Conducting ourselves professionally is the surest way to ensure the smooth running of a project. Keeping communications pleasant, brief and accurate avoids confusion and unnecessary delays.
Prior to commencement of the project each party involved should be clear on the costs, timeframe for delivery and a contingency should an unforeseen delay/issue occur.
Under-promising and over-delivering is a tried and true method that is a core principal of my business.
As talent we should do all that we can to deliver the best possible product. Doing a good job behind the mic is a given, but there is more that we can bring to the table to add additional value. Researching the correct pronunciations of names, offering alternative recordings of lines, offering small pickups without extra charge, or expediting certain projects where possible, all contribute positively to a project.
Outside of union projects (which are tightly controlled), you as the talent should remain flexible in your invoicing and collections. Every company has its own vendor payment process, and respecting that is a sure way of avoiding conflict and a strained client relationship.
There are times where follow-ups and encouragement is needed, but this is rarely the result of malicious intent, so the tone should remain professional at all times.
As an important link in the chain, we can positively affect the outcome of any project that we are involved in. We should stay creative, flexible and productive as a team member. Maintaining great client relationships is an important part of a voice actors day to day life, and is a crucial component in developing a long and consistent career.
I’m going to make a bold proclamation: It’s time to let go of our propensity for cynicism, snarkiness and being overly judgemental.
But Jamie, you’re British!!!??? Let me reassure you, I’m not entirely revoking my hard earned British sarcasm or perma-overcast view on life, I am however choosing in what way and when I turn on the grumpy.
There’s very little to be gained by harshly judging others, or jealously protecting our own ego. In my experience the more I embrace positivity, the more generous I am to others, the more the world becomes a kinder and gentler place to inhabit.
Nowhere is this philosophy more aptly applied than in business, and the longer I continue on this journey in voiceover the more I find it to be the case.
Being kind to yourself, assuming the best in your clients, helping fellow talent, not making assumptions based on level of experience, union status, or societal demographic. Going the extra mile, over delivering, not being shy about offering compliments, staying humble, curious and taking a step back when needed - these make for a much more pleasant working day and will grow your reputation as someone who is great to work with.
But this is not a free pass to overlook wrongdoing or bad behaviour. If you are in a position of advantage and you see someone being taken advantage of, it is incumbent on you to use your privileged position to raise the alarm, and if necessary to intervene.
I see far too many people shy away from this because of a fear that their reputation will be negatively impacted as a result. Enabling or tolerating bad behaviour IS harming your reputation, and people notice, so you might as well do what you perceive to be, to the best of your ability, the right thing.
We all find ourselves in negative places mentally from time to time, and then behaving in a way that we may later come to regret. Forgive yourself, learn from it and strive to become a better person moving forward, it’s truly worth it.
I'm a British voiceover actor based in the US. I'm host of the VO School podcast and co-chair of VOcation Conference.