The Land Of Almost Redux
As voiceover people, when we're constantly in the land of almost, almost booking a voiceover job, almost getting signed with a major agent or manager, almost getting on an internet radio service's roster, almost getting invited to a BBQ. It can seem like a real headache.
Believe it or not, there's room for optimism in these moments.
In voiceover, almost booking or getting short-listed is sometimes better than actually booking. Why? Because it can mean any number of things.
They really loved us but are going in a different direction.
They're almost positive they'll have work for us down the line as we're now their 'preferred voice'.
They want a more 'Promotional' Voice...
We handled direction well in the booth, loved our take on the material, but the client is being difficult....
Wait, but none of the above is good right? How does that HELP us?
The bad news is obvious...we didn't get it. So once you get off the phone with your agent, casting director or the producer who asked you to audition, move on.....or do what you must to find some release, whether it's jam out on the guitar, cry, meditate, throw a chair (although I don't recommend it), write, or get some exercise.
Although harder to put into perspective, the good news here is also obvious-- none of these factors are within our control. Nine times out of ten, it's probably nothing we did. Know that we did the job and, well, it didn't work out this time but it WILL next time!
Here's another analogy. Remember that brutal term paper or test you studied so hard for in high school? If you we were perfectionist, over-achievers, receiving that dreaded B+ or A- was unbearable. That slight imperfection causes us to doubt ourselves at first, but slowly things come into perspective and, in a moment of rare adolescent clarity, we think 'Hey, I'm still gonna make Dean's List and it could be worse.'
However, if you've heard any of the above reasons at one point in your career, then consider yourself lucky. As voice talents, we aren't often afforded the luxury of knowing that we almost booked it, of getting feedback from an agent, producer or casting director. If so, what a privilege to use to our advantage! On 90% of the auditions I either go out on or submit from home, I treat them all the same. I don't ever pester my agents or a producer with "Hey, have you considered my audition I sent in last week? Just following up to see if there was any movement" (Unless I have reason to). If we can't wrap your head around the discipline of 'letting go', then we're in the wrong business. Rejection is the name of the game and it happens all the time. It's how we use that to our advantage.
A while ago I had come very close to booking five different commercials all at once, three of which came in at First Refusals. The other two campaigns had brought in interest from a few producers but fizzled out. It was a very exciting time and I was extremely fortunate and, perhaps, lucky. I treated each audition the same and walked away dusting off any shred of doubt, looking forward with an open mind. When I got the unfortunate news, I was bummed to say the least, especially since I had put my schedule on hold for a few days. But then two weeks later, I got a surprise call from my agent. One of the clients re-considered my previous audition and booked me for the national! Quite a surprise and proof that...we never know! However, whenever we find ourselves in a position of almost getting that gig, it's not the end of the world. It simply means we're making progress. As far as I see it, for those of the commercials I didn't land, my material is on their shelves and they know I exist. Perhaps they'll come back to me again. Maybe they won't ever.
When One Door Shuts, Another One Opens
I am of the thinking that if a person comes close to landing a desirable voice over gig, there's another opportunity somewhere around the corner....and somewhere nearby. Of course one doesn't know for certain and a substantial amount of indecisiveness on the client side must be factored in, but I've found the odds are usually in our favor. Trust me, it's Cloud 9 material.
We can all agree that rejection takes a certain amount of fortitude and bravery. Over the years it's caused me grow an impenetrable wall around my mind that prevents any toxic thoughts or negative energy from entering. Well, most of the time. When a potentially bigger than normal job comes my way, I look at it as an opportunity. I see it as a privilege to be considered and that even if I don't book or the client changes directions, it's an honor to even be on their radar. I smile, I sit back and glance at what I've already accomplished in such a short period of time. Ego? Certainly not! Hubris? Ok maybe a I little.
Yet the VO life certainly isn't always as glamorous as most imagine it to be. It can be. But the majority of the time it is anything but glamorous. There amazing days and then not so amazing ones. As voice talents, we take the good with the bad. WE are ultimately responsible for finding the work, creating and building the relationships necessary to procure those opportunities with the hope that one or more of them will materialize into actual jobs. Unfortunately, our agent or manager isn't going to do ALL the work for us anymore-- those days are numbered--and any talent falsely indoctrinated in this belief of sitting on their butt, waiting for the phone to ring, is doing themselves a huge disservice.
Think and be proactive.