No matter what industry you work in, applying for work through a digital platform can have its bad days even when the jobs are offered in abundance. Websites, seemingly skilled at providing solutions and jobs, never solved these problems:
- The clients desire to not communicate why a person was not hired
- The job applicant/voice talent’s perception that they deserve an explanation
Unfortunately, with no face-time or visible body language offered by the person doing the casting, knowing the real reasons why voice talents’ auditions were rejected can be difficult to find out in a digital environment.
These tips below offer ways you can “get a clue” as to what may be happening. Please keep in mind I will explain why some of these tips should only be tried once or twice.
How to Discover the Real Reasons You Never Book Jobs
Do not ask fellow voice actors or friends for advice.
Your friends love you and do not want to hurt your feelings. Your fellow voice actors may be your competition, as well as, wish to take a supportive approach to offering advice (or not). Voice acting is a personalized business because the product is connected to the human. Therefore, you will rarely get objective opinions from people who care about you. When you separate yourself from the influence of this emotional support, the business lessons start to show themselves. You are no longer influenced by emotionally supportive and mostly bad advice.
Test everything you do online using every online tool imaginable
Yes, I am saying it: Post a job on a website where you want to hire yourself, then audition for it, and see who auditions against you. This type of thing may teach you a great deal about how a company works, which helps make you an expert on a website. The more you understand a website in its entirety, the better you will communicate through it.
In addition, it is important to do this on a website you truly want to work with because different websites attract different clients with different behaviors. It is not uncommon for a voice actor from Los Angeles or New York City to join a website that mainly offers job postings from small start-ups in a tech community. While the voice actor is expecting one experience, the client hiring is expecting something completely different.
Great ways to test your online presence are to use tools like Five Second Test (for personal websites), and search engines like Duckduckgo.com, which show your search results unaffected by previous searches you performed. If you did not know, Google searches you do are saved and affect future search results, unless you turn that off. What you are ultimately doing is testing your online presence, as it would be seen if someone were searching for you the first time. It is not uncommon for people to lose work because of a negative online presence.
Bomb an audition or two…on purpose
This may sound like a radical step, but there is truth to the statement, “You cannot know what you did right, until you know what you did wrong.” There is a psychological reason behind bombing an audition on purpose: You get to see yourself audition when you completely do not care about the outcome.
Did you ever see someone getting work and think to yourself, “They make it look so easy, like they do not even care”? Perhaps the reason they are booking work, and you are not, is because you are trying too hard to be perfect (or what you believe is perfect). Your voice begins to have a tense sound to it and your creative muscles stop working.
Ultimately, you are bombing an audition on purpose to be able to fully audition without caring so much about, “Why you believe you deserve it.” You may even book a job because you were 100% creative, and could care less about the outcome. They will see your “fun side”. Note: I did this only once or twice, both before online casting and after. I did not upset anyone by it, booked work once, and once received an email telling me how funny I sounded. I discovered letting go of everything I thought I knew seemed to get people’s attention. I also discovered my idea of “bombing an audition” was, in reality, every audition I believed I was “not bombing”. Discovering such a thing was liberating as an artist and business person in many ways.
Never ever blame a casting website for not booking work
For years I researched the role casting websites played in the hiring process. I discovered the only possible ways a website can be blamed for the act of “costing voice talents work”:
- The website breaks down during the hiring process leading the client to try other services
- The website policy explanations of “how hiring works” are misleading and do not properly communicate how the process works
I say it is a mistake to blame the website because today’s online business world prefers to be a “self-service station”. This means, before joining a website, a person should do his/her own due diligence when researching how the website will work. This way there will be no surprises.
Websites are services providing jobs and allowing people to act as their own businesses. In doing so, it is the business’ responsibility to be aware of “how to book work” and “what type of clients use the website”. Quite often, voice actors make the mistake of assuming a casting website will be a representation of the voice over market they work in and their clients. Finding out the clients are small to mid-sized businesses, after failing to book work, is not a website “failure”. More so, it is an industry learning curve. After all, if I walked into a fast food joint and demanded French cuisine, but then blamed the fast food joint for misleading me, it simply means I did not properly research the fast food joint.
Finally, the best way to discover why you never book work online
Plain and simple, hold yourself accountable for everything you think makes you work slower. The industry today is very much “fast beats slow” and no longer “bigger beats smaller”. If you take your time with anything you do, you can expect others to return the favor. Being “first” matters today, now more than it ever has in the past.
Have any ideas to share? Let us know!