It occurred to me while reading some advice on advancing the VO career, that not only are acting classes, coaching, practice, marketing, and all of the other things essential to forward motion. The other piece is the mentor. An experienced talent who has been there done that. Knows the ins and outs. Freely gives honest advice, no matter how brutally honest it may be. Takes pride in helping you grow, etc.. The question is: Where do you begin? If you are seeking a mentor, who is the right person for YOU, and are you right for them? How would you ever approach the person and pose the question? Does that mean you are looking for a freebie from someone, or will they be flattered that you admire their work? It is a scary step, but a necessary step, in this aspiring talent. This website has allowed me and many others to connect. To share thoughts and ideas. To mentor each other. But ask yourself, whether you have been in this for a zillion years, or 6 months, what can you do to help the next generation. It stands to reason that with a year or two, you certainly don't know it all, but you probably have a bit of insight more that the guy that is one week into it. If you have 30 years of experience, your knowledge can be a huge impact on a 5 year talent. The point? If you feel a tug in your heart, or a feeling in your gut that helping someone else is the right thing to do, ask yourself: Can I give 1 minute a day? 10 minutes a day? 5 hours a week? What can I give back? It's not enough to ask the question, we all have something to offer, it's time to offer.

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Comment by Barry Trussell on October 8, 2008 at 10:20pm
One more thought - I truly belive the montoring process grows organically from the relationships, it can't be forced.
Comment by Barry Trussell on October 8, 2008 at 10:17pm
Here's the way I see mentoring . . . I have paid big bucks to be coached, but what I have found so far, without exception is that each session I pay for I get more time than I have paid for. In addition I call people on an occassional basis to ask questions, but I also make myself available to people - people who have less experience. Then I get totally surprised when people with more experience ask me for something. This works because we all have strengths in different areas of expertise, not just voicing copy. I believe part of that definition is inclusive of networking.

There are times when a person gives freely of their time, and as busy as some of these people are, why shouldn't I do the same thing? I think enthusiasm and chemistry have alot to do with that decision.

I make it a point to call my pals and clients every so often. Not every day, not every month, but every so often. Sometimes I get responses like, "I can't talk now"....and I move on to the next one. Sometimes I discover a new technique, technology, friend in common, or even a new person to mentor and also to network with. I find growth and satisfaction for both parties involved in mentoring.
Comment by Eric Morgan on October 8, 2008 at 8:17pm
Amen Philip, Amen.
Comment by Eric Morgan on October 8, 2008 at 2:56pm
Sounds logical to me Michelle without a doubt. Maybe I, personally, should start looking for different representation. With that said, while your thought process is correct, it leaves out the new talent who are not ready for an agent. They need someone to help them get to that point. I am not suggesting they get a free ride. They should pay for coaching, acting classes, marketing etc.. I am suggesting that a person, whether it is you or myself, or pick a name, can help this new generation grow. Someone to encourage them when they hit that wall, etc.. I am NOT suggesting that any one of us is not willing to do that, just reinforcing my belief.
Comment by Michelle M. Summers on October 8, 2008 at 2:44pm
Eric: A good agent will always be a mentor to you as well. They will be there when you have questions, need feedback or guidance on an audition or putting together a new demo, tell you what the best classes for you would be, offer advise on how you can improve & what you are doing right... I know there are a lot of agents out there who seem to say they don't have the time for this kind of hands on work but if you have an agent like that - maybe you need to take a closer look at the relationship. A good agent will want you to succeed - they will want to help you in any way to succeed. Even if they have to work after-hours to help. Just my two cents & my experience...
Comment by Bill Jurney on October 8, 2008 at 1:28pm
Eric, Many have helped me. I hope to do the same for others.
Comment by Eric Morgan on October 8, 2008 at 1:28pm
Thanks Mandy. You know it seems that it's a fine line between coach and mentor. The difference: a coach gets paid $$, a mentor gets paid with a feeling of gratitude(knowing that someone looked to them) and satisfaction of helping someone along the way. You sure can't pay the bills with gratitude, unfortunately. But I think we can all make money, and have that feeling. You know, for example, for every 10 paying clients, give an hour of mentoring to someone. Something like that.
Comment by Mandy Nelson on October 8, 2008 at 1:17pm
Eric, this is fantastic! There are people out there you can pay to be a mentor but there is something to be said about having that experienced person you can go to for help and inspiration and who wants to work with you for YOU. And something to be said for that person you comes to you for help and because you see their potential and enthusiasm, you are willing to help them.

This site has certainly shown the growth in the industry and the willingness of those in the know to help.

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