It happens to every voice actor sooner or later, you receive an audition that you really (like, really!) want to book. But these gigs are often the hardest to snag. Why is that?
Desirable jobs tend to be desirable to a lot of people so it stands to reason that these jobs are harder to book because more people audition for them and the competition is greater. But there’s more to it than that.
Can we want it too much?
Let’s suppose you receive your dream audition - a recurring character on an animated TV show or a national TV commercial for a brand that you love. You drop everything and dive into the booth to get it recorded and sent back ASAP. You read through the specs, watch the video and search YouTube for interviews with the reference actors. You. Are. Ready!
Your level of enthusiasm could be ideal for certain genres at specific times, but in the majority of situations it’s going to count against you. The tension in your jaw, your wide-eyed manic joy, the elevated projection in your delivery, barking out the first syllable of the first word - it’s all a bit much. Especially so in 2019 when a friendly, relaxed conversational sound is in vogue.
Uh-oh, you saw how much it pays!
Or how about this situation? You recently quit your job to pursue voiceover full-time. You’ve said goodbye to commuting, office politics and an ever present boss looking over your shoulder. But what you gain in freedom, you now lack in financial security.
Now, every audition that comes your way has the potential to solve a financial problem, and when the big one comes along it can solve a whole slew of issues, so the intensity builds!
The audition, which was once an opportunity to learn, play and demonstrate your acting prowess, has become a life raft, tantalizingly bobbing on the horizon as you wave frantically from the deck of a slowly sinking ship.
So how does this impact your booking ratio? It won’t surprise you to learn that people leaving employment for self-employment often experience a drop in their bookings. This can start a downward spiral of self-doubt, desperation, stress and financial hardship.
So how do you avoid falling into these traps? You must separate the audition from the potential reward. Look at every audition as an opportunity to play, embrace creativity, and to put your unique stamp on a project, irrespective of the compensation.
Will you book them all? Absolutely not. But while you’re in the booth, the audition is enough!
When actors say that auditioning is the job, it is more than a platitude, it is the only way you will reach your potential as a voice talent and book the projects that are right for you.
I'm a British voiceover actor based in the US. I'm host of the VO School podcast and co-chair of VOcation Conference.