Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Not Getting the Gig

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

October 29, 2008

Comments (35)

Sailboat in the water

What do you do when your best efforts yield no fruit?

This article was inspired by the story of one voice talent who hasn't found work online through the marketplace in over a year.

Want to read his story?


Water, Water Everywhere But Not A Drop To Drink

Some of you may relate to this paraphrased quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Each time you login to the site you see jobs upon jobs just waiting to be auditioned for, and you audition for them, but somehow, those jobs end up in the hands of other voice talent instead.

This may not be limited to auditions, but may also translate to private job offers that you wish would appear but for whatever reason never come.


Jerry's Story

Jerry James has auditioned over 1100 times over the past year and a bit at Voices.com and has been wondering why he isn't seeing results.

I first took note of Jerry's plight when he would comment on Who Got the Gig postings, sharing that although he had auditioned X times, he still hadn't received one bite from a client.

This occurred 4 times, and throughout, the Voices.com team did our best to help Jerry by directing him to resources, reviewing his auditions, listening to demos, examining his profile and finally when we had exhausted our resources, directed him to seek counsel from a voice over instructor or career coach who could help him professionally.

Along the way, Julie Williams, the angel that she is, also donated her Proven Voice-Over Techniques CD to see if she could help him through her workshop.

Some time passed following the 4th comment and I hadn't heard from Jerry on the blog for quite a while. However during the summer, he commented on another Who Got the Gig quite distressed acknowledging that after 1100+ auditions he still hadn't gotten any work.

I realized then that the purpose of this comment was more than to simply participate on the blog, it was a cry for help. The comments were becoming more and more distraught and had reached a climax, bordering on desperate and potentially, offensive to others.

At this point, I had approved many milder comments of this nature but felt that the comment submitted right then at that moment was potentially more harmful to him than it was helpful.

I took into consideration:

1. What would people think if this gentleman has auditioned over 1100 times with no work gained, even direct contacts?

2. Would this new tally of numbers put him in a bad position if it were made public?

3. Would people question his professionalism? Suggest he leaves VO for a different line of work?

4. Would he potentially lose future work because of the comments posted?

5. Is this the kind of information that should be available for all to see? If people respond negatively, how would this affect his self-esteem?


After evaluating the above questions this past June, I prudently decided to address his comment myself off the blog and not publish it for all to see.

I thought by doing this in private that I was preserving his dignity and professionalism while also being available to him on a different, more personal level than if I were to simply approve the comment and be done with it.

I explained that there are very few reasons that a blog comment may be moderated or addressed off the blog (moderation of comments on VOX Daily is extremely rare, 1 in 1000 perhaps) and his comment lined up with some of the criteria that I use to distinguish if a comment meets our community guidelines to be posted, or in this case, not posted.


There are only 3 reasons why I would choose to moderate a comment:

1. If the comment is not relevant to the article

2. If the comment is malicious or singles someone out inappropriately for the purpose of injury

3. If the comment is of a sensitive nature or could be an embarrassment for someone should it be approved for all to see (i.e. a person comments assuming I'm the only person who will see it without thinking that their comment will be posted to the public)


This particular comment was left on our new products post, which meant that two of the three guidelines would be compromised if approved, those being #1 and #3. The comment was placed on an article that didn't talk about getting jobs through auditions and it was also, at least in my opinion, of a sensitive nature.

My response, though sincere and professional, was rejected and instead of gratitude was met with criticism to which I replied politely and that was that.

Time passed.

This brings us to the second comment Jerry left just a few days ago on the Premium membership giveaway.

Again, the comment was accompanied by a staggering number of unsuccessful auditions, and although I could have just approved it as it was, I chose to edit the comment which still enabled him to remain in the draw. I did this in efforts to preserve his professionalism, something that I am now sorry to have done as it was obviously not what he desired.

What Jerry really wanted through all of these comments was to feel connected to his community and share his concerns with people who could identify with him.


Do any of you feel as Jerry does? Perhaps you have some tips to share instead.

If you'd like to leave a comment with your thoughts, you're invited to do so below.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Živa Kirn

Related Topics: gigs, jerry james, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, story, voice, voice over work, voices


Comments


    I have to admit, I've had the same problem on voices.com and the opposite situation on voices123. I've been in this business for 15 years and maybe I'm just not understanding the way voices.com works but I've been so frustrated with the site that I've given up auditioning there altogether. It seems as if the voice seeker is not hearing the appropriate demo for the project, which would obviously turn them off of listening to my custom demo. I've taken your suggestions on writing a proposal and still, nothing. I'd be more than happy to receive some feedback on my site!

    http://andrearooz.voices.com

    Thanks,
    Andrea

    Posted by:

      In my opinion, there is too much processing and furthermore it seems like the voice sounds like a tape that is slowed down. I wonder what his normal voice is like...

      Posted by:

        I took a listen to his demos and have a lot to say about why he may not have been hired. His voice is absolutely beautifully resonant and full. However, the delivery of the scripts seems tense as though they are through a clenched jaw. Perhaps he is unnatural due to hiding a possible accent, or maybe he's too worried about not enunciating everything perfectly. The delivery style is metered-sometimes almost robotic showing minimal range in his voice for emotion. You can tell he probably speaks with more range than he voices... which shouldn't be happening if he wants to be hired.

        Also, his tempo is too slow. His voice is calming and natural and will remain so at a faster tempo.

        My favorite read on his profile that came "closest" to a hirable voice was his website design ad. It was more fun and relaxed...but still could have used a bit more of a "natural and upbeat" delivery.

