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Episode 51 - The Voiceover Career Planner

Updated: Jan 26


[Plinky plonky folky theme tune]

Leah: [fading in]…been going on a long long time…

Nic: … it feels almost the same as how I felt the morning of my wedding… but I'm more sober! [laughing]

Leah: Lovely. No, that's nice.

Nic: Anyway, we've not stopped yammering on about planning and, sort of, goal setting and all that's been our rhetoric all this month - just gabbing on about it for ages… and everyone in the group’s been like “what's with all these questions about goals and planning!?”… anyway, this is the episode where you're gonna find out why! But, before we get to it… one of the things that we did set up was the big VO Social challenge! Which I really want to do in a Peter Dickson voice

Leah: Do it do it

Nic: THE BIG! VO SOCIAL! CHALLENGE! That’s more like Brian Blessed… [more strained] THE BIG! VOICEOVER! SOCIAL… oh I’ve lost it.

Leah [laughing]

Nic: So if you, er, you didn't see on our social media or in the newsletter - we built a place where VO Socialites - that’s you, the listener - can go to store your hopes and your dreams for 2022! It's a big Vault of Dreams! And and then this time next year we'll check in with you to see how you got on. And it's not too late by the way, so if you haven't been into the Vault yet we've put a link in the show notes, so creak open that door,

vomit your dreams and your goals into the Vault and we'll see you next year!

Leah: [laughing] Great, great! It was so nice to hear about how talented and marvellous everyone is - because the first question we asked in the challenge was “Out of all your achievements this year which ones are you happiest about" and we had all sorts in there: award nominations and wins… one highest paid voice over job ever, um, overcoming self-doubt - that's one of my favourite ones, actually, because this person says they ended up booking work as a result of overcoming self-doubt!

Nic: Get in!

Leah: Some very intense sounding contract negotiations… er, studio building, some work for big brands and TV shows… actually it's quite emotional hearing how wonderfully well people have been doing, and also it's like… people were able to feel safe tooting their own horn… anyway I just loved it, I loved it.

Nic: Toot toot! Oh well done socialites. VO Socialites sorry, of course. Anyway, the next question was “what would you absolutely love to

have achieved by this time next year?” and we had a great range in this one as well. From more, like, general ones like “get an agent” to very specific ones like a four-parter that included “create a proper follow-up system for business leads and figure out how to use automation to save time”! [laughing] That’s brilliant. Anyway it also gave us a really pleasing overview of where everyone is with their career at the moment. So there was everything from like “book my first job” all the way to “work a lot less”

Leah: Oh work a lot less! Yes, that person who wrote “work a lot less” also wrote my favourite response to the next question which was "what can you do to make it happen?”…They wrote: “Tell clients who don't understand how many words fit comfortably in a 30 second commercial to bugger off, refuse to work for clients who don't pay promptly, refuse to work for clients who pencil you for a session then don't decide whether or not they want you until 10 minutes before the pencilled slot… basically tell any client I don't like to sod off”!

Nic: I feel like I know who that is

Both: [laughing]

Leah: Yeh I know as well! The one that said “what can you do to make it happen” is so useful though because it's all very well saying I want to voice a huge TV commercial or, um, I want to win an award but actually breaking it down into the steps you'd need to take to get you there makes it all, like, more likely I think.

Nic: And that’s, like, genuine brain science! From all the work I've been doing in my business, like, literally putting the steps down will literally help you. Anyway, the final question was “what new habits would you like to get into to help you reach your goals?” and honestly, most of these could probably apply to all of us… unless you're already doing them, so well done! Um, but if, so… basically, we're just going to read them all - read a

bunch of them, because they're brilliant, and, um, should we take it in turns?

Leah: Yes, okay!

Nic: Yeah, okay. Okay, I'll go first. Get back into marketing and find a way to enjoy it

Leah: Set, follow and get into the habit of a regular schedule which will juggle my VO business, my day job, my downtime and my physical and mental health

Nic: [sighing] God we’ve a lot to do!

