Continuing with the 10 things you need to know when starting out in voiceover.
Number 6: Get used to rejection. I know that sounds a little negative, and please believe me, that is not the intent. It’s just a simple truth when working in a creative industry where you are required to audition. It takes a strong character, especially when starting out, to navigate the natural human emotions of rejection when you are submitting for jobs over and over again and not getting selected. You may have read that you are supposed to put it out of your mind. “Send it and forget it”. Very easy to say…much more difficult to do.
And it’s not just auditions. I am assuming you are doing some form of marketing for your voiceover business. If not, I highly recommend you contact Paul Schmidt and take his “VO Freedom Masterplan” course. Full disclosure: Paul is a very good friend of mine and is my accountability buddy. But because of that, I know how he has designed the course and the results that it has brought for him. His course teaches you all the lessons that he learned on his way to a successful VO career. Even if you follow Paul’s plan, or somebody else’s plan, it means that you are going to be reaching out to people on a constant bases and most of those emails are going to go without reply. It can get very frustrating.
Rejection is just something you are going to have to learn to live with. And it’s hard. Especially when starting out. I remember how I felt when I first started out. I didn’t want to book my first job to earn money. It was for validation. I am sure that is the same for most of us. We want to know that we are good enough. That our dream of being a professional voice over is attainable. Day after day, Week after week. You don’t book. You start to doubt yourself. That starts to affect your confidence and your auditions start to sound more and more desperate. It is a vicious cycle. I know. I have been there. It took me just short of 100 auditions on one online casting site before I booked. That was about three months’ worth of desperation. It was soul destroying.
The noes don’t get any easier. Unless you change your mindset and start to realize that the decision is in no way personal. Remember, the casting person, in most cases, will have no idea who you are. They are not basing their decision on what kind of person you are. What experience you have. Whether you like dogs better than cats (which the answer is of course yes). The casting person is basing their decision solely on three things, if you remove price:
1. Does the voice sound like the voice they had envisioned in their head when the job was created?
2. Does the read give the right emotion for the intention of the script?
3. Is the audio quality good enough?
That’s it. Seriously. If they were wanting someone that sounded like their uncle Bob and you don’t sound like Uncle Bob, you’re not going to book the gig. Simple. It doesn’t matter if you gave the best performance out of all the auditions, that you really got in touch with your emotions. You didn’t sound like Uncle Bob.
How do you change your mindset? That’s a tough one. I am not a psychologist. All I know is how I approach things in my seventh year doing VO. And bear in mind that I am still not perfect. I still suffer from the odd period of doubt in my abilities due to not booking sometimes. The first thing that you need to do is stop checking to see if your auditions have received any likes or if people have returned any emails on an hourly or daily basis. It’s not healthy. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need to check your data points to see how you are doing. I actually wrote a blog about that. What I am saying is only check your stats once a week or once a month and do it for analysis rather than for vindication. And you must realize that your voice will not be what everyone wants. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been recommended for a job by my direct video production clients only to have the end client tell then that my voice is not what they were looking for. It happens all the time. It doesn’t bother me. It’s not personal. The end client has a voice in their head and if you don’t sound like it…tough! Move on. You were never going to book that job.
You don’t lose jobs. Other people win them. What…wait…what’s the difference? Let’s say that I booked 50 jobs on the online casting sites last year. Each job had, on average, 60 submissions. That means there is the possibility that nearly 2,950 people lost the jobs that I booked. Absolute nonsense. I just happened to be the right person for those jobs. On one casting site, over the last 6 years, I have submitted 5052 auditions. I only booked 126 of those. I didn’t lose the other 4,926 jobs. Other people won them. Their audition might have been better, or their voice sounded like Uncle Bob (see above). Who cares? I have absolutely NO say in that whatsoever. So, guess what. I don’t let it bother me.
Let’s finish with an analogy. Everyone loves a good analogy! You need a new car, so you decide to go to the local dealership that has a great selection of various models and manufacturers. Every car does the same thing. It gets you from A to B quicker than if you walked. Some are more comfortable, some have better gas mileage, others just look really nice. The one that you pick is the one that is right for you. The other cars don’t get sad because they weren’t picked. The little blue Nissan isn’t going to cry itself to sleep because you didn’t choose it! Someday, somebody else will choose them. The blue Nissan will be right for someone. Just as your voice will be right for someone. You just don’t have a choice in who that someone is. So don’t worry about it. Hold your head up high and audition with confidence. That is the only thing that you have control over. Then hit the send button, forget about it, and move on. It’s hard sometimes but it is the best advice I can give to keep you sane.