I have been reluctant to write the obligatory new year blog post reflecting on the past year. In case you were abducted by aliens, transported off planet and forced to watch nothing but reruns of I Love Lucy, let me fill you in. Quite a few things didn’t exactly peg the Excellent Meter. Lucy notwithstanding, the whole abduction thing might have been more enjoyable. Welcome back by the way. Aaaaand . . . you might want to head to the ER to get that probe removed. Just a thought.

Eventually I decided to abandon my self-imposed hibernation, uncurl myself from the fetal position and come out from under the bed covers. With all the trembling bravado I could muster I also decided I should face the reality of what 2020 was. After I shower.

Later . . .

That helped. Note to self: Removing nine months of slime infused skank crust from your skin is a good thing. I’ve got to remember that.

I know you probably don’t want to read a rehash of the negative events from the past year, so I won’t spend too much time on it. My synopsis: Shit Show. With capital letters. That about covers it. Unless you really were abducted by aliens, you were here. No need to spell it out further.

There were a bunch of positive things too

What? You have been spending all your time watching the news and on social media and you thought the whole world was a writhing mass of festering, putrescent tentacles terminating in gaping, flaming snake heads which are clenching starving babies in their teeth which are vomiting sewage onto the lava cracked landscape? Nope. It would be easy to get that impression, but it really isn’t true. It’s time to step away from the video games by the way. Just sayin’.

Freshly awake at the dawn of a new year, I wiped the last crust from my eyes and looked around me. The sun was up. That was a surprise! My house was still intact. Nice! It was warm, so that meant the furnace was working. Further exploration found clothes to wear and food to eat. Best of all, when I walked down the middle of a downtown street crying out “Hello!” to the skyscrapers in the hopes that someone else was still alive in the world, I received a shouted reply letting me know I was not completely alone! The exact words the police officer was yelling at me are not suitable for a family-friendly blog like this one, but suffice it to say they weren’t particularly lady-like. I wouldn’t be surprised if she became a cop because the Marines kicked her out for being too badass.

As a side note, I don’t recommend starting a new year by acting insane and getting arrested. On the surface, as far as New Year’s activities go it has a lot of flair, but in reality it lacks something in the enjoyment department.

Still not sold?

Need further convincing there was ample good last year? You don’t have to look far. There is a piled high scoop full of evidence right here in our own voice-over community. The voice-over industry as a whole proved to be incredibly resilient and flexible while many others came to a standstill. The year wasn’t kind to many of us financially, but I have heard several people say they’ve had incredibly good years in their business. Personal-best years. That isn’t me, but it is fantastic nonetheless! I couldn’t be happier for them. Really. Don’t give me that look. I mean it!

A lot changed, but depending on our perspective, some were for the better. To the surprise of many, mature, calm, comforting sounding voices found themselves in demand. It may be selfish of me, but that’s good news to people of my age who had grown tired of 99% of auditions having “young” or “millennial” written on them. More generally, genres like e-learning expanded rapidly and promises to continue to do so.

You can find good things if you look for them

Where I particularly encourage you to look is to our community members themselves. Just a tiny sample from my own social media circle shows dozens of people who bring light into a dark place.

There are people like J. Michael Collins who is a genial, wise anchor of well reasoned perspective for us all.

Some are inspiringly compassionate to others. Kay Bess is a good example.

There are many who don’t hesitate to jump in any time they have something valuable to share; genuinely generous people like Brigid Reale, Brad Hyland and Patrick Kirchner.

Others unselfishly offer their hard-earned knowledge to help those who need it; I’m looking at you, Roy Yokelson, Curt Bonnem & Don Baarns.

Some lift us up by making us laugh like the incomparable Liz Atherton.

There are those like Debi Derryberry, Nicola Redman and Scott Parkin whose energy and enthusiasm is a gift in itself.

There are encouragers galore; Anne Ganguzza for example.

Have you seen the tidbits of experience shared regularly by people like Kim Handysides, Marc Cashman, Marc Scott, George Whittam & Dan Lenard? Sure, some of the sharing is at least partially intended to promote their services, but so what? It is good stuff, free of charge, which if applied can often lead to improvements in our business or performance. That is a blessing!

I mention these people because they are great examples of the kind of kindness and generosity I want you to see. They didn’t ask me to mention them so please don’t connect with them to ask for favors. I have found that if you are open with your needs and questions on voice-over related social media, someone will step up to the plate to answer. Let it be an organic thing.

Only the beginning

All of this is further evidence of the unique nature of our voice-over family, and this is just the tip of my personal iceberg. They may not know it, but all of these people have added light to my days in the past year. I am thankful for these people and many others like them (please forgive me if I didn’t mention you!).

I am also thankful that there is a bail system to get a person out of jail when needed. More than anything I am thankful that the Festering Tentacles of Flaming Snake Heads with Puking Babies Monster hasn’t caught up to me yet. It’s a day-to-day thing.

It’s okay – open your eyes

No, I may look the part, but I’m not a fool. The blankets are off and I am not hiding my head in the sand. I know things have been bad. Devastating even. If you are in a dark place because of the terrible things that have happened in the past year, my heart breaks for you. I just don’t want you to get lost in the darkness. 

Look for those all around you – even if only online – who exude kindness and positivity. We are fortunate to be blessed with so much of it in our industry. No matter where you go and no matter how dark it gets, there is always light. There is always goodness. Things aren’t as bad as they look.

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2 Responses

  1. Note to self: make sure to use “slime infused skank crust” in a future blog.

    Further note: make sure to use “writhing mass of festering, putrescent tentacles terminating in gaping, flaming snake heads which are clenching starving babies in their teeth which are vomiting sewage onto the lava cracked landscape” in a future blog.

    Even further note: make sure to use “Festering Tentacles of Flaming Snake Heads with Puking Babies Monster”, with proper capitalization to invoke respect, in a future blog.

    Note to Author: you may want to change the title of this TL;DR blog. It was NOT too long, and I DID read it. 🙂

    Thanks Jon!

    • I am glad to add to your esteemed writings in any way I can my friend. And thanks for reading the whole thing. I’m pretty sure that act of bravery and fortitude earns you a coupon for a free scrub and wax at any of the Buff-n-Go halo cleaning stations in heaven! Congratulations!

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