        Posted by:

          I listened to each of Jerry's demos. He has an interesting voice and a good sound, but most of the demos sound the same. Same pacing, same delivery, same tone, with a couple of exceptions. I think in order to truly show off his skills he needs to show more variation in his demos. With the demos he has up now, for someone to hire him, they have to be looking for a very specific type of voice, which might make him less marketable.

          just my .02

          Posted by:

            Hi
            His reads DO NOT sound REAL!
            its been said that 98 percent of us
            FAIL at VOICE OVER
            Not All of us can do it!! ITS NOT EASY!
            REALITY is sometimes hard to accept
            All the Best
            Joe

            Posted by:

              Wow, you totally outed this guy. I'm kinda surprised and hope you had his permission to repost his story.

              Anyhoo, I have not heard any of Jerry's auditions, but I've heard a couple of his demos. They need some work in order to compete. If Jerry listens to his demos and thinks they are as a good as Joe McMillan's or Brian Haymond's or Terry Daniel's, then he needs to have someone with a more critical ear listen to them. My guess is that he's too close to them to be self-critical.

              I understand the need to "connect to the community", and there are some places to do that. But at the heart of it, this is a business and we're all competing with each other. Julie was a kind soul to offer her CD free of charge, but you can't expect that level of kindness from everyone. You've got to pay your dues, get real training, and shell out money. And very few people will hold his hand - at least not without getting some money placed there first.


              Everytime you audition, you're competing with me and several hundred other people. Maybe thousand. Instead of complaining about not getting work from thousands of auditions, it seems prudent to look at why you're not getting them. Who are the ones getting the gigs? What is it about them makes them succeed? Study those who are successful to better learn how you can be a success.

              And as much as I love Voices.com, it can't be your sole source of work. You have to be actively marketing yourself and your service and convincing potential clients that what you have to offer is worth paying for over the hundreds of other people who want the job as well. As someone said, "the work is getting the work."

              I wish Jerry all the success in the world. But I also wish him the fortitude to know what work he has ahead of him to get there.

              Posted by:

                I can really relate to Jerry myself. I am a male voice talent here in Los Angeles and I work from my home studio as well as with my LA voice agent and other agents outside of LA.

                I still to this day have not landed anything with my current voice agents, and also nothing through voices.com which can and is very frustrating. I had tried voice123.com before and was not happy with them at all and like voices.com.
                All in all no matter where you audition through... it's just a numbers game (I hate to hear that as well) but in a sense as frustrating as this area is it really is just a matter of numbers.

                Also when doing a custom read do your best to give them at least 2 to 3 different reads to show your flexibility and such and then put it out there and see what happens.

                I cant count how many times I have gone in for a read being certain that I did a great audition, then hear it either on the tv or radio with the opposite of what the spec's said.

                If they say non announcer I give them non announcer, then I hear the ad played as an announcer...or they want an announcer..then they pick a charactery sound... just very odd. So now at least when I am working with my clients and in my studio I always give them an announcer, a non announcer and the next door read just to cover my bases.

                I never take anything personally. I just do my best and put it out there and figure that if I do my best that is all I can do.

                There is soooo much competition out there that it just comes down to small things and its really out of your hands after you give your best read(s).

                Just keep trying and pushing and also take classes, have your demos produced by people that do it all the time if you can.

                I'm happy that all of my current demos are spots that have aired and were produced by others and not me, but there will come a day that I to want to have some new fresh stuff produced to get better into promos and such.

                Keep your demos up to date, ask the pros and just keep at it even when it's frustrating and also.... don't worry about it.

                I still have not booked anything and I just keep at it and am glad that I do make money with other clients I have had for years now but look forward to that day when I book that big tv or radio spot that sets up and launches you.

                Also...love what you do and it will show through. You have to love it or you won't project a good read.

                Just my 2 cents.

                Thanks and work hard !

                Erick Abraham

                Posted by:
                • Erick
                • October 29, 2008 3:54 PM

                  Hi everyone,

                  Thank you very much for your comments, feedback, encouragement and stories so far.

                  I just wanted to answer Jeffrey and say that yes, Jerry and I emailed about this article and also discussed what was to be covered in it. I offered to do this for him and he accepted the opportunity.

                  What he's looking for is community support and constructive criticism from the VOX Daily family.

                  Carry on :) Don't mind the interruption.

                  Best wishes,

                  Stephanie

                  Posted by:

                    It's all been said. Great voice, but the delivery is off. My advise is that he should try to comprehend the meaning of the words (Do I sound like Mr. Spock here?) and then say them as if he was talking to someone. But all I hear is someone reading lines from a piece of paper. He should consider acting classes.

                    Let's talk about the movie trailer showreel. I just can't hear if he's talking about an action movie, a comedy, a thriller, etc. If you make a trailer for a comedy, I have to hear between the lines from the tone of your voice that you saw this movie and that it was incredibly funny, more funny that you actually expected. And you had a great time watching that movie. I have to hear all that from the tone of your voice. If it's a horror movie, I have to get scared just by hearing the tone of the voice-over's voice. If you say "He's back with a vengeance" I have to hear anger in the voice. Jerry just sounds like a low pitched droopy.

                    Remember what Don LaFontaine (I never met him, but I will miss him forever) always said. The words dictate how they have to be read. I can't say it any better.

                    Posted by:
                    • Philippe Bernaerts
                    • October 29, 2008 4:15 PM

                      Hi Jerry.

                      First of all, I see that you are currently #195 on the Voices.com Favorites list. Considering that there are - how many, Stephanie? Over 20,000 or something? - talents on the Voices.com site, that puts you in the top 0.01%. Maybe you're not getting work, but you are doing something right, or potential clients would not be adding you to their Favorites lists.

                      I think a lot of wise words have been said here regarding your demos: I would recommend increasing the vocal range you use (no clenched jaw), and also making the read more "real". I definitely agree with other commenters that your voice is pleasantly rich and resonant.

                      Beyond the audio realm, I would revise the text on your website. In the Experience section, you refer to yourself both in first person and in third person. Choose one or the other.

                      In the Description section, the list of adjectives doesn't do much for me. In fact, at first, I automatically skipped over reading it, as it was immediately clear to me that it's just a list. How about getting rid of the capital letters and converting the list into some sentences?

                      Yeah, I know the voice is what makes or breaks it, but the text on the website should still generate interest and contribute to selling your product.

                      All the best,
                      Victoria Feinerman

                      Posted by:

                        Jerry,

                        I have never booked a gig at voices.com or any other pay service. I've been at it this for about 3 years (member for less than 1). All the work I've gotten, has come from other places like Craigslist, Backstage and such.

                        Voices.com is an excellent service and I do appreciate the opportunity to audition here but the competition is tremendously fierce and some of the talents in here are quite frankly, amazing! At the end of the day, it's all up to the client and talent selection is a very subjective process. The client who loves me today, may think I suck tomorrow.

                        I haven't heard Jerry's demos but I can offer the advice I was given by Bob Bergen to my own similar plea not so long ago.

                        Start with the Acting.

                        If the acting isn't there, you'll never get the work. Take any opportunity to act that you can . . . community theatre, improv classes, community college or anything else that can help you to establish a foundation of acting technique. Once that foundation is there, then work on the voiceover specific stuff. This will improve your demos, your auditions and your chances at getting hired.

                        I hope this is helpful and I wish you all the good fortune in the world.

                        Joe

                        Posted by:

                          I have gotten frustrated in the past auditioning over and over and not getting work. I took a long break from auditioning to refurbish a house I bought last year, and the time away gave me some perspective. I realized I was pressing when I recorded, and the stress was coming across in my voice. And the more I auditioned and didn't book, the more stress I put on myself. It is a negative feedback loop.

                          I have also been volunteering my voice to worthy causes in order to build up my resume and get more experience. Each and every job has been a learning experience, and the more I learn, the more confident I get that I can do this. That also lets me relax and have more fun rather than pressing.

                          I have also been trying to have more fun at my other job (teaching) so that I am less stressed out overall. And I took up a hobby, learning the art of Tuvan throat singing.

                          All these things have me thinking more positively about the audition process and I think that comes across in my voice. I am more relaxed now when I record, and have fun with it instead of psyching myself out.

                          Like Jerry, I have a naturally slow delivery, which is apparently great for audiobooks, but not for much else. Audacity and other programs let you digitally speed up the tempo of a recording without altering anything else. This has helped me when I just can't seem to get in under the wire.

                          Posted by:

                            Stephanie,

                            I am SO glad to see this subject.

                            The critique of Jerry's demos are all right on and I encourage him to keep on and get a good coach.

                            Great set of pipes (as we used to say) but it's not as much about the voice, as it is, what you do with it.

                            To hear that Erick (great stuff BTW) lives and works in LA with one of the top agencies in town and his bookings have been less than desirable, points to the fact that this IS INDEED a numbers game. And the numbers have gotten HUGE over the last several years.

                            Jerry, I feel your pain and frustration. I have had years when I was on both Voices and 123 (I'm not on 123 any more) along with a few agents and cranked out over 3000 auditions a year. The booking rate was so bad, I considered a career in fast food or running for office.

                            Now Jerry, before I dishearten you (and I hope I/we haven't), know that you can overcome.

                            Train, get coached and and fall in love with all of it.

                            In looking for my own breakthrough's... I found that the negative energy that comes from frustration, anger, disappointment, feelings of inadequacy etc. spills out onto everything you're doing. People hear it. Getting to the place where you literally love the auditions, the learning...the work (whether you book or not), you will begin to see things change.

                            Break a lip!
                            dc

                            Posted by:

                              Hi Jerry,

                              A little "trick" to book here is to get your audition in within an hour of the lead being posted.

                              If you wait for the next day, your chances of booking will be very very small regardless of how good your audition is.

                              I don't know how quickly you respond to leads, but this could be a simple explanation.

                              If you can't reply quickly enough to a lead, it's ok, just leave it. There will be plenty more leads and you won't feel like you are wasting your time.

                              Also, I had a listen to your demos and I agree with the others, you have got a very nice voice. However, what strikes me is that it sounds like you are trying to sound deeper than you are, you are "putting on" a voice. It's probably because you are trying to do the right thing, which makes you step out of yourself and judge yourself instead of relaxing into just being you. Just embrace your own voice and the beauty of its sound. There is only one of you, and it's your uniqueness, your personality, your sensitivity, your quirkiness that will make voice seekers want to hire you.

                              Do not be afraid to let the real you shine through and instead of focusing on the voice, make the meaning/subtext of the script be the most important thing.

                              It will make you enjoy the process a lot more and you'll be proud of how it will sound.

                              Good luck! :-)

                              Posted by:

                                I will start this comment with admitting that my experience is very limited and I have not personally booked any professional gigs since I made the move from live PA announcer to recorded VO artist. But I have had the pleasure of training with some excellent voice over professionals.

                                My biggest problem with my own (professionally produced) demos, is that I always felt my voice seemed flat - that I only had one style to work with (which I don't think is true of my natural voice, but that's what I think my demos say). And I think that Jerry sounds very much like that. His actual voice sounds the same in each demo, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

                                I have been told that my biggest strength is my ability to read at the proper pace and inflect at the proper time. I am not hearing that in his demos. Words seem to run together where they shouldn't and pauses are inserted at inappropriate times. I admit that I didn't read his entire bio, but I think that if he is not currently using an in studio coach, that it would definitely benefit him. Sometimes you need someone else to read a line for you to really understand how it could be interpreted. Just a thought!

