Even Voiceover Actors Catch Colds

No one wants to get sick…

It’s winter time and colds are inevitable. I remember the first time I got sick after becoming a full-time voiceover actor. I was actually working on my first tv credit, a documentary that ultimately ran on Canadian television called “No Running.” I got sick, which is both unusual for me and unusual over the summer. But, working moms know it happens. When you have young kids, they bring us these treats.  It wasn’t just a slight cold, I had a hacking cough and a brutal sore throat. I didn’t sound a little raspy, my voice became unrecognizable overnight.  Besides that I felt terrible, I was panicked about the job that I was so proud to have booked. I immediately reached out to the producer. He was so kind and understanding. I was fortunate that their production schedule gave them the flexibility to wait until I was better, which incidentally was more than a week. Any working mom can tell you that just doing the minimum to feed your kids and have clean laundry is difficult when you have a fever, but keeping a new business going is even more stressful.  I was very relieved and learned a lot from this lesson early on. If you are a voiceover actor and you get sick, it is very important to be honest with your clients while pursuing a path to wellness.

Be Up Front with Those Who Cast Us

Maintaining client relationships is essential to a sustainable voiceover business. So, if you intend to make your clients happy, and you happen to be a little sick, or worse, really sick, you must tell them before accepting a booking. Transparency is essential in all business dealings and video production companies, casting agents, etc. expect us to sound like our demos and auditions. If we sound like someone else, this is a bate and switch. If you test drive a car, you expect to purchase that car. If you pick out a slab of marble, you expect the quarry to give you the exact slab. We are booked based on our read, and if we don’t sound as expected, we should assume they will either recast the spot or wait for us to recover. I lost a radio spot once about two years ago. It was an adorable spot that I would have been perfect for. But such is life and it is far more important that my client had what he needed when he needed it. Don’t try to hide a cold, it never works out.

Healthy Cold Remedies Specifically Voiceover Actors

Assuming that we all maintain a healthy lifestyle regularly, it is still likely that we will get sick every now and then. I am gluten free and dairy free and try to avoid foods that cause inflammation. Still, I do not live in a bubble and especially since both my children and my husband commute by train, if they get sick I am like a sitting duck. So, as soon as I get congested here are my go to tricks:

  • I gargle with warm water and sea salt. My late grandmother told me to do this and I actually find it quite helpful. The salt cleans out bacteria in your mouth and throat.
  • I use Neil Med Sinus rinse. I prefer the squirt bottle to the nettie pot. It is always important to use this with either boiled or distilled water.
  • I drink Golden Voice Tea. I buy this in amazon. I am not typically a tea drinker but find this really opens me up and it is very soothing. I learned about it from Randy Thomas at her conference and have been drinking it ever since.
  • I am obsessed with my Vicks personal steamer. It is the only way to get into your bronchial vessels and really open them up. I suppose you could just boil water, but this directs it to your face and it feels amazing. Just a heads up, don’t walk around with it once it has started boiling, you can get burned. It does warn you of this but in case you are like me and you ignore such labels, now you have been warned twice!

Making Good Use of The Time…

I don’t know about you, but as a small business owner there is never enough time in the day to finish everything I want to pursue. When I do have a cold, I try to audition less and instead focus my energies on marketing and client out reach. This is helpful for two reasons. First, if bookings do come in, my voice is in it’s best possible shape (assuming I am well enough to work). Next, I can do meaningful outreach that often yields results as good as auditioning. The key is that if you do indeed get sick, do not wait, take action on your path to wellness and while you are pursuing intelligent solutions also have faith that your business will continue to flourish.