If you’re a voiceactor like me, you can confirm that we have not lived an ordinary life. Many of us have had to find our way into the industry, and it has not been easy, direct, or typical. We’ve experienced various challenges most of which we’re glad are behind us. We’ll probably never get the chance to tell others about these challenges like how we recorded hours of audio and forgot to turn on the power. We’re not going to mention the time that we cleaned our computer and ended up erasing key files. We’re not going to talk about the fact that one day we called a potential client by the wrong name and company. And the last thing we’re going to tell others about is the time when a producer asked, “You’re a voice talent, right?” (I confess, it happened to me.) Consider writing a mock obituary about your life. Write what you want people to remember about you and keep building.
The idea of the mock obituary came to mind when I was reading Facebook the other day and saw a very unusual note. The post was an obituary for an Indiana man who died in January 2018. But instead of reading the usual date of death, high school attended, and career accolades, this man’s obituary included a small humorous tidbit that said the deceased is “…leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.” Cute.
As a voice talent, you have a lot that you can share with beginner voice actors. Your final summary doesn’t have to be sad or morbid; people write them that way. We read the biographies of famous actors and voice actors like the great Don LaFontaine to gain insights into their success. I challenge you to write your obituary with a little quirkiness in your legacy.
I know this is not your typical blog posting but bear with me. If you’re taking on the task to write your mock obituary, I offer the following points to consider. If you need a little help, seek the services of a professional writer or maybe someone with experience in comedic writing to help you give your voiceover and life story a blend of humor.
The “Never Forgets” about You
Since public records contain your life facts, write about the remarkable facts such as what you liked to wear, when you had your first crush, your favorite toy, or what movies made you cry. Let people know what made you unique and important. Let others know where and how you found your well of creativity as a voiceactor.
What are your proudest life events? Maybe it was running that relay race against the fastest kid in your school and winning (or almost winning). Let others know how you felt when you changed a life-controlling habit, saw the face of your first child, or lost weight after years of failed diets. Let others know how you felt when you received your first payment for a voiceover job or heard your voice while walking in a mall or watching television. What about your studio and how many scripts you think that you have in storage…somewhere? What are the things that made you laugh? What is the script that taught you the most about being an actor, about being a person, and of course about being a voice talent? Share your feelings, your thoughts, your specialness.
Don’t forget to thank the “Big People”
Thank that high school teacher or mentor that told you that you could be whatever you wanted to be in life. Thank those “naysayers” who fueled your desire to make it in this business and prove them wrong. Thank the coach who put you off that sports team, giving you more time for books and becoming a good sight reader. Thank the voiceover coach who finally understood you as a person and gave you the encouragement that turned your voice over career around. Don’t forget the people who waited for you to finish your voiceover projects and brought you something from McDonald’s when your money was short. Thank the doctor who helped you through your ear, nose, and throat trials as well as colds, congestion, fevers, and all the other ailments that seem to like voiceactors. And finally, remember to thank your Creator for allowing you to voice act.
Many aspire to become voiceactors but so few fulfill the dream. Thus, few will ever know what it’s like to spend precious time and money to pursue the voiceacting call and the deep feeling of satisfaction that comes from being a part of the VO community. It’s your obituary. Tell your story, and let it be uniquely about you. After all, it’s your last script.
Break a lip!