                                Hope that helps! Good luck to you!

                                Posted by:
                                • Gina
                                • October 30, 2008 8:46 AM

                                  Yes, yes and yes. I perused all the comments and each contributor has made a valid point.

                                  1. Yes, if this was an easy business - we'd all be rich and famous!
                                  2. You can't win them all even if they've been 3,000 auditions!
                                  3. Don't rely on one source like voices.com for income.
                                  4. Be open to criticism - reflect on what you've put on your reel. Just because you think you're work is on the money, doesn't mean someone else does. Be willing to scrap your demo and start over - this time with a professional.
                                  5. Market yourself - over and over and over again.
                                  6. Never read out of desperation - it will come through on your auditions.
                                  7. Don't do every audition - we're not all the "right voice" the client is looking for.
                                  8. Pay your dues
                                  9. This business is a roller-coaster ride. a.k.a - showbiz!
                                  Some days you can kill it and make a ton - and then dry spell.
                                  10. Just because one can talk with a low or unique voice characteristic doesn't make for a professional voice talent.

                                  OK that's it from me...back to work - I finally got some after weeks of nothing.

                                  Peace,
                                  Ed V

                                  Posted by:

                                    I just want to say how impressed I am that you would share this story, which is as much about you, Voices.com and it's policies as it is about Jerry. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of others just like him.

                                    Where I tip my hat is your willingness to offer full transparency on how you dealt with this situation, and in asking your members to comment on your actions, as much as Jerry's.

                                    Right, wrong or indifferent, it takes someone of strong mind and spirit to allow themselves to be critiqued. I continue to enjoy reading what you have to say, Stephanie, edited or not!

                                    Debbie

                                    Posted by:

                                      Great article and very enlightening. I can't help but feel sorry and compassionate for such an individual. It seems we all have our moments of glory and are in the limelight and we all have moments where we are stomped down right into the ground.

                                      The energy we give out is the energy we get back. Seems to me Jerry is suffering from a creative block. Sometimes it is better to walk away from what ever you are trying so hard at so you can see what you were doing from the outside.

                                      I will have to use myself as an example here to be fair. I was one of the most fortunate people in this business. I lied my way onto the air at age 14. I was singing in a band and although, like many young men, I had the gift of gab and not a bad voice, which I ruined from time to time over the years, I got hired to interview other bands and do a rock show on the Radio full time more because a program director felt sorry that my parents had split up and I was messed up, living on the street and involved with bad things and bad people. It was an attempt to pull me out of the fire. I succeeded though, learned about the business, did many thousands of commercials and did on air work and even helped with programming for many years. I was the bright star and could do no wrong.

                                      Then one day ego inflated figuring everyone should bow to me I got totally upset about an issue and bolted off the air, let the station go dead and walk away. It was the beginning of a new end that I didn't even have a notion to fathom. It set me into a dark path and everything I did and tried from that moment on failed terribly. Like Jerry everything I attempted got looked over to the point that I thought people were out to get me. Perhaps they were in the beginning but honestly after a while positive people don't have the time or energy to deal with negative forces and I was a negative force.

                                      Julia Cameron's "The Artists's Way" is probably one of the best healing sources for Artist Block that I know of. I read her book, did her daily documenting and even bought her book on tape to listen over and over. I'll bet Jerry is really good at what he does but the negative energy he feels is coming out in his work. He needs to be cleansed. To get in the stream of goodness.

                                      Now the second phase of my analogy. I became permanently disabled in 1998 and unable to walk. I am not able to work at regular jobs and although I had moved into a different career choice after my bad choice years ago I am not able to do labour jobs and thought I'd go back to Radio and voice over. Like Jerry that negative energy was still there. The guilt, the shame, the remorse of time wasted. Needless to say I hadn't been working behind the mic and reading copy naturally as I should have. Not exercising so to speak and I thought that just because I was in Actra and had a good resume that I too should win the auditions. Not a one. I even fired a few agents because they weren't landing me work. How silly is that? It was my own energy that was failing me. It still is at times and I'm still struggling like Jerry to get my mojo back.

                                      I embarked on fixing myself from within. Helping others instead of myself and have a new journey that involves a great deal of announcing and interviewing that may or may not work but I'm trying in a positive fashion. 1100 auditions and no work. Wow, I'd want to kill myself for sure but that's not the answer. All we can do is try each day and do our best shot with a positive mind. If we are not succeeding we need to reassess ourselves not everyone and everything around us. It's our own energy given out that comes back the same way like a ripple on the water. It's not some hoaky perception, Karma is real. Anger and character defects hold us back from directly flowing creatively. That's a fact Jack, Dave, Jerry, Cindy.....!

                                      It's incredibly difficult as a disabled person to survive. Our world is set up to be cruel to disabled people without realizing it but I can't change the world. No one wants to hire disabled people no matter what they say. It's a burden. I also have to control severe chronic pain with medication so I constantly get things like, oh he's hooked on pain killers. I can't walk and am in a wheel chair without pain management but that's the way the average person reacts to someone who has to take pain management. I don't abuse my meds I have taken exactly the same amount of pain medication for 8 years and will have to the rest of my life or I lay there a drooll with pain and cannot even speak a word the pain is so incredible. I have one of the most severe chronic pain cases known to medicine. Is it anyone else's problem? No! Should it hold me back from being positive and trying to be useful? No. I cannot control any situation other than my own state of being. If I am positive and mean well and have good intentions good things will happen. It's a leap of faith really.

                                      One is either going to give it a positive shot or not. There's no in between. If I let the negative rule me it shows in every aspect and molecule of my being even if I don't want to admit it. If Jerry could only realize he could be far worse off than he is. Try it from my perspective for a while and Jerry you'd be happy, very happy you have the energy to even do a voice over audition let alone get out of bed with no pain. Learning to overcome the pain is very much like the challenge Jerry has. You have to put your pain on a blank canvas, see the colour, and then change the colour to something good or it will eat you apart and destroy you from the inside out.

                                      Each day is a brand new day. We cannot live tomorrow or in yesterday, only the moment. When I was the star and shining I knew nothing but positive thoughts and laughed and smiled. I realized I had become negative and felt sorry for myself too. It wasn't until I started living in the moment, unblocked myself by forgetting my past and troubles that I felt better. It's the only way. Willingness is everything. Humility is the key. Being willing to change is even more powerful.

                                      Now I hope for re-assessing every aspect of my life and being, every second of every day, and if I were to want to audition for voice over I would accept the challenge as it is but long before I did 1100 auditions with no work I would humble myself before my peers and ask what am I doing wrong. Rip me apart and tell me how I can fix myself because I have become powerless over my own self.

                                      I'll share an old Indian Prayer given to me by a shaman when I was learning to walk again:

                                      Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds. Whose breath gives life to all the world. I come before you as one of your many children. I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom. Let Me walk in beauty: Make my eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made. Make my ears sharp that I may hear your voice. Make me wise that I may the learn the things you have taught my people, the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not to be superior to my sisters and brothers but that I may be able to fight my greatest enemy, MYSELF. Make me ever ready to come before you with clean hands, straight eyes and a pure heart. So that when life fades as the fading sunset my spirit may come to you without shame.

                                      I have felt the same as Jerry. I too have not had work for many years. I remain positive and work at re-fixing the things that are wrong with me. I cannot fix the part of my spine that is missing or change the disability I have or chronic pain but I can be positive, honest with myself about what I can do and seek help from my peers to get back into the stream of goodness and all will take care of itself.

                                      I can't change the world but I can change me!

                                      Jerry may be meant to do something far greater than voice over and he's not hearing the creators voice. They say insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Time for a change and time to listen for the creators voice. He is leading you to another path where you will be even more useful it's just not getting to your ears. I need to keep listening myself because I too still have not found my feet or the path that is right because I keep trying to choose it instead of turning my will over to a power greater than myself and doing the creators will, not mine! There is great power in serving others and not serving one's self!

                                      Kindest Regards,

                                      John David Hart
                                      CDN Broadcaster

                                      35 years in the business and I am too out of work. You're not alone Jerry.

                                      Posted by:
                                      • John David Hart
                                      • October 30, 2008 9:47 AM

                                        Gee, Stephanie... as I read this article about Jerry James my hopes began to rise, anticipating that at the end of the article it would be revealed that Jerry finally 'got the gig', and what, perhaps, he did differently or consistently to get it. Instead, the article ended with no such reprieve from the sadness of his tale.

                                        I've been doing my official 'voiceover business' for about nine months... and not a single gig. In the beginning I voiced some auditions on Voices.com, in more recent months I've gotten out CDs of my voice demo, joined a variety of 'social network' sites with a description of what I do and a link to my website, added a link to my website in my E-mail signature, and even voiced some 'spec spots' and E-mailed them to a few likely clients with great reviews, but 'no sale'.

                                        As first, when I read the first couple of paragraphs about Jerry James, I felt encouraged. Now, let's just say... I'm not encouraged. I just now went to Jerry's Voices.com website and listened to all of his demos. The problem I see is not that he doesn't have 'the pipes', but rather that in the majority of his demos... you know what to expect... every time. By this I mean that no matter the script, he begins the same deep tone.

                                        By the way, Jerry James has a much better voice than I do, but... I'm glad I have some acting background to balance my broadcasting background, and can do character voices.

                                        In Jerry's case, it also didn't help that he used Don LaFontane's signature "In a world" for the beginning of his movie trailer demo. Also, I think he 'shot himself in the foot' by adding at the bottom of his page, "Need a James Earl Jones Darth Vader? Look no further!" When I read that, I suddenly in my mind hear Senator Lloyd Benson say, "You're no Darth Vader. Darth Vader was a friend of mine."

                                        Posted by:
                                        • Ed Autry
                                        • October 30, 2008 9:49 AM

                                          Hello Stephanie,

                                          I have listened to Jerry's demos & feel that although he has a great voice, the proper inflection is what is missing.... personally, I have suffered from the same issue and when I decided it was time for me to move my focus from the "voice" to the "message", being more relaxed, I was able to communicate better because I was being more conversational and therefore more believable.... and, I got more job offers! Hope this helps Jerry. Hang in there Jerry, remember, persistency pays....if getting voice over work is truly your passion, do whatever it takes to become successful and keep at it!

                                          Michael Reagan
                                          http://reaganmichael.voices.com/

                                          Posted by:

                                            Jerry's voice is unique, and would definitely get my attention. The range, however, is missing... the hills and valleys of a :30 journey (:30 is just for example). Listening to the demos, were I a producer, I'd be concerned that this voice talent could come in at thirty seconds.

                                            The web design ad vo had the most life and made me smile inside, kept my attention. A good practice would be to work with a stop watch. Also, just for the heck of it, read from some children's stories with a mental target audience of captivated children hanging on your every word, act out each part - that connection seems to open that playful nature and (subconsciously, or otherwise) the voice opens to some interesting dimensions - pay attention, feel where it comes from to recall in your future reads - that openness, that "willingness to play", so to speak. Connecting to what you're reading and connecting to your target audience is key... allow the tones to follow that connection. I also agree with other posters that an acting class would be an excellent addition to the practice.

