photo © 2007 TOM MARUKO | more info (via: Wylio)The eVOlutionary steps have been silent ones since the wild days of the Ted Williams experience (that was all of one month ago…seems like forever). Silent, but not because I haven’t been doing anything. I’ve made some new contacts, gotten some new clients, and done some cool projects.
I also took a full time job.
A little backstory: I have been a working voice actor since 2003. But it was always on the side, as a supplement to the full time income I earned as an IT professional. In 2009, I was among the millions of people caught up in the financial disaster that was (and still is) the recession, and I lost my job of 11 years. I then floundered trying to figure out what to do, how to process the loss of a job, and dealing with how to define myself afterwards.
I won’t dissemble: I did a terrible job of all three, to the detriment of my family. Be it hesitation out of cowardice, brain lock because of a loss of confidence or plain old stupidity, I struggled to get anything going. The only thing that seemed to move in what looked like a proper direction was the progress I made as a voice artist. I gained new clients and new representation, made some fantastic new contacts and friends. I actually built up the idea that I could make a real go at being a voice artist full time.
Maybe that was a bit of self deception at work: I knew that it would take much longer than that single year to be “making it,” if I ever did. So I made the decision to look for work in my prior field, information technology with an emphasis on desktop support.
Not surprisingly in this economy, work was difficult to come by. Interviews were hard to come by. But just as the holidays were ramping up, I was given an opportunity by a former peer of mine at my previous place of employment, except as a contractor instead of a full time employee. I took the opportunity, and then spent the next few weeks before starting the new position trying to wrap my head around the changes I would have to make to continue pursuing the voiceover career I want while doing the every day work that I currently need. It wasn’t going well, at least in my mind.
But a friend of mine, Heather Anne Henderson (a wonderful audiobook and commercial voiceover talent out of Oregon) gave me the quote of 2011, a French saying she read in a D.H. Lawrence book:
Reculer à mieux sauter.
“To recoil so as to leap further.”
This single quote is how I am looking at this next year: gathering myself before jumping ahead. Considering new clients and new niches (thank you, VOCareer). Working on getting my social networking and marketing efforts organized in a real, coherent manner. And in a nutshell, getting my life together.
I thought long and hard about even posting this article. In the end, I look at this as an opportunity to share with others the reality of the business, especially in light of last month’s “miracle.” And I took my cue from the honesty that Pam Tierney brings to her blog posts.
I mentioned in the “How Do I Get Into This?” post that none of this business is easy. I know that from experience, and I don’t see it getting easier. But it is what I am committed to doing, so I can do what I know I CAN do.
Recoil, so as to leap further.
Pamela Vanderway says
Transparency such as this helps everyone, George. Thank you for sharing your story!!!
Heather H. says
George, I’m honored to be a part of this process. You have so much integrity and honesty. I am sharing this all over the place; I think it will be so inspiring to people.
Ray Saltrelli says
Great story, George!
There’s a term in Japanese philosphy, “metanoesis,” which is the process of self-reflection, -criticism, -deconstruction and -transformation. It’s very common after a traumatic experience like losing one’s job or spouse and usually starts out rather uncomfortably. But if you embrace it, it can be very rewarding and lead to new opportunities.
Glad to hear you’re doing well.
David Sigmon says
Well said. A book which I am finding to be helpful in dealing with some of the same issues I imagine you might be as well is, You Already Know How to Be Great by Alan Fine. Also, The Brand Called You by Peter Montoya. Good luck going forward.
Thanks for all the positive feedback, folks. David, I will check those books out.
John Causby says
You go George! Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing a great job. See you soon.
Peter K. O'Connell says
Focusing on your family – their needs, their aspirations – is the job of every Father.
That’s what we do. Life is one big adjustment. Good for you for always putting family first.
And note: your VO career is NOT over.