Top 10 Clues That It’s Time To Tap Out

Repeated Attempts Got You Up Against The Ropes?

Meade Airman takes tap-out win in MMA bout

Used by permission from Fort George G. Meade via Creative Commons


No Fan Am I


Used by permission and modified from tixonov_valentin via Pixabay


An avowed wrestling or boxing fan I am not.  I do not profess to know any wrestling or boxing terms.  I have watched perhaps only two wrestling matches, though I have written an extensive blog on wrestling.  And though this is now my second blog on wrestling, let me assure you that it is only because I like men in tight shorts.

I am kidding.  In reality, the only thing I know about boxing is that I would like to be that guy that says “Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!” only so that I could announce it in the original Mordor Black speech: “Lâth brash áshûrz du maukum!!!!”

All of this makes me supremely unqualified to use metaphorical titles to draw in readers, of course, so with that, allow me to go on pretending to be a wrestling expert, because somewhere in here exists a stunning parallel that will leave you saying "My oh my, that was a stunning parallel!"

In wrestling, when one opponent loses the will to continue fighting - which is the same feeling I get when my wife proposes that we watch The Notebook again – he does what is commonly referred to as “the tap out.”  This is where he or she simply taps on the arena mat or the body of his opponent, because his leg is now twisted all the way around his neck like a scarf, and his Adam’s apple is now down in his rectum.  Or, her arm has been forcibly removed and she has suddenly grown an Adam’s apple.

The tap out is meant to signify to any observant officiant bystander that the contestant has chosen to effectively end the bout, and that the officiant should “CALL IT.”  At which point the officiant should pull out his phone and dial the number for computer services. This is the point where both combatants realize with great clarity that he is dumber than a box of hair, and then proceed to soundly beat him to death using only their Adam’s apples.

This move of surrender effectively ends the bout, and both opponents emerge still alive, though bloodied and taken advantage of, which is how I look after paying my taxes.

The point?  It is always crucial to know precisely when a match is over, and when to tap out.


Quit Knocking Your Head Against The Wall


When is it your time to tap out?  Hopefully before you are bloodied and bruised.  The cold, hard truth, is that many are simply not meant to be in voiceovers, much like Michael Bolton in a Grammy lineup.  Sure, it sounds fun, and you have heard that it is lucrative, but like any other entrepreneurial pursuit, it requires a commitment higher than that which can be relegated to the level of “hobby.”  By "hobby", I mean Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze making a clay pot.  By "entrepreneurial pursuit" I mean "entrepreneurial pursuit."

I cannot tell you the sheer number of consults I have performed for newbies interested in pursuing voiceovers, and the minute they sign in to Zoom, I’m greeted with an unkempt, wife-beater-wearing, slurred-speech, half-asleep bedhead who unfortunately has equally annoying humans consistently telling him that he “has a good voice.”  Here’s another cold hard truth:

A good voice does not a good voiceover artist make.

I have said before, and I am very fond of repeating it because eventually I hope to be on bumper stickers everywhere: I am a businessman who just happens to do voiceovers.  Marinate in that for a while, will you?  My identity comes before my craft.  Without a vehicle to put these voiceovers on, my career will go nowhere, like Roseanne Barr and starring in sitcoms.

If this is you, you might be beating your head against the wall, your will to continue is more or less ebbing away up against the ropes, and perhaps it is time to end it all.  By "end it all" I mean career, not your life.  Please step away from the railing and let's talk.

Here are the Top Ten Clues that it might in fact be time to Tap Out:

  1. The good casting notices continue to elude you, and you are finding that you have all the talent of a cup of warm spit.
  2. You discover that you are actually kind of a jerk, and only have largely negative things to say about others’, or their approaches, online.  You know who you are, Mr. Unnamed.
  3. You are a serial purveyor of bad advice, and you don't realize it, even with the enormous blowback you continue to receive.
  4. You routinely refrain from either giving or receiving in voiceover networking communities.
  5. You are a “perpetual learner”: always spending money on learning and coaching and workshops and courses, but rarely producing any real tangible results. Perhaps you are even getting deeper and deeper in debt.
  6. You find that your jealousy / envy of others’ accomplishments exceeds your appreciation of your own.
  7. You constantly whine and complain, and are a generally ungrateful cur who no one likes.
  8. You are opposed to things that uniformly work for others, i.e., auditioning frequently, direct marketing, and attending conferences.  You are more or less resolute that you will not do what it takes.
  9. You will not treat your voiceover pursuit like a business.
  10. You are fairly thin-skinned and have no real endurance, like Deb Devries’ post acutely observed.

