13 again

In the third week of a six-week Friday afternoon VO workshop, I hit the wall.

Whenever I have a weekly class, there’s always one week where my frustration with my progress — or, more accurately, my self-perceived lack of progress — escalates to the point that I drive home quivering on the precipice of surrender. By the next week, I’ve clambered back onto the bicycle and am once again pedaling furiously.

Yesterday felt even worse than usual. Every bit of work I created seemed forced, trite, tired, or just plain wrong.

The fact that, an hour after that class ended, I started the first session of a two-day seminar didn’t help, either. It just provided me with another three and a half hours in which to be awful.

Fortunately, today was a better day. I didn’t rock anyone’s world — certainly not my own — with the work I did today. But at least I felt capable and competent each time I was in the booth. With the day’s final exercise, a refresher on “vocal colors,” I actually sounded like my old, marginally talented self.

Where was that guy yesterday?

Samantha gave me a stern pep talk after the other students left. Her words, as they inevitably do, put things into clearer perspective. “You’re in your awkward teenager stage right now,” she pointed out. “You’re past the point of being cute on raw potential alone. Now, you’ve got acne and growing pains. And it’s taken you a step backward.”

That observation ignited a light bulb in my chandelier.

It’s like puberty all over again, 35 years later. Only now, it’s not my physical voice that’s changing. It’s my ability to act with my voice that’s undergoing a fundamental — almost hormonal — overhaul.

When I first began studying VO, I could step into the booth with the cheerful abandon of innocence, because I didn’t yet know what to do and not do. I was unencumbered by knowledge. Now, months later, with hundreds of hours of coaching and personal practice time under my belt, I’m wrestling with all of the education and understanding I’ve gained. I drag a zillion things to think about — and worry about — with me every time I face the microphone.

Now, I have to fully internalize everything I’ve learned, so that I can stop thinking about it and start performing.

Knowing what my problem is should help push me toward resolution.

Samantha says that once I reach that breakthrough, nothing will be able to stop me from becoming as great a voice actor as I want to be, and know that I can be.

I would love nothing more than proving her correct.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Reflection, Voice acting, Voiceover, Voicetrax, Workshops

One Comment on “13 again”

  1. Tom Ennis Says:

    I have no doubt that you’ll achieve all of what you’re striving for. To much potential and desire in that bottle for the cork to hold it back much longer. Besides, you work with a guy every Tuesday night who demonstrates that once you know what’s wrong, how can you help but not fix it.


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