Faith Over Fear
My sister told me I used to run around the house as a child, acting out the commercials I heard on TV, so naturally, I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. Instead, I did what was expected; went to school, worked at some pretty good companies in Business Development, but I still managed to take some acting classes and even started auditioning at a talent agency around the corner from my “day job”. One day I auditioned for a radio commercial. I didn’t book the spot, but I never forgot it. I loved it. But life went on. I made a lot of money for Fortune-listed companies.
I always say, “Everything is preparation for the next thing”. During the Great Recession of the 2000s, like many others, I was laid off. During my two-year “hiatus”, instead of burying myself in my oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, I served on the Bereavement Ministry at my church; assisting in two-three funerals every week (huge church). I was grateful to get out of myself and be of service to others who were hurting a lot more than me.
When my savings started dwindling, I remembered that audition years before, and invested what little I had left in voice over training and a demo, and I actually booked work! The work was sporadic, but I knew this was what I was put on this earth to do. So between funerals, third-shift temp jobs, auditions and support from my wonderful sisters, I managed to keep a roof over my head. However, the voice over industry was feeling the recession as well, and once again, I had to start looking for full time work and put my microphone in the closet. Three years later, I was making great money in an office cube high up in a comfortable ivory tower. Grateful.
Everyone has a spirit that speaks to them; call it intuition, your gut, the Holy Spirit, whatever you choose to call it, everyone’s got it. One day while sitting in my cube, it hollered at me: “Girl, this ain't it, move to Vegas and start your own voice over business”. Just like that.
So many fearful messages from others plagued me: “Do you have enough money saved up to do this?” “Have you gone crazy!”, and loudest whisper of all: “You should’ve done this years ago, you’re too old now”. But I knew I could do it. If no one else knew it, I did. What someone else chooses for their path works for them. This is what works for me. The need to do it outweighed the fear. So I finally took the training wheels off. At 50 years old.
Within 60 days, I was on Southwest Airlines flight #777 (seriously!). (I know…why Vegas? It’s close to Los Angeles studios, but not as expensive as living in L.A.) I had reserved a cheaper apartment in a safer neighborhood, donated my furniture, and shipped 26 boxes of clothes and memorables via UPS (I knew all that shopping would come in handy; I would need the clothes as a sound buffer for my closet).
For those first three months, the only items in my apartment were a TV, an air mattress and a computer. Two weeks in, I found an amazing voice over coach and community. I invested everything and every thought into voice over training. I stayed focused because this was my only option, my future. It’s amazing what a made-up mind can accomplish.
Three years later, I am now a professional voice actor. I have a roster of great clients, coaches and agents. I am blessed to be able to work from home and create what I’ve coined “Vocal Visions” for my clients. I found my love, my passion. I am blessed to know that there is nothing else I’d rather do. The one thing I love about voice acting is that I don’t have to look a certain way or be a certain age. I book all kinds of work; from training videos to TV commercials; from 20-somethings to seniors! It’s acting, and I still work very hard at being great at it.
It’s Monday morning, and I have a 7 a.m. session with a production company in Atlanta for an explainer video, 13 auditions and a Skype session with a coach later this afternoon. This is my new normal…for now. There are many genres of voiceover: Animation, promos, audiobooks, the list goes on and on. I’m over 50, and my journey is just beginning.