Distress and Delight
Truthfully, I had been delaying this entry because the emotional roller-coaster that has been the past few weeks has been astonishing. How could I possibly compose myself and write clear-headedly about my experience while currently living it? But now that I seem to have a sense of direction yet again, I feel it’s time to fill-in this chapter of my journey.
As I previously discussed, I became aware and confirmed that there is such a difference between Voice Over and Voice Acting. This realization did not sit well with me, for as I had mentioned, my dream and ultimate goal has always been to voice CHARACTERS, in things such as cartoons, anime and video games. As much as I may enjoy voicing commercials and IVRs, they do not satisfy the need I have within to express my passion.
I finally decided to reach out to some professionals on a Facebook group I am a part of and what they told me was that, yes, there is a difference. In fact, I may require further study and a new demo designed specifically for animation and gaming. This was disheartening, as I have spent years and thousands on an education in Acting and Copy Interpretation. I am a bit skeptical as to what they could teach me that I haven’t naturally learned in the mixing of my theatre and voice over skills. However, I am planning on discussing this issue with that coach in a few months; these sorts of things tend to be costly.
The simultaneously shocking and obvious advice they gave me was to move where the jobs were – California. True, there are other regions but California is the home of Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry. As I had found out, most agencies won’t take talent on unless they are local (I had one call me to tell me as much: They loved me but couldn’t add me to their roster literally because I am not local). Although the Voice Over business is almost entirely digital and can be done virtually anywhere, Voice Acting is (obviously) a form of acting and therefore usually requires a director to help achieve the end-goal. Therefore, it is almost always required for a VA to be in the studio of the Production company – so you must be where the companies are.
This was obvious because I felt this was the course of action for years. I visited my uncle in San Francisco when I was 11 and instantly fell in love with the scenery mixed with the myriad of shopping (I am a city girl at heart). While I was aware San Fran was still hours away from where I would be destined, I knew in my heart that it was a move I was desperate to take. However, my family has always been extremely close and I have always been financially aware (much to the chagrin of my parents who enjoyed treating me to things – not that I didn’t like gifts and treats but I would always weigh the “economic” versus “deluxe” to see if I wanted the extra bits for the extra cost. This was also beneficial to me, since there were times where the deluxe was the version I wanted and since I didn’t always request the more expensive version, my parents were more apt to splurge). So, even at the tender age of 11, I told myself that it wouldn’t be practical to uproot myself, it would be irresponsible to move without a stable income, and it would be selfish to remove myself from my loving family.
So, it became shocking when I felt I was physically slapped by the past. The idea of moving had completely been removed from my mind. I had actually been discussing saving tactics to purchase a house in Atlanta and my Pintrest started being filled with “New Home DIY projects”. And here I was , now considering finding a studio apartment or 4 strangers with whom I could rent a corner of space for a bed just to afford going after my dreams….
Regardless, I started doing some researching. I found an area about 1 1/2hrs from LA that has comparable rent to where I live currently and apartment options that were one level, which would feel more like a house and less like my college days. I started adding up all the costs of gas, security deposits and the like, so that I could determine how much I would need to save. I even got to the point to where I decided I would try to move between January to March 2017.
It seemed the moment I had settled on the fact that I would be moving, my entire perception changed. I knew it happened prior to my speaking with my mother on the issue but I can’t recall what exactly happened to make me feel a bit rebellious to the thought of moving. This is why I should not procrastinate writing these blogs! However, I think it was more a feeling.California is beautiful and I would live in an extended stay motel for months in order to finish an acting project but Atlanta is my home. My friends, my hobbies – I’ve established myself here. All my life, I felt the urge to pick up and move. Finally, I was ready and even excited to nest. Why destroy everything I worked so hard to build?
In that moment, I had to redefine what my dream actually was. By refusing to move to California, was I giving up my dream?
My dream since I was 4 has always been to entertain others. My passion is acting and if I don’t let it out, one of two things happen: the fire burns so fiercely that I literally become volatile or the fire fizzles out and my spirit starts to die. Neither of which are great options. But I also realized that this doesn’t just describe voice acting. It just describes ACTING. Should I allow my dream to re-identify itself as a hobby only? Perhaps….
But I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
There is still much planning to do before I am able to move to California. I need to replace my slowly dying car and I need to save a lot of money to support myself across country. In that time, there’s plenty to do towards my other option – create my career MYSELF.
I had been planning on starting a harmless Webseries and podcast but now I have direction. I want to start my own Production Company. Currently, it’s “Favole Productions”, as it is my other desire to create something larger than myself. I will be able to act and entertain and thanks to Youtube and the digital age, I can do it all from home. I have everything I need to start and I’m planning on acquiring the other pieces as I go along. Eventually, I will network with others to try to build a team. I’ve already written a business plan out, so now it’s a matter of just doing.
As if on cue, the moment I settled into one option, another was tossed in my lap. I am proud and honored to announce that I have signed a contract with TAG Talent, an agency that works in California, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico on Film/TV/Commercials, Theatre and Voice Over. They are located in the areas that I need for voice acting (and even mention Anime on the resume builder on their website). They seem excited to work with me, as they were in need of a youthful and energetic voice. I am excited because I may have found a loophole.
While this does not change the fact that I will need to be available in-person for any jobs I get, I do not necessarily have to relocate permanently. Unless I were to land a long-term job (that quite possibly could help reimburse my move, as apparently that’s not a corporate-office exclusive thing to do), which would ease the burden of finding employment pre-move.
Now, nothing in life will ever work smoothly. Taking time off from my current job to fly to California won’t be all that easy. Finding a full-time job that will assist me in affording a replacement car probably also will not appreciate my sudden bouts of absence. But I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
This is quite long but I have one additional piece of information to share:
I’ve decided to write a book about my journey in more detail, mostly as a “Human Interest” piece and not much else. I don’t imagine people buying it and I only intend to sell a digital format for $1.99 or something meager. However, I feel that for those who are interested in what it takes and what others have been through, they might find it beneficial to see where I started and match anything with which they can relate. Essentially, it will go into more detail into my “backstory” than this blog. However, I will incorporate the blog’s entries into the later chapters, ending “Part 1” most likely with this current chapter. I feel cliffhangers are nature’s way of proving life goes on. I will definitely be keeping up with this journal as I progress in my new plan, as I feel I am only now getting to the critical moments of the beginning of my career. It’s possible I will write a “Part 2”, perhaps with the ending being my new-found success within the Industry. Or my utter defeat…. I pray it’s the former. Either way, the book is not an “autobiography”. Although I may mention key details of my personal life, for the most part I will have a “blurred focus” on just the moments of my acting and entertainment through the ages. I will not be revealing any “shocking” or “drama worthy” revelations; in essence, much like this blog, it is only my experience on my journey into acting. Due to the nature of this journey, I do not see an “end” – except in the morbid case of my death – and therefore will intentionally leave the book open-ended, as the name “Part 1” would imply.
I am both looking forward to and agonizing over the future but either way, it is the natural course of things to see it through.