Well here we are, we just put 2014 to sleep and greeted 2015 with a rousing “HUZZAH!” only to realize that we’ve done none of the things we said we were going to do to make this “our” year.
What are the chances that we can put a stop to our freefall into the same bad habits that ruined our 2014? If we are like most people (and we are – as we are most people) there are zero chances to fix things. Absolutely none.
May as well continue to binge watch Breaking Bad (since you missed it the first time and now don’t understand any references made to it in late night comedy monologues) and Downton Abbey (since it sounded like a long winded British drama about some snooty rich people and their hired help….oh wait! that is what it is). May as well continue experimenting with recreational drugs and exciting new ways to mix margaritas. This year is toast — may as well sleep walk through it.
If, however, you feel that you are different than most people – and by that, I of course mean better than the rest – then it is never too late. The best way to change your fate is to behave in a new way. Instead of listening to the band play in the dining lounge on the Titanic, be the guy wearing the vest and hanging by the life boats. Instead of taking Brian Williams at his word, check his story out. (In fact, stop listening to anyone who says after the fact that they “misremembered.” Many people forget bits and pieces of their youth and some of what they said and every guy always forgets everything his wife ever said but almost everyone remembers when they were in a helicopter that got hit by an RPG.) Ladies – when old white Republicans tell you that they know better than you what you should and shouldn’t be allowed to do with your body and that you should happily accept less money than a man for the exact same work —you should question that. When Sarah Palin speaks you should always question whatever she says and when anyone floats her name as a serious candidate for any elected office, you should smile and calmly walk away– being careful not to look the speaker in the eye as he/she is clearly insane and may erupt at any moment. And when you confront a family who brings their unvaccinated little darlings to a poorly attended get together – like Free Admission at Disneyland Day – you should absolutely question everything about them — especially their abdication of social responsibility and — it is fine to refer to them as sociopathic morons.
These little tidbits, I hope, will help you this year.
I hear you asking – but Johnny – what can we voice over actors do — specifically — to stop our downslide and make 2015 productive for us? And why do you use so many parentheses?
I like a good parenthesis and I love hyphens. And exclamation points!
Here are some things to consider:
If you want to be Simon Vance, Barbara Rosenblat, Katy Kellgren, Tavia Gilbert, Robert Fass, Dick Hill — even Jeffrey Kafer or, God forbid, Peter Berkrot — see what they do and do that. Anthony Robbins writes about this all the time. It’s neuro-linguistic programming. Or – to make it really simple: Do what I do if you wanna be like me.
Look. The narrators I mentioned have acting talent. They know how to create, sustain and maintain characters. They understand plot points and moment-to-moment acting. They know how to tell a story. In their work they are consistently committed to the authors’ truth.
What do they do that you don’t?
You must study those who are successful if you wish to emulate their success.
2. BE HONEST
Know thyself. If you know that you are going to eat every single Oreo in one sitting and you want to lose some weight, don’t buy the damn cookies.
If you are a wonderful engineer and know how to master and edit and condense stuff and do fades…and understand Twisted Wave (which sounds like a Metal band to me) and Audacity and Pro Tools and Garage Band and all the rest and actually know what DAW stands for -great! Those skills make you a fine sound engineer. Those are the skills that make Peter Acker, Marc Avila, Amanda Rose, Jared Garcia, Zane Birdwell and others so wonderful and valuable. Those skills do not make you a good narrator. They don’t make you an actor that can tell a story.
If you possess engineering skills, then you possess engineering skills.
Acting is not engineering.
I betcha you got those engineering skills by studying so I wonder how you could get some acting skills….hmmmmm.
3. END THE MIND GAME
My height prevents me from being an effective shot blocker in the NBA. I am also too tall to be a jockey. Those are realities. Nothing, however, prevents me from trying to be the very best I can be when I play basketball. Nothing prevents me from being the best rider I can be when I ride a horse (which I haven’t done in a zillion years). If your dreams are not absurd – like say – you want to go back in time and prevent the Kardashian Invasion or you want to get adopted by the Koch Brothers or you want to make Kanye West smile – you can do most anything.
If you say: “I will never get hired by Tantor.” You won’t. If you say: “Blackstone only hires people with a million credits”, you’re BS-ing yourself.
Stop it. No one made you choose to do this. You wanted this chance. You wanted to act. Stop making excuses and go get it.
4. OPEN YOUR EYES/SMELL THE COFFEE
Everything I’ve said is really pretty basic. You already know it. You just don’t want to hear it or see it.
YOU: “I’d like to emulate those people but how am I supposed to know what they do and how they do it? Where am I gonna learn what they do?”
ME: “You’re an Idiot.”
