Even when you have been a Voiceover Artist for many years, you sometimes get weeks where the tumbleweed blows menacingly through the studio and plays games with your mind
One of the very best things about working as a full time Voiceover Artist is the flexibility – I get to work pretty much to my own schedule and popping out to go to the gym, the supermarket or to hide down the end of the garden with a coffee in the sunshine are all fine and part of my “workstyle”.
I get to work with people I want to work with – explore areas that interest me and make decisions about my future in-between sessions and replying to clients.
There is a flip side though – I wonder if you recognise it?
You’re so hot right now
You’ve had an amazingly busy spell, great projects coming in, you smash auditions, you can hardly keep up – wow – you ROCK! You are a superstar voiceover, you’re so hot right now! Then…… NOTHING.. apart from deafening silence.
The regular clients have gone quiet, the once in a while clients aren’t in touch, the new clients are non existent. How can this be? They all love me don’t they? Why have they left me? Did I do a terrible job the last time we worked together? Do they hate me? Maybe I’m actually terrible and everyone was too polite to say? Perhaps some new VO has come along that sounds a bit like me but better? Maybe no one wants what I do anymore?!
Or maybe you’re more a.. my email must be broken, the phone signal can’t be right this week.. the AI voice robots have stolen all my work, everyone has COVID, everyone is on holiday, everyone is worried about the war in Ukraine so no one is investing money in a Voiceover.
The thing is, there are times when it goes a little quiet. What you need to know is that this is perfectly normal as a creative freelancer and although it might feel like a reason to panic, it isn’t and realistically, it can’t be. You can’t do this to yourself.
Keep calm and carry on
When you have a quiet week, the temptation is to feel a bit fed up and ask yourself all of the questions above. Goodness knows, I do it myself unless I’m mindful.
I’m not saying I have the answer to solve the quiet week panic. What I have realised though is that if you are so busy you can’t breathe and it’s a great time to earn the cash or if you’re so quiet that you’ve even made inroads into that task you were “saving” at the bottom of the to do list (I know you have one). The tendency is to feel that it will always be like this. Whichever scenario.
The thing is, whether busy or quiet – it won’t always be like that. Fact. This has been true for me for the last 12 years of full time Voiceover work.
If you are unnerved by these quiet weeks then maybe you should have a think about having a pool of work that has a regular “refresh” rate? What is that work? Smooth out that bumpy line.
I do generally enjoy the variety of work and pace. What I’ve not yet managed to achieve though is the realisation that in the quiet weeks I can and SHOULD probably go to the gym more, get outside in the garden more.. do the things!
The Tumbleweed dilemma
Speaking personally, last week I had one of those crazy busy weeks and this week is shaping up to be a fairly gentle but steady week (although you never can tell with VO!). In the midst of the thousands of words I was recording, I found myself thinking that I wished that I had trusted the universe (and my own hard work over the decade!!) that work will come in. If I had, I would have been swimming and walking more, I’d have cooked lots of great things and put them in the freezer.
I didn’t though, I ploughed though my lists – which was a good thing in many ways. However I think I maybe should have eased up on myself and done some life things too.
The next time I get one of these weeks (see, I’m under no illusion that I won’t!!), I’m going to walk away from my desk a bit more, Yes, I’ll still be working but there will be a few bursts of other things sprinkled in as well.
BUT.. is the fact that I have managed to sustain and build my Voiceover career over this last 12 years because I don’t do that? Am I doing it right and easing up and lounging around in the steam room and browsing garden centre goodies wouldn’t actually work and my jobs would evaporate? How would I ever know the answer – I don’t have a clone me as a “control” group.
I’m guessing it’s balance. That’s not easy and I’m very much a balance work in progress. Not working is actually harder for me to do than work!
Talk to me
I’m really interested to know, fellow VOs, how you feel about this subject and how you handle that pesky studio tumbleweed when it drifts in, please let me know!
Clare Reeves is a mainly busy Voiceover Artist, with intermittent quiet times, based in her own broadcast quality studio with Source Connect. You can hear Clare’s work here https://clarereevesvoiceovers.com