Friday, December 15, 2017

A new test ... of my patience, among other things

{It didn't fucking work.  DAMMIT!}

Yesterday, I went to the Don LaFontaine VoiceOver Lab at the SAG-AFTRA building. This is one of the many benefits I gain from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, a separate non-profit entity from my union. I don't have to pay anything for the benefits I receive from the Foundation, and once I'm in a place to be philanthropic, I shall most definitely make charitable donations to them. In the meantime, I volunteer my time for the screenings, which I am currently able to afford (my time).

So yesterday at the DLF VO Lab, I was participating in a Commercial Workout. I've done these a few times over the past year or so, and they're usually a fun way to practice technique. QUALIFIERS to participate are spelled out very clearly in the event details: bring in 2 pieces of commercial copy, have worked in the solo booth > 0 times, have taken the pre-requisite "intro" bundle, cancel by midnight the night before. Usually, there's only one poor sap who didn't read the rules correctly, if at all, so that one poor sap gets a good public berating. My first Commercial Workout, I was that poor sap. I didn't read the requirements, so I had no copy. To offset my public berating, though, there was another participant who had plenty of copy to share. Thank you, kind voice actor whose name I've long since forgotten.

But yesterday, there were only 6 of us signed up, versus the usual 8-12 voice actors we get in there. We'll get in the booth, read thru the copy once, get feedback from the group, read it again, get feedback, and read it a third time. One person at a time, through the whole group. Take a break and then start up again on the second piece of copy. With 8-12 people in the group, it takes roughly 2 hours to get in a good workout. But yesterday, there were only 6 people on the list. So we shoulda flown through our copy, and maybe even had a chance at a third piece, right?

Remember I mentioned QUALIFIERS, though? Of the six of us, I was the Only Qualified Participant. Two dudes didn't even show up, nor had they canceled or called or emailed or begged forgiveness for running super late or whatever. STRIKE! Two chicks hadn't done any time in the solo booth at all, nor had they taken the prerequisite intro class. STRIKE! But at least they brought copy. The last dude didn't even read the confirmation email or any of the details, so he'd done zero time in a booth, hadn't taken the intro, and brought no copy. STRIKE THREE! YER OUTTA THERE! ... or, well, if it'd been up to me, I guess. Sadly, no, all three strikes were allowed to walk the bases.

We spent the bulk of the two hours discussing home studio setup and getting an agent and using the software and practicing at home or in the solo booth, rather than "working out". We did the "workout", but being the only qualified member of the participant pool meant I was also the only one who knew #WhatTheAbsoluteFuck I was doing, both at the mic and in giving feedback. Had I not also booked an hour in the main booth with an engineer that day, I would have left feeling like I'd completely wasted my time. I was not a happy camper, kids. Nor was the dude who runs the show. We commiserated. If you don't follow written directions, how is one to expect you to take direction when you book a gig? Unh Unh Unh... nopity nope nope nope.

BUT, I also booked time in the main booth! I spent the first half-hour or so reading the first chapter of Stephen's WIP* book. Then the engineer gave me some feedback, and I read the second chapter, trying to follow the direction she'd given. As we were listening to the recordings, she was speed-editing room tone in over my breaths, as well as removing my flubs, so the two chapters "sound" like they flow, for the most part. I was in awe of her skilz, and asked how long it took her to get so fast. She was, like, eh... it's just muscle-memory. So, cool. She asked if I'm also a writer, and I indicated #NoHellNoButIDoBlog. She wanted to "hear" my blog, so I read the last entry for her. She enjoyed it, I think? and said "You NEED to have that. Recorded. I don't know what you'll ever use it for, but let's DO that. Let's record it. Now."

So she threw the site up on the big screen in the main booth, set up the mic that faces the screen, and we recorded it! It's my blog, in my voice! Saved to a flash drive so I can hear it again and again, and If Blogspot Will Allow It, for you to hear it, too! So that is the test of my patience... before I typed a single word in this space today, I told blogspot to upload a ... video. Because there's no option to upload only audio. So I'm trying to upload it, and it's saying that it's doing it, but I have no idea whether anything at all will load. If it does, it'll be the first thing on this page. If you want to listen and read along, then you'll have to open the whole site (as opposed to just this post), click "play", and then scroll down to the post before this one.

It's a test. A survey, of sorts. Would you rather A) READ me, in YOUR voice, B) LISTEN to MY voice, or C) READ me whilst LISTENING? If you're here, reading me already, then I know the answer is not D) None of the Above. Thank you for that. ... so now, do I wait the unknowable interminable epoch for the "video" to load? or just hit "publish", and try a second time, to see if somehow an "update" will be quicker than the first upload? Seriously. It's taking forever. Wah. I've decided to do the latter, having already waited a millenia for the former. Here's the post; hopefully, there will be an update, soonish, with the link!
* work in progress

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