ME: “You’re an idiot. You wanna be like Peter Berkrot? Have you tried to friend him or follow him on social media? The man posts every 35 seconds! Jeffrey Kafer practically tells you what he does to make money as a voice over actor in almost every single post! Are you trying to join the FB groups they are in? Have you noted that Dick Hill and Simon Vance and everybody you want to be like are absolutely approachable and open to mentoring and helping?”
5. IT IS YOU
“Gosh. I have a $5000 Whisper Room and $6000 in equipment and the sound out of that booth is as crisp and clear and clean as an Annie Lennox song…but I still can’t get a good paying gig.”
Maybe it isn’t about the equipment.
You must take the bull by the horns because it is your career. Is it fair to say that you really can’t take the next step because you are uncertain that you have the chops? That’s fair. And important to know and, if true, to accept. Either get the chops or get out of the way.
Some of the blog today seems, perhaps, cruel and ill spirited. I don’t mean it to be so. I want you to stop stopping yourself. I want you to succeed if you truly deserve success. Ask yourself what you want and then go and get it. If you have the talent and the drive, you can succeed. IF you don’t – you won’t. For my money, the most important thing is the ability to act….to tell the story. Everything else comes after.
AND NOW, THE NEWS:
RED SKULL LIVES!
Caracas, Venezuela….37-year-old Henry Damon is a comic book fan. Actually he is a comic book villain. Damon has had sub dermal implants on his head and plans to tattoo his face red so he can look exactly like …wait for it…Red Skull from Marvel Comics!
Isn’t that nice. He has even cut off part of his nose to make the look complete. It’s good to have an image I guess. Maybe when he tires of frightening innocent Venezuelans he can switch to a different comic look — maybe Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck.
It just proves what I’ve always said: people are dicks.
BRUCE JENNER INVOLVED IN VARIOUS STUFF
Los Angeles…When Bruce Jenner became “father” to the various Kardashians, most of America thought: “Hey isn’t he that guy from the Wheaties Box?” Once considered one of the world’s top athletes, Jenner is now considered something of a celebrity diva nut job- a must for all aspiring reality TV stars.
Currently, Jenner is planning cross gender surgery which I have zero problems with — you need to be who you really are and that’s a personal decision (a little less personal when you’re Bruce Jenner and constantly under scrutiny). This move, of course, will allow Jenner not only to finally be happy with his sexuality but also to realize his lifelong dream of appearing on the covers of both Wheaties and Cosmo.
As the one-time step-father of the talentless yet filthy rich Kardsashian clan, Jenner obviously understands that he has wasted many golden opportunities to make a fortune while doing nothing.
“All that hard work preparing for the decathlon,” muses Jenner. “Khloe, Kim and whatsherface have shown me that all I need are an irritating voice, boobs and a monstrous butt to make millions in this country. I’ve always had the voice, I am gonna get the boobs and wait until they’ve done my ass! I am gonna clean up!
OWLS ON THE ATTACK
Salem, OR….Park Rangers are suggesting that visitors to Bush’s Pasture Park wear hard hats while strolling or jogging in the park due to a series of attacks by dive bombing owls.
Owls have attacked at least 4 joggers and even stole one man’s hat.
“It was my favorite jogging hat,” whined the whip thin jogger.
“Oh spare me!” said Nelson, the dive bombing Owl. “The guy with the hat? He looked like a total doofus with that thing. I gave it to Brian to make a nest. I did the guy a favor.”
The owls are upset that they do not get the respect they feel they deserve.
“I’m like a joke to these people — sitting in a tree going ‘whooo whooo’ all the time. Well no more! Instead of ‘whooo whooo, it’s gonna be ‘who you?’ You wanna wear a hard hat? Fine. I won’t swoop down and claw your head. I’m gonna swoop down and poop on your neck! ya rat Bastids…”
FACEBOOK AFTER DEATH
At last, the technological breakthrough we’ve been waiting for– now we can stay active on FaceBook even after we’re dead! By appointing a friend or family member to look after your account in the highly likely event that you will die one day, you’ll still be able to poke people from the grave.
You will be able to post news from beyond and respond to friend requests too. We can all look forward to dead guy posts like these:
“I think I have a winning Power Ball ticket in my pocket.”
“You know how you always wondered about dogs and cats in Heaven? They’re all here. There’s animal crap everywhere — but it smells like vanilla extract and turns into a fine mist so it’s really okay. Oh. They spend eternity like they lived, licking their privates. Actually that’s what most of us do.”
“I noticed that Aunt Gladys took all the good china — I thought I was perfectly clear that was to go to Tina! And who got my Prada bag? That was not a knock-off you know!”
“I’m dead. All the time in the world. I still don’t give a sh*t about playing your stupid Farmville game.”