                                            Best of luck to Jerry - and all of us.

                                            Posted by:
                                            • Melissa
                                            • October 30, 2008 11:01 AM

                                              Hi, Stephanie! This article and its responses are fascinating; thank you for sharing the story and asking for feedback.

                                              While a number of respondents have made excellent points about the *technical* aspects of Jerry's voice-over business, I am more concerned with his *mental* approach.

                                              I agree with John David Hart, who posted this comment upstream on 10/30/08 at 9:47am:

                                              "The energy we give out is the energy we get back."

                                              I recently wrote a blog article titled "Think/Write/Speak what you WANT into BEING!" (http://tinyurl.com/558fyb). If you want to make any change in your life, you have to start by CHANGING YOUR THOUGHTS.

                                              In that article, I referenced a section from Steve Pavlina's blog. Pavlina says "If I'm thinking about what I'm already getting, then I'm manifesting a loop." Jerry is definitely thinking way too much about what he is getting and not enough about want he wants.

                                              If you think "I want to be booked for voice-over work" and then "I've auditioned 1100 times and haven't booked anything. Why don't I book voice-over jobs?", the second thought cancels the first. Welcome to Pavlina's loop. Any time you doubt yourself or compare yourself to others, you are performing an act of self-negation and intensifying your negative outlook.

                                              When Thomas Edison was working on the electric light bulb, he tried at least 1,000 experiments before he got it right. Some sources say the number of experiments was closer to 10,000, which is more than 9 times the number of Jerry's auditions. Edison's critics thought he was crazy and asked him how he dealt with constant failure.

                                              Edison's reply, like his many inventions, was perfection. He said he hadn't failed at the experiment, but he now knew another way that he couldn't build a light bulb.

                                              Edison prevailed because he had a positive mental outlook in which he had already visualized his success. He also realized the value of persistent effort. Jerry and anyone else frustrated with their booking ratio or any other aspect of their lives would do well to follow Edison's example.


                                              Karen Commins
                                              http://www.KarenVoices.com
                                              http://www.KarenBlogs.com

                                              Posted by:

                                                Hi Stephanie. Well I've been in radio for 10 years but am new to the VO world. I have auditioned for more than 300 jobs on voices.com but have also landed 3 jobs now. I felt for Jerry and totally understand how he must feel. Personally, I have not focused on the jobs I didn't get except to analyze what I did on the auditions and see if I could do a better job on the next one. I have been going to school on talented Voice Actors on this web site and others. I have also been reading a lot about the field and trying to learn as much as I can.

                                                Before I jumped into voice acting, I took some training with Voice Coaches out of Albany, N.Y. What I loved about this organization is that they never painted a rosy picture about landing work after completing my training. They repeated told me it could take a year or more before I even land my first job. My training taught me a lot about the difference of "announcing", which is all I did in radio, and "voice acting". They really are two very different things.

                                                In my training, my coaches helped me to try to lose the "Radio Guy" voice. They also told me that if I believed in myself and I had the skills needed, that persistence would eventually pay off. That in a nut shell has been my philosophy. I continue to work on my craft and I just keep auditioning. As my delivery has improved, I seem to be getting more nibbles than before. I recently landed a job for the Portland Rescue Mission, in Portland, Oregon from an agency that didn't post a job but searched voices.com found my demos and offered me the job.

                                                I certainly don't have as much experience as some of these other talented voice actors, but I believe in myself and I know that persistence will land me work.

                                                I have been pleased with the responses I have received in the short time I have been doing this and my primary marketing has been soley on voices.com. I have also been pleased with the tons of ideas I have learned on this site, via the blogs, help info, personnel and other Voice Actors.

                                                I listened to a couple of Jerry's demos and while he has a great voice, and while I certainly don't have the experience of others, I too felt like some of his reads where not as natural or believeable as they could have been. It helped me to get some training, perhaps that could help Jerry too.

                                                Paul Hernandez

                                                Posted by:

                                                  Yes ... I understand completely how Jerry feels because I feel that way ... and yet I feel blessed too. I too have been submitting what feels like tons of auditions. I have received on an average, however, of about 1 gig a month. Not enough to provide a steady income, but enough to validate my talents. I know there are thousands of voice actors signed up at voices.com, but I'd like to think, that it's a fair competition, and that voices.com doesn't play favorites. Although, I can't help wonder about those actors who are highlighted monthly because they pay the higher membership prices.

                                                  As a single parent, with little child support and no family to help out, I'm on my own. I work 18 hours plus a day just to make ends meet with the vision that I will land the dream voice over gig, because I know my talents, limitations and that my hard work and efforts will pay off. It is important to me to continue to find work out of my home, so that I can continue pursuing my first priority and biggest love ... being a dedicated mom.

                                                  I therefore remain positive, grateful, appreciative and know, that nothing is in vain.

                                                  In gratitude of each day and blessing,
                                                  Maria Berry

                                                  Posted by:
                                                  • Maria Berry
                                                  • October 30, 2008 11:33 AM

                                                    Oh, I hope Jerry that you read some books about the Law of Attraction, by such authors as Esther & Jerry Hicks, Wayne Dyer, and many others. It will explain why you're not getting work and how you can! I totally agree with many of the above comments saying that your negativity has got you in a vibration where success cannot reach you. Start your day with reading inspiring thoughts, write affirmations you can step into, think happy thoughts! It really DOES work, no matter what your talent.
                                                    To demonstrate, I have only recently gotten into voiceover, took a class, read a few books, absorb everything I can, and LOVE the idea of reading out loud for a living. But I haven't even gotten to the point of auditioning yet,and guess what...yesterday I got a call from a local VO talent who has been doing it for 30 years and has been mentoring me, and she asked me to do some readings from a script from a well known production company. It was such fun working with her in her home studio, and later she called to say the studio liked my reading and accepted it! I'm ecstatic even though it pays $30.
                                                    So I believe it was my attitude of just wanting to have fun and my over-all belief that the Universe wants me to have whatever I want that brought that to me.
                                                    Jerry, change your thoughts, find a way to feel positive, and everything will change for you.

