Knock ‘em dead…or at least comatose
All those voiceovers can wipe you out!
It’s 5pm. You’re pooped! All of your 5,276 auditions have been done, you’ve read two hours of an audiobook on geodetic survey algorithms, and your head exploded. You’re bushed! Your voice hurts, your mind has turned to goo, and your mouth is now only capable of making noises similar to a bison being run over by a streamroller.
Been there. Oh boy have I had those days. At the end of them, all I can say is “Calgon, take me away.” The unfortunate thing is that there is no Calgon, and I am not in fact taken anywhere except to the demanding arms of my two children who want me to tell them stories. Because, you know, that’s not what I’ve been doing all day. And any story that I attempt to tell them comes out sounding like a drunken mix of “Mogadishu ukulele Sasquatch”, which makes absolute sense to my 21-week-old, my dog, and the can opener.
This industry can be very reactive, like that thing my hyoid does when I hear New Kids on the Block. An audition comes in, and we scamper off to tackle it. We want to go do it for some crazy reason, perhaps in the hopes of making money to squander on food and heat. We rush to our booth and crank out another timeless masterpiece, dripping with sentiment and infused with passion. We hit send and hurl it off into cyberspace with all our hopes and blessings, as it blends into a digital pool of 176 other voices just waiting to be heard by the same patient casting agent or producer. And speaking of patience, those guys have it in spades. To review 176 people all saying the same thing requires tenacious endurance, like eating potato salad. You can get through it if you try, but you reserve the right to curse the maker’s descendants forever.
It’s a battle, and you and I are both in it.
May the Odds be Ever In Your Favor
In The Hunger Games series, one of the most beloved characters, Effie Trinket, pronounces an endearing blessing over the combatants before they enter the ring to savagely kill each other. It’s very sweet. She says, in her peppy, saccharin, reality-oblivion, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Well that’s nice. The odds of my having my nostril filleted open by a prepubescent who wants my javelin just improved somewhat. *Insert Mockingjay salute here* Hopefully I’ll be able to last another min – thud. (Turns out there was another javelin and it was aiming for more than my nostril.)
In voiceovers, we’re all competing. Mind you, we’re not quite as savage as District 2’s Cato or Clove, but we do want that job, and God help the other auditioner who gets it before us. We’re not competing to the death, but perhaps “to the pain” as Wesley put it to Prince Humperdink. I don’t know about you, but when I see a full buyout national TV commercial come my way and Brad Hyland gets it before me, I would kind of like to see him “in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.” Fist-bump, Brad. Go git ‘em. (Just not before me, please.)
In a perfect world, we would all get awarded every single job we audition for, but it’s simply unrealistic, like Bill Clinton and fidelity. It’s a harsh reality, this cattle call: you’re a cow, and I’m fellow livestock. The job is our silage, and the farmers our best friends, because they provide for us. The cowbell rings, and we’re off to the fields. There’s only so much grass and hay, so moooooooove over.
There are lots of opportunities out there to audition and to secure jobs for ourselves if we don’t want to work at Wendy’s as a fry cook. This is the new normal, I suppose; but as I’ve never been normal, I wasn’t even part of the old normal, which I am told involved beer nuts, because one would have to be nuts to do it, and as a result all one drank was beer. But there’s a grim post-beer truth here.
Ultimately, we must compete. We must audition. In short, we must be savage.
I Give You My Blessing
So as we compete, my hope for you (in my own saccharin reality-oblivion), is that you would be so off-to-the-races determined to get those voiceover jobs, that you would win The Voiceover Hunger Games and slash your way to the cornucopia, leaving a litter of voice talent bodies behind you: lesser folk who were ill-prepared for the greatness that is Voice Talent You.
My blessing would be a branching narrative from dear old Effie Trinket’s, however, and it would sound something like this:
May the odds be ever in your favor
May the wind be at your back
May your sails be fully drawn
May you never want nor lack
May the tide escort you home
May your stars always align
May the job you seek be yours
Unless of course it’s mine
If that should befall then know this
I will bare my fangs and bite thee
With my sword withdrawn I’ll swing
And verily I shall smite thee
For I have mouths to feed
And for them I must provide
So please understand that, my dear friend
As I proceed to kick your hide
All’s fair in love and war
‘tis right and yes, ‘tis way true
But for now I’ll smile and say
through fangs, dear friend: I’ll slay you.
May the odds be ever in my favor.
With love and a Mockingjay salute,
Fellow Hunger Games Combatant / Cow / Can Opener Conversationalist
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