Is it Too Late to Start in Voiceover?

A Question from Elaine:

When I entered college some forty plus years ago, my dream was to have my own television show and teach my viewers/listeners the art of creating a home. As you have probably guessed, that dream was never realized - I listened to my counselor instead of my heart. I still have that dream but it has wilted as my age has blossomed and I am wondering whether I am too old to start a new career in VA. Is it too late to teach an old dog new tricks??

Penny's Answer:

When your email came in, James immediately sent it to me for a response. Why? Because your story and mine are so very similar.

When I was in college (close to 40 years ago) my dream was to study acting, singing and dancing and to have a career in the theater. I was also a trained classical pianist and had aspirations of going on tour. It was not my counselor who swayed me but rather my heart. I fell in love and put homemaking and motherhood ahead of those dreams. Mind you, I have never regretted it, but I often wondered what "could have been".

As my kids got older, I went back into the work force as a secretary and then later as a paralegal. It was good, steady money, it was safe and I hated every minute of it. For a creative person, that kind of repetitive work is just a slow, lingering death. Please don't misunderstand and think I don't admire those who work as secretaries or paralegals - I certainly do!It just wasn't for me.

I went to my very first voiceover class at the ripe old age of 47. In fact, I went kicking and screaming! I didn't want to go and a friend practically had to shove me through the door. I am so glad he did! I left that first 3-hour class KNOWING that voice acting was what I was supposed to be doing with the rest of my life. I can't explain it, I just KNEW. James was the teacher of this short class that literally changed the direction of my life!

That was 7 years ago. Today I work full-time as a busy voice actor and I teach and direct other voice actors. My days are filled with excitement and anticipation - something I never experienced as a secretary! It's something new ALL the time. New projects, new scripts, new techniques, new teachers and best of all - new people!

All this being said, Elaine, my answer is YES - you can teach an old dog new tricks. Only a very dedicated and select few can start a career in their late forties and beyond and be successful at it. That is unless they listen to their hearts and forge ahead no matter what anyone else says. Imagine my very conservative husband's face when I announced I was quitting a good paying job with benefits to work as an actor! Fortunately, after 35 years of marriage, he understands me pretty well. But I'm sure at the time he thought I'd lost my mind! Now he can't tell enough people what I do and he brags constantly --- I love that.

Please don't let your age be an obstacle. Age is only a number. I know I don't feel like I'm 54 even though that's what the calendar says. Actually, I'm darn proud of being my age and to be doing what I'm doing. Sadly, I've seen too many people hold themselves back from accomplishing their dreams because of what other people might think. You just have to say, "To heck with them! "If you have a dream (and you really, really want it) the ONLY person who can stop you --- is you.

It's NEVER too late. Let me know how I can help you accomplish your dream. We "old dogs" have to stick together, don't ya think?

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