Leah Yeah! [laughing]

Nic: To stop hating on myself and assume everyone hates me

Leah: Awww yeah that’s a sad one

Nic: I wanna give them a hug

Leah: Yeah, this is - this is us giving you a hug, hang on. [Makes straining noises, rubs arms]… I do not make that noise when I hug people actually [more straining noises]

Nic: [joins in with the straining noises] I was hugging really hard!

Leah: Maybe I do! And the next one was: regular exercise. That's a good one…

Nic: Regular what?!? Okay, then it was: be more organised with my marketing efforts, get out to meet other VOs and industry people more (come to the social!) listen to more podcasts and attend more webinars, also sticking to a routine of daily tasks (yes please!) rather than procrastinating and playing catch up for a couple of days… hello! I feel like… I feel seen. I feel seen.

Leah: Um, the next one's good… keeping in touch with clients to keep on

their radar. I guess with that one it’s about finding a way of doing that without being an idiot or like annoying… yeah… that’s a tricky one.

Nic: Yeah… okay, spend a day each week on admin for my business. So researching, emailing, invoicing, get better at cold calling, VO coach for auditioning technique, chill out a bit more and try not to feel

like I should have done it all or know exactly what I'm doing by now, ie: meditate regularly. Oh god, this person, again, is in my head!

Leah: [laughing] Great, and then the last one we've got here is, um, planning my time better rather than lurching from thing to thing. And I think these all take us very neatly… eeek!!… into the big thing that we've been insanely excited to tell you about for the last few months now.

Nic: [laughing] I feel like I've never ever ever had an NDA in my entire

life that I've had to stick to… and I feel like this has been my “guys I've got a really exciting thing on the go but I can’t tell you about it”…

Leah: It’s just been terrible, like, people… I've seen people; voiceovers that I would normally be like “blahblahblahblahblah this is what we’re doing blahblahblahblahblah and I’ve not been able to tell them anything about it and it’s been hideous, it’s just been hideous!

Nic: Ready?

Leah: Yeh, yep, mmhmm!

Nic: We have created, especially for you, a 52-week, A5 baby, green and

freaking gold, career and business planner specifically for voice over artists, based on loads of actual proper research with focus groups and everything, designed specifically to help you - yes YOU - crystallise your ideas about what you want to get from your career, like, make it happen! We've got a freaking voiceover career planner guys! It's the only one in the whole world!

Leah: It is the only one! We have searched and searched! There’s no others! The Voiceover Career Planner; that's what it's called and we've made the only one that exists!

Nic: I love business planners! I don't know why there's not been one before! We've fricking done it!

Leah: We've done it, we've done it! We have worked very, very, very hard on this as well - there's so much in it! Well, in a minute we're going to be hearing from Dan Bradford from Mindful Acting who actually features in the planner itself, and he's going to be talking to us about how to create

successful habits… but first, we've been developing the whole thing with the help of some voiceovers at all different stages of their careers, so let's find out why they're excited about finally owning one. Here's just a couple, and we'll hear from more later on.

I'm Linton Tulloch and I'm a voiceover based in London, and my favourite bit of the Voiceover Career Planner is the page all about voiceover related national days… National Animation day and National Storytelling Day, for example. I think it's really going to sort out my social media and I'm particularly looking forward to [talking like a pirate] Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Hi, my name is Oonagh O’Flaherty, I'm a voiceover based in Belfast, and my favourite thing about the planner is space to consistently write notes. When I normally take notes I write them in different notebooks and they end up all over the place, so it'll be nice to finally have one space where they go specifically and I can refer to them all the time whenever I need them.

Leah: So, right, Nic habits, habits. What sort of habits are you trying to cultivate?

Nic: Leah… I am trying to make space for nothing.

Leah: Whoa, wow!

