Let’s give a big round of applause to my friend Bill Boulden. Bill is creating an electronic album that’s unique to every customer. At the conclusion of his successful Kickstarter, Bill has announced some familiar names who will be working on the album with him.
These aren’t small names in the voice acting field, and they’re some of the biggest names in the English anime scene. Bill’s had plenty of people asking, “How did you do that?”
“I asked him to join me in making a magic rap album just by sending him a Facebook message asking if he wanted to,” Bill told me. “It was my first taste of realizing famous people were people like me who wanted to do neat things.”
You’ve never heard of Bill before, and neither had any of these people he reached out to. But that didn’t stop him from asking the question, “Would you like to be part of this project?”
Last week, I offered free consultations to newsletter subscribers. Ten people took me up on it, and I’ve talked to seven already. What I’ve learned so far is that a lot of people struggle with what comes naturally to Bill. You’re talented writers and passionate fans, but many of you struggle with self confidence when it comes to putting your work out there on a blog, or in front of the editor of a blog or media outlet, or to reach out to a personal hero for an interview.
We all worry that our best isn’t good enough. But maybe you should just go for it.
“I need to have a big blog in order to interview big names.” Wrong. In 2011, I reached out to a studio for a blog post about voice actors and got an interview with Yu Gi Oh’s Dan Green. It was sort of an accident, but still! I had 5,000 monthly readers and they still. said. yes.
“I need to at least have experience to get an interview with somebody important.” Also wrong. My first major byline in my journalistic career was my Kotaku interview with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. (By the way, I got the Kotaku internship because I told them I had talked to Uematsu at an anime convention and would write it up if they picked me.)
“I need professional portfolio pieces to apply for professional a job.” Writing is not one of those “entry-level” jobs that incomprehensibly requires years of experience first. I got my first byline in Forbes (and won a contest) by sending in clips from Otaku Journalist.
What Bill does is a little different than journalism. For one thing, he’s paying voice actors for their time, while reporters do not pay for interviews (though people are usually still happy to give them because of the free publicity). But the method is the same.
Deal with your feelings of self doubt after you hit send.
This post originally ran as my weekly newsletter. If you subscribed to my newsletter, you would have been able to read this post fifteen hours ago. Your call.
Art by Beth Zyglowicz.