The right answers

Do you have friends, colleagues and mentors who will tell you the unvarnished truth when you need it? My friend Rowell Gormon blogs about Questions and Answers and it was his thoughts from this weekend prompted this post.

Let’s think about voiceover coaches for a moment. If I ask Nancy Wolfson what she thinks about an audition or a demo, she doesn’t always tell me what I want to hear, but she does always give me an honest answer. I can say exactly the same thing about Marice Tobias. Both of these ladies have taught me a great deal, but the most valuable thing they’ve done is tell me the truth when I need it. If you can’t say that about your voiceover coach, maybe it’s time to re-think things?

Though he’s not been a coach, Dan O’Day has been both a friend and teacher for nearly 15 years. Dan’s another person who unflinchingly tells the truth when I need to hear it.

I have had several mentors who have guided my path through the years, stretching back to the first years of my journey in the early 80s when Armand Ciabattari and Todd Beezley took me under their respective wings. Chuck Wagner and Chuck Gratner both hired me to work for them. Both taught me a great deal. They were, without question, the two best bosses I ever had, at least until I went to work for myself last year. In more recent years, Philip Banks has generously guided me in important ways, in spite of the fact that I annoy him no end now and then.

And there are quite literally too many friends to list them all here, but Rowell and Dan Nachtrab and Janet Ault and Peter O’Connell and Pam Tierney and Frank Frederick and Kara Edwards and (oh boy I really can’t list them all, there are so many more) have each contributed to my life and work in significant ways.

In the days when I was first getting started in voiceover, friendships sprang up in the waiting rooms in casting offices and talent agencies and recording studios. Now, most of my work (like most of yours very likely) takes place in my studio at home. Which is why the VO-BB is such an exceptionally important place for me, the place where I met all but a small handful of my voiceover friends. My favorite spot on the Internet. The place where I know I can find answers, more than a little laughter and a few tears and a lot of love and mutual respect.

You don’t have to join the VO-BB, but I hope you will make sure you don’t allow yourself to get too isolated. We all need people who will tell us the truth.

5 Comments

  1. thank you, bob. looks like you’ve found that surrounding yourself with people who give honest feedback helps you do the same for others.

    still can’t say i know what i’ve ever helped YOU with, but i can attest your advice has helped me steer my path better…and shorten my trips down more than a few “wrong turns”.

    rg

    Comment by rowell gormon — July 18, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  2. I agree 100%. Well said. So true.

    Comment by Amy Snively — July 18, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  3. Bob,

    First, you’re welcome for whatever lame assistance I’ve offered in your career and now I want a cut of the profits! 😉

    Second (and here I’m not kidding) you are a rock, a true foundation for goodness and integrity in this industry and we’re all pretty happy if we come close to following your example.

    Best always,
    – Peter

    Comment by Peter K. O'Connell — July 18, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  4. Let me echo what Peter and Rowell said. Not sure what I bring to the party except maybe comic relief but we all need a good dose of the truth whether we know it or not.

    Comment by Pam — July 19, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  5. Bob,

    So very well said! I don’t think I could ever manage to give back all that I’ve been given from this wonderful community. So many of my colleagues have become my dearest friends, yourself included.

    Thank you for everything you are.

    Comment by Kara Edwards — July 26, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

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