Nic: I know! This is my big one because I - I'm not good at doing nothing. I'm not good at switching off. I'm not good at… you know me, I like achieving, I like getting stuff done, I’m always pushing - it's always a hustle; what's next what's next what's next, and I love that… but I do need to find some space for nothing in my life.

Leah: Wow.

Nic: Like, even if it's just five minutes of sitting. Just, sitting. So I - that's my one that I'm putting into the universe okay… and my big goal… I'm gonna, I'm gonna put it out there… is this a habit? Is this a habit or a goal?

Leah: Well, it's a goal but say it anyway

Nic: Okay, okay… I'm gonna try and only work four days a week!

Leah: Oooh! Let’s… hang on, let me just scroll back to that list, um, “tell clients who don’t do exactly what you want to bugger off" I think it was?

Nic: [laughing] I don't want anyone to bugger off… I need myself to bugger out of the studio… right? I'm only gonna work four days a week next year!

Leah: Wow, that is incredible! Um, so I'm like the opposite I guess? [laughing]… although I've been making space, but making space for, um, creative projects… so more writing and performing and like acting in person, on stage stuff, and so… because if I - if I create space for nothing, I mean… I mean it just doesn't happen… it’s an inconceivable concept. I make space for nothing and then immediately 25 things fill it. My

brain is like bingbibingbibing! So, um, but yeah, I mean that's not my goal that's fine, that’s cool, you can have your own goal! We don’t have to be the same person, um…

Nic: Get your own goal!

Leah: Yeah, so my one is just, er, now I've created this space… to fill it with as much - as much writing and performing creativity as it's possible to make happen, and 2022 is going to be the year of, like, doing the things and being more of an actor and a writer than I've ever been before up until this point. That’s - that's what I'm gonna do.

Nic: One person who could probably help us with all this - although I might need him in my pocket all of the time just telling me to stop - is the amazing Dan Bradford; he’s an actor and a teacher and he runs Mindful Acting here in Manchester which features scene study courses and classes on Practical Aesthetics - although he also teachers and coaches online, um, he's been on the show before actually and he was talking about how to stay present in the booth - that was back in episode 26 - but this time he's going to be talking about how to create successful habits

Leah: Right, so, habits that we talk about specifically in this interview are hydration, warm-ups, exercising and learning a new accent, but everything he talks to me about - all the techniques and everything - can be applied to any habit you want to get into. Anyway he starts off by talking about how the concept of laziness doesn't exist in reality…


Dan Bradford: The word we’re always talking about is productivity, and I hate the word now - just because I'm rebellious like that - even though of course I value being productive when I want to be productive… but we've got this idea that we have to be productive all the time now and actually, what I think one of the big problems is - we've gotten quite good at being productive. So good that it's now making us unproductive - in reverse, you know?

Leah: How, how?

Dan: Because we don't know how to relax. We don't know how to

rest. Like, that's the problem. I don't think at any point in history before now, you know, before a certain point of modernity that people really, really struggled with sleep like the way we do now. And it's like, we're learning, like, a new skill, and science is coming up with all these studies about sleep and it's like this is - this is as basal as it gets of a skill that we've had for as long as we've existed, right? And suddenly we have to relearn how to do these basic things, and I think sometimes it's because we’re tipping the balance too far in one way where… even when it comes to things like, you know, mindfulness which, once again, is coming from an ancient wisdom and a very holistic approach, and instead what we do is we're taking it… we're like, how can I be more productive with it? How can we put it into the army…

Leah: Oh no!

