Everybody in our business knows the talent. The guy or gal with the great voice who should have been the next big thing…except it never materialized. While the market plays a part, more often than not talent is either not ready for the opportunity or never will be. Here are my “Deadly Dozen:” reasons why careers fall flat. 1. Great voice/no talent - the voice is an instrument like a guitar or a piano. Of course, the greatest instrument is irrelevant if you can’t play it.
2. Lack of experience - in order to get better, everyone needs to get his or her at-bats. Without them, it is virtually impossible to improve.
3. Not enough skills - experience also begets skill(s). Everyone needs to start by doing one thing well but to maintain a career, the best need to adapt and reinvent. Without skill(s) and a foundation to build upon… that’s impossible.
4. Representation - too often agents are blamed for their actor’s lack of success, when several factors are usually the cause. When representation is the fault, either the agent has little enthusiasm for the talent or too little access to opportunities.
5. Lack of professional and personal resources - everyone wants to be working with the right people but the damage of working with the wrong people can never be underestimated.
6. Personal obstacles - whether health, financial or interpersonal dynamics, sometimes life and timing simply gets in the way of success.
7. Lack of motivation - everyone likes making money but as a rule, the more money someone has in the bank, the less apt they are to provide the service that got them the work in the first place.
8. Unreasonable expectations - what is success? Everyone’s ceiling is different but unless a talent’s goals are reasonable, his or her enthusiasm and hard work will eventually wane and the stress will only increase.
9. Lack of education - voice-over education can vary from traditional academic rigor to life experience to voice-specific training. This learning can never stop.
10. Lack of “professional” experience - with so much competition, acting like a pro regardless of profession is more important than ever before.
11. Lack of competitive spirit- Voice-overs is a competition and some simply lack the drive to keep pushing to better themselves and their competition.
12. Burn Out - it can happen to anyone and usually happens even before the talent recognizes the problem.
It’s my job to be on the lookout for these Deadly Dozen within my own stable of talent, but I also have to recognize that I too can fall in similar traps. Hopefully, awareness is the first step to avoiding the pitfalls, as I know I want to be as good at what I do as all the performers who entrust me with their careers.