We’ve been through a lot in the last year. The voiceover community is one that thrives on close connections, which until 2020 had always included a regular in-person element. The loss of that alone, however temporary, was a shock. Like much of society, our rituals were disrupted. Our traditions put on hold.
Unlike so many other sectors, however, while we felt this new normal acutely, we found ways to hold on to our togetherness….through social media, Zoom calls, online conferences, and personal chats in private. We made do.
And now, just days into this new year that holds so much hope, we’re grieving in a new way.
Brad Venable was a colleague and a friend. I wasn’t nearly as close with him as many of his nearby LA friends, but our encounters over the years left me glad to know him. At conferences, industry events, and just casual social gatherings, he was always the same guy. Quick with a smile, a friendly word, an arm around your back. And it was genuine. No eyes darting across the room looking for the next person to network with. Brad was always focused on the person right there in front of him, and when you had his attention, you had his full attention.
Maybe my favorite personal story about Brad is from the Voice Arts Awards a couple years ago in LA. I had expended quite a bit of effort making sure my tux looked just right, free of any dust or wrinkles, shoes polished, lucky cuff-links meticulously fastened. Anna and I ran into Brad on our way to get pictures taken on the red carpet. Brad didn’t have a tux. He rocked up to the industry’s marquee event in a stylish t-shirt, chill as could be. And the thing was…..he pulled it off. Because he was Brad. No pretension. No airs. And completely comfortable that he would be accepted for who he was, the way he accepted others for who they were.
How do we deal with losing someone like Brad? How do we deal with everything that we have lost in this last awful year?
That answer is probably different for each of us on an individual level. As a community, we remember, we celebrate life……the good moments….the great memories. And we hurt….there’s no shame in taking time to process the pain and mourn. We support each other. And we appreciate the preciousness of each moment….of the small things we so often overlook.
Me? I’ll take inspiration from Brad Venable. If there’s one thing the outpouring of love for him in the wake of his passing makes abundantly clear, I think it is that each and every one of us should look at ourselves, and our own lives, and ask what we can do, what things we should maybe change, so that we may too leave such a profound mark on the people we have touched.
Rest in peace, Brad. The industry is poorer without you.