1.3 Seiyuu cannot create their own jobs
“Hoho, so according to Otsuka Akio, if seiyuu barely receive any job offers then what I should do is go out and find my own jobs!” might be what goes through your mind…let me get this straight.
Seiyuu can’t create their own jobs.
That’s one of the specific points about the seiyuu way of life. Our job is to ‘provide a voice’. To do that, we need visuals to match our voices to and we need scripts from which to read aloud. We’re not the ones who provide either of those. The creators – the production companies, scriptwriters and animators are the ones who do.
We are merely craftsmen who offer up the final ingredient of our ‘voices’ to complete the created worlds. I myself do write scripts and act on the stage while there are also seiyuu who run their own businesses but these activities don’t exactly represent ‘a seiyuu’s line of work’.
We are in the position where all we can do is merely “wait” for work to come. I wrote earlier that seiyuu are always battling to snatch up the limited number of jobs that are available. This battle however, is something that we have no choice but to “wait” for. We are akin to products on display on store shelves where nothing will happen unless someone comes along and picks us up. It’s a point that seiyuu wannabes often overlook and that is truly frightening. Unless somebody creates something, thinks, “Let’s have this part of the show voiced” and puts in the request for a seiyuu, our work will not exist.
Of course, whilst you’re waiting for work you can always strive to improve yourself – in fact, that is what you should do. ‘Waiting’ doesn’t mean you should just roll around in bed all day long. A manager would never hand over job offers to such a person. You must polish your skills, deepen your knowledge and try to increase your arsenal of weapons. Then you’ll have a chance of surviving if a producer or director happens to notice your efforts.
Unfortunately these efforts may or may not develop into sustained success, which is another of the harsh conditions of this industry. It doesn’t matter if you persistently sharpen your swords when nobody can guarantee that you will even have a chance to swing your blade at all. In other words, it all comes down to “luck”. It may sound like a blunt way to put it but it is no lie. Regardless, if you decide to sit back and do nothing because nobody will guarantee you anything, you will find yourself struggling with a blunt sword when the time comes for you to actually wield your weapon.
You have no choice but to wait. It might even be fruitless for you to continue to wait. The only thing you can do is to sharpen your blade in secret. However, regardless of whether or not something does eventually happen, you might not always have to encounter the bitterness of ‘waiting’ and the hardship of training,
Depending on the individual, this way of life of a seiyuu could stretch on until the day they die. A person’s powerlessness to create his or her own jobs is indeed, a forlorn situation.
Sometimes I tell people “Rather than being a seiyuu, it is better to become a manga illustrator or author’, and this is because you can create a manga by your own hand and shop it around to publishers. The manga world may similarly be a high-risk business but that (ability to control your output) makes a huge difference. For a seiyuu, no matter how much you try to scream your voice off outside the studio, all you’ll succeed in doing is exhausting your ‘instrument’ and is of no value to the actual creation of a product.
Voice samples are normally uploaded on a seiyuu’s production company site profile anyway and managers will use these as marketing tools. However, I do believe that the best method of assessing an actor’s ‘true value’ is through his work. Thus, you should be properly aware of the bleakness of not being able to produce your own output.