How to Maintain Momentum

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I’ve observed a rather unexpected, unusual thing over the years with a great many of our voiceover demo production clients: Once the voice talent receives their demo, they rest on their accomplishment as if the demo itself was the end goal.

I mention it here as a caution, because it’s a misstep that can and should be avoided. If you stop, you’ll inadvertently disrupt the forward projection of your career before it’s been given a chance to get off the ground. There’s a great deal to be said for momentum. It’s physics! To quote Einstein, “A body in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Certainly losing traction can happen at any point in a career, a life, or a relationship. And it doesn’t mean all is lost. But rest assured it will take a concerted effort and more determination than it did the first time to rev that engine up again at a later date. This could account for a great many dashed dreams.

Of course, not everyone is graced with persistence. Like performance, it’s a muscle that requires conditioning. I’d guess only 20 percent have the drive and tenacity needed to overcome even average obstacles as a professional freelancer. Lacking the drive to continue when you’d rather throw in the towel could explain why some “make it” and others don’t.

It’s not due to the fact they’re the most talented. If you think about it, we’ve all known someone who had an incredible, natural ability that went unrealized and died on the vine. Or known individuals who came from affluence who had every opportunity, but no ambition to act on the moment. The world doesn’t come to you—you have to go to it! And even if you’re the most knowledgeable or experienced in your field, application and tenacity is key. The trick is keeping them in play till you garner results. And that requires momentum.

Granted, training, recording, and preparing the components necessary to establish and further your professional career is a terrific achievement, and I have no intention of lessening what a feat it is to complete such an undertaking. But then, that’s why I started SOUND ADVICE in the first place. Creating and moving a career forward has more parts than a car. We all get side tracked from time to time, or tire of the demands necessary to continue. It’s easy to do in this business.

It’s funny how we lull ourselves into a state of accomplishment, when the true mission has yet to be realized. Still, so many well-trained, intelligent, committed talents uncharacteristically sit back once their demos are produced, instead of striking while the iron is hot.

This is such a common phenomenon. My motto is, “Do it right, and do it right now!” I want to have it sewn onto a sampler and hung on our studio wall. And not just for our voiceover demo clients, but for our entire staff to live by. Otherwise, you’re continually starting over and frustrating yourself.

Best advice: Do it right the first time, so you don’t have to double back and correct what you should have done in the first place.

Momentum is a precious commodity, and there’s no time like the present. Your career could very well depend on it.

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Kate McClanaghan
Kate McClanaghan is a casting director, producer, and founder of both Big House Casting & Audio (Chicago and Los Angeles) and Actors’ Sound Advice. She’s a seasoned industry veteran and actor who has trained actors and produced demos for more than 5,000 performers over her 30 years in the business.
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