Was there really a need for ANOTHER Facebook group targeted to rookie voiceover people? I think so, and apparently others agree, because after just over a week, our membership is already in the hundreds.
I've talked in Studio Takes about "Deep Thinking Sessions," which I think can help us not only to plan our direction in life, and the ways to get there, but also serve as a greenhouse for the germination of new ideas. It was during one of those early morning thought sessions that the new Facebook group, "The Dawning" sprouted. It occurred to me that newer voiceover people didn't really have a place that felt completely comfortable and "safe." Sure, there are other Facebook groups targeting VO newbies, but I've noticed they seem a little cold, impersonal, and intimidating.
If I was just starting out, I wouldn't feel comfortable going into some of those groups and asking those extremely basic questions that "professional VO people" tend to sneer at or respond to in a snarky manner. And I'd certainly hesitate to share my apprehensions, fears, hesitations, and doubts. And let's face it, there are plenty of those, especially when you're first starting out.
Developing the Concept
Initially, I had thought about a name like "Voiceover Greenhouse," with an illustration showing young plants sprouting, but I couldn't come up with a good idea for a really compelling visual. Then, through a process of head scratching and experimentation, something new "dawned" on me. Why not make a comparison between the experience of a brand new or aspiring voiceover person and a "Dawn of Time" scenario, where something new is first discovered? So I puttered together an illustration showing early Earth with volcanoes, and a curious dinosaur discovering an interesting plant that's opening up to reveal a glowing microphone. It suggests those earliest moments of discovery, not unlike the excitement and mystery that confronts new voice artists.
Welcome to "Voiceover Valley"
Our group's imaginary location is "Voiceover Valley," a safe haven where newer, less experienced, and even the completely uninitiated can feel at ease, and express their thoughts and concerns openly without fear of ridicule or derision. Members of The Dawning are reassured that NO QUESTION is too basic. There are no dumb questions. Nobody is going to be made to feel foolish. Newcomers to "the valley" can immediately share experiences, discoveries, joys, frustrations, and acknowledge their "greenness" openly and unashamedly.
Another difference about our new group is that there is no pressure to adhere to a particular philosophy about the best way to market one's self, or the best way to price their work. It's ok for people to talk about what works for them, and that's even encouraged, but if someone describes a different approach, that idea is equally welcome. When a group member crosses the line into "I don't think people should," "I would never do that," or "you're crazy to even consider it," the group's Tyrannosaurus Rex (yours truly) will come thundering across Voiceover Valley to carry them off in his jaws. So our members don't have to worry about being told that there's only one right way to do things, that they're ruining the industry if they use online booking sites, or that USB microphones are "a joke."
Dinosaurs are Welcome
While the whole purpose of the group is to nurture and support new voice talent, the old dinosaurs are extremely welcome as well. More than welcome. They're essential! We need experienced people in the group who can provide their expertise to the newer ones. For that reason, I've been inviting people of all levels of expertise to be part of the The Dawning. My only requirement is that more experienced members leave behind prejudices and closed-minded viewpoints when they enter "The Valley."
Spread the Word
This group has the power to do a LOT of good...and the larger its membership grows, the more good it will potentially be able to do. For that reason, I am urging all my readers who do voiceovers (or are considering it) to not only join us, but also to invite all their VO friends to do the same. If you lose the link below, just remember to search for "Dawning Voice" and it'll come right up for you.
There's so much you and I can do together to improve your gig's performance. Schedule your Gig Doctor appointment by hitting the Gig Checkup link at the top of this page for an inexpensive personalized checkup and consultation!
For those of you who do voiceovers, or who are interested in entering that fun profession, I can help there too. Check out my voiceover coaching services.