For the past couple of days, I have been trying to think about what I was going to write about today. I was a bit worried. Then as I was scrolling through LinkedIn, another voice actor wrote about how lonely and difficult it can be doing voice over. So I immediately gravitated towards that and had a tidal wave of past experiences rush over me. So I knew that this is what I should talk about today.
I first experienced having to work alone before getting into voice acting and before Covid. At the school that I have taught for, I was originally a 3rd grade teacher. The school started a STEM program that sort of became like an extra special area. That students would come to once a week. After the first couple of years of having the STEM program, the STEM teacher had to move. I applied for the position and got it. At our old campus, the room I was using was kind of away from the other classrooms attached to a bigger gymnasium building but felt very isolated. It had no windows and since I was on the end, nobody just walked by the room.
For the first couple of months, I was coming in everyday during the week and spending hours in this room planning out a curriculum to use throughout the upcoming school year. I would be in this room, without seeing another human for hours. My communication was mostly through email. I had no view of the outside world. If you have never experienced this before, it can be very weird. Like being in a small pod in space that you know should be tethered to the Earth but never really sure if it still is or not.
What I learned is that the only person I had to bounce ideas off of immediately was myself. I never liked any of my ideas, or I couldn’t figure out how to get something to work and I felt like I was always trying to figure things out, on my own, and I couldn’t find the answers. It was extremely scary and I could definitely feel myself getting depressed. I originally was keeping this to myself. Until, I said something about how alienated I felt to my wife. What was weird was that as soon as I told her, I felt better. We discussed how important it was to remind myself of the outside world. So I started making sure that I took frequent breaks to walk outside, and make sure that I engaged with anyone I came across with during those breaks (parent, student, co-worker, office staff, etc.) This immediately grounded me and made living in the space pod, my classroom, much easier.
We have since changed locations and I have a different classroom now that has plenty of windows.
How does this relate to voice acting. Well there are many days that I have spent alone, auditioning and marketing, where all of my communication is through the computer with no real physical interaction with other people. I have found that sometimes I get frustrated, with no one their to give direct feedback, and feel like what I am doing is not getting me anywhere. So I have to remember to ground myself. Take a break. Go outside. Talk to someone you see or call someone for a minute. These are things I have to do to help me. The negative things that I tell my are not true. Every time I audition, send an email or LinkedIn connection and/or take a voice coaching session, I am making progress towards becoming a better voice over artist. I have to remind myself that. Not sure if that helps anyone but it helped me today.