The voiceover world has a saying that never seems to get old. Voice teachers and coaches alike tell their students, “the Voiceover business is not a sprint but more like a marathon.” For some time, I didn’t understand the meaning of the phrase. When I thought about the sprint/marathon analogy, runners like Usain Bolt, Florence ‘Flo Jo’ Joyner, or Harold Abrahams (“Chariots of Fire” movie fame) would come to mind. But for voiceactors, the business is more like training for and running a marathon. If you want to achieve voiceacting success, run your business like you’re training for a marathon.
Before I get into analogies and comparisons, let’s examine what it means to train for a marathon and a sprint. Dr. Hunter Vincent, a personal trainer, provides some guidance on the difference between “sprint” and “marathon” training. You must first understand what’s in store physically for your body throughout your training regimen.
When it comes to voiceovers and voiceacting, you must also know precisely what you’re asking of your yourself to reach your goals. You must cultivate the right mindset and prepare yourself for action. To sum it up, you must know which mindset you need and the difference.
Sprint – Short and Sweet
A “sprint” can be considered a short, high-intensity run or workout. Sprint training includes running stairs and hills as well as working with Interval Circuit Training equipment. You probably had to do a few sprint races in your time growing up. With a sprint, you gave your all for a few moments and then the run was over, or you could pass the baton on to the next runner. If for some reason the race became longer, you probably almost broke into a cold sweat because you knew your best run was only a few feet in distance. The longer the race, the better the chances you could lose strength or become overly tired before you reached the finish line.
Marathon – The Long Haul
Marathon training does quite the opposite. VeryWellFit.com says, “A marathon is 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers. (Wow!) Although marathons differ in their terrain and degree of difficulty, the distance is always 26.2 miles.”
The Army Ten Miller and the Boston Marathon are among the famous US-based marathons. Dr. Hunter also notes that “Although it is equally challenging to run a marathon or even train for one, the intensity is technically considered to be less, and heart rates tend to be a lower percentage of your maximum.”
VeryWellFit.com goes on about how to prepare for a marathon, “(You must) follow a training schedule so you’re properly prepared for the race, avoid getting injured, and feel confident when you get to the starting line. Having a training schedule to follow will also keep you motivated during the four to five months that you’ll need to prepare for the race.”
The Voiceover Marathon
A voiceover business (or marathon) can take many years amidst changing industry conditions to become lucrative. So, to translate into voiceactor terms, operating (or training) a voiceover business includes the following:
- Developing and following a schedule to include marketing, training, and practicing.
- Learning how to avoid injury by having the right mindset when you win jobs as well as when you lose jobs or opportunities.
- Gaining confidence in oneself through training and applying feedback from good voiceover coaches and mentors.
- Increasing business intensity at a reasonable pace.
- Following up with marketing leads and old clients.
- Practicing proper nutrition and hydration at all times.
- Maintaining good personal and dental health plus steering clear of “pop” foods.
- Motivating and rewarding yourself for meeting small goals and milestones.
- Getting proper rest for rejuvenating your creativity and keeping you on your game.
- Maintaining a routine of running your business at a pace that will not cause burnout after a few months (the sprint); it can take years to achieve your ultimate voiceover success.
So, yes, the voiceover coaches have a truthful saying. A career in voiceovers is like training and running in a marathon. Sprints can be rewarding, but it will not take much to cause you to lose strength, become overly tired, or discouraged long before you reach the (voiceover) finish line.
Break a lip as you run your voiceover marathon.