Adapt or Die
Used by permission from Vladvictoria via Pixabay.
My wife and I have been watching Ted Lasso. This is a recent show on Apple TV+, which is a service that provides you endless entertainment in exchange for all your money until the end of the age. The titular character is played by Jason Sudeikis, and I would like to add that I very much enjoy saying "titular."
Lasso is a hillbilly coach hired by a vindictive-jilted-ex-wife-slash-soccer-club-owner to rain down revenge upon her ex-husband by sabotaging his soccer club’s chances of success in a nefarious plot to utterly humiliate him. You know, the typical plot.
Lasso is a hillbilly at heart: loveable, genuine and sweet. He is kind of the opposite of Satan, although I am told that when Satan speaks, he has a sort of gravelly, throaty Kris Kristofferson twang. If you recall, this is why I took that joint-oath to neither listen to anything Kris Kristofferson nor eat pickles, which are cucumbers soaked in evil.
I am not certain that was where I intended to go with that, but at least now you know what CD's not to buy for me.
One of the most effective plot lines of any great show is when the protagonist is forced to grow: this can usually come through being uprooted from any semblance of comfort, and is thus forced to reckon with an alien terrain, and adapt accordingly. In our own family’s case, we experienced this ourselves by moving out of our existing home in the middle of a pandemic, presumably because things were boring, and we felt like mixing it up a bit. The first thing I needed to know about my new neighborhood was of course what we all need to know: where is the nearest Taco Bell. We had to search to find out where our creature comforts could be found; where we would find seeds of familiarity amongst uncertainty. Ex-pats are used to this, and my good friend and fellow blogger Paul Strikwerda just wrote a blog on this very subject; however, he is Dutch, and it will take you a long time to get all the way over there to read his, so you should stay and read mine instead.
Being uprooted and moving to a new place can be disconcerting. It can be unsettling. But is that not what we voice talent do countless times a day, day in and day out: moving?
The answer is yes. May I explain? Thank you, I will.
"German KISS Pinball machine 3" by Consumerist Dot Com is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Voiceovers are one big giant pinball machine, and you and I, fellow voice warrior, are the pinballs. I am sure you have played pinball at least once in your life. If not, please visit your local Pizza Haven in 1986. I cannot go back there because of the restraining order. But the sheer thrill one gets from using flippers to swat around a small silver ball in an enclosed space is akin to that of bumper cars. And everyone has ridden in bumper cars.
In fact, my family and I just recently visited the Washington State Fair, and I am pleased to report that my son and I bashed in and dented the fenders of no less than six cars before the ride suddenly stopped and the attendant walked away with my money. To know that it only cost me seventeen dollars for two whole minutes of destructive joy feeds my soul, and makes wage-earning fun. It was, however, distressing to find that I no longer fit completely into the bumper car because of A) my weight, B) my height, and C) cruelty. Bumper car designers with sinister intent love to snicker at overweight people like me trying to fit into their tiny cars that you cannot fit into unless you are a fetus who drives. It is alright though. I stay a bit overweight because it would not be fair to all the skinny people if I were this attractive, intelligent, funny AND thin. It is a public service, really.
As with bumper cars, we pinballs are sent flying off in randomized directions. You may chart your course, sure, but ultimately someone else always controls your next destination. It is a case of "second star to the right, and straight on until the next interruption."
Ted Lasso is no different. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
- One moment he is feeling optimistic.
- Then he gets divorced.
- Then he finds out that he has been lied to and used.
- Another time he finds out that he has been setup.
- At one point he discovers that he was sabotaged.
- And yet another time he is put in an impossible situation of having to release a cocky star player.
- And still one more time, he is forced to choose between the entire team, and one aging player’s feelings.
Actions and reactions. Pinball.
Through it all, Ted Lasso is unswerving in his optimism. He takes the beating and trucks on to the next point. Takes a beating there too. Ted is made of stern stuff, like a tree that is composed of titanium but is a tree. I excel at metaphors. Ted somehow always manages to emerge the victor. Like the episode where he was in a darts contest. I will not spoil it by telling you who won. (Ted did.)
