nervous man at new job

New Client Jitters

November 3, 2023 4:08 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In the world of voice-over, it’s actually a lot like any other business when it comes to having customers. The goal is to have a robust list of repeat clients, people who come back to you again and again because, dang it, you’re awesome. It’s about building long-term relationships. You communicate effectively. You get clear on their voice over needs and expectations, regarding everything from performance to how and when they want it delivered. You consistently underpromise and over-deliver on deadlines, so they end up with a wonderful vocal performance every time (even if you secretly weren’t feeling like it was your best that day. Tell your inner perfectionist to hush.)

Voice actors love their repeat clients because it’s harder and more time-consuming to constantly be chasing down new clients. Not that they aren’t great as well. After all, if you do a swell job, they can become a future repeat client. If they don’t, you have another paid gig under your belt.

The reality is, no matter how swell you are, sometimes voice over buyers like to try new hats (voice actors) on for size way more than others. Variety is the spice of life; that’s a legit saying out there in the universe, right? And in this day and age with more voice actor choices than ever before there is a lot to choose from. However, there are more products and services, thus clients than ever before, and a lot of them prefer to go to their tried and true.

Because I love repeat clients and hope every new client becomes one, whenever I have a new client the stakes feel kind of high. So, I sometimes (and by that I mean always, as in EVERY SINGLE TIME) get the “new client jitters.” I might even start spinning out before the first recording session, “Why oh why did I eat all that chili I made, the night before the chili contest at work yesterday, where I consumed 9 KINDS OF CHILI!?” The anxiety continues to bloom like a tulip in April, “What if I burp and fart at the same time and the microphone picks it up and they think they’ve hired a MONSTER?!” Then I pretend I’m the embodiment of the latest self help book off the best sellers list, “You are wonderful. I love you. It will be what it will be. OM.”

Then I calm down, focus, and just do what I’ve been trained to do, and learned to do over time and through experience. I warm up my body, my voice, and my articulators. I look at the script and identify any troublesome words or phrases I may trip over and repeat them to myself so the words flow effortlessly. I look up any pronunciations I may be unsure of. I look at any directions they’ve sent and make some creative choices myself that fit in with their vision. I think of any questions I may have that haven’t been addressed via email. I think about whether they are truly pertinent, or just me being all “I am so into this and curious and want you to know it, so I am going to waste your time with some pointless questions that I could have found answers to online myself.”

I’m a gal full of jokes, some solid ones, and some real doozies. A lot of clients like a splash of play and humor during a session and some don’t. Even for the ones that do, I have to watch myself. Too much is no good. The session is not about me, after all. It’s about them. And that is the takeaway here folks. When anxiety pops up over a new client and you feel like the new kid in the playground hoping to be accepted and liked, just remember, it’s ultimately not about you! It’s about them, so as long as we’ve done the work and stay the awesome professionals that we are, that’s all we can do as voice actors. The rest is up to fate. OM.

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This post was written by Simone Stevens

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