Follow-through is important in almost everything you do. It shows that you are actively invested in what you are doing, that you are engaged, and that you care. It is one of the most powerful statements you can make about yourself. It creates both an inner confidence and an awareness of commitment that make others become aware of you.
In karate, in order to break boards or bricks with your hand, you have to see your hand moving through the obstacle to the other side. Your focus isn’t on the board but beyond it, through it. It’s the same with tennis, baseball, golf, and, yes, you guessed it – your voiceover career. Without follow-through, you might as well hang it up right now. I say this because there are so many voiceover wannabes who have no idea how much energy, practice, and basic follow-through it takes to simply get going in this business, to say nothing of making it a career. One guy recently told me, I love the idea of talking into a mic and making lots of money. Well, first of all you don’t just talk into a mic, and second of all you don’t just make lots of money. As I’ve told many students and potential VO actors, voice over is one of the hardest things to do well that I know.
After you make your demo it’s your job to follow through by getting it to anyone and everyone who might possibly get you some work. And if nothing happens right away, it’s your job to send it out again. It’s not enough to get it on a web page. People have to listen to it. That’s your job, too. So many people get despondent when nothing happens on the first go-around that they lose momentum and give up. Needless to say, that is not follow-through.
Follow-through also means making and keeping up with warm connections, creating relationships that will last, and ultimately help your career. Yes, that involves time and energy. Were you hoping for something that didn’t involve time and energy? Oops, wrong business.
Follow-through also means that when you are reading a script, that you read with energy and spirit all the way through the last word. Notice I did not say to the last word, but through the last word. That means your energy is still present even after you have finished voicing the script. Too many people drop their energy and their volume when they come to the end of a script. It’s like their brain says, “You’re done!” before you really are. Come on, it’s not like your running a marathon. If it means the difference between you getting a job or not, why would you develop such a bad habit? And yet many people do.
Follow-through means thanking the producer or director of a project with a follow-up email or note. Little things like that can go a long way, opening the door to repeat work or making it easier to get a copy of your work.
Follow-through is returning emails ASAP, and making follow-up calls in an expedient manner. Let people know you care, and are considerate of their time, and the effort they have made in emailing or calling you.
Follow-through means that, in the same way that the black belt in karate envisions their hand moving through a board to the other side, that you too must see yourself on the other side of your career, and doing everything in your power now to make sure you get there.
So, what kind of follow-through are you going to practice this week? Better yet, forget about this week; start today! This minute. Carry on, my friends, carry on.