Almost time for an update…

It’s been sometime since I’ve updated this website, and it’s time for a fresh coat of paint. For one thing I’d like something that’s a little less grey, blocky, and just “belgh” would be good. For another I know I can do much better with my audiobook demos.

On top of all of that is the fact that I need to create demos for other voice acting roles that I wish to do. The thought of making demos is weird to me. I’ve never really needed demos before and I’m not exactly sure how to go about making them. I was taught how to be a stage actor and we don’t exactly have demos for that – just monologues on hand. (Though I should really get some new monologues developed too.)

While the world is still being gripped by the need for social distancing, I should be taking this time to learn what I need for a demo. Like what is the material that’s expected, what are the kind of ranges you should consider, ect. There are a few places I can ask around, and I should look up voice actors websites to see if they have good demos I can listen to.

The challenge – as it ever is – is to get it all done. With so many other things to work on, I am fortunate enough to still have a day job during this pandemic, it can be a challenge to balance things. Especially with days bleeding together and everything feeling like they’re in suspended animation.

Regardless – I would love to come out of this pandemic with a freshly designed website, new audiobook demos, new demos for new types of acting, and my feet planted firmly in the ground.

Photo by Kevin Mueller on Unsplash

Working without going to work

With the challenge of social distancing stretching before all of us, for what looks like months to come, figuring out how to remain active as a voice actor and audiobook narrator grows more important. Having a home studio is critical.

However – it’s more than just having the ability to record whenever you desire. There’s the issue of finding work and committing to it. Being alone and not going outside isn’t what’s been disorienting for me, but the complete collapse of my schedule and usual plans. Going from “I do this on this day, go here at this time, and then immediately do this” to “what does it matter!” has shattered my productivity.

I’m someone who benefits from having a schedule and having that schedule mostly full. I need some extra space for new projects and to make sure I have time to rest if I need it. However, I need to make sure I’m keeping busy. When I have all the time in the world I don’t actually have anytime at all. Far too much “I can do it this afternoon!”

Exercise with the family was my linchpin in my schedule. After exercise I’d immediately have breakfast with the family (and my shower of course), and then I’d immediately head into my booth and get work done. Having everything tied together made moving from one thing to the next made my Monday mornings easy to transition through. I was more productive than I’d been for well over a year.

As I’m not able to go exercise with my family any more my entire schedule has fallen apart. I can still try to do my own exercise, but it’s spotty and never set to a rhythm or strict schedule. I’ve tried, but exercising at home doesn’t work for me the way going to the gym does.

To combat this I’ve been trying to give myself tiny goals, things that are super easy to achieve, and switching them up day by day. This way I’m still getting something done, even if it’s at a glacial pace, and the constant change helps keep me engaged. I’ve done okay with this so far, and I think it’s about time that I start expanding my goals. Only a little though!

It’s very easy to trigger my own sense of “I’ll do this later!” Especially when I don’t have someone else asking me to do the work. If someone isn’t counting on me I’m much lazier than I should be. I have a problem where I value other people’s time and energy far more than my own. Another thing I’ve been striving to improve on.

But I’ve done enough rambling. Step by step I intend to re-find my focus, so even when someone isn’t waiting on me I can be proactive! I love telling stories too much not to.

Family Photo of Cooper

Another day another week…

Today was a weird day to cap off a weird week. For starters I’ve started going to the YMCA in my area for exercise. I’ve been making a new push to be active, as I tend to spend a lot of time sitting down. I’m almost always at my computer, which – of course – is not good for your long term health.

Add on top of these new efforts to be healthy and I’ve changed hours at work for the next month. I’m still working the same amount of hours (I would honestly be happier with another 4-8 hours), but we’ve shifted hours around for the benefit of one of my coworkers. They have family in town and that necessitated some change for the next month.

Add those two schedule changes this week together and I’ve been totally thrown off.

Work wise I’ve done mostly paper work. I didn’t audition like I’d meant to, but I’ve been keeping up with my contact in AndrewsUK and I’ve set my calendar for APAC this year. I’ve been debating if I should go, as it’s expensive and hasn’t gotten my anywhere as far as I can tell.

However that’s how these things work isn’t it? You don’t see the good they’re doing until years later. As this is my only real chance to meet and interact with people within the industry face to face I think this is probably something I really should do, even if it’s outside my comfort zone and stretching my budget.

Things I need to do for next week though? Emails. Always more emails. Another task is I have to do some preparation and check in for APAC. Going does me no good if I don’t have a place to stay or a place for my car. Maybe I’ll take a train the whole way into New York? That would be fun! Sadly that would also cost money I really don’t have, but it’s an option.

(I also need to update this website. Not only can I do far better with my demos, but this website is so boring to look at. It’s not the most important part, but I think presentation is important to a degree!)

I also need to find an audition and submit. I’ve enjoyed working with AndrewsUK, but I can’t pay my bills with them alone. I need a wider net. Hopefully with baby steps in auditioning and APAC I’ll get that wider net!

This photo was taken by my dad during our family trip to Yosemite. It was awe inspiring.

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.

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.