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  • Writer's pictureDavid Jacobs

The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune

A sling and arrows

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And, by opposing, end them."

This famous quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet is equally meaningful for Voice Actors. It refers to the unpredictable and challenging events that people must endure in life. The phrase suggests individuals must face and withstand the difficult circumstances and misfortunes that come their way.

Mark my words, there will be many misfortunes coming your way as a Voiceover Artist. My journey has included twists, turns and dropouts. Sometimes I felt great and confident. Other times I felt what's the use, I'm not getting anywhere. Life gets in the way, you get in the way, ADHD gets in the way. There are countless things that will hammer you, all trying to knock you off track. Don't bother waiting for calmer waters. It's a relentless attack. One of my Voiceover coaches calls it the "valley of despair". What I did not know, however, is if you don't keep moving forward, you can get lost in the valley.

I have always maintained that the mental game is, by far, the hardest part of Voiceover. Harder than acting and performance, harder than the technical issues. The ugly truth is in the beginning you only spend about 20% of the time doing what you were dreaming of when you were first interested in this career. 80% is siting at a desk sending email, creating content marketing, doing SEO for your website, auditioning and training, among other things. This is also where most of the slings and arrows come. Nobody answers your email, you don't get the job from the audition, your website still isn't ranking well, and you've still got to write that blog post and shoot that video that many people don't seem to consume. It can be disheartening and not at all what you thought this work was going to be like. This is where you will be tested. How badly do you really want it? And just how much shit CAN you actually deal with?

So you have a choice. Suffer the slings and arrows and go down with the ship or take up arms and oppose them.

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