One of the things that is always encouraged – rightly so – for all voiceover spring chicken, is to get coaching.  <<< Make sure and read this awesome article because one awesome Joshua Alexander is awesomely quoted in it.

Before you spend thousands of dollars on expensive voiceover hardware, secure fairly inexpensive coaching.  Make the investment in the one thing that might actually save you the thousands of dollars you would have erroneously spent, because you were never meant to pursue voiceovers in the first place.  A good coach will have the courage to tell you that you don’t have what it takes, if that is in fact the case.


Time To Tap Out

tap out

Used by permission from istolethetv via Creative Commons


"Now, Josh," you ask, "what dark sorcery is this?  Why tryest thou to diverteth me?"

I promise I am not trying to divert thee, and please join us in the year of our Lord 2022 where we speak English.

Take a step back and give yourself an honest appraisal.  Do any of the Top Ten Clues listed above ring a bell?  Are you getting deeper in debt for this “dream” of voiceovers?

If any of the following are true:

  1. you are consistently experiencing more frustration than reward
  2. you cannot envision a possible solution or continuing this way,
  3. spending time and money on this keeps you from more rewarding endeavors or seriously damages your well-being or finances,
  4. you are staying for the wrong reasons,
  5. your friends keep telling you to quit,
  6. Your Adam’s apple is down in your rectum,

...then perhaps it is time to make like Snagglepuss and exit stage left.

Hear this now, and believe it: "Good is always the worst enemy of best."  Perhaps something greater than voiceovers lies just around the corner for you?  For me, I was made for voiceovers.  I know that with every fiber of my being and the fire of a thousand suns.  However, if voiceovers are merely a stepping stone to something greater for you, it's time to go, because this is your "good", not your "best."

I don’t say this so that you can leave voiceovers and there will therefore be one less person to contend with in the audition cattle calls.  I say this to save your sanity.  And your pocketbook.

What the heck, maybe it’s time to try boxing instead?

Say it with me now, loud and proud: “Lâth brash áshûrz du maukum!!!”





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30 thoughts on “Top 10 Clues That It’s Time To Tap Out”

  1. Thank you for this post, despite the fact that you made disparaging remarks about my cup of spit.

    I understand that no one wants to discourage people from pursuing voiceovers, especially since they can’t sometimes predict who will be successful and who won’t. Nevertheless, we need to talk about these things. C\In particular, coaches shouldn’t refrain from helping a student to evaluate whether or not they are on the wrong path.

    Also, regarding your watching wrestling and men in tight shorts, the gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

  2. Such a great topic! I’m really of the “Goonies never say die” camp, so there’s no way I’m tapping out until I’m dead. But I understand what you’re saying. Usually, I think, if someone says to me “But I’ve tried everything and it’s not working!” they haven’t actually tried everything. They’ve only tried everything that they either know to do (meaning they need to invest in getting some in depth advice from pros) OR they need to work through the discomfort of those things they’re not willing to do (direct marketing, putting in consistent work in coaching, auditioning, etc). When you plant enough seeds, usually something starts to grow. If nothing is growing? You’re not doing enough. And only you can decide if the time and energy and yes, discomfort, is worth it.

    1. Voiceovers can comfort the disturbed, surely – but it was also meant to disturb the comfortable! Good thoughts, BJK. Thanks for visiting and commenting, and please don’t die. Or tap out. Or tap out while dying. Or any of those things.

  3. yeah im not experiencing a lot of success here,, josh – i *DO* feel like im banging myhead against the wall and am not sure what to do… maybe we can do 1 of your consults you mentioned?

  4. What a great blog, Josh! I really enjoyed your audio version. So entertaining and informative! You are so right that voice over is not for everyone. I get asked periodically by people as to how they can get into VO, and when I start to list all the training, investment in time and money, the marketing, and all the other elements that are involved, I get a “Oh… I didn’t know. Maybe that’s not for me.” type of answer.

    1. *Sigh.* if that would be the last sentence uttered for some of these people, instead of “Oh well, I’ll give it a shot anyway”, maybe we’d still have industry rates adherence across the board, mostly. But alas, it’s the fairweathers that sometimes inadvertently drive down the industry payscale by taking the path of least resistance and camping out at Fiverr, VoiceJungle, SpeedySpots, Planet Charley, etc.. I dream of a better world…one where we all know our worth and are intent on success, not just hoping…

      Thanks Theresa!

