Ok, sure, it’s always a lot easier for us to talk about our successes than it is our failures, but in the voiceover world, chances are we’re going to have a LOT more rejection (I use that term as opposed to “failure,” because I really don’t believe that any audition is a failure…but more on that in a bit…) than we are to have successes, or, in this case, successfully booked gigs.
When I started out in this business just a few short months ago, I was told that even for the seasoned pros, they consider themselves to be doing very well if they’re booking one job out of every 20 auditions. In those same few short months I’ve heard that number/statistic change to 1 in 50. Maybe that’s just two differing opinions, but then again, maybe that’s indicative of how this game is changing.
So maybe you’re like me, spending your days looking through job postings on the pay-to-play sites, deciding which ones to audition for, auditioning for some, and spending the rest of your time researching, reading and learning as much as your poor little brain can take in in one day about the industry (oh, and throw in some marketing efforts there too). Sometimes it can feel a bit exhausting, but it’s exhilarating at the same time. So much to learn! So many fun jobs to audition for! So many moods/emotions/characters to evoke!
I have to admit, I’ve been pretty lucky, as far as I’m concerned, in terms of booking a decent number of jobs in my relatively young career. But believe me I know as much as the next guy how frustrating it is waiting to see feedback on an audition. And yes, everyone tells you “audition and forget it,” but c’mon, we know you secretly check to see if the audition has been opened and if you got any feedback…I know I always get excited when I get a “thumbs up” on Voices.com (only to be disappointed when the status of that job later moves to “Finalizing” or “Working” and I know I didn’t book it).
But here’s why I think no audition is ever a “failure”:
First of all, it’s all experience. And experience only makes us better. Maybe you didn’t book the job because your voice just didn’t speak to them. Maybe you remind them of their dad or mom or that teacher they just couldn’t stand. Who knows. It’s all so subjective. But if you’re really listening to every audition you submit, I mean really listening, with a critical ear, you can learn something. I know I often go back and re-record an audition after I listen to it all the way through, finding some part I can change or make better somehow. So guess what? Even if they don’t hire me for that job, I JUST GOT BETTER.
Second, every audition (that gets listened to, anyway) is EXPOSURE. On several occasions I’ve had a voice seeker who I submitted an audition to email or message me to tell me, “Hey, we didn’t hire you for this job, but we really like your voice and will definitely keep you in mind for future projects.” Now, is that a guarantee that I’m going to get hired by them in the future? Of course not. But there’s a good chance that they’ll be true to their word, and next time they’ve got a job that needs voiceover, I’m likely to be either on their shortlist or invited privately to audition for it. I always respond to these people, thanking them for their notes. (I also hold on to those messages in order to potentially contact them in the future, for marketing purposes…but that’s another post altogether…)
So yes, you may feel like you’re always a bridesmaid and never a bride (sorry, men, what’s the appropriate analogy for your gender?), but keep persevering! Keep working and keep learning and above all keep getting better, and it’s bound to pay off!
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