                                                    Posted by:

                                                      I find it interesting that Jerry has auditioned 1100 times. I've had my web page on voices.com for 7 months, have received and read VOX Daily for that time. I for the life of me cannot figure out how to even submit an audition. If I go to the Leads section of my account, there are potential job leads listed but no way to select one to get more details or to submit an audition to the lead. I have been all over the site looking for specific instructions nothing. Now granted I'm currently a non paying member, but I'm not willing to put out my hard earned cash until this means of getting VO work is proven to be worth while. But from the looks of how the system is laid out if you're a non paying member to get any kind of an offer is about as likely as choosing all six lottery numbers correctly. To date I have not received the value necessary to make a monetary investment into voices.com, I guess I'll just have to wait to win the voices.com lottery and hope someone stumbles on my demo. but then maybe I'm missing something here.

                                                      Posted by:

                                                        Timothy, you do indeed need to be a paying member to audition for leads. If you're not interested in paying for your leads, then perhaps Craigslist or some free service is a better avenue for you.

                                                        Posted by:

                                                          I wish I had time to read everyones comments. What a great story Steph.... first off let me just say how proud I am of you for caring so much about him and really everyone in this case. You are such a warm caring individual.

                                                          Jerry if you're reading these comments, know that Stephanie had only your best interest at heart. If you saw ANYTHING negative in what she did, you need to hear the best part... she did EVERYTHING she could to hook you up with more leads and make this work for you. Not because she wanted to save you as a client, but because she truly cares about your results. That's the biggest separation with Voices.com and the other sites, they are a business, and a darn good one, but there is a big old Canadian sympathetic/empathetic heart there. Many Americans consider us apologetic and passive.... so be it... whatever you call it, Stephanie herself cares.

                                                          I hope that Jerry will contact me. I'd love to offer him a free assessment. He can audition for me and I'll give him a 100% honest critique. Please let him know.

                                                          It's very hard to be among so many talented individuals and land the part. I too (when I have time to audition) find that I don't book everything... and I know I do a good job. I constantly educate myself to be better and that's what I would question first. Just because you audition, doesn't mean you're on the same competitive plane as those you go against.

                                                          I feel that sites like voices.com are fantastic to launch careers and gain experience. But more importantly, it's one of the best education tools you could EVER invest in. Where else can you pay this little (for the regular type memberships) to practice and possibly gain jobs like this?

                                                          Regarding not posting his comments.... you did as you MUST do Stephanie. Jerry I would encourage that perhaps you only meant it for communication etc. and perhaps you did nothing wrong, but maybe there is a better way to communicate the same message that wouldn't be damaging to anyone.... especially to yourself.

                                                          I hope this helps... it's my two cents worth. Remember, if you're not booking the jobs when it comes to sites like this (That aren't run on favortism) only look within YOURSELF. What do you need to do differently. YOU can never stop learning.... and growing.

                                                          We love you Stephanie... your team is amazing.

                                                          All my best
                                                          Deb Munro
                                                          MicnMe.com

                                                          Posted by:

                                                            I feel the same way as Jerry. It feels like no matter how hard I try with landing a gig,there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for me. I'm still doing my best with working on my delivery and continuing my practice in voice acting. There have been times where I was thinking of giving up on voices.com,but there's a little voice inside of me that doesn't want me to give up. So,I'll keep on trying.I guess the best piece of advice would be to try and try again,even if it seems hopeless.

                                                            Posted by:

                                                              Hey fellow V/O folks: Wow, blown away, humbled, intimidated, inspired, speechless, unsure...some of the feelings going through me right now as I read this blog devoted mostly to...me...and certainly others like me. I’m not used to being the center of attention except when behind my drum kit or the mic, but I’ll try to make the best of this “15 minutes”.

                                                              First off, thank you Stephanie for taking up this topic and your kind correspondence. Yes, above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you responders for all the advice and 2 cents, I'll put it in my pocket and spend it wisely. I will respond to each, you can count on it! Thanks also to Julie Williams for her CD. Her kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated.

                                                              It’s 2 am, and I have an early morning, but I still want to reply to everyone personally who submitted his or her thoughts, especially John David Hart, who took the time to really dig in. Thank you John!

                                                              Okay, I am not a negative guy, I'm mostly positive, although my reads come off a bit otherwise, that’s just me. I'm also very competitive, with that comes learning the ropes which is a big part of throwing myself out there. My few posts from the past were meant to create a real down in the dirt (something we all stand on) dialogue. The deleted parts were simply stats of auditions and how long at it. It looks like it got some footing, for which I am very grateful, as this is all about getting beat up so to get better up.

                                                              Frankly, I work, self examine, read blogs, look/listen to other voices.com artists, update my demos weekly, etc. I love my voice and I totally dig hearing myself. Although, I know that doesn’t get a job. Hopefully this will get others like myself to correspond and to help advance to the next level of getting that first (or second) job. I’m all about hitting you back, feel free to hit me up.

                                                              Okay, I threw myself out there for all to see. Again, thanks to all. I have every intention of being seen next taking out one of the “Top 10 Favorites” on Voices.com.


