April was my most lucrative voiceover month in my three years of doing VO. It felt amazing and I was on cloud 9. However, it was followed by May. In May, I booked one voiceover job.
What does that mean? In June, I Uber.
I spent my evening last night Ubering. I live in a tourist town and am grateful for a flexible job option when things are tight and we need a little extra income to supplement. However, I don't WANT to do it, and I look forward to the day that it is in my past. It got me thinking about my path to where I am today thus far in my acting and Voiceover career. It’s a tough one. You have to be flexible to be an actor as casting could call you in the night before or you book a job same day in the VO world and need to be in the booth in an hour to two. It’s hard to juggle life’s demands. And it is hard to have a regular 9-5 job when you are trying to pursue a career in acting.
Many times we see what everyone else is doing, and it’s hard to understand why you are struggling and everyone else seems to be flourishing. You wonder, when will it be your turn? When will everything fall in to place? I have experience behind the mic and on camera from my childhood, but as an adult and as a mom, I have been an actor for 4 years and I got into voiceover again 3 years ago. I have had moments of success where I think, “This is it, the tide is turning!” To then the following month, feeling like I am back at square one. If this is you too, you are not alone!
It can be hard to maintain a good attitude, when you literally get turned down for a living. As actors behind the mic and on camera, we put our heart on the line every day. We are raw and real, every day. We try to connect and tell a story and be unique and try to stand out every single day. The wins are much less frequent than the denials. And as those in the industry know, it’s not ever really an official denial. You actually never hear anything at all. Silence at the other end when you don’t book. It’s not easy to then come back the next day and keep on being your shiny self.
So, what does the average day look like for someone who is still new to the business? It might look like this (If you have kids)
6:45 – Wake up, get kids ready for school
8:30 – Back home from sending everyone off
8:40 – Maybe you can squeeze in a work out
9:40 – 2:40 - I submit VO auditions on a P2P sites, thru my agent, and thru production houses that I have been vigorously reaching out to. I volunteer for Learning Ally and am currently narrating an audiobook for them. Some days I have a job! (Those are the best!) Some days I have on camera auditions that I am studying for and then filming. Most days I spend time on Linkedin and try to make connections. I spend time on Twitter and try to interact on social media. I send out emails to production houses and studios across the country and try to make connections there. I still work part time for a video production company in town (Check them out www.iamavl.com).
2:45 – I pick up my youngest from school.
3:00 – 8:00 - I then spend the afternoon as a mother, playing outside, cleaning up around the house, cooking dinner, cleaning up after dinner, driving one kid to soccer, picking up another from the skate park, whatever needs to happen, you know?
8:00 – Bedtime - Then some nights I Uber. I head out at 8:00 and drive till I am too tired to.
This makes for an incredibly long day, all because I have goals and dreams to pursue. All I can do is hope that my hard work and dedication pays off.
Sometimes I want to quit. And if that is you too reader, I suggest you do a few things.
1. Visualize yourself in 5-10 years, are you doing this? Do you love it? If yes, keep going! (I have a vivid visual of my future studio, and also of living in different places all over the world, doing this work.)
2. Find yourself a cheerleader (or 5!) My husband and a handful of my friends are my greatest cheerleaders when I feel like quitting.
3. Set goals. Like, write them down. Make them attainable, then check them off as you reach them.
4. Create a vision board and look at it every day. Some people post Mantras near the mirror and literally say them to themselves every day in the mirror.
5. GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. This is where I find I get most depressed. When I see that everyone is bright, sparkly and successful and I am back to square one. It can make you feel pretty worthless, put it away when you start to feel blue. Focus on you!
6. Train. If you can’t afford it, get creative. It can be really hard but I have bartered before and have met really incredible mentors who have taken me in on occasion and I am forever grateful. Sometimes I can’t afford to train so I do some things on my own…
a. On Camera
i. Download scripts and monologues and work them
ii. Find some actor friends and work together on these scenes
iii. Film each other and critique each other
iv. Submit yourself to local projects to gain experience
i. Edge Studio has a TON of scripts to read and practice. You can even record yourself and submit it for FREE and have others critique you.
ii. Read, Read, Read.
iii. Find other VO Actors and meet up!
iv. Start a Youtube or Spotify Channel and upload things you are proud of. (I started a YouTube channel, Miss Bee’s AudioReads)
v. Listen! To audiobooks, to commercials, to tutorials, oh my!
7. DO ONE THING YOU LOVE EVERYDAY!
This career is not for the weak. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. But if you see yourself here, and it feels right most of the time, keep hustlin’.