It happens to all of us from time to time… the dreaded voiceover slump. Despite our best efforts to audition regularly and put our best reads forward, there will always be times when voice actors hit a wall. But what if there was a way to lessen the frequency and length of those slumps? While you may, at times, struggle to book consistently, there’s so much you can do to take control of the slow times in your voiceover career and come back stronger.
The 4 Ds:
The first step is to look at possible reasons you’re not booking, which can be easily remembered by thinking of them as The 4 Ds: Demand, Delivery, Directions, and Distractions. Ask yourself the following questions to see if a shift is in order. Is your voice type in DEMAND right now? And how about your DELIVERY? Are your reads in line with the specs that a client has listed? Are you a good fit for the role? Are you following all of the DIRECTIONS listed in the audition notice? Finally, are there DISTRACTIONS going on in your life right now that are preventing you from producing your best possible work?
The 3 As:
Once you’ve taken inventory of The 4 Ds, you’re ready to take action with The 3 As: Acknowledge, Accept, Attack. First, ACKNOWLEDGE this challenge and tell yourself that it really is okay to be in a slump from time to time. It happens to everyone, from beginners to celebrities. Rather than ignoring it or pushing it down, just acknowledge your experience and how it makes you feel. Next, ACCEPT it. If you waste too much time and energy feeling frustrated and angry, it will take longer to bounce back. Accept what is happening now, and use this time as an opportunity to recalibrate and prepare to move forward. Then…ATTACK it. Create a plan with actionable steps that will help you lessen the duration of each slump, especially in the future.
Bouncing back really starts with you. It is so worth getting yourself into the right mindset so that you can conquer the slump and start taking action. Be kind to yourself. Negative self-talk will only set you back further. Be your own best advocate. Why not try taking the following steps?
Get organized – Use to-do lists, clean up your workspace and booth, and find ways to work more efficiently.
Start small – You don’t need to do everything at once. Start with a few auditions per day or cross off a few items on your to-do list.
Practice self-care – Catch your breath and take time for yourself. Rest, get outside, do something fun, and connect with your loved ones.
There is, of course, so much that is out of our control when it comes to casting voiceover projects, but it is also important to ask yourself what you CAN control. You can take action by updating your website with a revised bio, some new content, or a fresh demo. This is also a great time to track down all your recent work. If you voiced a great project lately, find it and make it visible! Take the time to connect with anyone you’ve worked with in the last six months. Send an update about other work and remind them of how much you enjoyed working with them. You can also put your efforts into refilling your sales pipeline. Find some new leads to reach out to, create a new contact spreadsheet, or update the one you have.
As you generate new leads, reach out to them. Strive to make genuine connections as you practice direct marketing. What can YOU find out about your new connections that might make it easier to reach out to them? You can pay for a marketing list, find a free one on Google, or create your own. Using resources like LinkedIn, social media, and even Googling “best ad agencies” can be time well spent. Another great strategy is to think of local businesses that might be able to use your services. Reach out to places you love and see if they might be interested in having a project voiced. Finally, think about your own website content. Have you learned about Search Engine Optimization or SEO? Does your website utilize good SEO tools? If you want people to find you, this is a great way to update your digital presence.
And that’s not all. There’s always something you can do to help yourself recover from a voiceover slump. Think about your social media presence. Try commenting and responding to others more than you post, so you can foster more positive connections and generate a two-way street. Take some workshops and meet new coaches and fellow voice actors. Find a group or a community that will cheer you on and be there to support you when you’re feeling down. Once you do, stop talking about voiceover so much! There’s so much more to you than just voice acting. Share the other interesting parts of your life with others, and remind yourself that you don’t need to define yourself by what jobs you are or are not booking.
Cover all your bases
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when it comes to a voiceover slump:
Is your sound quality up to par? Have you had your studio vetted by a pro?
Have you done any coaching lately? How about marketing?
What are YOU doing to advance yourself?
Do you know yourself? Do you know what you’re most likely to book?
Are you really giving your best, most creative effort to your reads?
Do you follow all directions to a t?
Do you struggle with self-direction?
Do you know how to competitively quote for jobs?
Can you look at your business with an objective perspective?
Of course, there are things that are out of your control when it comes to casting, but never forget that there are things that you can do to move forward. It takes time, but if you give it your time, attention, and care, you just may see a noticeable shift. Voice actors in a slump often say that they have tried everything and nothing is changing, but are you really doing everything in your power? Accept what you can’t change, take responsibility for what you can, and stay committed to yourself and your voiceover goals!