The term 'vocal health' is commonly used in the voiceover industry. Nevertheless, this discussion will move away from vocal health and delve into the overall well-being of a voice actor's health. Freelance or self-employed industries come with an undeniable fact: no work equals no pay. The question then arises - what should voiceover artists do when they fall ill?
Health concerns for a voiceover artist can vary widely, from intensive chemotherapy to a mere common cold. However, even a simple cold poses a significant challenge due to the impact it has on the voice actor's sound. The congestion can cause a nasal quality, which is unusual for the voice artist, affecting their performance consistency.
Consistency is paramount in this industry. Inconsistency could lead to more revisions, a lack of re-calls, and fewer future bookings. If hired based on a demo or audition piece, it is crucial to maintain that voice quality. If a cold strikes, consider taking a break for a day or two until your voice returns to its usual tone. If a deadline is looming, courteously inform the other party of your situation. Interestingly, even when under the weather, a voiceover artist can still deliver an exceptional performance.
Health-related challenges can sometimes extend beyond a common cold. It could be a long-term illness like chemotherapy or even a physical injury like a broken leg. These situations pose a substantial challenge to voice actors. The key here is to underpromise on deadlines, leaving room to overperform when able.
But then comes the question of paying bills. Savings, insurance, and family support may help during these times. Planning for such eventualities well in advance is crucial – just in case something terrible should happen.
When physically unwell or incapable of performing, it's best not to force the issue. Overworking can worsen the situation, leading to prolonged recovery periods and extended work absences. However, don't shy away from working if you feel capable, but remember to take it easy. Having a compact, portable, desktop-sized studio could be beneficial for sitting down to record voiceovers. You can use your time effectively without recording when you are unwell. Perhaps you can catch up on your editing backlog or maybe now is a good time to do some marketing - after all, we always want more new clients right?
Every situation varies significantly, but the importance of planning cannot be overemphasized. Dealing with slow cash flow and health issues simultaneously can be extremely challenging, especially when you are passionate about your work. The most important things to remember is that adequate rest, proper planning, and working at a pace that suits you is critical. Fortunately, whether you're battling a common cold or undergoing a hip replacement, your work will be waiting for you when you recover.
Voice Actor's Health by Alan Shires