Back from a (surprise) week off!

Hello, hello, hello!

After a mixture of bad weather, a sudden fever, and sometime off I have returned. I took sometime to myself to rest, something I don’t do often enough. I often push myself (which is good!) and never take anytime to rest (which is bad!). I’ve been trying to schedule in a couple of days a month to rest, rather than working everyday. I’ll adjust this as time goes on, but I needed to start somewhere and having a healthy balance between work and rest is important.

These past two weeks I’ve been dealing with terrible weather. Having to dig my way out of the house every week and prepare for a snow/ice storm eats up a lot of time, but fortunately I can usually navigate around that. However – something I can’t really navigate around is becoming ill. If I’m sick there’s not much I can do to change that except take the time needed to recover.

I’m currently on the mend, but this is day 3 of being ill and I’m almost certain I’ll remain sick tomorrow. My hope is that by Monday I’ll be back in fighting shape!

Before I got sick I did manage to finish recording my final project and now I only need to edit and polish it. I was surprisingly satisfied with what I had produced when I finished recording on Monday. Hopefully when I comeback to edit I’ll still feel I did a good job.

I’m particularly interested in going back to one section in particular. I found myself falling into the text with ease and was extremely happy with the bit I recorded. At the time of recording I felt it was one of my better pieces. I often struggle to really connect with the text as an actor, but in that moment I felt at ease as I did so. I’ll often have to do a lot of start-stopping to keep myself from going neutral as I read. This is where slowing down has helped me a ton. It’s much easier to connect with something when the words have a chance to land rather than rushing right through them. I’m looking forward to continuing to perfect and improve upon my craft!

But I could go on for hours about these details. In the meantime here’s a picture of Cooper. Pretty sure I shared this one already, but I love it.

Week 4 of January, 2020…week 3 of my reinforced goal

Another week another audiobook. I spent much of my time this week editing the project I’d finished recording last week. Those of you who read last week’s update (there actually were people, and hello again if you’re here for this week!) will recall I was unhappy with what I had produced. It’s normal for me to not like what I make though, so I was trying to reserve judgement until I went back and had a chance to fix things.

That brings us to this week. When I began to edit the audiobook there were two things that stood out to me. The first was that, yes there were a number of places I could be better and needed to improve/fix. The other was that, no it wasn’t as awful as I thought it was (dare I say it was good in places!?) and I need to stop being so hard on myself.

This is an outcome I was happy to arrive at, even if I had suspected that this was the issue from the beginning. Taking a moment to step away from the art we’ve made and coming back to it fresh is so important. Without hitting that reset button in our brain we’ll see everything just as we saw it a minuet ago. Time and space can give us a more objective look into things, plus we’re typically a stronger artists after a project than before that project

This reminder certainly made my day and filled me with the determination to finish the editing. When I walked away I felt like I had produced something of quality. It’s been a while since I’ve felt a week of work go as smoothly and as harmonious as this past one. It certainly made me eager to get to work on my next project and to keep cracking away at audiobooks!

Sorta like how Cooper is always exploring the woods when out on a walk with the family! Here’s our obligatory picture of him below.

Family Photo
Cooper exploring the woods out back.

It’s a title…

It was a good week, and it was a bad week. Ever do I seem to face the duality of life. I’ve managed to complete my latest audiobook and I’m ready to begin editing and polish it. That’s all good! Sadly I wasn’t terribly happy with how it came out. I’m often not happy with my work though, so I can’t say if this is par for the course or if it actually needs a lot of work.

The problem of course is that I’ve developed the skills to notice what’s going wrong (when compared to the masters), but lack the talent and skill to truly fix it. I’ll wager that this is something that many new artists struggle with. Hopefully I’ll learn, through practice of course, somewhat quickly how to correct these issues I feel my work has.

