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Stagnant Uncertainty

A month has passed since my last post, which was a retrospective & therefore not really the same as an actual “current-era” status update. I certainly have been better at keeping up with my professional journey but I was distracted by a hobby of mine as well as work.

There’s a lot I would say about the profession that takes up most of my days and in come cases (such as now) my weekends as well. However, I was always cautioned about what one shares publicly. I think I am safe enough to honestly say that I do see a possibility for myself to build a career at my current employment however it is not my dream career of voice acting. Those two truths tend to butt heads within my heart and mind and create much anxiety and uncertainty in my life.

Uncertainty. That is the golden word for my current life situation. I’m finding it more and more difficult to pursue an acting career in Atlanta. Voice Over has so much more freedom; commercials and IVRs and the like can be recorded anywhere and more often than not, the client is fine with a home studio although ISDN or Source Connect may be requested. There are the occasional projects that require renting a “professional” studio (as if to say our home studios are not professional) but I have never booked such a gig because I have never sought out or auditioned for such a project. Because what I want to do, is act. Cartoons, Anime, video games, movies – and those recording sessions almost exclusively require the talent to be in the production company’s studio. Not just a “professional” atmosphere but physically present at the round table where the script can be read, practiced, and discussed.

I have no problem with that. On the contrary, that’s exactly what I want. I enjoy my studio booth and the freedom and flexibility it provides but I spent most of my training in theatre. Long, crazy hours that build up to a short production time and then you move on to the next project. Now, I’d certainly love to be a series regular but each episode would be a mini performance and the mere thought of being involved in something like that brings a smile to my face.

But there’s nothing like that in Atlanta. Cartoon Network you say? Actually, no. Their headquarters are stationed here yes but virtually all of the shows they broadcast are drawn, recorded, and produced elsewhere. I’ve tried to get a job at Turner Broadcasting Studio (TBS); any job, in fact. PA, Receptionist…. no go. Atlanta is a wonderful opportunity for cinema and some tv acting, definitely. But Voice Acting hasn’t quite made the road trip.

Disney in Florida? Well, they do have a studio there, that’s true. But most of their animation stuff is still recorded in California.

Certain anime production companies are located in Texas and Canada; I’m going to submit my demos to them, certainly, but if I don’t get a call back, I don’t think they’d have much open auditions. One of my agents has a location in Texas and I have never gotten anything of interest that was located in Texas (most auditions are either Nationwide or specifically CA). And while I’m sure Canada would be an adventure, I would need a work visa and that starts to get expensive and technical.

There are some video game companies in random states like Illinois (Chicago specifically) and North Carolina. But those are so specific that even if they did cast me, I still couldn’t make a steady salary off the work.

New York is great for theatre, street and live performance, and to some extent movies. But as far as animation? There are several companies that way but they mostly do marketing advertisements for brands. In other words – commercials not cartoons.

That leaves me with the most obvious, California. I know I’ve spoken about a move out West at least once before on this blog. Truthfully, 90% of the reason I haven’t made the jump is financial. 10% is family; I am very close to them and would miss seeing them as often as I do, especially my sister who is my current roommate.

Everyone always says how expensive California is but my research has shown that as long as I don’t try to live in the heart of LA, it’s actually as comparable as my current situation. Yes, I’m sure taxes and utilities may be more but their minimum wage is $10/hr whereas Georgia’s is $7.25/hr. For a 40hr work week, that’s an extra $110/wk or $440/mo, which is only $60 shy of what I pay in rent each month. It comes down to budgeting and making compromises on certain unnecessary luxuries. It’s the cost of the move that is the cause of my delay.

And of course, the fear of failure. Right now, I haven’t gotten much of anything b/c I can’t audition for much of what I want. But removing that excuse, what happens if they still don’t want me?

Every day I get more and more frustrated with my current situation and I think the only way I will know for certain is if I take that leap. I am taking measures to make that a possibility in the near future.

But in the back of my mind I wonder about the security I have at my current employment. I can take acting classes and pay for demos where I am. Moving to a more opportunistic location will not eliminate my need for such expenses.

I’m currently weighing my options and seeing how things could possibly play out. I want to be brave and just submit myself to casting directors, agencies, and production companies that require local talent and see what happens but I don’t want to hurt my career by offering something I may not be prepared for.

No matter what, the status quo has to change and will be changing. But for now, it’s just a lot of stagnant uncertainty.

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