Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The power of playfulness in a Voice Actor's toolbox.

Out of a desire to better myself at coaching people for Voiceover and Audiobook Narration, I decided last year to train as a Master NLP Practitioner (NLP means Neuro Linguistic Programming, and in a nutshell is about recognising limiting beliefs littered through a person's language, and choosing alternative patterns of thinking in order to model excellent behaviours in successful thinkers and do-ers.)

It dawned on me that so many performers struggle in their careers, in whatever guise, because they are scared of taking the next vital steps, or put so much pressure on themselves to achieve: so much so  that failure becomes a deep, dark scary place, that they are not prepared to enter.  That many performers who had entered acting because it allowed them to play, lost this sense of playful exploration when they entered a business world of trying to market themselves. This realisation was so strong that I have now qualified as a Master NLP Practitioner, Hypnotherapist and certified Life Coach, specialising in Creative people and most especially with Actors and Performers.

What if failure could be turned on its head to a happy place which allowed you to experiment further with different ideas, and be playful? What if you could see open doors of opportunity in any knock backs you receive. It can be hard I know, and I know that with my recent learnings I have gleaned so much awareness of the power of alternative ways of thinking.  For example, if fear of rejection stops you from sending an email or making a phone call one more time to a prospective agent or potential client, how much better would it feel to turn that sense of rejection on its head and choose to go about your day-today career with a playful 'What If' attitude. Not only does a 'what if' attitude take the pressure away from being accepted or your own version of what it means to fail in a black and white mode of thinking, but it can also create much healthier thought patterns, and in turn greater creativity.

Think about how this would impact on your time in the booth. At an animation or gaming audition, or commercial for that matter, how much more fun would that audition session be if you went in with these thoughts:

  • It'll be great to meet some new people and find out all about them
  • I can't wait to have a play around with some characters and have lots of fun
  • I wonder what positive things will come from today

Compare this with a limited view, where failure is a possibility:

  • I feel nervous around new people.
  • I hope I do an ok job.
  • What if they don't like my work, and today's been a waste of my time?
  • I feel paranoid when I know the client and producer are discussing me and I can't hear.

I know which mindset would enable the best results for me. I know which attitude would mean that I was more up for connecting with the material, and which frame of mind would take me out of my own head of worry over how I am potentially viewed or judged.

Have a think about it - how do your thoughts limit you in the booth?

If you're interested in hearing about how my brand new Life Coaching and NLP techniques could help you as a performer to gain confidence and clarity, get in touch at anna@voiceoveranna.com.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Voiceover Business - Coaching matters

Coaching matters. Ofcourse, I would say that, I'm a coach. I coach people not only in Voiceover and Audiobook technique, but in VO business matters too, and since I am a qualified Life Coach, I also
coach people to improve their lives through changing their limiting beliefs and their mindsets. In short, I coach people to work towards their own visions of success.

I'm a huge believer in the importance of coaching. I have had many mentors, advisors and coaches during the course of my working life. Some I have worked with for a session or two, some for a few months, and some for a longer duration, over a couple of years. Coaches come and go from my life, but often their lessons have some lasting impact on the way I do business (and more importantly how I choose to live my life). One of the reasons I am drawn towards having someone help me in my business is that I have come to see that I place a high value on accountability. As a self-employed individual, working often alone (and let's face it, a lot of the time in seclusion in a booth!), it can be very rewarding to have someone to discuss the intricacies of ones daily struggles and challenges with, and to have someone to check in with along the way, and to push me to take important, but sometimes scary actions outside of my comfort zone.

A good coach will listen to woes, but also hear the language being used to describe the issues. In my experience it is when my descriptions of my current situation is littered with 'I can't's', and 'it's difficult's' and 'I'm no good at..'s', that my work flounders the most. Having someone point out to me the limiting beliefs I have created of myself at a given moment, and the negativity that I have allowed to creep into my everyday thoughts about my abilities, or about the level of success I could achieve, has been invaluable. They have set me on a higher path, much more likely to achieve the success I'm looking for at that time. Often it has been solely through the work with a coach that I have been able to pinpoint exactly what those successes that I hanker after actually are, because let's face it, everyone has a slightly different version of their dream job. And if you don't know what your dream is, how can you ever expect to achieve it?

From a Voiceover technique perspective, having a coach who can listen to my work and give me insightful pointers on what I am doing right, and what I am doing without realising that is off-putting, has been invaluable. It is one of the reasons I now choose to give back to those starting out in VO, because everyone has to start somewhere, and I had some tremendous people help me way back when. You can read some of the testimonials I've had from past clients here.

If you've shied away from coaching, albeit from a business or Voiceover specific point of view, I urge you to invest in yourself and find someone to work with. It could be the most powerful thing you do for your Voiceover business.

You can find out about my coaching at www.VoiceoverCoachUK.com, for Voiceover, Audiobook and Success Life Coaching.