All this said, I’m sure that once I fix my current problems I’ll then fixate on the next problems that I see in my work. It’ll never end, and yet that’s how I like it. I like knowing that I’ll always be improving. It’s like how freeing it can be to see the more human side of actors I look up to and teachers/professors I’ve had over the years. Getting to have that moment of, “that’s right they’re in the same boat I am, they’ve only been here longer to practice it.”

Intellectually I know this of course, but getting to see it is special. As I head off to bed and prepare for the next week of work have a picture of my family’s dog, Cooper.

Cooper says hello!

Another Week, Another Lesson…

As another week comes to a close I look back and I find it far too easy to ignore what I did do vs what I wanted to do. I’ve gone on and on about this in the past (though perhaps another blog? I don’t know these lessons all sorta blend together for me), yet it’s a reality that shall never leave. In 100 years when I’m a seasoned pro I’m confident I’ll still be doing this.

Could I have done more? Of course, but that doesn’t change the reality that I did more than nothing. I made progress, and no amount of grumpy feelings on my part changes that. I didn’t finish my first project as I’d hoped, but I did take a swing at the editing, took another pot shot at emails, budgeting, ect.

All the while I was trying to balance my day job as a librarian, dancing around the weather, and helping take care of my roommate. Life sometimes just gets in the way, and I try to remind myself of that when I look back and think, “I could have done so much more.” Though that doesn’t mean I should be content with what I did, just acknowledge what I did do.

Something I noticed while editing my most recent piece was 1) how much slower I’m able to read my scripts without prompting and 2) how much more I still need to slow down. On top of slowing down I caught myself extending my pauses. The spoken text remained about 1.5 times faster than it needed to be, while my periods seemed to take forever. I ended up having to edit those spaces out as dead space.

I was thrown back to my theatre days in high school. I remember our director and teachers telling us kids to slow down, so the audience could understand us while staying atop of our queues so we weren’t performing until midnight. It’s funny how the lessons we were first taught often come back around. I’ve heard all the quotes about “even master’s need to review the fundamentals” but it’s kinda fun to see in action.

As for this week’s photo, I figured I should bust one out of one of my mom’s horses when they were a filly. Sometimes I like to think I’ve grown, but honestly I’m still rather young and learning all the basics of navigating and advancing a career as a voice actor. I’m sorta like this itty-bitty filly, just learning how the world works. Though I’m far less adorable than she was.

This here is Piper. At the of this photo she was barely a month old, if that. Fricking adorable.

Step by Step…

The great challenge for myself is, at it always is, to maintain my own progress. I always feel as though I’m taking 2 steps forward and 1.99 steps back. I’d really like to eliminate that .99 (I’d go for the whole 1.99, but baby steps), and this week has been a good step in the right direction. I’d certainly like to continue in this direction.

On top of finishing a recording of short story, I’ve been talking with a company on doing a voice over for a documentary. I’m not really convinced that this documentary job is going to happen, however it’s something I saw and reached out for rather than letting it float by. Another point that I’m proud of was my attempt to determine a fair price.

I have a poor habit of not valuing my own work and low balling what it’s worth. However – in this instance I went through a number of sources and compared prices to figure out what would be a fair quote. I was sorely tempted to cut down on the price, even after triple checking my numbers, but I reminded myself to value the work I do and the work that my fellow actors do.

It’s a small thing, but for me I felt it was important. Putting value on my work is always difficult for me, even more so when it’s a monetary value.

In the next week I’m looking at completing another 2 short stories and starting to redo my narration demos and to get demos for other types of voice acting. Getting a variation of demos for all the different types of work I wish to do will be helpful when looking into other opportunities (and making sure everything is properly separated and easy to find ).

Honestly I’m thinking it’s about time I begin pulling out my monologues and start looking at performing in local theatre shows again. I’m feeling the pull and hunger of performing, and I certainly would love to have something on hand if I ever meet some director or casting agent who asks, “hey do you have anything for me?”

Point of order: Here’s a picture of my family’s dog, Cooper. Yes, Cooper is as sweet as he looks.