Time and again I see online posts asking if anyone else is experiencing downtime. It’s almost as if people are trying to reassure themselves that their own reduced workload mirrors the experience of others (the old “misery loves company” thing).
There are all sorts of sensible arguments to explain perceived slow-downs in work flow. A friend of mine sent me this message which he had received from one of his agents:
“We wanted to send you a quick note on the seasonal slowdown in commercial advertising.
Each year there are two periods where the industry slows down or takes a break. These times are around June 20th until mid to late July and December 15th until January 5th. During June 20th the late July (Summer break) you will notice decreased activity in the amount of auditions you receive. The reason is that people spend less time inside; therefore, advertisers focus on creating new campaigns for the upcoming change of season.
My opinion? That’s a lot of hogwash. Sure, there may be some truth to these justifications…but my guess is the management is on vacation and was seeking to find a way to make an excuse for not sending out auditions. ;-}
The truth is, voice-acting encompasses such a wide variety of endeavours that no one part of the calendar year can claim a dearth of work across the spectrum.
- Doing only commercial work? Then, yes, those dates mentioned in the quote above might apply. Still, there are the New Year’s sales.
- Sweet on political spots? This is your time! After November, fuggitaboutit.
- Audiobooks your thing? No let up.
- Corporate or eLearning work? You might see a hiccup around Christmas, but otherwise, it’s full-bore.
- Video Games? ‘Seems like those developers never sleep.
- Promo work? The Network programs DO ebb and flow, but there are so many networks now.
- Radio? It never stops.
- Character, ADR, Anime’, In-show narrations…the list goes on and on
See what I mean? There are so many levels to the marketplace that you’re only going to experience slow times if your particular strong suit has unique calendar challenges.
The smart move might be to spread yourself across some fall-back areas to fill the gap (see pic above). For instance, if you normally do long-format narration, and there’s a drop-off for a while, would it kill you to attempt an audiobook? You’re the voice of choice for Hollywood animation shorts, but the bottom falls out because of a writer’s strike. Could you shore up your profit center doing video games characters? Corporate internal video work disappears, but explainer videos are out there for the taking. [just some ideas]
It’s OK to find a kindred spirit to share in your worry about a voiceover valley of opportunity. But don’t be surprised if some of your other friends are skating across the peaks of the job market at the same time. Not everyone can successfully do MANY voice-acing genres, but mastering some new voice challenges just might get you through some slow-downs.