Sunday, June 13, 2010


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.


Rebb said...

I didn't realize until after I started to get on with my day that I had my RR hat on. My closing very much applies here, even though I say Red Room. As you know (from my first blog), I would not even be here enjoying our company together if not for Luciana and Keiko; and I wouldn't have met Vincent. These days, one can never voice their appreciations enough--with life being so short and all, so pardon me for my sometimes repeating words of appreciation for having met you all, but it brings me great joy to read you and get you know you, to share in your experiences!

Vincent said...

I think your boss's view is a wise one, actually; though "scam" is perhaps a harsh word. The people providing the training make their money from maximising the number of hopefuls by giving positive evaluations. I wonder how many of their evaluations have said, in effect, "don't give up the day job".

But don't mind me, I'm a sceptic, who believes that writers don't need writing courses and neither do they need to pay vanity publishers to see their work in print.

I would think it a delightful outcome if you do these people's course and develop your latent talents, just so long as you don't harbour the hope of getting your money back through any related earnings. I distinguish hope from fantasy. Most people buy lottery tickets in fantasy. Hope is too strong a word for the feeling they cherish.

I do love the way you have written your piece: this piece of your fascinating puzzle. There is no doubt in my mind that you have an exciting artistic talent that can explore various media to find expression.

I would hope that you find your niche in something which exploits to useful effect your admirable self-awareness. I especially like this paragraph:

"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." Yes, you must have your Warholian 15 minutes of fame (or 15 years) - to satisfy that curiosity!

keiko amano said...


I took a few Japanese reading classes and some acting workshops. I enjoyed them, and I think the experiences help in my writing.

Rebb said...

Vincent, I think it is good that my boss brought that to my awareness. He probably saw that I was a little too elated and wanted to bring me down to earth a bit. Although, I think I’m going to put the voice over possibility on a big hold because after doing some research, to have a home studio, I would either need a separate empty closet or put special padding on my walls. I basically live in a studio type apartment and that would pose a challenge for the home studio scenario. Also, although I have hermit tendencies and do enjoy my alone time, I’m thinking this would be way too much time without people interaction--it would take away from my time writing/blogging and thinking. So many things I had not thought about, but at least I explored the option. One never knows how things will change or re-present themselves.

I’m a bit along your lines too, Vincent. I am often glad I did not pursue a degree in English. Although, I’ve taken many English courses, I feel that I was able to do so along side a variety of other courses that allowed me to develop who I am, rather than too much influenced by any one teacher, etc. I have a feeling you know exactly what I mean :) I would rather be aware of a lot of a little, rather than an expert, but expertise can always be mastered on one’s own. It comes down to passion, perseverance, and action, I suppose.

Sometimes fantasy helps me see. Ironically, part of the reason I decided to conquer my public speaking fear is because of buying super lotto and then thinking, well, what would I do. The overall feeling was that I wouldn’t change a hell of a lot, but I would continue taking classes and I would especially take a speech class and get over it. So, that was the final kick in the pants for me enrolling in this summer speech class. How funny life is!

Thanks so much, Vincent, for your final words and observations. It really makes me feel that I’m on the right track and you act as one of my mirrors. I also hope to one day find my niche. Wonderful!

Rebb said...

Keiko, I could just see you in an acting workshop. You must have had a lot of fun. The community college here has an introductory acting class, but that’s too scary for me. I would definitely begin with a more informal environment. Now, a reading class, to read story’s out loud, that sounds interesting. I’ll have to see if we have anything here like that. It’s amazing how many creative type experiences translate over into improving our writing, isn’t it?