Dan: Well, I mean look, it can do those things but when you take it out of the context, you start to disrupt the balance of things. So anyway, so this, this laziness myth. I remember thinking when it comes to students - I thought, well, that laziness is ironically a lazy statement you know? Because it's just saying “I don't know… but I blame you”, you know? “I don't know but it's your fault” or, “I don't know but it's my fault” it's just - it's not… it's not actually taking it… there is a reason for things, right? So when we're talking about habit creation… if you're struggling with creating a habit there’s valid reasons for it, and there's valid obstacles in the way. Saying the word lazy is a lazy excuse. It’s just - it's just not going far enough, it's just saying “I'm not going to go into the depth of it, about what the actual issue is” and, like I say, as a teacher I've always rebelled against that, because I thought if someone's not getting something there's a reason for that; I'm not explaining it in a way that's helpful to them, or that works for their mind or maybe I'm not the person to do that, but it's no one's fault. It’s just what is happening. And I - I would seek to then find a better way. A more collaborative way to explain that or something. So… and when it comes to creating our own habits - I think we're in a habit of using this word “laziness” and judging ourselves as being lazy, I think it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, basically. That self-judgment creates an inertia that that stops us being able to to look at things clearly, and to actually use our energy efficiently and wisely to effect positive change in our lives and other people's lives.

Leah: So, you mentioned all the different obstacles that might be causing people to have trouble creating habits successfully. I know that you have a sort of a holistic approach to tackling everything…

Dan: Well, yeah, I mean I think it's important, like… we can focus in on something while also not portraying the entire context, you know? We don't want to become too tunnel vision when we're doing something and forget about, as they say, you can't see the forest for the trees, right? You get too focused on the - on what’s immediately in front of you, and you're not seeing… you're not remembering why you're doing it, or the whole point of it in the end, you know? There's a famous acting teacher named Sanford Meisner who famously said “whatever hinders your task, is your task”, and he was talking about that in terms of an acting context, but I think it definitely applies to a lot else. I think of that phrase regularly in my life, and that's what I think of when it comes to habits, or anything that I'm struggling with - What is actually in the way? And instead of trying to just pretend like it's not and get past it and then just blame myself, or say I'm lazy, what is that actual thing in the way? Deal with that specific thing so, um, okay so let's look at it, for example… er, well, you and I were talking about hydration earlier…

Leah: Yeah

Dan: Okay, so hydration is a good one. So, I've got a water bottle in front of me. I've got a blue water bottle right? And now I chose this water bottle, and now that I look back on it, I can understand why it's such an effective way to get me drinking water, right? But at the time I - I just chose it kind of instinctively, intuitively, but I know based on James Clear’s four laws of habit change - he's a kind of habit teacher - he would say; make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy and make it satisfying, right?

Leah: so your, er, so I shall describe your water bottle? Um, your water bottle is a very bright neon blue - you can see the water through it but the water is the bluest blue… it’s an unnatural blue I would say, um, so it's a - it's obvious because you couldn't miss it - it’s very bright indeed. It's attractive if you like that sort of thing, it’s… what's the third one?

Dan: Make it, er, easy.

Leah: Easy. I imagine - show me how it flips? Open it up? Look at that!

Very little difficulty there… and what was the fourth one?

Dan: make it satisfying

Leah: Make it satisfying. Now, I need you to hold my recording device a second actually, please?

Dan: Sure!

Leah: So, I'm holding my VO Social water bottle which I think you'll agree is extremely attractive and noticeable, it’s satisfying to open, [drinks water] mmm I’m drinking water out of it, and I've forgotten the… what was the final one?

Dan: Make it satisfying

Leah: I'm having a wonderful time so, um, absolutely! Brilliant! Get yourself a VO Social water bottle to resolve all your hydration problems!

Dan: [laughing] Well, yeah, and so - so as an example, yeah, I mean I have gone through many different water bottles but because I found over the time I just wasn't drinking water from from some of them, because I needed… I was like; I need a certain type of thing. Now we can get hung up on some of these things but actually it was important for me to get the right one because otherwise, if it wasn't easy, if it wasn't satisfying, if it wasn’t all these things? I just don't do it. Right? Now, for me, I chose this colour because, well it's my favourite colour. My favourite colour is blue, right?

Leah: Right.

