How Do You Define Success When You Stumble Onto Your Career?

I can identify with Charlie. He is an accidental voice over artist, and I am an accidental lawyer. We are both good at what we do to earn money, and we enjoy making money this way, but we had never planned to make this our life's work. Still, there is so much fulfillment in what we do. Charlie's is a story many people can relate to. When people want to sum a person up, they would like to apply one label: he is a lawyer, she is an artist. Our work is so much a part of who we are, but it is just a portion. And when our business comes with no guarantees, how can we balance the uncertainty with our desire for a sense of peace? Of course, life comes with no guarantees, either.

Charlie McWade is a voice over artist who graduated NYU in 1996 with a BFA in drama from Tisch School of the Arts. Since then, he has worked in television, film and theater. I can tell you that all these years later, when we have gone out for a drink or a slice of pizza, he still has been recognized for his memorable role in the cinematic cult hit ‘Road Trip’ produced by Dreamworks and directed by Todd Phillips. But for the last 15 years, Charlie’s focus has been on voice over work. He has recorded over a thousand TV and Radio spots, lent his voice to several animated series and videogames including the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and has narrated seven full length audiobooks. You can also often hear Charlie’s voice on Nickelodeon. 

Notes from the show:

Charlie first discovered acting at Buck's Rock Camp in New Milford, CT.

He breaks down the different departments of an agency and the subdivisions of types of voice overs themselves.

College provided excellent education but did not prepare him for the professional world.

He fell into voice overs by accident.

He recommends taking classes with casting directors. Two of the top casting directors he mentions are Stacey Seidel and Lisa Fischoff at Broadcasters.

We discussed Stephen Colbert's performance of "What a to do to die today" during a  commencement speech.

He recommends Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up" for creative inspiration.

His mentor in the Sanford Meisner technique is Terry Knickerbocker.

He advises diversifying value, creating multiple streams of revenue to deal with the instability of the industry.

To succeed in voice over work, you need to maintain "The Ease."

No performer should be content with his/her technique.

Reinvention comes from getting pushed out of your comfort zone.

Voice over work doesn't lend itself to having a daily routine.

We discussed his FOMO (fear of missing out), and how a voice over artist needs to have a willingness to have a wrench thrown into the gears.

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

This podcast may contain attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.