Failure is defined as “a lack of success.”
Okay, so what is success?
Success: “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
(Definitions from my favourite dictionary, the Oxford.)
Hey, my lovely voice actor friends…
You need to fail.
What are you talking about, Sumara? You want us to fail? You want us to NOT “accomplish our aims or purposes”?
How did you learn to walk? You fell down a lot. How did you learn to ride a bicycle? You fell off or crashed into the fence… ouch. How did you learn to have adult conversations with other adults? You did it really badly for a few awkward years. (Yeah you did! Aren’t you glad it wasn’t all saved forever on tiktok?)
So, how are you going to learn to be a flexible, professional, talented, directable, SUCCESSFUL voiceover artist?
You’re going to screw up an audition when you try something you haven’t before.
You’re going to learn a new voiceover style and do it badly a few times, until it clicks.
You’re going to make some awkward voice demos and promo videos until you figure out how to get the voiceover how you imagined it.
You’re going to get halfway through voicing a longform eLearning narration, realise it sucks, and have to start all over again.
Because you know what all that failure means?
It means you’re trying! You’re learning. You’re going somewhere.
Voiceover, as I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times, is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s journey. It’s a career where you only get out what you put in. It’s all kinds of inspiring aphorisms.
You think marathon runners succeed every time they start running? Well, I tried running a marathon not long ago and I only made it two-point-three kilometres. My shoes were all wrong and I had to take off too many layers of clothes. I’m sure Robert de Castella had the same problem once or twice.
If you are too scared of failing at voice acting, you’re not going to get far. Because then fear is the thing stopping you. Without fear, you can try and fail and try and succeed and try and fail again. And you’re winning the whole darn time.
I found a quote from Angela Castonguay, a voiceover demo producer at Such A Voice:
“So many of us spend our time worrying about failing. Worrying doesn’t solve anything; it just intensifies anxiety. So instead of letting the fear of failure keep us from reaching for our dreams, we need to turn that energy into positive action. And remember,
a failure is not the end of all things. In the voice-over industry, failure and rejection are just part of the overall experience.
Use your experiences as a foundation for future successes. Always keep growing, personally and professionally.”
Professional, full time, successful voice actors still “fail” every day. We send marketing emails that get ignored. We record a voiceover only for the client to ask for something completely different. We submit auditions and job proposals that are rejected. You guys, some voice artists do up to 250 auditions every week (I’m looking at you Joshua Alexander) and can only book a fraction of those, obviously. You have to be okay with rejection and just keep running that marathon.
Thankfully, as a creative person, the excitement of getting a positive email or job offer or fabulous character work is always enough to keep me carrying on past the nasty illusions of rejection and failure. Oh yeah, it feels so good every time I book a voiceover.
So good, I can almost forget the eleventy-million times I failed. 😉
Now, my darlings, please comment below with your thoughts about failure and rejection and all that good stuff! You know you want to! And if you haven’t yet, plonk your email addy in the yellow box to subscribe; you’ll get all this deliciousness every week!
Images by @wanaktek, @DimaBerlin and @skillieskil via Twenty20.
Hey! Thanks for the nice shout-out! It does take time, for sure – but so worth it! I will however freely admit that while I do know how to crank out auditions, I did NOT know what “aphorisms” meant and had to look it up! Thanks for edumucating me!
Just between you and me… after I wrote that sentence I had to go look it up myself, because I wasn’t sure I was using the right word!
And you’re welcome – always happy to shout out helpful and supportive people like you! 🙂
Thank you for this article. Just what I need as I sit here wondering if I hold the record for ‘”” most days without any success as a Voice Over Artist’ ” Like you say, it is a marathon not a sprint. Actually, it might be two marathons…….. ☺️
Hi AJL! I’m so sorry I missed your comment a million years ago… okay, about a month, but still.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Sometimes I wonder that exact same thing! In fact, October has been far too quiet for my liking. I guess that just means that you and I are doing a great job of the failure part and it’ll soon be time to move onto the raging success! 🙂