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  • Writer's pictureKim Lomax (she/her)

Real Talk - a guide to a career in voiceover, part 2


Can you measure the value of IRL meet-ups?


I have been a member of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce now for 2 months. I made the choice to join both for myself and for my business.


In August, I was staring down the barrel of my finances, knowing I needed to reinvest in my business. I was either going to

  • purchase a membership to another online casting site, knowing I’d increase the total volume of auditions available to me, thereby increasing the total number of jobs I audition for, thereby growing my booking ratio — or

  • I was going to double down on my local community.


For me, the idea of growing my immediate connections and digging my toes farther into the Omaha sand was both exciting and terrifying.


I’m a weird mix of introvert and extrovert. I’m sure there’s a name for it, but the bottom line is that I can very happily exist in the little bubble that is my recording studio, working alone in the QUIET all day (which is bloody amazing as a boy mom of 2) AND find myself cup-full after spending time with other humans, even - and possible especially? - new humans. Gobs of new humans. Thinking about it makes me super anxious, but doing it kinda feels great.

In the past 8 weeks, I’ve had more coffee meet-ups, more networking events, more 60-second elevator pitches than in the entirety of the rest of my life to-date. Every time I feel some looming anxiety, but every time I feel so proud of myself and really happy to have spent time learning about another person.


Last month’s blog post tied into my previous career as a jazz musician. As I’m typing this, I’m realizing there’s another through-line there. After leaving my job in academia, I found out the students in the vocal jazz ensemble I’d been directing for the last 8 years at the University weren’t going to have access to that group anymore. When I left, the department stopped offering it.


What?!


I wanted my students to have an outlet to continue making jazz music together. And, while I left academia, I wasn’t ready to leave directing or my students, so I founded a community vocal jazz ensemble which I called NExus.


The connection or link between a group of things — in this case, people — seemed like a fitting moniker for this ensemble. And who doesn’t like a good Nebraska pun, yeah?


For years, we came together in my living room to make music and connect.



During and after the lock-down of the Covid pandemic, I grew very used to isolation (with the exception of my immediate family, of course). And while it wasn’t always comfortable, it became familiar.


Ok, another singer analogy: It can be suuuuper hard to correct bad vocal technique. Why? Because our bodies want to continue to do the thing they are used to doing. It’s muscle memory. It’s familiar, but uncomfortable. So we decide to make a change. That change can be frustrating and can feel so personal, as our voices come from WITHIN OUR BODIES. We correlate the sounds we produce with who we are.


If I make a change that results in more comfortable/healthy singing, but that changes what I sound like to myself, am I still me? Am I ok with this?

Am I ok with being in a room with total strangers who are all listening to me talk about myself for exactly 60 seconds? Hmmm…. jury’s still out on that one. However, I absolutely know that every time I step foot into a coffee shop or networking event, I am growing as a person because I feel uncomfortable.


Sure, I can measure the value of my investment into my community by mapping revenue generated by these new connections. But I can also measure the intangible value of these IRL meet-ups by the newfound connectedness I feel with no-longer-strangers and my growing level of comfort with discomfort.


(If this resonates with you, I'd love to know!)


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Kristen Simoes
Kristen Simoes
Oct 19, 2023

You just completely described how I feel about meeting new people "outside of the audio booth"! Like you, I recently joined my local (Sacramento, CA) chamber and I have to admit that meeting new people who are all investing in themselves, their careers, and have a certain level of positive energy, is exciting and fun! The immediate feedback and interaction is something we're not likely to get from online casting sites and I do think it is important to have IRL face-to-face experiences. Thanks for putting all of my feelings into words. Hope it brings you not only new connections, but new work!

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Kristen Simoes
Kristen Simoes
Oct 19, 2023
Replying to

Absolutely!

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