When recording, have you ever caught yourself saying, “I can’t submit this! It’s not perfect!” or “Just one more take. I have to make this better.” And then you proceed to do 23 more takes and you’re still not happy with the audition?
Silly me. Of course not. You wouldn’t do that...right?
But...JUST IN CASE you’ve secretly identified with the statements above, let’s talk about perfectionism. And don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. :)
I have some thoughts when it comes to perfectionistic attitudes...
Who determined the definition of “perfect”?
What one may think of as perfect, another may think is riddled with flaws. when it comes to auditions, we have NO IDEA what the casting director is actually looking for. Sure, we have specs to work off of, but that doesn’t mean that particular sound will be the final product.
One time, I auditioned for a great commercial and I was an absolute match to the casting specs - I really thought I had a chance! I worked hard to perfect my audition… and I never heard a word. I did see the commercial a few months later and they had cast a gorgeous, deep, gravely male voice. Uhhhhh... What? That wasn’t the spec at all! So, what ended up as their idea of a “perfect” fit for the commercial was nowhere near what I submitted!
Done is better than perfect.
Nothing we do will make all people happy. We can put in our absolute best efforts - which we should!) and someone could still hate what we produce. Is that a reflection of our value or talent? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Will there always be someone to provide unsolicited criticism about what we produce? ALWAYS. But we’re artists and we push boundaries. Do your best and get your craft out into the world.
Perfectionism is a form of self-sabotage.
Whaaaaa???? Yeah, I said it. Being a perfectionist is a great way to delay the inevitable - Getting our craft out into the world. The things we do will never be “perfect” (by anyone’s definition), so spending ungodly amounts of time to focus on producing a perfect product is just a great way to give into the fear we hold of exposing our vulnerable selves to the critics. Focusing on perfectionism is our way of rationalizing our fears.
So, what do we do???
1. Control the things you can, let go of the rest.
We can control the quality of our recording, but we can’t control what someone thinks of our performance. We can control our education and training, but we can’t control the casting. So we do our best with what we know we can do and release the rest.
2. Limit the number of takes for an audition.
I give myself 3 takes - ok - sometimes 4) per audition. If I give myself any more, I end up getting in my head, stressing myself out, and wasting my time. Figure out what number of takes works best for you. Do your best, then submit and forget.
3. Know that you belong here.
If you have a passion for VO, you belong right where you are. Embrace the community, education opportunities, coaching, classes, auditions, and more. Become the voiceover artist you want to be. And be kind to yourself in the process.
Perfectionism is a challenge many of us face, because we always want to be putting our best foot forward, and that’s to be admired. But let’s not let the fear of putting ourselves out there keep us from creating something great… and great WITH its imperfections.
Fellow perfectionist in recovery,