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.