Friday, December 2, 2022

It's like show business. If you don't take care of business, there'll be nothing to show!

 As Woody Allen said years ago, "Just showing up is half the battle." 

If you want to find a terrific way to never get hired again to do an in studio voice over session... show up late. You MUST show up on time. The people who have hired you to do the voice over are paying good money to use the studio. If you show up late, you're costing them money. They won't be pleased. Instead of greeting you with a friendly smile and hello as you stumble in, you'll be met with a smirk of displeasure. It will be very easy to see they are not happy with you. And chances are, they've heard all the excuses before. "I got stuck waiting for a train to go by." "Oh, traffic was awful coming into the city...backed up for miles." "My alarm didn't go off." "My dog was out of control." Um, you're not fooling anybody. If you're chronically late to your recording sessions, you'll come off as unprofessional; maybe even a bit disrespectful of everyone's time. Playing the diva role and thinking it's cool to be late, well, you better think again. Divas are a dime a dozen. "Next!"

I once did a morning radio show with a co-host in West Palm Beach. When I was hired, our show started at 6 AM. I'm a morning person by nature and getting up early was no big deal. Later, our program director told us we needed to start the morning show at 5 AM. Again, for me, no big deal. (Not sure how my co-host felt, but I'm pretty sure she was not an early bird.) Now going on the air at 5 AM meant me getting up at 3:30 or so. I didn't have an overly long drive to the station. Patting myself on my back a bit; in the four years we did the show, I was never late to go on the air. Not once. And I had a few late nights out on the town. OK, maybe more than a few.

I was hired to voice a number of learning projects at a studio in San Francisco. I would take BART (rapid transit) from my town in the East Bay, to the city. It took about 30 minutes or so to land at Powell and Market in the city. I would always leave my place early and had about a half hour to kill before the recording session at the studio. That was fine. I was able to grab a snack before walking down to the studio; about a 10 minute walk. It was all very comfortable for me. If you get off BART with minimal time to get to the session, you'll be racing not to be late and perhaps anxiety will creep in. Not especially good for your nerves and voice over efforts. You want to have time to chill out front near the receptionist in the lobby and gather yourself. You might need to use their bathroom. Grab some water. Whatever. I say show up to your session 10-15 minutes early and you'll have enough time to focus and relax a bit. Showing up an hour early is not recommended.

Back to that radio station where I did that morning show. Our on-air time was from 5 AM to 10 AM. The lady deejay who followed us was ALWAYS late to go on the air. Instead of her going on at 10, she'd be late and take over the control board at 10:10 or 10:15. And this was almost EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! My patience was wearing thin. I heard all the excuses. One day she was 20 minutes late to go on the air as I covered for her and kept the music playing. She casually walked in and said "I'm sorry John. I'm always late." "Yep, I see that," I said. (even Mr. Magoo could see that).  She was an otherwise nice person with a pleasant on-air style, but showing up on time was a major challenge for her. And the problem was her showing up late all the time came off as very inconsiderate and unprofessional. The station was not asking her to be there by 5 AM. She needed to show up at 10 AM and ready to go! 10 AM!  Apparently, it was too much to ask.

Veterans of the voice over world know how important it is to be dependable and show up on time. Actually, that goes for everything in life; not just voice over sessions. SHOW UP ON TIME and be the pro that they expect. If you're always late, you better figure out a way to fix that if you want to work in this very competitive voice over industry. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! Great article. And yes it does apply to all professionals.


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