Earlier today I was contemplating if I’d try to do some marketing or perhaps go see a movie. Wait…a movie…on a week day? Rarely but occasionally if the day is really quiet, yes….I might go see a movie. And why not. Within 15 minutes of my house there are 5 different theatres with so many options for movies that it’s sometimes hard to choose. And then…I get an email from my agent saying they booked me on a job that they pitched me for earlier in the week. And just like that your day changes!
It’s strange how things can go from one extreme to another. Literally in a moment. On the flip side you could be booked for a huge national campaign only to get the dreaded call saying it looks like the client made a last minute decision to go with someone else.
So how do you deal with the ups and downs of the voice over business…or any freelance business? Try to remember that everybody in your position has similar experiences. With the exception of a handful of people that work multiple jobs everyday and have been doing so since the dawn of man…the average well respected voice actor has many great highs and lows.
When I was a young VO artist sitting in the lobby of my talent agency waiting to go in a read for an audition I had a conversation with a very well respected voice actor. He was one of the nicest people I had ever met. And he told me something that I’ll never forget. In voice over, sometimes you’re riding high up in the mountains looking down on everybody else. And other times you’re in the valley looking up at the mountains wondering how the heck you ever got up one of the mountains in the first place.
I remember another time where I was at my agent’s office in NY enjoying a great meeting with him and some of the other agents in the office. I politely asked him some questions about some of his top VO guys. And he said….flavor of the month. I wasn’t sure what he meant. He added, this is who’s popular this month. But that can easily change next month.
It was an interesting perspective. Especially coming from one of the most well respected agents in the business. But it made it very clear that success in voice over can come and go.
One of the main things I do to prevent myself from stressing out during the slow times is to make sure I save my money. Always have cash on hand and live at or below your means during average times. Another words take the average amount of money you make within a five year time frame and live like you make that or even lower. It’s saved my butt and helped me to be much less stressed out.
Take responsibility of your own reality. There will absolutely be many times where things happen in this business that are very much out of your control. But if you ask yourself the tough questions…when it’s slow do you see a trend? Do you feel like you lost that edge? Are you phoning in your auditions?
Try not to compare yourself with others. Social media can be grueling. You see people posting about the great jobs they booked. I rarely post about what I’ve done recently. Not saying I never do but rarely. I will put things on my personal website but on social media I try not to put that up too much. But keep in mind that other people will post a lot more details. And there’s nothing wrong with that either. But try to not to be overwhelmed or feel bad because someone else said they just booked the biggest job of their life and thanked their all mighty agents.
My buddies and I used to ride our bikes in these trails close to our house.We came up with one certainty about mountain biking….whenever there’s a hill that goes up there will almost always be a hill that goes down and vice versa.The same is true in the voice over business.