      1. Well said!!!
        “*Sigh.* if that would be the last sentence uttered for some of these people, instead of “Oh well, I’ll give it a shot anyway”, maybe we’d still have industry rates adherence across the board, mostly. But alas, it’s the fairweathers that sometimes inadvertently drive down the industry payscale by taking the path of least resistance and camping out at Fiverr, VoiceJungle, SpeedySpots, Planet Charley, etc.. I dream of a better world…one where we all know our worth and are intent on success, not just hoping…”

  5. Hooo man. Hearing some of these is tough, because as a mom, I know automatically that I’m not going to have the time to devote to it that I would like to have, at least not right now while affording childcare is a challenge. I also know it’s not time to tap out. I get good results when I am able to put in a good amount of time and effort, but there is definitely a sense of spinning my wheels sometimes when I see a perfect audition and I can’t get to it because I have kid’s appointments to run to or a household to (attempt to) manage or it comes in at 11:00 at night right as I’m about to head to bed and I don’t have the energy to give my best performance. I think, too, that it can be important to realize that sometimes “the best we can do in the moment” has to be our best, even if that would only be “good” for someone else’s circumstances.

    1. Good perspective, Julia! Man do I relate to the kid factor. When we had an infant, there were NO voiceovers. It was the infant, everything was about the infant, and the infant was all. Everything else stopped. It’s even that way with my kids who are now 6 and 3. Totally get it. Maybe we should have just gotten a cat. 😛

  6. This is all great advice, Josh. 🙂 I think the part about one’s wellbeing is super important – if something you dreamed of and tried is just not doing it for you, if it’s just not the dream you thought it was going to be… let it go. It’s OKAY. There can be other dreams, dreams that make you feel fabulous and alive instead of like a frustrated failure. <3

    I very nearly tapped out myself recently, but not for any really good reasons. The break was enough, and the awareness that taking time to do great things is okay, too.

    We do need more men in tight shorts, though. Someone should do something about that.

  7. I’ll have you know, sir, that during our Zoom consultation some years back, I’m certain it was a plain white t-shirt that I was wearing! And I’ll also have you know sir, that when queried, my peers attest to the quality of my voice more as: “it’s aiight”.

    Good morrow to you!!

    1. For some reason, I’m thinking that if your syntax includes both “aight” and “good morrow” then you are a white-t-shirt wearing nurse from the 1600’s, at which point voiceovers do not exist yet. I would therefore instead very much appreciate having a conversation with you about time travel.

  8. Ain’t got time ta quit! Too much goin on to write at the moment. Headline is: We relocated to Washington. The details? Not now :), just glad it’s done! See you over a coffee Josh! 🙂

  9. Great post Josh. It took me 52 years, 5 months, 3 days and 3 hours to realize that I am not going to be a professional football player (insert the word soccer here if you are a Neanderthal). In other words, reading your blog was the final nail in the coffin!
    Some people are not cut out to be voiceovers or business people. Never mind the two combined together. That’s just a simple statement of truth.
    And I LOVE the quote “I am a businessman who just happens to do voiceovers.”

  10. Now…are you saying that you have to meet all 10 requirements, or like many health related articles you just have to have a few “symptoms” to know you’re probably dying? Thanks, Josh for the edutainment!

    1. Ha! Hopefully it’s not a sliding scale, i.e., the more you have, the more terminal it is…eeek! One of the main ones that is so corrosive is #6, because it harms the community…but #5 if even worse, because people will simply invest and invest and invest with no return on investment. It doesn’t make any sense.

  11. Many a call I too have had with the unkempt, wife-beater-wearing, slurred-speech, half-asleep bedhead.

    Voiceover should be a meritocracy. So it’s good overall that our business has a relatively low barrier of entry financially. The flip side, as I often say, is that anyone who can fog a mirror and buy a USB mic now calls themselves a voice actor.

    The thing is, you have to earn it. You have to train. You have to invest in yourself. You have to learn to market your business and find work. Most don’t want to put in the work and that’s fine. That means the meritocracy is working, at least in part.

    1. Nothing of tangible value in this life comes for free. A meritocracy makes absolute sense. You get out what you put in. Return on investment being the name of the game. No investment? No return. Bye.

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