                                                              Very Sincerely, Jerry

                                                              Posted by:

                                                                Jerry and folks- at the end of the day we are all engaged in the business of marketing ourselves. I strongly suggest one of the shortest but most Important books I have ever read. It is written by W. Clement Stone and called "The Success System That Never Fails". It contains principles and lessons developed by a guy who went from selling insurance to building one of the largest insurance companies on the planet called "Aon". (Never heard of them? About ten floors of them bought the farm on 9/11 when the Twin Towers went down)

                                                                While this book does not give you one ounce of voice acting instruction, it gives you the tools to build the framework for any kind of life's work that you apply yourself to.

                                                                Sorry for the lateness of this comment, but I have been in training for a new day job that enables me to both bring in some cash AND (after the training period) still have the time to pursue the voice acting world.

                                                                Keep on keeping on, Jerry.
                                                                Peace be with you,

                                                                Glenn Carella (One European gig from Voices.com, and the next is out there somewhere. It's all good)

                                                                Posted by:

                                                                  I am at a point of evaluating myself and voice work. In all of these responses, no one has said, "Give it up, Jerry." I am going to go back over all of these and make a list of the suggestions.

                                                                  What comes to my mind now are two moods that can crop up as I create an audtion, enthusiasm and dread. If I am dreading a rejection, then it's not the time to do an audition. If I find a listing where I like the script or where I can use one of my own demos and the product or service appeals to me, I can do it with enthusiasm.

                                                                  But I also need to remember a conversation between my step-son, a professional actor, and his mother about auditioning. His explanation to her about auditioning went something like this: "I go in with confidence, do the best I can do, and then forget about it. I can't sit around waiting for a reply. If I get a reply, then it comes as a surprise."

                                                                  Counting the number of auditions that didn't work puts me in the dread mode. I'm looking forward to a surprise.

                                                                  Bud Sisson

                                                                  Posted by:
                                                                  • Bud Sisson
                                                                  • October 31, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                                    Hi Jerry,

                                                                    Ed Victor had a comment that was concise and spot on and I will TRY to mimic that approach. You have been warned (laf).

                                                                    1. I've heard your demos and although your voice is absolutely suited to the craft, with the exception of "Small Business How to Book" and "Web Site Design Ad", they all sound relatively similar.

                                                                    2. I'm not sure if you currently have a voice coach, but I would absolutely recommend one. One of my coaches (I have two) is Phyllis K. Day and her approach is phenomenal.

                                                                    2a. I have realized night and day differences in my delivery style after only two sessions and I'm not, ironically, being dramatic. Just wait until her next few podcasts on Voices.com and you should hear yours truly go from an absolute abysmal delivery to a voice that can be hired and I have been.

                                                                    3. As others have suggested, utilize other venues online and in your local area to get the word out about your talent.

                                                                    4. There WILL be ebbs and flows, ups and downs, mountain and valley experiences. We all go through them and it is in the low moments where we make our voices better, stronger, more efficient, more unique, and more of an asset in our trade.

                                                                    5. During the dry spells, decide to put extra effort into marketing yourself. Check with local NPR offices on any work that requires vo. Check with small to mid-size Audio/Video companies in your area to see if they need a voice. Check local radio and news stations also. The local radio/TV hits are long shots sure, but you just never know.

                                                                    Keep at it Jerry, your "This is it" moment maybe just around the corner.

                                                                    Cheers,
                                                                    Matthew (Vince) Clark
                                                                    http://soundsofvince.voices.com

                                                                    Posted by:

                                                                      Jerry, I'm new to voices.com, but not to VO work. I'd second (or third) what was said above about The Law of Attraction. There are other good ideas above, some more immediately actionable than others.

                                                                      I hear a couple things in your demos which I didn't see mentioned. You mention you like the sound of your own voice. That's often unhelpful in developing your range. You're digging the sound you hear in the headphones, but obviously, clients must be looking for something different. Try taking the headphones off when you read. You're almost certain to get a more natural sound.

                                                                      Try improvising some self-invented cartoon characters, youthful sounds, hype-filled car dealer ads, or other things which force you to experiment with the upper end of your pitch range.

                                                                      Your head shot shows a smile...but I don't hear it in the demos!

                                                                      Try to memorize a 30-second piece of copy so you can do it without the paper in hand. Hang a picture in the booth and talk to that person as you run through the memorized copy.

                                                                      Use your inflections as a stage actor uses gestures - make 'em big, so they can be easily seen from the back row! If you get too animated or "swoopy," you can always bring it back down.

                                                                      Someone commented about too much processing. I don't hear that per se, but you're working the mic too close. I'm hearing plosives and proximity effect to a distracting level, and that's certainly accentuated by the processing. Step back from the mic a foot or so, and see what happens. You may have to add a Popless or comparable windscreen to your rig.

                                                                      The Marshall is a nice sounding mic, but a large diaphragm might be overkill in your case. See if you can try a small-diaphragm condenser. (Look for an Audio Technica AT 2020 or equivalent.) They're flatter and sound more natural for some of us. Bonus: They're cheap!

                                                                      And hang in there! Find an outside interest which completely consumes all your available attention for brief periods when you need to get away from thinking about this effort. Get daily outdoor walks. Do something that makes you laugh, and bring that vibe back to the studio with you.

                                                                      Posted by:

                                                                        Hi everyone!

                                                                        Some fab news... Jerry James was hired for a voice over job through Voices.com using SurePay a few weeks ago!

                                                                        I was so happy to see his name on the Recently Hired list. Thank you all again for sharing your thoughts and ideas on how he could make some changes and succeed in voice over.

                                                                        Best wishes,

                                                                        Stephanie

                                                                        Posted by:

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