Tag Archives: mojo

Where did you go, mojo?

16 May

I know, I know. I’m pretty far behind in my blogging and haven’t tweeted much lately. My article about Thirty Days on Voices.com is still in my head and not yet on paper or screen. Worse yet, I haven’t been doing many voiceover auditions! Something has happened to my mojo. Where did it go? I can’t find it!

I know this is just sometimes the natural ebb-and-flow of things: Very excited, less excited, mellow, downright lethargic, engaged, and back to very excited. The pattern itself is predictable, even though its timing is not. In other words, how long will this lethargy last? I have no idea. But it blows.

I sent myself an email with the subject line, “GET OFF YOUR ASS YOU STUPID LAZY FUCK!” but to no avail. I tried binging on beer and nachos. I tried purging via group meditation.  I tried talking it out with friends and I tried writing things down. I just cannot get myself in gear! Nothing is working.

Voiceover ain’t no desk job. I can’t just sit at my desk and surf the Internet all day. I need to BRING IT or go home. I just can’t muster the energy to bring it this week. Or the last couple of weeks. The days are starting to blend into one another. My mic stand is getting dusty, I can feel it.

Circumstances, while I don’t blame them, are also not exactly helping me out. Working at home is always subject to chain saws, leaf blowers, and helicopters. I don’t care if your home studio is sealed up like Fort Knox, some stuff is LOUD. Loud and unscheduled, which means it can happen at any moment. Any moment that I attempt to record, in fact, is when those things start up. It is making me a little insane. More than a little.

I don’t mind sharing that I’ve also had a couple of minor setbacks lately. One of my niches is doing “explainer videos” for apps, new websites, etc. I have that young-adult-hipster voice when I’m not recording kids’ storybooks, my other strong suit. I’ve done several gigs at a pretty low rate for the purpose of building my portfolio, with an agreement that I will get a copy of the final product or video to include on my website. Unfortunately, the last few recordings I did may never see the light of day. In fact, I know one will definitely not see the light of day, because the client told me so. In that case, all I’m left with is a scratch/beta animation video that they asked I not share publically. And my paycheck. Whoopee doo.

And just to drag you down a bit further, can I also express, as I have previously on this blog, how frustrating it is to not have your audition listened to? If someone doesn’t like my voice, or doesn’t feel I’m the right fit for a particular job, I can accept that. But if I get my audition in on time, I really wish someone would listen to it! Of course, I know there are no guarantees that any audition is listened to, and yes, I know that if the client finds a match before they get around to listening to my audition, they have no reason to continue. BUT IT’S SO DAMNED FRUSTRATING!

What else can I say? I’m in a slump. But I’ll try again tonight to record some auditions if I don’t fall asleep first (sleepiness seems to be a symptom of the lethargy). At worst, attending VOICE2012 next month should be a great shot in the arm, even though that’s a while month away. I don’t think I can be in a slump for a whole month!

Follow me on Twitter (when I have the mojo to start tweeting again) @AlgranatiW

Website & demos (Only one video right now! Sigh.) at www.wendyalgranati.com

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Feeding the Fire: Voiceover and Coffee

21 Apr

Voiceover acting, and acting in general, is a vocation you simply cannot “phone in.” You might be able to drag your tired self out of bed to drive your kids to school, answer phones, run a cash register, or even attend a boring five-year strategic planning meeting with your boss, but you cannot bring anything less than your A-Game to an audition and expect to find success. No matter how much you love what you do, sometimes you need that extra oomph to get you going, to get in the zone, to do a stellar job, and to land a gig.

I’ve found Twitter to be a great place for advice on the subject of staying physically and emotionally motivated while pursing work in the voiceover world. Lots of VO pros and newbies alike often tweet their thoughts about what keeps their VO mojo going. There are a lot of nuggets of wisdom out there. Let’s start with the easiest method: Coffee.

 “Disturbing news: coffee dehydrates the voice. Okay. But it engages my brain which my mouth needs to make words. Ugh! This is a dilemma!” @VOVillageRadio

No surprise that coffee is at the top of the list of motivators. We are a heavily caffeinated society here in the United States. In fact, you are probably drinking some coffee as you read this blog!

Coffee is a cheap and readily-available commodity that has grown into a daily ritual for most Americans. Already a global phenomenon, coffee got its lucky break into North America during Colonial times, when revolutionaries wanted an alternative to highly-taxed tea. No doubt that the Founder Fathers were hopped up on caffeine as they debated and eventually penned the Declaration of Independence, right?

Like all things in life, coffee has its pros and its cons, its fans and its haters. Recent research suggests that the benefits of drinking one or two cups of coffee each day may in fact be beneficial. For example, WebMD notes that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia, and have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes. Coffee has also been used to help treat depression and severe cases of I-don’t-want-to-go-to-work-today-itis.

And now for the sad news: According to the Cleveland Clinic, the caffeine in coffee may cause increased stomach acid production and acid reflux, which can irritate the voice. This is bad news for voiceover actors who suffer acid reflux. After all, what good is it to have your mouth awake and ready to work, only for your vocal cords to sound lousy?

Luckily, I haven’t had this experience. I drink coffee, the caffeine kicks in, and then I’m awake and ready to rock n’roll… for a while. The problem I personally have with caffeine is the crash and burn that follows. Today, for example, I drink the equivalent of three cups of coffee, and then had a two hour phone call. Afterwards, I was physically exhausted. I crashed hard.  Fortunately, I was at home and had a couch nearby. When I awoke a few hours later, I was refreshed but ready for more caffeine, which is fueling my writing of this blog and will shortly fuel this evening’s recording session.

Maybe, if we all committed to going to bed on time and getting enough sleep, we wouldn’t need all that caffeine in the first place. We would all be well-rested, fine physical specimens with clear heads, focused minds, and crisp voices. And we would all have extra funds for voiceover classes or that new mic in no time by skipping the daily Starbucks trip.

Easier said than done.

🙂
Wendy

References:

Twitter

http://coffeeuniverse.com

http://www.webmd.com

http://www.sharecare.com/group/cleveland-clinic

 

Follow me on Twitter @AlgranatiW

View my website and listen to demos at http://www.wendyalgranati.com/

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