Just This

Without Voice(work)

Last spring, I made the decision to move back into the non-profit world, a career decision but also a personal one. I was ready to be back in film festivals, in the space I know and love so well without the burdens of the private sector.

The change meant a new commute, new coworkers and, perhaps most daunting of all, a rather significant pay cut. I looked at my circumstances closely and decided I could swing it financially, especially if I was able to get back into doing voicework on the side. Since about 2007, I’d had an agent via Indianapolis, and even while I was in Utah and New York, she’d email me periodically with small but lucrative gigs – a local car wash ad, a spot for the tourism office. Nothing major, but enough to be a nice source of spending money (or, credit-card-debt-pay-off money, as it were).

But by the time I moved back to Chicago, her emails had all but disappeared. So as I committed to switching jobs, I also took my voiceover work into my own hands and shopped my demo out to a handful of Chicago-based agencies. Can’t win if you don’t play, right?

Wonder of wonders, I got a response from one of the best in the city, NV Talent. After an in-person chat, they agreed to take me on! My demo went up on their site, and I sat back and waited for the work to roll in!

And waited. And waited. And am still waiting…

NV Talent is the real deal. They’re not messing around with franchise Subway ads or regional cell phone companies. Soon enough, they had me on auditions for Farmers Insurance and Coors beer and Capri Sun juice and Wendy’s and Jared jewelry store…and I have been selected for exactly none of them. Not one. No voice work for this voice.

Recently, I auditioned for a Big Lots spot and something out the script felt good. Reading it, I felt like it was right in my wheelhouse, just the kind of vibe I could deliver. Sure enough, later that week my agent emailed to asked if I was available Monday for a session. YES, I replied, maybe a bit too enthusiastically.

I mean, it’s been almost a year since NV took me on! And without any work to speak of, I’m starting to feel like a burden. In fact, back in September I went to meet with my agent to tell her as much. Desperate and defeated, I fully expected her to let me down easily and send me on my way. At least we tried.

Instead, she was wonderfully patient and assured me that she’s seen it take about a year for new (to them) talent secure their first gigs. She assured me I was doing everything right and they weren’t feeling burdened at all. Insert sigh of relief here.

After confirming I was available for the Big Lots session, I waited patiently for details on time and place. By 4:30p, nothing had come through, so I called over to the agency. Let me check, she said, and get back to you. When she did, the update was that instead of booking the session, the team had requested a second audition with updated direction on the script. Could I do that on Monday? Sure, of course, happy to.

Now here it is Thursday evening and – wait, let me check my inbox again – no update from my agent. You learn quickly in this type of talent-based endeavor that no news is not good news. No news is a no.

I feel better that I got this close to a spot, even if in the end I didn’t get it. It’s reassuring to know that I do have something of interest to clients, and hopefully it is just a matter of time before it clicks and I’m who they pick. My bank account could sure use it.