A decision that required only .02693 Milliseconds
What’s your Line?
Mom always said I could be anything I wanted to be.
People choose all kinds of lines of work. Some people choose voiceovers. Some choose to ascend tall electrical poles for the thrill of the zap. Others construct buildings. Still others have a grisly affection for working in the sewers amidst darkness and, well, poop. (Side note: my toddler LOVES when I read "What is Poop?" It's just a great word that can mean so many different things, kind of like covfefe! I think they both have the same origin.) Anyway...some people choose to secure diplomas and certifications; and once they’re officially all educated and graduate at age 97, they can become a doctor.
And still others willingly enter into the painful fire and eternal torment that is called wedding videography, where happiness no longer exists and clients may just kill you with a hammer. For some reason, I once upon a time chose the latter. But finally, I chose the former.
For those of you who have been following my journey for some time now, you’ll know that I’ve written about this before in a previous blog about how I threw away $460,000 and shuttered my old business. But it felt appropriate to write about it again. Also it gives me more SEO traffic and hits. Oh and because it’s also really cool to link to yourself.
Ultimately, with all kinds of work, there are inherent rewards. If the rewards and benefits outweigh the risks and pitfalls, you remain intent on being employed there. Conversely, if the risks and pitfalls outweigh the rewards and benefits, and you stay there anyway, then that means that you have at some point sniffed glue, and are in need of a cattle-prod to your head.
I was unfortunately part of the latter group at one point, and my emergency cattleprodectomy is scheduled for this coming Thursday. I’m very excited to have it removed, as it will hopefully mean the end of drooling, and better decision-making overall. Alas, yes, at one point I once chose wedding videography (which is Latin for career-that-systematically-erodes-your-will-to-live) because I was faced with either:
- unemployment and starvation, or
- being severely punished by snarling Bridezillas who have a taste for human videographer flesh.
For some strange reason the latter sounded exciting and adventurous at the time. I will cite again sniffing glue as part of my reasoning process, because in retrospect I would rather have chosen poor and skinny.
As a young child, did I stare starry-eyed up at murals and hanging tapestries of valiant wedding videographers, pledging someday to be one of their ranks, even if it killed me? Well no, because at that time I only wanted to be Optimus Prime. You don’t aspire to become a wedding videographer when you’re five; your line of aspiration only extends to snack time and cartoons. Also no such murals tapestries ever existed. Also wedding videography blows.
What’s your line of work? Do the rewards and benefits outweigh the risks and pitfalls for you?
Or is it the other way around, and you like to work in poop?
The Eskimo Wolf Hunters got me
I needed to eat. I needed to survive. So when there was food there to be had, I took it. Little did I know that by continuing to eat their food, I was literally killing myself in the process.
Surely, you’ve heard of the Eskimo Wolf Hunters. Your reply here should of course be: “I have heard, and don’t call me Shirley.” The way the Eskimo Wolf Hunters hunt wolves is by using a blood-soaked knife, and planting it firmly in the ground, blade up. The wolves, attracted by the scent of blood (aren’t we all) are lured in to this flavorful bait. They unwittingly slit their own tongues as they lap at it incessantly, warming the blade, blood from their own sliced tongues now replacing the frozen blood on the blade, as they slowly bleed to death. Savage? Yes. Excellent allegory for my life-changing blog? Surely.
In short, a sad, grisly tale that makes me weep for our precious canis lupus – our dearest Akela and Raksha. In short, I was the wolf who needed to eat, and fed on the upturned blade of wedding videography, smeared with the blood of previous videographers who were eaten by those snarling brides. If you listen to the blade close enough, you can still hear their cries. Was the blood sweet for a while? Oh, it was mesmerizingly sweet! I was making great money and becoming a success. But I was slowly killing myself, and I didn’t really know it. Sort of like what happens when you listen to Rick Astley: you’ll just never recover, because he’s never gonna give you up. Consider yourself Rick-rolled.
In the end, as I lay there on my gurney, life ebbing away in the sordid ether of wedding videography, I had to make a choice. Change my ways and live, or continue to be eternally bound to Rick Astley. Surely I was now going to make the right choice. Well: I did, thank you very much. And stop calling me Shirley.
I am Voice Talent. Hear Me Roar.
So, here I stand today, victoriously girded in my voiceover might. My shield slung over my back, holding a flaming sword in one hand and a Sennheiser MKH416 in the other, I do battle daily. Not against the wicked and depraved forces of brides and grooms, mind you (although they can be a vicious lot) but rather against penal bondage and mind-numbing slavery to an activity that wanted to bleed me dry: just like watching C-Span.
I LOVE what I do. The only thing I love better than blogging about voiceovers, is performing voiceovers themselves. It’s a rich honor and a high privilege, kind of like when you were a kid and were asked to lick the beaters after mom made a fresh batch of molasses cookies. Remember those days? When you would violently hip-check your brothers and sisters out of the way and send them flying off into the stands as they, too, made their lumbering way to those delicious beaters, smeared with molasses remnants? Heck, it beats licking upturned blades.
Voiceovers are a truly rewarding career. Being chosen is a fantastic thing. I’m chosen often, and so much the better: because each time I am, it reminds me that I’ve UN-chosen a career that was bent on my destruction. I stopped sniffing that glue. In fact, ceasing sniffing of glue is actually Step 3 in my WeddingVideographer-Anon group. C’mon now, say it with me: “Hiiiiiiiii, Joshhhh….”
It’s been a fun journey here: four-score and two-hundred ninety-two years ago. It’s felt like that long of an odyssey. Think of it! I had to work nearly every weekend of the year. Yes, I got free food at the receptions (usually), but it was a lot of walking, carrying heavy gear, and following Mr. and Miss It’s-All-About-Me around all day, pointing a large camera at them which I would often pretend was a bazooka. I think they were marginally annoyed by my pew-pew noises as I followed them around.
Then came the dreaded production, in which I was required to incorporate every narcissistic element I could cram into a 2-hour DVD production that hailed their glory and omnipotence as I bowed down in worship to their every whim. And if I didn’t, oh boy would they run straight to Yelp: a name which rhymes with the friendly word "help", but is actually crafted by the Illuminati and upon further inspection is spelled “Y-HELL-P.” After interpretation, it means “Help, my business is going to Hell.” Yelp is where business reputations go to die, and a behind-the-scenes look will surely reveal that all of the perished businesses belong to those poor wedding videographers.
There came a glorious day when we no longer needed to do weddings. We had stopped accepting clients because we no longer wanted the hassle. But even more glorious, we shuttered the business because we literally no longer needed the income. Take that, Miss It’s-All-About-Me!
Did I enjoy it for a while? Sure. I was successful and producing, and making a decent living. But those days are over, and I’m a free man. Free to produce countless voiceovers. Free to be chosen. Free to work from the comfort of my home and be with my wife and kids on the weekends. Free to do something I love: which is, of course, to lick molasses cookie beaters after a full day of voiceovers.
NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational purposes. I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.
Check out my whole UNIVERSE of blogs right HERE!
AND HEY! WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!
- S-UBSCRIBE & S-HARE!: If you enjoyed this blog, please consider subscribing and sharing with friends and family, and encouraging them to subscribe and share. Offer treats for doing so.
- E-NCOURAGE: Go encourage someone else today with a single, simple sentence of affirmation. Tell them, “I like your earrings”, unless of course they are manly men, in which case you should compliment them on the size of their chainsaw.
- C-OMMENT: I want to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below! Comments with lots of “You’re wonderful” or “You’re the best” will receive instant approval and acclaim.
Check out my latest and greatest (ok, only) Voiceover book - you'll be glad you did!
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire