Hey, hey, friends, how’s everyone been? I’ve been very busy promoting myself and my business lately so I’ve been away from my blog for a bit.
But, I’m back now and today I want to talk about an aspect of the Voice Over business that is both integral to it and a bitter pill to swallow – Rejection. In my many years of doing voice over work I’ve noticed something on social media as well as my daily life, and it seems to go in cycles.
Periodically, I see people flocking to voice over forums or asking me about how to get started in the industry, and they talk about how excited they are to embark on a new career in voice work only to disappear off of the forums altogether or never ask me again about it a few days or a few months later.
Several factors play into this, but the hard reality is that voice over work is just that – WORK. It takes lots of money invested in the proper equipment, a quiet and properly set up recording space, and, critically, HOURS to devote to it Everyday. Not everyone is able to do that working their full-time job, and that is completely understandable.
Also, there are forces at work trying to convince people that doing voice over can get you rich quick. So much so that people get fired up about spending a Lot of money in the hopes of becoming the new voice of GEICO!
But, that’s simply not the case, sorry.
The simple fact is this -the Voice Over industry is FIERCELY competitive and for the 500 or so jobs (sometimes more, sometimes less) posted everyday there are over 10.000 serious and GOOD voice talents competing for them. Mathematically, that’s just a .05% percent chance of winning the audition.
So, along with this reality is the bitter pill to swallow that is simply a part of this industry – you’re NOT going to get hired for every job. Not even some of the jobs at first, not even ONE job most likely and maybe not for a long time… Worse, you’ll never know why your audition was rejected – you just simply didn’t get the job.
You will have to audition over and Over and OVER again everyday, EVERYDAY putting in as many Broadcast Ready auditions for as many posted jobs – business, videogames, audiobooks, etc. – as you possibly can and develop a “Submit it and Forget it” mentality. Ten, Twelve, Fifteen, Twenty auditions a day if you can manage it… It’s difficult to accomplish that many especially if you have existing work to record.
It still needs to be done though because it’s a numbers game that puts your voice out there and puts your name across the desks of the casting directors and clients. It has be done over and over and over again. Everyday.
And, yes… I’m afraid you may never hear anything back about any of them. It’s just part of the job for many reasons. Casting directors can’t listen to every audition, so submitting yours quickly or even first is Critical.
This means you have to monitor your casting sites, messages, email, social media for potential auditions everyday from moment to moment… Remember, I said Hours in your booth earlier right? This is part of that.
Also, casting, marketing, creative directors, recording studio reps, and their clients are professional people too, and they want Professional audio quality. You don’t have that capability? Forget it then, you’ll never win that $1.000 audition for the TV commercial. They’ll pass you right by a few seconds into your audition.
They want to hear your passion, your fresh new take on their script also. This means you have to rehearse the script and find the right tone for it. You have to find the meaning and excitement in it. You have to be able to deliver those emotions in your voice. You have to be an Actor, and a good one too.
Take it from me all of this becomes difficult after having recorded, edited, and submitted 15 or more auditions already. Along with monitoring your email for new opportunities and promoting yourself across all possible media. And also, recording for your existing clients since early that morning. After having sat in your booth. ALL. DAY. LONG. Well into the evening quite often…
But, despite all that, you still have to bring it every time you hit record which means you have to be very self-critical on your performance, audio quality, pronunciation… Any of it off? Pops, clicks, plosives, sibilance that you can’t edit out? Sorry, you’ve got to do it over… Sometimes, several takes will be necessary to get it right.
Also, they don’t have the time to send an email to the 100 voice actors who didn’t get awarded the session. They only have time to email the 101st voice actor who did get the job, and most likely, he submitted his before 20 auditions were collected by the client.
Remember, casting agents, directors, clients they all have their jobs to do also, and this means they may not contact you until months after they posted the job IF you won the audition. All the more reason to submit as many as you can everyday to build up a consistent return on your effort.
Along with this though, it’s easier for them to award the job to better known and more experienced talents than take a chance on a new, unknown talent. They might simply contact the known talent beforehand, give him/her the job and forego the audition process altogether. It happens all the time…
I realize this is discouraging to read, but it’s important to be realistic in your expectations of working in Voice Over. Persistence, commitment, consistency, never giving up, punching it everyday in every way, promoting yourself through social media, podcasts, traditional advertising and getting your Voice out there and, like I said earlier, getting your name across as many casting agents and clients desks as possible in order to build their recognition of you as a serious voice talent is essential to your ultimate success.
Finally, and I’ve said this before, famous voice actors are the exception not the rule. If you think voice over’s going to make you famous then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Oh, that’s just you, Kenneth, that’s not going to happen to me!”
You’re right, it is me. It continues to be me even after all of my success in this industry.
And, you’re wrong, it WILL happen to you. Even if you’re Talented, even if you have the best equipment, even if you have the time to devote to it everyday, it will happen to you.
This is why so many new aspiring voice talents simply walk away. If you want to pursue Voice work then you have to be ready for the Long Haul. It may take Years before you start seeing real success and making a living at it. Not Fame. There’s a difference…
In the meantime, you’ll have to keep your day job and submit your auditions/promote your business/develop your skills/buy and gather better recording equipment on your time off. This means you’ll have to motivate yourself to Not grab a beer and watch some TV. You’ll have to be frosty and fresh when you sit down in front of your microphone – even after or before you’ve put in 8 hours at your main job – for Hours in the evening/morning everyday for years…
Ultimately, you have to accept this and the fact that your recordings may not and will not be accepted. Many times. For many years even…
It takes a thick skin, the “submit it and forget it” mentality, good equipment, a quiet recording space, and never-ending Perseverance before you’ll win that first audition for $100.
If you can do that then get to it because no one’s going to do it for you!
Until next time, friends, be well.