Over the past 3 years I have been auditioning extensively for voice over work. These jobs range from radio & internet, to television commercials, everything under the sun. The pay scale would range from local minor markets to national exclusivity deals. None of this mattered to me as I wasn’t booking any of it. I was just happy to get an appointment, and as casting directors began to know my work (voice quality, style, how I take their notes) they began to call me in for roles that were closer to my sweet spot.
On average I had probably gone in for 2 voice over auditions a week for 3 years before I booked my first one. I had been called back, pinned, gotten down to the final 2 people but it was a draught that had created little frustration. By the time I had gotten to my first booking I was actually warming up each morning, marking up my scripts for cadence, tone, and where to breathe but had no pressure to do well because a shift was happening in my mind. I knew I would be going in to so many rooms in the future I became much more present and way less stressed about "doing a good job."
Then I booked it. The breakdown read:
"Male only 40 - 60 Slightly hoarse yet rich sounding voice. Could be husky, ex smoker feel. Personable, not announcey.
They would like to hear some regional American accents -
Ie; Suble Southern - Matthew McConaughey
Midwest - Nick Offerman
Bit of a Texas drawl - Sam Elliot"
I knew at first glance this was a combination of things coming together. Firstly, I had been on a roll and learning a ton from each casting session AND this was a tailor made breakdown for me.
It takes time for things to move quickly.Patience was absolutely key. Within the drought it didn't feel like patience and I think that point is important. If you make the measure of success improvement you will have much more success along the way. With every script breakdown, each friendly interaction with casting directors, or solidifying a healthy warm up routine there are plenty of ways to improve. It is easy to get burnt out if booking the gig is your only objective, focussing on improving is active, achievable, and leaves you with momentum when the session is done. If that is the measure of your success you will leave each session with a deep sense of satisfaction that you got better today, even just a bit. The key point being that as you improve you will book eventually. It's inevitable. As timing, skill, and know-how line up you will find your chances much higher of getting your dream job. Take it from me, a guy who waited 3 years for the job of a lifetime.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of not booking something over and over you can make it a blessing and not a curse. Write down what you learned, save the copy, put the CD on your "Hot List" and let gratitude and contentment wash over you for the opportunity. A phone call or a booking of the job is what we in New Orleans refer to as: Lagniappe. The bakers dozen, the 13th doughnut, the cherry on top. Getting to go back in to try it again and get paid is all bonus. You are getting free training when you walk into the audition room if you treat it as such and its value is completely up to you.
Thoughts, musings, catalogues of the life of a New York actor.