Moth or Flame?


Moth or Flame?

Moths and Flame

As a voice actor, one question seems to keep coming up from other actors, both newbies and veterans:

“How can I find work?”

I gotta be honest with you – this article won’t answer the question directly. However, the change in your perspective presented here may enable you to discover the real answer for yourself. Please read on…

I’ve spoken in the past of “Abundance” vs. “Scarcity” thinking. This is closely related. The concept of thinking as a Moth (scarcity) vs. Flame (abundance) can affect how you approach work and life. In brief, the moth is always seeking out the flame, and the flame is being sought after by the moth.

It’s very natural to be a Moth when we start in a new career. Always seeking work, trying to fit in, proving we’re good enough. One of my personal goals is to transition to be more of a Flame. A Flame shines their light, and others seek them.

What this concept is not: This is not any type of “attraction”, or “secret” thinking. This is not a magical wealth-bringing mumbo-jumbo thingy. There’s no “Willing The Universe” or “Wishing To Magic Genies”.

What this concept is: It’s a change in mental attitude. And it’s not easy to achieve. But, for me, it’s worth the effort and has had a very positive effect on my life and career.

Here’s some of the contrasting traits of the Moth vs. Flame:

Moth (scarcity) Flame (abundance)
Seeking Sought after
Frantic Calm
Needy Fulfilled
Desperation Confidence
Unsure of value Knows self-worth
Thinks “I need” or “I want” Thinks “I am” or “I have”

So, which one would you hire? It often depends on the job.
If you’re looking for inexpensive work from someone willing to do anything to get the job… you’ll want a Moth.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a higher quality product created by a professional who knows his craft… you’re seeking a Flame.

Beware Bug Zappers!

There are plenty of “Bug Zappers” out there waiting for Moths. They can suck the life out of your ambition and career. These scams run from the not-so-subtle to the intentionally deceptive. Demo mills, Pay-To-Play, workshops, agents who charge fees, “free” evaluations… the list is very long.

As an example, let’s look at some Pay-To-Play sites. The attraction these sites present is the promise of potential work. In order to even have a chance to land a job, talent are encouraged to hover around the site waiting for a golden opportunity. Hello Moths! What they get in return is your money, plain and simple.

If you are a moth, be sure to protect yourself from the “Bug Zappers” of the world! They will take more than your money. They can rob you of the drive to succeed at your career!

Don’t Be A Flame Thrower!

Did you ever work with someone who was so over-confident of their abilities, and obnoxious about telling everyone what they can do, and who they know, and where they worked… that you never want to work with them again? I call these “Flame Throwers”. They’re like a moth on fire. They lack true confidence and must continually tell you of their greatness. They may focus on being famous, or even seen with someone famous. Don’t become one of these people. It will work against you, no matter how good you really are!

What About Success?

Success, unfortunately, cannot be directly tied to being a moth or a flame. There can be moths that succeed, and flames that go nowhere.

Ever think about why some celebrities have to be in the public eye, throw money around, and have lives steeped in drama? They’re still moths, and derive much of their self worth from the amount of attention they get.

How about the actor who seems so skilled and comfortable, but is still only doing community theater or audio drama? Being a flame doesn’t guarantee success, no more than being a moth prevents it.


Nothing in life is guaranteed. But I believe you’ll have a happier and more fulfilling life if you can shift your perspective from being a Moth, to being a Flame…

Shine on!



15 thoughts on “Moth or Flame?

  1. Hey Joe,
    What a great analysis here. I think in life, we all start out moths, seeking where we fit, and gravitating to what we like, or what feels good, or where we get rewarded. It’s transitioning to the flame that can be elusive to a good portion of the population. Breaking the habits of conforming to fit, and learning to structure our lives into what makes sense for us, instead of conforming to what we perceive as what is desired by others, is a constant struggle for some. That attitude shift is so valuable to achieve. Coming from abundance is key. We know it when we see it. And we can feel it when we’re there.

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  4. Brother Joe. Amazing, erudite, self-validated, substantiated, and best of all, it’s free!
    I immediately liked this analogy when you brought it up last week with me and Patti. There are, in fact, a couple people who are NOT in the VO industry to whom I would like to forward this – with your permission.

    There was another example you brought up….three stages of a career I think. I remember the Dip and the Cliff, but can’t recall the other one. Please advise.

    And thank you please for being such a willing sharer or knowledge and experience.

    See you soonly, Mr. Actor.

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  6. Dear Joe,

    I have never heard this perspective more beautifully put. The imagery is tangible and very powerful as a meditative, visionary shift in focus. Thank you for the gift of your wisdom and enlightenment.

    With gratitude,

    Janet Fontaine

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