More pieces to my puzzle emerge as thoughts fly in—a young girl reading aloud to herself—the backs of shampoo bottles, memorizing, acting the words out with gestures, sometimes in a British English accent. And of Junior high, how this girl and her friends would call other friends and pretend to be a radio station calling with a prize, and other little scenarios begin to surface. This girl had forgotten and at the same time she still does it, but doesn’t even realize it sometimes, she will fall into character when she’s speaking of what someone has just said and say it with their voice.
A series of contradictions seize me—that of a painfully shy child collide with a mischievous side and one that perhaps liked a bit of the dramatic—or so this is what it appears as I look back for a peek into how it is I am here at this most interesting fork in the road. It seems the fork will always be there for me. I don’t see a definite fixed line. My roads and forks seem more chaotic and sometimes they seem to be going nowhere, but I have faith in my road and enjoy every bit of the ride, however small it seems.
The theme that emerges is creativity, expression—bodily and other—and fun. Comfort with behind the scenes, yet curious about what it’s like up front, pulled out from behind the curtain.
The seed began to germinate when on St. Patrick’s day, I felt spunky, and when I greeted my co-worker, I said, “Good mornin ta ya laddie,” in my best Irish accent. I was in a silly mood. He laughed,and because when we’re talking of our office mates, if I’m recounting what they say, I revert to acting it out in their voice, with their gestures. I can’t help it. It’s just happens. So he said, “I can see you playing a character for an animated movie or something.” I then laughed and told him that it sounded like a lot of fun.
I always like to scan the adult education brochures and the community college schedules. One never knows what new offering they will add. I came across a two-hour section called, “Introduction to voiceovers” that was offered on May 10. When I read the description, it sounded interesting, and I had the seed slightly planted from my co-worker’s comment. At the end of the course, we had the choice of receiving a detailed voice evaluation.
A week had gone by and I wasn’t so sure after hearing my voice. It seemed a little flat for the script that I read, but of course this was my first time doing anything like this. I received an email that the voiceover company was backlogged and hoped to contact me soon with their evaluation of my voice. Honestly, since I had not heard back, I had put that idea out of my mind and moved on. It was a fun two hours and now it was back to reality.
On June 9, I got the call for my voice evaluation. I received the call at work. The person left a message and I was so excited to hear the feedback that I asked the boss if I could go into the empty office and “clock off” to make a phone call. He said, “Yes…Do I have a choice?” And I said, “Of course. You could say no.”
“Go on, I’m just giving you a hard time,” he says. He can sure be a rascal. I briefly told him what the call was about. He furrowed his brow. He said it sounded like a scam because I had told him about the “Masters class,” which is not cheap. It’s an intensive weekend. You learn more about how to “make it” and you walk away with a demo and support.
One of my many life lessons: Continue to learn to take compliments better and to “own” whatever strengths I may have and find ways to do good with them, however that may translate.
I must say I was pleased and felt energized after receiving my evaluation. The instructor that recorded us made detailed notes while listening to our voices and gave her opinions about the type of work she thought would be good for our voices. She said I had a tranquil voice. For narration, she could see or I should say hear me narrating educational software, telephone greetings, e-learning, instructional self-help books. For commercials, she hears an all American mom, which was a shock to me. She could see me doing child care, non-profit, health care, herbal teas and any type of natural, organic foods. She said that I could would on my inflection—I need more peaks and valleys in my voice for commercial work; and I also needed to work on bringing the emotion into my voice. It could sound a little dry. I told her it would be fun to do a Pixar movie. She said she most definitely could see me as a toy or one of the animals. Children’s books too. I would love that!
After I received the evaluation, I felt compelled to do some more research. I came across an article that suggested a person take improv classes to improve with delivering dialogue and really honing their acting ability as it applied to voiceover work. I felt a new found excitement. I found a local improv class; however, the time didn’t work with my schedule. The good news is that now I have a new door to explore, one that I probably would have never even known about or even walked toward, had it not been for a silly day and a comment, an inadvertent nudge from a co-worker. And this is something I would pursue for the sheer fun of it. I’m not looking to “make it big,” but of course if that happened, I won’t say no. I’m also in no rush. I did go out and buy a microphone and have read a few pieces aloud to get more comfortable with my voice. I’m sure everyone has a microphone by now, sometimes I’m a little slow in catching up with technology and such.
Public Speaking class begins on Monday. This is my first step, as some of you know, of taking that dragon by the horns and walking right into my fear—a fear that I have held my whole life and in many ways has stifled my ability to move along and grow in certain aspects of my life with swiftness and grace. But, I’m ready. I don’t feel as scared this time, and I owe a lot of that to the support that I have received here at Red Room, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for your constant support and kindness—I don’t forget and I carry these shared kindnesses with me.