It’s been a heckuva year. In addition to a growing voiceover workload, 2018 saw me involved in almost every major VO conference, hosting two EURO VO Retreats and working aggressively to further build the JMC DEMOS production brand. People could easily be forgiven for thinking that I crave big events and moments. You might be surprised to know how often I turn to my very patient wife and voice longing for the days when I was just a fairly anonymous monkey in front of a microphone. I’m supposed to be on vacation at this moment, and I’m writing a blog at 11 PM.
The truth is that what I crave is productive stimulation…..a sense of moving forward, both in my own business and for our industry at large, which faces so many worries on a daily basis. The worries drive me more than anything else, and what they drive me towards is a defiant need to showcase the other side of the VO coin: The greatness and success involved in so much of what we do and its continued attainability for anyone with the requisite talent and business sense. This drive leads me to seek out other industry forces equally committed to demonstrating that the worries, while not without merit, can be overcome.
Working in a business constantly morphed and squeezed by technology and changing client demands, where we are treated like celebrities by one buyer and gig-economy shoe gum by the next, can easily breed a healthy skepticism of anything that links VO to glitz, glamour, and razzle-dazzle. Sometimes this healthy skepticism grows into chronic cynicism, which can lead to taking a jaundiced view of sincere attempts to celebrate our business.
Here’s a news flash: Very few things that happen globally, our industry included, are purely altruistic. People create big events to make money. The best ones focus so much on creating value that the cost is a no-brainer. Galas and celebrations involve major overhead and jockeying for exposure. But they can also bring our community together to take stock of all that we have accomplished and to revel in the success of our friends (and yes, sometimes our own.) Scholarships and grants and “giving back,” whenever done publicly, has an image benefit for the organizers and contributors, to be sure……but someone still receives a life-changing opportunity. Big personalities sometimes enjoy the limelight a little too much…..but they may choose to use that platform to make things better for everyone whenever possible.
Over the past decade, our industry has been attacked by entities genuinely interested in subsidizing their own profit by abusing our good nature. There remain far too many companies and service providers out there offering mediocre products to unsuspecting new aspirants hoping to make it big. The VO sea is replete with real predators. However, the hype is sometimes justified, even if it’s a little over the top. I believe our business needs a little bit of fireworks to remind us just how lucky we are to get to do this every day. I’m proud to walk with those who put on some of the greatest shows in VO, and I hope they will continue to strut their stuff while lifting us all up. And if we pop up in your newsfeed a little more than you’d like, I beg your continued indulgence.