I have missed a bunch of Paul Strikwerda’s blogs recently, but this one caught my eye in an email update on one of my LinkedIn groups.
He postulates that you have to be many things to be a freelancer. Some things are diametric opposites and yet it is often best to do them both. He uses the Ying and the Yang concept.
His first question – should you Specialize or Generalize – big debate about this actually – but his advice – “find your own voice and be flexible” – works for me. Too narrow a focus and you limit yourself and end up doing the same thing over and over. Too broad and you risk being just another nameless faceless cog.
He ended the article with a nice long list of other “contradictions.” My favorites…
- Be personable and keep things strictly business.
- Be proud of your accomplishments and stay humble.
- Be confident, but doubt yourself enough to evaluate your performance.
- Sell yourself, but don’t make it look like you’re selling yourself.
- Be able to multi task and stay completely focused.
- Be in the moment and plan for the future.
- Admire without feeling threatened.
Paul is one of my favorite bloggers. He can stir up the pot a bit at times, which is fun. But usually, he has something brilliant to say about the business.
I’ve been ruminating on auditions lately. About the fact that I haven’t auditioned so much as I have since we moved into a remote casting era. But what I didn’t say (and that Paul says so well in his latest blog post), is that I am extremely picky about what I audition for. I checked my “stats” for the past 6 months at Voice123. I have deleted more than 1050 audition opportunities – and sent in auditions for about 75. Number of actual jobs? Very few from V123. Same basic ratio at Voices.com, but with far fewer audition opportunities.
Something I talk to my introductory students about is learning to practice so that you actually improve – and not build in bad habits.
Pauls says, “In my mind, you practice to audition. You don’t audition to practice.” Great stuff Paul!
P2P is here to stay. Well, it’s here now and is such a “new” reality that no one really knows where it will evolve. But as with anything new, there are lots of growing pains – for everyone involved.
I’ve linked to the Double Dutch Blog before (Paul Strikwerda) because he pretty much always has something interesting to say and the past few days he has been blogging about P2P sites – low balling rates, etc.
One question that he has been asked prompts me to respond here. Here is the question - “How about the unions? Isn’t it their job to deal with remuneration? If you’re so unhappy with the current rates or the lowballing bidders, why not join AFTRA?”
Simple answer? Yes, the unions have established scale rates if you are so lucky as to get a job under a union contract. However, AFTRA has never been able to get you work. That is up to you.
If you join AFTRA and there are no signatories to work for you earn NOTHING. AFTRA will suggest that you wait tables to make ends meet. Even if there are signatories and union castings, we are performers – in a very subjective business. We are not carpenters who can stand in line at the union hall and get the next job.
Times are tough – I had a retail client a few months back ask me to roll back my prices a bit. This is a long time regular monthly client, so I agreed to a temporary roll back. I’ve lost a few jobs recently because my prices were too high. Am I tempted to cut my rates? Yes. Will I? That depends on the job. If I do, does that mean that the cut is then permanent? Hard to know the answer to that isn’t it and probably the primary reason that I usually say no to a lower rate.
Everyone is sensative to the economy right now. Even some agents are apologizing for lower than normal rates when asking for auditions. While I don’t know this for a fact (and if someone does, please chime in one way or the other), I would imagine that most of the “almost” stars – the over-scale actors – are finding that the rates they are being offered is not quite as good as it once was.
The Internet voiceover community is ablaze with controversy these days. Perhaps it is the business climate fanning the flames, but there has been a lot of talk about professionals versus amateurs. Who should be allowed to play in the sand box? Should there be separate sand boxes?
Check out Paul Strikwerda’s Double Dutch blog this week. He reposted it on LinkedIn as well, so be sure to follow the threads in both places. Very interesting. I love the way Paul writes in general, but this post included references to classical symphonies -a subject near to my heart because my brother is a world-class Horn Player with (according to Paul’s sources) the world’s 6th best orchestra.