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opinion-Coaching & Value for Money #4

So, to pick up, I’ve finished my first of 4 sessions in my next group workshop setting.

I feel that I selected the right course.  I worked in voice over for many years, then let it idle for 20 years while I continued stage acting. However, I have acting experience, VO experience, public speaking, blah, blah, etc. I feel like I’m in a solid peer group, that I have my own strengths and weaknesses, and that the coach is really knowledgeable about studying and reading commercial copy. And, about how to land the jobs!

But remember, this post is about my favourite subject(apparently), Value for Money.

It turns out, this class is only 2 hours long. So 9 students, 1 piece of copy each, 1 shot up at the mic, 5 + minutes at the mic. The rest spent listening to performance and feedback of the others. OK….. But also at times, random info on random things, old stories being told, personal non-work related stories, name dropping, gossip, industry people bad mouthing. Woah.

Here’s the value: the time spent working was great. In many cases, the time spent listening to the others and their feedback, and hearing the improvements or in some case not, were also great. This stuff had VALUE. You can learn from this. You can apply notes to others to yourself, and improve the next time. You can listen to how other’s approach copy, and how different it is from how you would,  and learn to work both ways.

The other stuff? What sometimes happens in relaxed, group settings, with a little time to kill; the derogatory, gossipy stuff, whether true and valid or not? It isn’t helpful.

You want to know why?

My mom hates brussels sprouts. As a child she told me ” Don’t eat brussels sprouts” or “We don’t eat brussels sprouts” or “brussels sprouts are disgusting’. Fine. I happen to agree with my mother. I think they’re disgusting. But are they?

Do I think that only because she said so? I haven’t tasted a brussels sprout in probably 40 years. Would I like them now? Did I not like them then because I was young, and my taste buds were so sensitive? Or because, I just believed it?

My wife Michelle, LOVES brussels sprouts. They are EASILY one of her top 5 favourite things to eat. Also, over the years working in restaurants, I’ve met tons of people who maniacally love those buggers as well.

Gossip or bad mouthing people is fine, I guess, when you’re one on one with a trusted and like-minded individual or group.

When you are in a group of people you don’t know, you don’t know anything about them, and you have no shared-trust relationship…awkward.

The person you bad mouth may be someone’s agent, or friend or spouse, even.

Case in point: Someone was complaining about disgusting “demo mills”, which awkwardly was a studio one of the students just got their demo from (and he was super happy about it). She told the class that she produced demos, and could do it for us. She quoted a number 50-70% less than a basic industry standard. Because she “didn’t want to overcharge”. You get what you pay for. Value for Money. 

Back to the point. Your negative experience is almost certainly different than another person’s. Even right royal bastards have people who defend them based off of their own experiences.

It turns out that the person sharing these stories bad mouthed multiple agents, agencies, recording studios, production companies, and the state of the industry itself.

This amount of over-sharing, with virtual strangers, was off-putting. And it made me question whether I’d invested my money well in this class. And that’s a shame because it had NOTHING to do with the WORK we were actually doing.

Ok, so keep my mouth shut, ears open, and focus on the work. However, once those gates of doubt opened, more stuff poured through.

I feel like George R. R. Martin. When I started this thread, I thought I knew the beginning, middle and end. Now however, I’ve written myself into so many boxes, it keeps getting bigger and bigger. Stay tuned!

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