It’s hard to believe, but I’m now in my 14th year as a volunteer firefighter. Even harder to believe is that I’m considered a veteran member within my station. I don’t feel old enough to be a veteran member. I’m even an Acting Captain, and have been for three years.
I grew up in the fire hall. My dad served for 33 years. At the time I joined, even though I was a rookie, in some senses, I wasn’t. I had been around the guys and the equipment my entire life. I didn’t go through the awkward phase of learning who everyone was, making friends, figuring out how stuff worked and what stuff did. I just came in and fit in.
Being A Rookie
It’s not easy to be a rookie on the fire department, especially if you’ve got no experience with firefighting. A ton of new information gets thrown at you in a very short period of time. There are so many aspects to the job beyond holding a hose. So many different pieces of equipment. So many scenarios. Variables. It can be very overwhelming as you try and navigate these brave new seas.
Each January new recruits show up in our hall. I consider it a privilege to get to know them and, in essence, become a mentor to them. I want to be someone they can trust. Someone they can come to with a question with no worries of being mocked or judged. Someone who can guide them. Who can teach them. Who can watch out for them.
One of these recruits could hold my life in their hands one day. I want to make sure they know what they’re doing!
Be A Mentor
It’s tough being a rookie in the voice over industry. In my experience in social media and other outlets, newbies to the business are little more than bugs to be crushed. Veteran talent are often hard on them. Their questions are often mocked. Their mistakes are often put on display for all to see and judge.
I find it very discouraging, if I’m being honest.
For those of us that are veterans in this industry, I believe we have a responsibility to help shape and mould it. It’s our job to help the industry grow and flourish. One of the ways we can do that is by taking a leadership and mentorship role with new people trying to break into the business.
What’s More Productive?
- Seeing a talent make a mistake and correcting them with kindness or seeing a talent make a mistake and mocking them?
- Tearing someone down for charging a low rate or teaching them the importance of market and personal value?
- Insulting a talent for the quality of their audition or demo or instructing them on how to make it better?
- Insulting new talent in social media or guiding them and building their confidence?
If the industry is going to continue to grow, if rates are going to continue to remain fair, and if jobs are going to continue to exist and get better, a big part of that is on the shoulders of veteran talent to lead and develop the next generation of voice actors.
Be a mentor.