A Thousand “No’s” in Audio
October 19th, 2011 by Kym

The last few weeks have been filled with all things Steve Jobs – and as it should be really – his were amazing contributions to our way of life – he was a true maverick and a catalyst for change on a major scale.  One of the pieces that came out recently was by Carmine Gallo titled  “Steve Jobs and the 7 Rules of Success”.  I was struck by number 4: Say No to 1,000 things….especially in light of some recent things I have said Yes to this week.

Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did.  When he returned to Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period.  Why? So he could put the “A-team” on each product.  What are you saying “no” to?”

Well… When 4 out of 6 ACX auditions for stipended book projects came through with offers – I did say “no” to 1 of them.  And “yes” to the remaining 3.  I’m going to be a busy bee for the next few months – and that’s just fine by me.  In addition, I will get at least $100 per recorded hour along with whatever Royalties may come through.

There is a lot of controversy about taking on Royalty share projects.   The narrator takes on the bulk of the work at sizable risk.  There is also the larger picture:  it seems as though “A-team” narrators won’t touch these projects, hoping to force the industry to start coughing up real money for real quality.  And that’s completely understandable.  These narrators are saying “no” to their 1,000 things.

Personally however, I don’t know whether I can really consider myself “A-list” and not because I am not good enough as a narrator.  I’ve won an Audie Award , I’ve had fabulous reviews and done my share of narrating, and I’m proud of my skills – and if voice acting were all that is currently required, I could sit out this phase in the  industry too I suppose.  But I truly want to perfect my technical expertise in audio production, as Malcolm Gladwell says – I also need to put in my 10,000 hours toward mastering my skills.  And without opportunity for refining those aspects of my work, all I feel I am doing by saying “no”  is posturing.   I’m speaking only for myself here, of course.

I really want to work as a narrator and a producer.  Consistently.  For Good Money.  And so do you.  We all need to start the ball rolling someplace, to build our 10,000 hours, and I have chosen to start by saying Yes to 3, and No to 1.  A step towards my thousand, and 3 more towards my 10 thousand.  How far along are you?

4 Responses  
  • Donna Postel writes:
    November 3rd, 20111:45 pmat

    Thank you for articulating what I’ve been feeling! I’ve made a very nice living for decades as a voice actor, in commercials and narration, but have always wanted to narrate audiobooks.
    I am happy to do Royalty Share books for exactly the reasons you outline.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Jerry Lord writes:
    November 6th, 20111:57 pmat

    Hi Kym,

    My name is Jerry Lord. I just finished reading your blog post regarding stipended/royalty book projects and your reflection on the great and very wise Steve Jobs. Steve has always been an inspiration to me. I totally agree with”saying no”. Our days and lives are filled with so many things we think we can do, but at the same time, we know that we cannot do all of them. I like your focus on perfecting your narrating and your technical skills in audio production. That really hit home with me.Twenty years ago I left the broadcast world with two directions. My heart was leading me towards becoming a master production director by concentrating my time and efforts in becoming the best. Life circumstances 20 years ago led me in another direction towards the world of commission sales in media advertising which included radio, T.V. and Outdoor Advertising. Now 23 years have elapsed, life continues to happen, and now life circumstances have presented the opportunity to pursue my real passion of acting, voice acting and technical production. One of my challenges over the past 20 years has been, and continues to be, my A.D.D. It has always been difficult for me to put my “A Team” skills on 10 things rather than 350 things. Kym, thank you for helping me re-focus on those “Top 10″. Being a “Jack of All Trades, and A Master of None” does not work. Thank you so much Kym for reminding me of that. I’d like to stay in touch.. if you would like that also. Please let me know how I can receive e mail notices when new posts have been entered on your blog. Have a great week Kym and continued success to you..

    Jerry Lord

  • Kym writes:
    November 7th, 20111:45 amat

    Hey Jerry;

    Good to hear from you – and wow can I relate to the fractured focus issues on ADD! I tend to think our entire culture is going in that direction, which doesn’t help those of us who are there already…. I find it helpful to set achievable goals and break them into smaller and smaller steps so that I can do something toward my goals every day. Having to create a timeline for each of three books is very helpful in that respect. If you are on the Audiobook Voices Network - there is a great discussion going on now about managing time realistically in doing a Royalty Share book. And I’ll let you know when next I post Jerry – thanks again!

  • Kym writes:
    November 7th, 20111:46 amat

    Hey thanks Donna – and I love the way you have built your brand around your last name – best VO website I have seen in a long while!

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