Dan: But also, I - blue with water is very refreshing looking to me. So it looks very appetising. It looks, like, “oh yeah - I really want that water”. So all these things - and it sounds so simple and so almost silly, but actually it’s the most effective water bottle I've had for just being hydrated. Also, it stands out against other things, right? So I see it easily, so it works as a visual cue for me… “oh yeah, water”, right? It's there, all the time. Also, I chose plastic… now, plastic may be not the best choice for many reasons but I like it because it's light, right? So I can take it every - I don't have an excuse to be like., “oh I don't want to carry that”, like, it's light so I can take it everywhere. It’s a good size - so it carries enough water so that I am

hydrating consistently, I don't have to refill it, right? So that's making it easy - if it's too small I'm gonna have to refill it constantly, I'm going to forget,

I'm not going to do it. Yeah, so all these things, they sound… but these micro… so this is what James Clear calls Atomic Habits, right? So an atom, as in a small atom, right? The very smallest increment… and it's these small changes that actually build up to to these macro habits that are what we're aiming for, right? But when we only focus on just, like, the macro habit only, and we don't actually look at, like, what's in the way of creating that habit, we just go “Why can't I drink more water?! I told myself I should drink more water! I berated myself to drink more water and it didn't work!” you know? They're all the same tactics that you know… bad teachers and neurotic parenting never worked for us either… we do to ourselves and wonder why it didn't work, you know? We've got to find the things that actually work for us. And then there's also remembering… I’m just using this example of water; I'm going to beat the dead horse, but you know like… why do I want to drink more water? Because sometimes there's this dangerous word that we're all very used to, and we're too used to it… we don't even know how damaging it is… and the word is “should”. I should drink more water, I should do this and anything that feels like an obligation, anything that feels, er, like you - you have to do it - that there's no autonomy within the, the choice - you know, there's no choice within it we don’t want to do it… we will - part of our mind will always rebel against it. And it's as simple as this, you know, if I need five pounds and I just take it from you - I just take it from your purse, right, you're not going to be happy about that.

Leah: I wouldn't be happy about that, please don't do that.

Dan: [laughing] …and I won’t, but if I asked you, I - I don't have much of a doubt you’d probably say “okay yeah you can have five pounds”

Leah: Of course!

Dan: And, in fact, you would enjoy that experience…

Leah: Yeah!

Dan: Because you have the choice. You have the autonomy. So actually you go well, yeah, I like this!

Leah: I can help, I can help!

Dan: I get to help! So it actually meets some of your own needs: a need for contribution, a need to help someone. So these things, they apply to others as they do to ourselves if I - I think of it; “oh, I should do it” and it's an obligation, it's the best way to not do it, you know? Instead I can look at why do I want to do it? For one thing, just rephrasing it to “I want to drink more water” rather than “I should drink more water” changes it immediately, makes it enticing - makes it something you realise “oh, it's it's actually something that will benefit…” like, how will it meet my needs? Well, I want to drink more water because I'll feel, er, more energised throughout the day, my voice won't get tired and it will help my career and all these…

Leah: There'll be less editing…

Dan: Less editing! And so that's what I’m talking about in terms of a context, right? All of those reasons why you want to do something. All the - all the positive needs it will meet helps you understand. Not just “I should drink more water” which is decontextualised; you're understanding it with the whole context, yeah? And then you're also being able to focus on the specific barriers to creating that habit by just dealing with the minute obstacles in it each time.

Leah: Well, let's talk about setting yourself realistic expectations then. What do you think - what do you want to say around that?

Dan: Yeah, realistic expectations is… I wrote a - I wrote a blog post about this actually on my - on my website and, er, I - I think I called it, um, “Actors, Lower Your Expectations!”

Leah: Oh, harsh! It sounds so harsh!

Dan [laughing] Yeah, yeah, I like a little clickbaity title! Then I fill that with a bunch of lovey-dovey stuff!

Both: [laughing]

Dan: But I, I - it was talking about the difference between there's - there’s this, er, I think there’s - I think there's something that's Epictetus, it’s a

stoic philosopher and there was a quote I came across, it was about aspiration versus ambition, you know, of course these are translated terms but, um, I - I loved the way he he differentiated these two things about, like, aspirations being about, you know, what you… there’s that song by Billy Joel, er, Vienna where he says, er, “dream on, but don't imagine it'll all come true” and I - oh, I love that line because it's like, yeah, it's good - it's good to have a direction to go in but your ambitions and the way we often look at them are really - it's really about comparing ourselves to others. And, you know, I've seen and I've heard people talk about this like it's a positive thing… I can find very few contexts where I think that's a positive thing to do. I think comparing yourself to your past self, that's helpful… comparing yourself to others I think will almost always be an imperfect strategy. So, yeah, setting realistic expectations. I mean, it's just like - I guess this comes down to the macro and the micro habits again, basically. Like, if you've got a a new habit that you want to form - so for example in the form of New Year's resolutions which we will all be encountering soon, yeah? Like, you've got to look at it, okay, you can't just say “oh, I'm gonna run 20k” - okay, but by what time? And then you've got to look at, well, do you actually have the time to train to get to that? You know, how are you going to manage those - all those low increments on the way? Instead of just throwing out a lofty, like oh I'm gonna do this with my acting career, I'm gonna do it… okay, but but is that in any way helpful? I mean, there's a lot of evidence to say that goal setting in the various forms we have, in itself, really isn’t helpful - in fact, gets in the way of what we want. But in the small way of choosing a specific habit that you want that will eventually lead to other things in the future… you've got to keep breaking it down into its constituent parts, so that you can cultivate that a bit at a time, instead of just only focusing on… it’s - I guess in, in a sense, kind of circling back around; we want to look at the content and we want to look at the context. We want to look at them both. If you focus only on one or the other you're not going to make much progress. You're not going to - it's not gonna be very helpful in the end. So you want to be looking at both the macro and the micro.

Leah: Can you think of an example? Like, let’s - let's let's turn this into a real world situation where… because, I mean - Nic and I at the moment, we're all about goal setting. That’s, like, the thing we’ve been wittering on about for weeks but, um, but can you think of a way of, like, working through that? Setting the macro and then working out the micro to get you there?

Dan: Yeah! Yeah, okay. So I mean, for example - once again I'm going to reference James Clear because I love his work… Okay, let's start with the warm-up. Okay, so I’m guiding a student right now on creating a daily vocal warm-up and, er, now I'm not a voice teacher so I've said, like, you got to go to a voice teacher for the specific mechanics of, you know, the vocal exercises, but I can help you form the habit. That's what I can do. I can help you. So I said first you've got to create a habit to begin with, right? And starting with 15 minutes… which is eventually what she might end up with as the ideal length of time to actually do a warm-up, right… instead of just going for 15 minutes every day - that's a long time, actually, when you've never - when you're not doing any! Like, 0 to 15 is a long time of a new skill that you're not used to and you're unfamiliar with, right, and that isn’t necessarily correlated to a pleasant experience yet. So I say, well, start at two minutes… start at one minute, right? Just start with that. Just create the habit first. Once you've created the habit, and it's consistent, then you can start to improve the habit. But you can't - you can't just start immediately. There’s a famous acting teacher named Larry Moss and I was at a workshop of his many years ago and he asked a person there - he said - and I don't know if I'm in full agreement with this, if this is possible - but he said, you know, “do you do your eight hours a day on your acting?” and the person says “no”… I mean that's a lot… once upon a time that was possible, now we have to do other jobs too. But if you have the time, I mean, yeah, surely, I guess that kind of makes somewhat sense. But he said; “do you do your eight hours?” - she said no. He says, “okay, four hours?”… “no." You know, she was - she was crying, like, “come on Larry, this is ridiculous”, like this is not… he said “okay, two hours”, “no.” “One hour.” “No”… 30 minutes, no, 15 minutes, no… okay, so he just kept on going down and down and just having it, right, and then he was like; “so start there. Start with the five minutes”. Then you can build up to… then eventually you can get those eight hours if, you know, when you want to but you can’t really be, like, “I’m gonna spend eight hours a day on my actor training”. It's not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen for… no one is never gonna happen like that, by just starting out with that. Now, you could have that in the future… to be like, “eventually I'm going to work in that direction” so it gives you, you know, it gives you a point on the compass to sail towards but that alone without everything else towards it will not help really. It's the system that matters more than the goal, so it's all those micro moments; all those micro habits that will eventually accumutively… ciminitively…

