Recently I played some tennis at a drop in I go to at one of the local colleges.  One of the coolest things about this drop in is that you get to play different players of all levels and ages.  I usually win some and lose some.

So on this particular day I got paired up with a young boy.  I’ve played teenagers before, but this was probably the youngest opponent I’ve ever faced.  He was a very nice kid.  When I asked him how old he was and he told me he was 8 I thought to myself “wow this kid is 8 years old”.  I then joked with him that I was 30 times his age and he laughed but said he couldn’t even figure out how old that was!  And then…he proceeded to kick my butt on the court!

Yep…within minutes I was already down 2 – 0.  At first I thought perhaps I was just playing bad.  But then I tried implementing some different tactics.  I tried slices, drop shots, moon balls.  He got it all back.  I tried rushing the net.  He passed me with shots in the corners that were darn near perfectly placed!  I lost the set 6-3.

It’s pretty humbling to lose to an 8 year old kid.  And I’m really a half way decent tennis player.  Admittedly, I was a bit embarrassed after losing to an 8 year old.  But the reality here…on that day…he was just better then me.

So how does this relate to voice over? I think dealing with loss and defeat in tennis is quite similar to dealing with rejection in voice over.  And you could easily make the argument that there are winners and losers in voice over.  You’re not playing “against” each other in a head to head match.  But you are going up against other voice actors of all ages, skill sets, and vocal styles.  And for the most part, only one person out of perhaps hundreds wins. 

One of the toughest situations to be in as a voice actor is when you find out it’s between you and one other person for a voice over job.  Especially a big one.  Then you get the call or email that it went to the other guy.  You go through all sorts of emotions.  You tell yourself you should have done it another way…or maybe you should have given a 3rd take. 

But just like a tennis match where you lose in a rough one…you have to take that defeat and accept it.  Accept it in positive way.  Always find the good stuff in every situation.  When you don’t book a job that was down to you and another guy, take heed that just getting in the top 2 is a win.  When you submit 100 auditions and you don’t book one…just realize that the odds are always against you no matter how good you are.

Every time I audition I try to put my best “game” out there.  I try to mix things up.  I try to give’m different “looks”.  No matter what I will always be in a win some lose some situation.  It can be humbling.  Like losing to an 8 year old you never saw coming.  The most important thing is to not take each loss personally.  When you lose in tennis, it’s nothing personal it’s just part of the game.

The same thing is true in voice over…it’s not personal when you don’t book a job.Each time you step up to the mic and take a swing you are only bringing yourself that much closer to your next big gig.Just like in a tennis match where you have to keep playing each point no matter how much you’re losing by…in voice over you have to keep auditioning.Keep playing your game.If you think you need to change it then by all means…fine tune it, mix it up, get some coaching.But never give up.Perseverance is way more important than talent.Eventually you’ll win some big matches.And inevitably…you’ll book some big voice over jobs!