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Austin Actors
Raj Vats

My War Story
by Raj Vats

April 2000

I had to drop out of voice-over class because the instructor felt that there was no demand for voice-over work for my type. You see, I am from India and don't have a thick accent that Hollywood portrays.

I often wondered whether the instructor was asking me to dropout of the voice-over class because I was so bad or whether there was truly no work for my type. Nevertheless, I took his advice and dropped out, but kept my notes.

Low and behold one day I got a call from my agent asking me if I would be interested in auditioning for a voice-over which paid good money? My answer always is, and has been, an emphatic "YES", to any promising job that I feel will further my acting career. Although I was concentrating on Film and TV work, voice-over in my mind was still artistic work that lets you play magic with your voice.

I dusted off the notes from my voice-over class and got to the audition. My heart sank when I saw one of the hosts of a local radio program auditioning for the same role.

I said to myself "there is no way I would get this job." Here was this radio host, a virtual celebrity, who is always smooth and comfortable on the radio, and there I was shaking at my first voice over audition.

I decided to go for it, giving it not 100% but 110% effort. I practiced a few times. I shut off all thoughts about the radio celebrity and gave it my best shot. After the audition I drove back to my office and buried myself in my work so as to shut off all ideas about how poorly I might have done.

My agent called the very next day and I fell out of my chair when the agent said that the client had chosen ME for the voice-over, and they wanted me to play not one but two parts. I could not believe it, so I asked again to confirm. To my satisfaction the answer was a resounding "YES: that the client wanted me to do the voice-over for two parts." I was thrilled that I overcame the odds.

I remembered a poem in my office whose last lines are "Life's battles don't always go to the strongest or fastest man, but the man who thinks he CAN." Those words could not be more true. So all of you folks out there please don't despair; give it your best shot and success will follow.

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