Ted Lasso is bounced around repeatedly throughout the show. Likewise, in our own voiceover "show", there are hidden mechanisms at work, things happening behind the scenes, that we have no control over. Navigating this highly reactive career is very much like being a doctor with a pager. I assume doctors still use pagers, because I am still at Pizza Haven in 1986 and cannot seem to get back. Someone please water my plants.
So what do Ted Lasso and Pinballs have in common?
We, as Voiceover Artist Pinballs, are no different.
A Pleasant Ricochet
Used by permission from OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay
I am sitting at my desk eating some Chick Fil A. Then, just as I am about to sink my teeth into the original chicken sandwich (I can only assume this means from the very first chicken God created in 1 BC), that mortgage-paying audition comes in.
- Put plate down, get up, go record.
- Finish recording, sit down, edit, send.
- Raise chicken to mouth, prepare to eat.
- Audition arrives.
- Put plate down, get up, go record.
- Finish recording, sit down, edit, send.
- Raise chicken to mouth, prepare to eat.
- 2-year-old pops in to show me how dinosaurs can kill an Autobot with one whip of their tail. I note this down as being noteworthy. I raise the chicken to my mouth once again, discovering that it is now the next day.
Voiceover colleagues frequently ask me what my typical day looks like. It is like this:
- More auditions
- Dad, who is old, calls me and we chat for a bit
- Marketing again
- Get a hairbrained idea for a blog that I must immediately note down so I won’t forget because my brain is old and can only occasionally remember my wife's name.
- Run out to scrape off the back gutter because I keep forgetting
- Three more auditions
- Dad, who is old, calls me again, forgetting that he has already called me
- Enjoy a chuckle with Dad
- Record my job
- My kid comes in and needs to show me his kindergarten hand-drawing. All life everywhere stops when this happens
- Directed session
- Refresh my book sales page to see where I am at
- Hear my son disobeying and run out to help my wife
- Run back to more auditions
- Revisit the Nissan USA page for that new model Rogue that I want more than life itself
- Work more on my next book
- Read from a colleague’s book
- Saunter out to the kitchen to grab a few chips
- More auditions
- More marketing
- Free voiceover consult for a colleague
- Work a little bit more on my blog
- Stare listlessly out my window for a few minutes reflecting on how much God has given me, and how grateful I am
- Work on my next book
And the beauty of it all? All of it, and less of it, and none of it can be part of every single day of every single week. In the same order, in the reverse order, and in no order.
I am Ted Lasso. I am constantly moving and adapting. I am uprooted out of my element all the time. I am a human pinball, at the mercy of the flippers of life. Being batted around constantly, forced to adapt, forced to move, forced to change. Just without the Southern twang.
Are you willing to be bounced around a bit? If not, you will never score. Those who are set in their ways will not be moved; I am petrified about becoming petrified.
Adapt or die. Kind of like a titanium tree. Or a different metaphor that actually makes sense.
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
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22 thoughts on “What do Ted Lasso and Pinballs have in common?”
This is a great metaphor for the VO life! Thanks for another great blog. I have often thought that if I had cameras in my space and watched them at a higher speed that I would look like I was inside a pinball machine! My Mama called it Family Circusing after the Sunday comic. All the bouncing around the house moving from one thing to the next reminded her of the dashed lines in the comic when PJ or one of other kids was meandering.
Meandering. It is what I do often. Especially in blogs! “Endearing rabbit trails”, was the phrase Carrie Olsen ascribed to me, and I wear it well. Happy meandering!
Solid metaphor Josh and a great read as always keep up the good work!
Why thank you! Good to see you on here, Mr. B! Thank you for your visit. May you be blessed with a highly successful week! Watch out for those pinball flippers!
Thank you for your titular blog. It has clarified a couple of things for me. Namely, why I constantly have a headache and why time seems to randomly stop. By the way, is there any way you can localize the stopping of time when shown a kindergarten hand drawing? Thank you in advance.
