Prima Donna or Professional?

Prima Donna is a term for the principal woman soloist in an opera production, literally the "first lady." The term is also used to describe a self-important person who may be capable artistically, but is also insufferably demanding and difficult to please.term is used mostly as an insult now.implies rude pride and self-centered opportunism. It means a talented brat.

A Professional, by contrast, is a person who is quite adept, but works in good faith for the benefit of his or her client.a person puts the customer above self. A professional has both pride and humility.

from Success in the Arts - What it takes to make it in Creative Fields,
by A. Michael Shumate

As VOICE 2007 approaches, we have received a couple of emails for people who question the value of workshops and seminars. The following is an answer to one such email where the writer insists that no one can teach him anything new and the only way to become a voice actor is to work- that seminars and workshops are useless and only fill the organizer's pockets with money. James' answer explains why he believes this is flawed thinking:

As you know, a performing craft such as voice acting requires an awareness of the continually changing trends in the business and the continual development and maintenance of skills necessary to meet a wide variety of performance requirements. As with any business, true success depends on adequate, and on-going, training - not just "getting jobs." Doing the work without proper knowledge or training usually results in an inadequate or incompetent outcome. The purpose of our event is to provide the information and training that producers, agents, and casting directors overwhelmingly request to avoid time-wasting mediocrity from the voice talent they book. In other words, the people who hire voice talent are demanding more skilled and better qualified performers.

Contrary to your beliefs, the organizers and coaches presenting programs at VOICE 2007 are not "filling their pockets". If money was the driving force behind our event, the tuition would be three times what it is. The driving force is to educate our fellow actors by bringing together some on the top coaches in the country - all in the same place - at the same time - so they can share their knowledge. . . something they are anxious to do.

I've noticed that you are a paid member of of an online audition service, so you are clearly interested in paying for a service that can give you business opportunities. I am confused by your statement that you will not "pay a penny to attend" an event that will most certainly improve your skills and business acumen that will put you in a position to bring in more business. Does your unwillingness to "pay" carry through to your marketing efforts and equipment investment? I can only assume so, since you don't have a website and are using a generic address for your email correspondence - both of which reflect a possible lack of knowledge in certain areas of the voiceover business.

This particular individual sent a reply to Jim's response that essentially defended his claim that he doesn't need more of a web presence than that which he already has with his paid audition service and that a generic e-mail (i.e. @AOL, @yahoo, @hotmail) address presented him as a professional. It's very clear that this individual does not understand the value of the Internet as a tool for marketing and branding to establish an image of professionalism and quality, and that a generic email address screams "less than professional. "We firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But let us make our point concerning VOICE 2007.It's common knowledge that many top performers (yes, even the "stars") continually take classes in order to stay at the top of their profession. They understand that there is always something new to learn. Our experience has been that when someone claims to "know it all" and believes there is nothing more to learn, their ego is standing firmly in their way and their ability to grow as a performer is severely impeded. The whole purpose of the VOICE event is to provide tools and education to enable a voiceover talent to be become a more skilled communicator, a more effective performer and a more savvy business person. In short, to become a well-rounded, continually well-educated actor. Simply because a voice actor may be doing a lot of "work", it does not necessarily follow that the work they are doing is up to the standards of the industry.

Another goal of VOICE 2007 is to connect voice actors from around the country (and world) with each other. We want to provide a venue where an individual can feel an integral part of the voice community - even if they live in a rural area or one which doesn't offer voice coaches or other types of classes.

back to top


All content copyright 2012-2014, VoiceActing, LLC, all rights reserved.
Contributed content copyright by individual contributor, used by permission.
To contribute content or advertise, please send your email query to [email protected].Content may be excerpted upon request by email to
[email protected] and reproduced in your blog or on your website, provided appropriate source credit is included with the excerpted content.
Source credit line should read: Used by permission VoiceActing, LLC,