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If you know me, you’ll know that if the question is: Golf? The answer is always: YES! Like voiceover and acting, I started golfing later in life. WOW was that a mistake! I am now working diligently to make up for lost time by playing as many rounds a week as humanly possible. Just this past 4th of July weekend I played Friday, Sunday, Monday, AND Tuesday. Notice my weekend began on Friday and extended through Tuesday…when you are no longer working that “day job” your weekend can be as long as you want it to be! And just to rub it in, I just booked s tee time for TODAY as well.
I’m not very good at it, though
I mean, I guess for someone who has only been playing the game for a little over three years, I’ve done alright but I am at the point now where I typically shoot in the high 90’s or low 100’s. For those of you who golf, you’ll know that this skill level will never get me qualified for the PGA. Or any other tournament for that matter.
Nonetheless, I enjoy it
Now, the people on the tee behind me, waiting for me to clear the fairway (HA – the fairway – it’s a mythical place where balls never land!) are probably not having nearly as much fun as I am, but this post is about ME and golf, not the frustrated golfers behind me. I enjoy the challenge of it all, and the aspect of competing with myself each round. Every time I tee up on the first hole I am trying to improve on the game from the day before. Sure, it’s great to have a lower score than the people you’re playing with, but in reality, you are competing against yourself out there.
And THIS weekend…
I managed to do JUST that. I broke 90…yes, that’s right, I shot an 87 yesterday! Again, not going to qualify me for the PGA, but it was definitely a personal best. Sure, I still sliced the ball into the rough, the sand and even the trees (Trees are not my friend on the course, as pretty as they are I wish they’d just cut them all down), but somehow I managed to hit some really good approach shots that got me close to the pin on my second (or third on the longer PAR 5 holes) shot.
And how did I do that?
Simple, lessons. That’s right, after I joined our local club, the Springfield Golf & country club, I quickly signed up for lessons with one of their pros. And then I hit the driving range a couple times a week to practice what he was teaching me. And then I played as much golf as I could.
I hate it when things wear out…
I’ve been steadily improving (last year I was hitting 110-120 and the year before that…well, you don’t want to know). So this weekend, I needed a new golf glove because the one I was using developed a hole in the palm, so I headed to the pro-shop and picked up a new one. By the time I finished the round, the NEW glove had a hole in the same place. I thought “cheap gloves” and yesterday returned to the pro-shop to complain and maybe get a new glove.
Of course, one of the club pros was there, and when I explained to him what was going on he asked me a few questions about where the glove was wearing out and what type of wear. He actually walked down to the cart to look at the old glove…great customer service at this club! The first thing he said was: “Your glove shouldn’t be wearing there at all, show me your grip”. You see where this is going, right? I was gripping the clubs wrong. He looked at my grip, made one suggested change, and sent me on my way.
It’s amazing to me how JUST changing the grip changed my game! Balls were (mostly) flying straight and a lot of them actually landed IN the fairway. For those of you who golf, and like me rarely hit from the fairway, I am here to tell you that hitting from the short grass is MUCH better. Anyway, the point is, all I had to do was change the way I was HOLDING (vice swinging) the club for an improvement of about 10 strokes.
Here’s the thing…
Voiceover is much the same. No, you should not be recording from the fairway – far too much background noise as the people teeing off behind you will NOT be happy. But like golf, a career in voice over is not as easy as it seems it should be. I mean, in golf all you’re doing is smacking a little ball around in a field, and in voiceover all you’re doing is speaking into a microphone. Seems like they should each be pretty easy to accomplish – until you try them.
The lessons helped in golf, and they help in voiceover AND acting as well. Just like you can’t simply buy a set of clubs and start competing on the links, you can’t just buy a microphone and start recording professional voiceovers that people will want to buy. You are going to need to get training. There are numerous ways to get the training you need, from pre-recorded video lessons like Masterclass (better than nothing, but not the best since you don’t get direct feedback), to structured coursework like you’ll find at Edge Studios to in-person or virtual group classes like you’ll find at Such a Voice, right down to one-on-one training with a personal coach like Scott Burns. Take lessons, it helps!
Taking classes is good, but it is not enough to finish classes and then just jump in. Individual coaching is a necessity in this field. Each person is different, and structured classes, while needed, will not address individual adjustments. A personal coach will be able to find that “one thing”, like my golf grip, that needs attention and help you make the correct adjustments. And no, your grip on the microphone will not need to be adjusted because…never, never, never…hold the microphone in your hand!
As with almost everything in life, improving your voiceover or acting skills takes TIME. If you are frustrated with where your career is at, start by giving yourself a break, then a coach, and then time to practice what you’ve learned. Over time your performances will get better and better, until one day, you’ll be hitting under 90 every round!
A quick aside.
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There are a LOT of great titles in these book promotions, you are almost guaranteed (ALMOST) to find something that strikes your fancy. And if you haven’t already gotten it, you’ll find my book, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Getting Started in Voice Over, But Didn’t Know Who to Ask, in both of them. Happy hunting!
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