I am also glad to know that Tim lasso won the dart contest. I was very concerned about this even though I have never watched a single episode. My day is complete.
Your continual service to the world is greatly appreciated.
You are titularly welcome, good sir! I will have to get back to you on the kindergarten hand drawing solution, which I find odd. Please stand still while your clock flashes endlessly at 12:00 while I scour the earth for a remedy. I will be back in the future. Most likely at 12:00.
I. LOVE. TED. LASSO.
He’s this wholesome Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross sort of hybrid with a few other wonderful elements. He’s so wholesome that I keep assuming the entirety of the show is G-rated. It is not. And on that note, I love Roy Kent as well. He is a man of integrity and values.
What a wonderful post. I’m so glad you’ve found such a great show! Let me know when you finish the second season!!
I. KNOW. WHAT. YOU. MEAN. And HA! That show is most definitely NOT G-Rated! Wow. More colorful metaphors than you can shake an f’ing colorful metaphor stick at! And Roy Kent does have integrity. Not sure about values though, if you take his mouth into account. Ha again!
Thanks my friend.
Gotta stay optimistic. I think the passion we have for what we do keeps us going despite all the rejection – that and stress eating, LOL. Seriously though, the work we get to do is just so fun, that it’s worth all the trouble, like senior ted, whom I have never watched, seeing that we have no apple products apart from actual apples – windows ftw, well, microsoft’s win, lol, I prefer windows though.
Anyway, it is a crazy ride, but while I do crave a sense of stability and security, I kinda have a feeling that is, once again a Narnia I will never tread again, LOL.
Great post as usual, and on your usual day this week! 😀
Thank you so much! My goal this week was to post on the right day. Check! Now, might I implore you to get with the program and get yourself an Apple product. There’s a good lad.
I had 2 oranges, a golden delicious and a royal gala today! 2 and 2 – one might almost say it’s bad eye sight, LOL. I’m a good lad with good eyes ;), hehe.
Idk, never been a fan of apple… Liked the idea, but compatibility with Blender, the UI on iPhones – just never liked it… I love Android and the marketshare of Microsoft. If I had to switch, I’d probably go back to Linux, because OpenSUSE had memory efficiency bar none! WOW! Windows has NEVER even come close… Blender was pretty identical ito render times, but that’s processing power, not memory handling for speed persay – you know video, so you know! 😀
LOL, I still need to see that, but I get the idea, hehehe.
All that tech-speak, haha! You are techwise, good sir – much more so than I!
Being whacked around by those flippers can be exhausting, but oh boy when you miss the flipper and go falling falling falling into that dark little nowhere-land underneath… oh no. That’s hard.
But that’s just like Alice when she goes tumbling down the rabbit hole, right? That’s where adventure lies! The only question is, will Sumara take the blue pill, the story will end, and she’ll wake up in her bed and believe whatever she wants to believe? Or will she take the red pill, stay in Wonderland, and she’ll be shown how deep the rabbit hole goes?
Another thoroughly enjoyable blog Señor Alexander! I must say I’d rather be the pinball than the flipper! Maybe the flipper represents the blue pill and the pinball the red pill. Please allow me… The flipper resists change, stays in one place, shoos away the pinball and doesn’t allow the pinball to influence the flipper’s decision to stay in one place. The pinball meanwhile is in constant motion, exploring options, seeking opportunities and are unfettered in their determination to reach their goal. Be the Pinball. Just sayin…
I’ve gotta watch me some Ted Lasso, I’ve heard nothing but good things – it’s on my list! Don’t worry, I’ll block out the spoilers!
Also, I especially miss those calls from my dad. He always gave me a chuckle too.
YOU, sir, are most welcome. Be that pinball then! Go git ’em. I am truly picking up what you are throwing down, and if you need a good “Dad” call, I can attempt to be a surrogate, though I am not positive I will cut the mustard!
as always Josh, sage advise!
Thank you Diana! Always good to see you on here. You are welcome anytime, Miss DianamicVoice!
Ted Lasso and pinball. In one blog. What’s not to like?!
Answer: Nothing. Nothing at all!