Sunday, September 25, 2016

Letting Go (Part two)

A few weeks ago readers of this blog were introduced to the next stage of my life after which I proclaimed that I was “letting go” of the concept of being a full time voice actor.
I soon discovered what it was like to have nothing to do and nothing to fill the void left by hours and hours each day struggling in my attempt to market my business of voiceover services to potential clients. Yes hours and hours. I hadn't realized just how much time was dedicated to that process. I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. So what am I doing to fill that void? Well it's a work in progress. Fortunately as summer wound down, I decided to revisit something that has always given me a lot of satisfaction. That being what authors Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan and Janet Green described as “Putting Food By” -- the craft of preserving fruits and vegetables, canning and freezing, making salsa, jams & jellies, from my own garden and some produce found in the wild. It has always given me great satisfaction seeing the pantry full heading into the winter months, especially here in the dark & dreary Northeast.
I continue to dabble in wildlife photography, but it's more of a challenge this time of year as the migrating birds have mostly headed to warmer climates. So now I seek the winter birds and creatures that are a bit more elusive to the lens.
I have also started reading again, something I had abandoned before cataract surgery. So I'm currently reading not one but two novels. I'm hurriedly trying to get through Inferno by Dan Brown in advance of the film debut with Tom Hanks. I have also revisited an author whose mysteries I have always enjoyed. They take place in or near a small town in the state of Maine. Nope. Not Steven King. His name is Gerry Boyle and the character is a former New York Times reporter that relocated to Sanctuary Maine, Jack McMorrow. When I read, usually I'm turning the pages of one non-fiction, often a biography, and one fiction, at the same time. The thing that's different now is one is digital (on my tablet) and one is a physical book. Yup, I still like that real thing printed on paper.
It will be a while yet, but as the winter approaches, I do look forward to the one winter sport I enjoy, cross country skiing. While we bitch about lake effect snows in our neck of the woods, there is a private wonderful family foundation that helps to encourage the sport in Central New York. It's called the       
BREIA – Black River Environmental Improvement Association.   BREIA provides public access to 50 kilometers of groomed trails and facilities for free, and it never accepts donations. It is one of the largest classic ski, snowshoe, and mountain biking trail systems in the East and I love it. You'll see me on the trails a great deal of the coming winter, this is if we get snow. We only had a few days of ski able weather last winter.
Oh, and I took a part-time job with our local community college, helping when they have events. A few hours each month I assist with ticket sales, concessions and event supervision. That gets me out of the house and among people. It also prevents me from becoming a hermit, a trait which is in the Reed genes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Letting Go

Life comes in stages. And, I don't want be too maudlin when I say this but, it's time to move on.

Every industry goes through upheavals as times change. Right now, prices voice seekers are willing to pay have eroded and tempers are flaring. I don't envy anyone beginning their voice career. These are volatile times for voice actors. For some, paying the bills is not a matter of waiting on tables until you are discovered. It's more about taking what you can get, even though it might mean working for pennies. Old time professionals are ready with bows pulled taught and plenty of arrows in their quiver to lob at struggling newcomers, claiming they are doing damage to the industry. That's what the merchants in small town America said when Walmart came to town. An endless supply of criticism didn't change the impending trend. Consumers wanted more choice and to pay less for it. It's nothing new. Some merchants were able to survive for a while providing excellent customer service. But, the new generations have become accustomed to getting zero customer service and are willing accept it as a fact of life. But when the customer's needs for certain items weren't met by the small merchant or the big box store, the customer began visiting another newcomer, Amazon. Things evolve.

I could quote lyrics of once popular songs such a Sinatra's A Very Good Year, September of My Years or That's Life, Anka's Times of Your Life or perhaps Durante's September Song. But I prefer to look at this decision differently. Careers come and go and I've had two very successful ones and a third, voiceover, was always an adjunct. When I retired from the pubic relations business in 2011, I decided to focus on "the side business" with full time efforts and invested a lot of hard earned money in the venture. I gave it five years, often quoted as how long it takes for a business to actually take roots and bloom. It wasn't to be. Oh I have worked for some large companies and never, to my knowledge, had an unhappy customer. But demand for certain voice types and styles change with time and with the people making the casting decisions. The money that was once to be made is shrinking as budgets get crunched. Media is being consumed differently. Businesses are struggling to find new ways to promote their products and they are no longer willing to pay what they once did to promote them.

Tired of fighting the fight, I'm singing a different song these days, a classic country tune by Billy Grammer, “...and I feel like I gotta travel on.”
Perhaps our paths will cross once again. But, instead of standing in front of a Sennheiser 416 (Oh I'll still do a voice project from time to time, when asked.), you'll likely find me squinting through the viewfinder of my Pentax DSLR and if I'm lucky I may see you at a future grand opening of a gallery exhibit showcasing some my wildlife photos.