Sunday, July 22, 2007

It Ebbs And It Flows

2007 will be my first full year as a full-time voice actor. I believe it was a wise and wonderful decision for me to take the plunge. I have experienced the joys of being a self-starter and the disappointments of vast competition. There have been chances for me to voice incredible projects and a few not-so exciting vocal moments that at least paid the bills. Times I can't believe how much 'project X' is paying, and times I've had to negotiate for every dollar.

I own my own business...therefore, every success is mine...and every disappointment is mine.

In any business, there are seasonal 'ebbs and flows', certain times when business slows down or speeds up. This will be the year that I figure out when my 'down times' will be. It is vitally important to learn, as it will determine my earning and spending habits for years to come.

July has been my slowest month yet. I have agonized over it, questioning, 'is it me?' Am I not marketing enough, not practicing enough...not- 'sitting at my computer as many hours straight as possible trying to find the next great gig'- enough?

My husband asked me recently, "Why don't you ask some of your friends if they are also experiencing a slow month?" My answer? No one actually admits they aren't working every minute of the day.

This morning I was perusing the message boards of a voice site that recently made some drastic changes. There were a large number of actors worrying about the sudden decrease in jobs and revenue. Most were blaming this particular site for the decrease, but it made me wonder...could this be the average yearly 'ebb' for voice actors?

It certainly makes sense! Most producers / advertisers / agents / etc use the summer months to vacation, July being one of the highest 'travel' months. Even though July is a ratings month for TV stations, it is not looked at as a serious determiner in overall success. Typically, July is the worst month for TV programming, the stations save their best for fall.

Since most of my voice work is for animation, children's programming, TV and radio really does make sense that I would experience a major slow down. Even my most regular clients seem to have taken a break! Actors who regularly voice audiobooks or voice messaging may not experience slow months, but for the rest of us it is inevitable.

As a voice actor, I could certainly throw up my hands, go spend my days in the mountains hiking (where I sometimes prefer to spend my weekends) and decide to also take a break. However, I have decided to quit worrying and use this month as a much needed time to work on my business packaging.

Already I have been working on updating my animation demo, as well as adding a radio imaging demo to my repertoire. I have begun working with a graphic designer to re-do my personal website. I have taken time to go over my books and make sure everything is financially in order, and I am continuing my lessons with Nancy Wolfson, trying to become the best voice actor I can.

However, next week I believe I will take a much needed mini-break. At least one day I plan to spend getting my hair trimmed and a getting a therapeutic massage. Hey- it's summer...if everyone else can slow down...then so can I!

It will be interesting to see when the 'flow' of business returns!

[It occurred to me that I have mentioned my updated animation demo twice without posting it... Let me know what you think!]


Peter O'Connell said...

Some of the best screams I've yet heard on a demo.

Best always,
- Peter

Kara Edwards said...


Thank you for the comment, and compliment! That was a scene from Volume 4 of Solty Rei. Seriously fun, seriously painful!


Philip Banks said...

Quiet, busy flowing with the ebb or ebbing with the flow? It's gets easier as the years pass. When I started it was two good years then two ok years. 17 years later the ok years and the good years overlap and quiet times are measured in hours not days, weeks or months.

Anyone who survives the first two years will be fine as long as they keep doing all the right things. In my voice over work I take all of the credit and assume all of the responsibility which is just a polite way of saying I take all of the blame.


Kara Edwards said...


I always love reading your wise words :) Thank you for commenting!


Christy L. said...

I am not so sure about the ebb and flow of VO work...being in a totally unrelated field (graphics ^_^), but I do know that being aware of something like this is key to understanding it and being prepared for it when/if it happens again.

But I DO know one thing. Hiking in the mountains is the best! ^_^ I don't believe you may remember me, but I was Kyle's friend from AZ and the movie. You followed my lovely red Accord back to the hotel!

I live up in those dear old mountains of A-ville. Got any favorite hike areas?


jessespringer said...

Wow, Kara, that's so true. I never really thought about that. I think for me, being 19-years-old and pursuing voiceover work fulltime, in addition to being insane, means there's less of an opportunity for work. Your reminder though that the SUMMER months might mean slower months is an encouragement.

Keep up the great blog!

Kara Edwards said...


If only I could turn back the clock, be 19 again, and have all the talent and opportunity you do :)! Actually, I was also 19 when I started. Great things are just around the corner...for both of us I hope! I've heard from many folks who are also experiencing a slow summer. That should start to change soon, summer is almost over! Thanks for the comment!