Nurturing Client Relationships in Voice Acting: A Case Study with NASCAR
In the realm of voice acting, the significance of fostering robust business relationships cannot be overstated. One of my most cherished professional relationships has been with Pat Stage, a renowned writer, producer and storyteller, with whom I had the privilege of working on NASCAR’s recent spots.
Pat and I started working together around 2012, when we discovered the essence of effective communication in voice acting. This experience underscored the importance of not only auditioning and booking but also understanding the nuances of client needs. It’s a common misconception that the job ends at the booking; in reality, it’s just the beginning. The goal of any voice actor (or a professional of any kind) should be to continue growing, learning and opening doors to future opportunities. This is impossible without building and nurturing relationships with the people you work with along your journey.
This extends beyond business, too. My relationship with Pat Stage over more than a decade has taught me important lessons about valuing relationships in every aspect of life …
More than just a voice-over “client”
Building a meaningful business relationship in the voice acting industry involves a delicate balance. It requires prioritizing the client’s interests, providing live connection options and standing by them even when mistakes occur. As a voice actor, you naturally want to demonstrate your talent and your value. You may have your own opinion about the “best” way to approach the VO spot – but at the same time, you need to respect the client’s wishes too.
So how do you find the right balance?
Often, it’s a matter of mindset. You need to think beyond the conventional “client / vendor” construct. Remember that you are two people who each bring unique knowledge and talent to the table. But you both share similar goals. You both want the best possible outcome for the finished product. And, when you achieve that, it benefits everyone involved and opens doors for the future.
This approach fosters long-term relationships that extend beyond mere business transactions, which I’ll return to in a moment. But for voice acting, a key part of this relationship is remembering that a client is not just a client. They’re a collaborator. They’re a resource for feedback, advice and direction. They have experience that you can learn from and leverage.
That’s exactly what I discovered working with Pat Stage…
An indispensable resource for voice actors
Pat Stage’s work, particularly his commercial spots for sports teams, exemplifies the power of visual emotions in storytelling. His ability to evoke emotions is a testament to his skill, and as a voice actor, it’s an honor to bring his vision to life. After all, a voice actor’s performance is only as compelling as the director’s vision.
I realized early on that Pat’s talents could make my own work even better. It was a relationship that I valued. As such, it was important to me to build and nurture that relationship, so we could continue working together in the future. And that’s exactly what has happened.
Over the years, I’ve worked to apply this mindset to all business relationships. At the same time, I’ve discovered it also applies to personal relationships …
An important life lesson beyond my voice-over work
The importance of valuing relationships extends beyond business. I would argue it’s even more important in personal relationships. After all, every interaction is meaningful, and every person is deserving of respect. We all have different goals, different pasts and different personalities. We carry different experiences and life lessons, good and bad. But at the end of the day, we all share the human experience. We want to be heard and understood. And along the way, we can learn a lot from each other and help each other grow.
Some relationships may come more naturally than others. But by striving to build and nurture them, in all aspects of life, it contributes to our growth – personally and collectively.
Moving forward on your journey as a voice actor (and as a human)
In conclusion, the dance between a voice actor and their director is a beautiful one, filled with mutual respect and shared goals. It’s a dance that underscores the importance of communication, efficiency and compassion in maintaining long-term business relationships.
Beyond business, the same mindset applies to our personal relationships and ultimately feeds into the same overall journey. If we neglect to nurture the relationships in our lives, it only creates barriers, making life harder (and meaningless). By valuing our relationships, we are able to move forward and continue progressing on our personal and professional journeys, together.
I am sincerely thankful to Pat Stage, the people at NASCAR and my many other clients, producers and directors, who have been a resource for support and guidance over the years.
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