Leah: [laughing] try again, try agin! One more time!

Dan: [laughing] that will eventually, cu-mu-la-tive-ly lead, er, to the the overall goal being accomplished. But, you know, also the thing with goals is that they change, and if you've got consistent habits that won't really matter so much, right? Because the habit is what matters. You're doing something consistently for your own well-being and towards the direction you're going to be going in.

Leah: Yeah and there is, in fact, in the planner, sections for goal reviews and, like, checking in on yourself and seeing how you’re getting on. What about… so we've talked about habits when you're in one place - for example, like, a warm-up… and if you go to Dan’s page in the planner actually you'll see a lot of information about how to make the space in which you do your thing that is a habit - whatever it is, maybe a warm up - how to make that that place, that space, um, conducive to habit creation. We've talked about things, the habits that you might do while you're out and about so, for example, drink lots of water… um, and then, what about habits that you want to generate that are inside your own head? That are both the habit of being compassionate towards yourself and also the habit of being compassionate towards your attempts at creating habits!

Dan: Yes, yeah, I mean… and this this is the funny thing… I guess this underlines once again - they all interrelate. So no one habit comes before the other. The bodily behaviour affects the mental aspects. It's the body and

mind together, right, they affect one another. But as well as that you know there is like - the mind does kind of underpin the rest of it, right? So let's use the example of meditation, right, that I do I do every day. When I'm teaching people meditation - I'm taking people through mindfulness and that stuff - the first thing I always work on… and I do this with acting too, is I like to focus on their relationship to the activity, not just the technical skill of the activity but their relationship to it - because I see that as being more important. If someone relates to meditation in a healthy, positive way they will keep up that habit and over time they can improve their skill in that area. They can change it in the way they need, right, but if they don't have a positive relationship it doesn’t matter how “right” or anything they do the technique, they won't keep up with it. They won't do it. So it doesn't matter. It doesn't even get off the ground. Same thing with acting - you can be technically brilliant but if you don't like it, you know, if it's a hassle - if it's a pain in the ass to do, you're not going to stick with it, right? So your relationship to the activity and to yourself doing the activity is really in my mind the most important thing. It precedes all the others - and same, for example, with exercise. If you don't enjoy - find some form of enjoyment from the type of exercise you do, you will not do it. So you have to just… don't keep googling “what's the best exercise routine”, you know, “what's the best way to get buff” what's the best… [shrugs] what's the best? The best way is the best way for you. What will you actually do. So that's looking at the relationship to the thing… so, for example, when I say with meditation - I make sure to not push myself. I never - I never lie to myself, so if I say I'm going to do 20 minutes, I do 20 minutes. And I set a timer, not so that I have to get to that amount but so I don't go over that amount. That's a counter-intuitive thing that not a lot of people think about, but actually, you use these timers and things like that to stop yourself from deceiving yourself… because if you create an unhealthy, disingenuous relationship with your own mind - with your own commitments, then you'll break your own trust with yourself. If you say “I'm going to do 10 minutes” and then you do half an hour… and I always say this, for example, with actors learning lines. I say “if you set a time do, not go over it, even if you feel great. Never go over it, because otherwise your mind goes ‘hey, screw you, you lied to me last time! You’re not going to do 10 minutes, you’re gonna do half an hour and that sounds like a pain in the ass!’" Yeah, so you're better off - it's always less is more in that way.

