Something happened today that hasn’t happened in the 30 plus years I’ve been a voiceover actor. I actually got fired from a job. It was weird to say the least. I had worked 4 and 1/4 hours of the 8 hours that I’d been booked. After the first day, everyone was saying what a great job I did. The next day was going fine, and then all of a sudden, the producer asked me to come into her office. She told me that they wanted to explore a different type of voice and said she would pay me for the entire days work but that I could go home. Hmmm. I could have ranted, raved, threw a tantrum or got depressed, but I was thinking, “well, at least I’m getting paid, and now I won’t have to rush to my next appointment.”
I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t bummed out because that sort of thing happens sometimes. Well, it hasn’t really happened to me until today, but it’s a part of being an actor. You can’t take stuff like that personally. If I had been a total jerk, or couldn’t act, it would have been a different story. However, I was doing perfectly fine. I wasn’t choking, popping, spitting, slurring, or coughing. My voice was clear and I wasn’t flubbing an inordinate number of lines. I was just doing my job, taking direction, and trying my best. Sometimes the vision just doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to and you end up on the chopping block.
I was a little bummed, because it had been a while since I worked and it was nice to get out to a studio, to be with the people I knew working in the profession I’ve been part of forever. I’ve diverted into other areas of interest in the last ten years, mainly as a means of survival after my husband passed away. Acting is not a predictable type of job. Sometimes you’re busy and sometimes you’re not. A small percentage of actors are always busy, but 90% do hardly anything at all. I, at least, worked quite a bit comparatively. My IMDB reads about 90 titles but that’s just a portion of the amount of work I’ve done since 1981. I can’t remember must of the titles.
Things have certainly changed since I first started working. Back in the day (that’s such a weird expression) we would go in, sometimes work in groups, or alone with just a director in the booth. We’d breeze through sessions and have tons of laughs. Now there are other people, in addition to the director, sitting in the booth staring at computers and offering input on every single line including simple little efforts like “ha” and “ugh.” Some don’t even speak English all that well. (I’m speaking of the dubbing world) They often times override the director. It always seems to turn out that the way you said the line in the first take is what they eventually decide to keep in the end. You may do 10 takes but the last one sounds just like the first and they take it. It’s kind of hilarious.
The point is: if you want to be an actor, you have to roll with the punches. You may be imagining that everyone is against you, and that you’re being blacklisted for some reason. (Maybe because you aren’t 20 anymore) but it’s probably not the case. They just may need a brunette instead of a blonde, or a voice with texture rather than cute. They may not even know what they want.
Oh, well, it’s their dime. I just show up to work when I get booked. I always do the best that I can and that’s all I can do.
Till next time if there is one.
I’m not shedding a tear and it gave me fodder to write a blog post.