Why I threw away $460,000

To all my 454 clients…peace out!

Throwing Money Away

"Throwing Money Away" by Images_of_Money is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Humble Superhero Beginnings

Jason didn’t have a wedding videographer.  I had a simple 8mm analog tape video camera and an “S” on my chest.  That’s how it began.

I had met Jason in 2001 at my old church, and we had become good friends.  He’d been a friend to me during a bit of a dark time, and now he was getting hitched.  Tying the knot.  Renouncing singledom.  Entering lifelong enslavement and bondage.  I added that last one because at the time I had sworn off the idea of marriage as a fool’s errand, and committed myself to business alone.  I was married to business, so why would I want to be unfaithful and cheat with, you know, a human?

At the time I was doing multimedia services like video production, video transfer, and corporate videography.  I had never really given wedding videography a thought, and not because of the potential bridezilla factor.  It just hadn’t occurred to me.  Jason and I talked, and I thought, what the heck.  At the very least, it should be documented.  And I was just the guy to do it.

So I strapped on my cape, laced up my rubber boots and curly-cue’d my gelled-down hair, and flew off to Oregon, faster than a wedding videographer bullet, to save the day.  Little did I know that it would be the start of a very lucrative career, several hundred clients, lots of good, stable income, and, on many occasions, the biggest headache of my life.

453 weddings later, after $460,000 earned, I said peace out.


Parting is such sweet sorrow…or not

Why a headache?  Well, let’s look at a headache for a moment.  A headache has a slow evolution where you first realize everything isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.  Then, you start feeling discomfort.  Ultimately, you despair even of life, and want to harm small animals.  Your cat senses this and runs away to dial 911 on his cat phone.  The end result is you wind up wishing you had never purchased videography equipment and develop a lifelong contempt for matrimony itself, at which point you join a local monastery and renounce all pop culture and cheeseburgers for good.

There has been a massive sea-change in the wedding industry.  Overly emotional and immature, narcissistic wedding clients whittle down your $1500 package to $800 and then still expect all of the $1500 package trimmings.  And once you state politely that you’re unable to give those to them because they only belong in the $1500 package as is clearly stated in the wedding contract you silly freak, they run right to Yelp.  I’ve since learned to stop calling wedding clients silly freaks: it’s about as effective as smearing yourself with butter and swimming naked with elephant seals.

So I decided to give up headaches and weddings at the same time, since they are scientifically and empirically the same thing.  I gave them up for good, and as of 2018 had stopped collecting wedding clients for this year. I would collect them and store them in the freezer until they decided to behave; some are still in there, pleading with me and promising positive Yelp reviews.  On Friday November 22nd, 2019 - doubtless in commemoration of Lee Harvey Oswald’s infamous assassination – I took up position in my book depository and took out my wedding business.  Poor taste in analogies?  Perhaps.  But ultimately, it’s now a matter of history.  I left it behind, and drove away in tears of gladness.  I threw off the yoke of slavery and indentured servitude to brides (blecccchhhh!) and grooms (hurrrrllll!!) and weddings (Raaalllppphhh!!!!) and drove off into the sunset.  I sighed contentedly, looked back on all of that wedding bliss and happy nonsense behind me, and plowing into a parked car.  Once I was outfitted with a rental and had filed the proper insurance paperwork, I was on my merry way home once again, resolving to not look in the rearview mirror and brides, grooms and weddings. It was over.  It was done.  The Ring had gone into Mount Doom.


The Edge of Evolution

As an artist, you may try your hand at multiple arts.  For me, I’ve always been a right-brain.  So much so that they’re still staring at case studies of my head X-rays when I was born, wondering why the left cranial hemisphere just isn’t there.  I’ve been an artist, a poet, a singer, a dancer, a writer, a voice talent, a jingle singer, etc..  I’ve made Top Ramen in ways that would defy logic and win prizes.  I have a profound, innate need to create sentences such as “I have a profound, innate need to create sentences.”  It comes from a place deep within, where exists only my heart, Papa Smurf, and a profound, innate love for Gandalf and all things Lord of the Rings.  I must create: profoundly and innately.

Curiously, as I was driving away that night, Edge of Evolution by Alanis Morissette was playing.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Here I leave my story, I leave it in the dust
Although this psychology's been entertaining enough
Here in lies the witness objective with my stuff
But we're ready to push envelopes into full-blown consciousness

So here we go out here on the edge of evolution
Numbers growing out here on the edge of evolution

A propós, no?  To hear that song just made me weep, similar to how one would weep when they see a rainbow, or a unicorn, or a rainbow riding a unicorn.  The vision of my past receding into the distance, and my future becoming brighter and brighter was beautiful, epic, fantastical, and rich with color.

To further underscore that this was the right decision, and that I wasn’t under the influence of another monastery-guided headache, on my way home I received a contract approval email from a voiceover client.  What a sign from the heavens!  Or, at least, from a computer server somewhere, perhaps located in the heavens.  Dude, God’s getting a Dell.

Sure, I could go on serving wedding clients aka wallowing in freakish misery forever.  I could subject myself to abhorrent mistreatment and whiny pleas of “I’m dying the day after my wedding, so please won’t you give us the Platinum package for the price of the Bronze package [cough cough cough] can’t you see I’m dying….”   I could spend time away from my wife and kiddos and sacrifice every Saturday to be with the wonderful narcissists.  But I’ve chosen a better path, and that’s one of *drum roll, if you please* Voiceover Artist Extraordinaire.

I’m in LOVE with what I do now.

I intentionally shuttered a company I had sunk thousands of dollars into for advertising, equipment, marketing, training, upgrades, insurance, more equipment, and other extraneous expenses like psychological counseling and therapy to deal with the clients.

Sure, I’ll miss the free reception meals and the placement at the kids table, but I experience far less headache producing voiceovers for clients, and I can order into the local restaurant which I hear serves great butter-smeared elephant seal.




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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire

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