Leah: I mean that could be… obviously meditation is just one example, but also, for example; working on developing character voices or writing many many emails to agents or whatever it might be…

Dan: Exactly, that's such a good example, and yeah - for example, I've been wanting to improve my RP accent, right? So I'm wanting to do this, so I'm like; okay, well, I don't particularly find that the most wonderful thing to do, because I'm not working on a project right now. If I'm working on a project I find working on accent more interesting but if I'm not working on a project that involves it, my mind goes; well, how's it going to be satisfying? What am I doing this for, ultimately? So it's a little bit more of a hassle to create that habit, so this is another kind of technique called anchoring… so I'm what I’ve done is I'm anchoring it onto my other habits that are consistent. So after my warm-up I do five minutes of RP, and I set a timer, because I just have to start the habit of the daily thing. I could spend an hour going through the whole thing, but it's going to be one hour every two months whenever I remember it. Instead I’m going; no, I'll do five minutes every day - and eventually I will be able to increase that and improve that. It will have incremental results, and I’ve anchored it onto a habit I've already got. But like I say, that's working with my own mind in a kind way… and also then I reward myself afterwards! Then I go have my breakfast and I, you know, watch an episode of something I'm going to enjoy. So it all gets linked in together. I do my routine, and then I I look forward to my routine, so I go to bed at night, I look forward to reading, I go to sleep, when I wake up I look forward to this routine I have, and then when I come to the end of the routine I'm looking forward to what I'm doing next as well. You know, I'm not outside of it but I just know “okay, so this two hours is about to end and I've got something great to go to afterwards”. So yes, emailing agents - some of these things are just not particularly satisfying in and of themselves, but if you do them incrementally they won't be such a pain in the ass to do and over time that will build up, right? You don't need to spend three hours emailing agents a day, that's

ridiculous! You know, that's that's too many emails per agent …

Leah: [laughing]

Dan: They’re going to say go away right? But, yeah, just set your time. Because setting the time also helps you cure that habit of perfectionism which unfortunately many of us are suffering from - you know, this ideal of perfectionism, and really you want to embrace your imperfection. You want to just go; “well, I did it. It's done. However good or bad this email is, really those two words that you think you've got to rephrase - they're not going to make a difference. And by limiting the amount of time you spend on something, you'll actually ingrain that habit of being more productive rather than being more perfectionist.


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Hi, I'm Brendan McClatchie, I'm a voice over artist from Folkestone, down in Kent. The best thing about the planner for me is at the end of each week there is a prompt for you to write down something that you're really proud of, something you've achieved, and then at the end of the year, looking at the back of the the planner you can just see a list of absolutely everything you've achieved - these great milestones that you've accomplished throughout your vo Journey for the year. Absolutely fantastic.

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Leah: Brilliant, well then, to get your Voiceover Career Planner, all you have to do is go to the link in the show notes or go to where you can use the code launch 10 that’s l-a-u-n-c-h-10 at checkout to get 10% off which is very, very exciting indeed isn’t it Nic?

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Leah: Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Nic: Hang on, do I get one?

Leah: Yeah, well, I mean there’s… this is the first time we've done it. This is, like, um the planner Generation One so, er, we've not bought… we've not… basically, we've not got loads. With the printing as it is, who knows

when we'll have the next lot, so, um… I recommend that, er, I mean…

Nic: People who are better at selling would probably be like “this is an exclusive print run with minimal options available” or something horrific

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Leah: Um, right, I’ve been Leah Marks

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[End theme tune, fades out]

Nic: [blooper, fades in] …Source Elements… I keep wanting to say Source Elephants…

PS: Jo the VO (AKA Jo Troy) was a big feature of this episode but it takes a million years to transcribe these things so we’ve cut him for time. However, he does now have his own podcast - check it out at

PPS: To buy yourself your very own copy of the Voiceover Career Planner, head to

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