2 hour session. Because you may think you know what's best for the character, or think it should be done a certain way you end up repeating the same material an unnecessary amount. The session turns into 3, or 4 hours. The director is tired, the sound engineer is tired, the client is tired, and you're tired. And now, production has to pay you, and THE ENTIRE TEAM for the extra time. Potentially putting them off budget. Because of this, you're marked "difficult to direct", and taken out of the running for future projects with said company.
To be clear - as voice actors, our creativity is what makes us incredible performers, and offering that is important. But we have to be willing to be creative with a director/client. It’s not a one person job, and your opinion is not the only one that matters. We also don't always have the full scope of project when we're brought in.
If fact, most times we're told as little as possible to keep details of work quiet until it's released. One would think it would be a much better idea to be kind to the team you're working with, and hear what they have to say. Considering they would inherently have a wider scope of knowledge. But that's just my two cents!
When we *think* we're the best fit, we can also affect our community negatively by voicing unwanted opinions/judgements on the performances of our colleagues - acting, direction, production alike. Casting actually looks for this kind of thing when hiring, too, and believe me when I tell you - they do not want any part of it.
To sum it up, thinking is worrying so much about everything that's not your job, that you don’t leave any room for your own. And what happens then? You become too preoccupied to be the right person for it.
Knowing vs. Thinking in this context really is the difference between confidence and insecurity in your work.
It's having a thriving career full of life and community, or angrily throwing stones from the bottom of the hill. No one wants to subject themselves to that.
And at end of the day - wouldn’t you rather build your career knowing you're supported, than thinking you'll get farther by poking holes in someone else’s? It's important to have this perspective as you navigate the industry.
Good luck out there my lovely voiceover friends. - Aiden