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Thinking Locally

Like many industries #voiceover has become radically de-centralized in the last twenty years. Once upon a time to be a "big player" you had to live in NY or LA and you usually went to your agent's offices to record your daily auditions. Now the magic happens in vocal booths and closets and garages across America - indeed, the globe - and there are almost no more geographical limits. Yes there are certain areas of the industry (I'm looking at you, animation!) where it helps to be near certain cities, but today February 11 2020 I'm on TVs across the country and on the radio in Denver and on an audio tour in St. Louis and on countless social media and websites and it doesn't really matter to anyone where I live.

And that's a good thing (mostly)! Back in the "old days" a stay-at-home parent like me wouldn't have had a prayer in this industry because where would I find the time to physically go to my agency every day? Would I pay for childcare every time I auditioned? Of course not, there's no way to make that financially sustainable. And so I would never have had a chance to audition for the big #nationalTV campaigns that make up 50% of my income.

The obvious downside, of course, is isolation. And working from home listening to the sound of your own voice all day is a surefire prescription for loneliness, self-doubt, and loss of perspective. That's why I have a #voworkoutgroup that meets monthly - six fantastic actors who keep my head on straight and see me through the ups and downs and hold me accountable. That's also why I regularly schedule phone calls with #coaches and compatriots, to make sure I'm hearing the voices I trust in my ears as often as I can.

But the other less visible downside - and one I've been thinking about a lot lately - is the lack of connection to my geographical #community. I do my best volunteering at my church and my kids' school and that is wonderful, but what about my BUSINESS community? The #SFPeninsula is chock-full of startups and agencies and production companies and if *I* am feeling like it would be nice to work with local folks more... well isn't it possible they feel the same way?

One of my goals for this year is to #thinklocally and reach out to local businesses. I've made a list of advertising and marketing agencies to start with and now I'm winnowing down the list based on their websites. Next step is to reach out with a personalized email marketing campaign - a new skill I'm anxious to practice after an excellent webinar from Lisa Biggs (sign up for her newsletter, she's amazing!) After that I'm going to reach out to productions companies and local small businesses. And ultimately I want to offer my services at a special "neighbor rate" to the museums, theaters, arts organizations, libraries, and clubs that my family loves - because why shouldn't non-profits have access to first-class voiceover talent too? And after that who knows... the sky's the limit!

I'm looking forward to forging local connections. I'm looking forward to being a resource for local businesses I believe in. And while I'd never give up the perks of being able to work with amazing #clients across the world, I'm really looking forward to introducing #loudandclaire to my local #community.

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