How Do We Defeat The Nothing?

With Luck! (...and a little hard work doesn't hurt)

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When The Nothing Eats The Everything

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It is kind of like I woke up and everyone was on vacation.  You know, one of those fun tropical vacations where all the cool people are invited, so, naturally, I would have never heard about it.  All I would get is a "wish you were here" postcard.  Only this time, I could see all of my voiceover colleagues laughing it up with party hats over there: every one of them celebrating their huge wins and giant victories (see: huge wins) on social media and Facebook (see: social media).  And yet here I was, over here, wallowing, with nothing happening.  In times like these, my only form of entertainment is to sniff my finger.

I am the one sitting on the floor below the winners' table, eagerly waiting for precious random scraps to come falling down so that I can snatch them up and fill my growling belly.  So far all I have found down here is lint, and a shriveled raisin that looks more or less like Estelle Getty.

It is that time of the year when The Nothing happens.  Now, God bless you hardworking voiceover colleagues for whom everything always works out, and for whom there is a wealth of work 24-7, so much so that you can only assist your clients in the order that they are received, so your most recent booking has been slated for December 2187.  Good for you!  I mean that.  But over here, The Nothing cometh.

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And just like that, I am adrift in the void with some overdramatic chick named Moon-Child.

It is more or less how I feel every single time I hear about some new celebrity or development that I, who am about as old as that boulder over there (Mmmm, delicious limestone rock!), have of course heard nothing about and am otherwise oblivious to. Many things these days do not make it onto my radar anymore, such as:

  • K-Pop. Apparently this is Korean music dominated by a boy band known as BTS.  I was under the impression that K-Pop was a revolutionary new type of movie snack, and that BTS was possibly some kind of painful rash you get from eating too much K-Pop.
  • Bae”. Apparently this is a colloquialism, short for “Babe.”  I am told this comes from youth who are lying on the ground in a chalk cutout, either dead or dying, who cannot possibly summon up the energy required to produce two consonants in one word.
  • YOLO”. Apparently this means “You only live once”.  I had been proceeding along the understanding that this was either a child’s toy on a string, or some kind of delectable new yogurt.
  • Moobs.” I have actually known full well what these are since I embarked upon my career of overeating; I just did not expect them to emerge into the collective conscience so soon or so prominently: flapping and bouncing around for all to see.
  • Josh Fight.” This is apparently an annual pool noodles fight between anyone and everyone named Josh.  As it turns out, I am ineligible to participate, because I am a lover not a fighter.
  • "Tapinarof" - apparently this is a new ointment for psoriasis, which I have.  I was under the impression that it cured BTS, so I have been attending their concerts and smearing it on them instead.
  • I only recently learned that an antelope can jump higher than a house!  That is because it has powerful hind legs and also because a house cannot jump at all.

 

It seems my life is only ever lived in fait accompli:

Other People: “Oh, Josh, did you hear about blah blah blah?”

Josh: “Why, no…no I have not heard anything about that because I was too busy eating my YOLO with a bowl of K-Pop and listening to my moobs flap. Excuse me, do you have any Tapinarof?"

 

What does all of this add up to?

NOTHING.

It has really been that bad, sitting here and feeling disconnected from jobs and people lately.  The only thing that has been happening is Nothing.  It is what happens when you stare at your computer monitor and outstretch your hand with your fancy new telekinetic abilities and try to conjure up work.

Sure, summer takes people away, and there are, consequently, less pickings for all of us voice talent.  Also:

  • Agents have less jobs to offer
  • our kids are home and competing for our attention during working hours
  • there is a glistening pool outside that I am repeatedly sucked into by a Death Star Tractor Beam, and
  • there is some unfamiliar blazing yellow orb that has decided to take residence in the sky above our house?  We do not know what it is because all we get is rain here, but the constant heat and brightness brings with it this strange, unexpected and irritating vitality and health.

 

Numbers have been down, I have failed to meet my weekly goals a few times in a row, and then Covid struck, which took me out of the game and forced me to blog about peeing.

It has been like watching Artax sinking slowly in the Swamps of Sadness, which, as with many of my fellow Gen X'ers, is the point where I remember first needing counselling.  The journey has been as impossible as Morla said: "You can't.....it's ten....thousand....miles....away...."

There is yet another word for this type of disconnect.

Slump.  Or Sucky Suckfest.  Take your pick.

 

Shot At And Left in the Dust

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Now, I am not often one to lament my woes publicly.  But if you will indulge me a moment: *clears throat*  I’M JUST SUCH A LOSERY LOSER WHO LOSES!!!!  WAAAAAH!  WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Thank you, I am done.  The truth - because I have been lying to you about everything thus far - is that I would rather share victories that encourage and spur people on toward greatness, sit back with my giant bowl of microwave buttery K-Pop, and watch the ensuing magical happiness spread.

However, as one of my favorite authors once shared, “Victories without struggles put us on a ridiculous pedestal.  Struggles without victories make us communicators of heaviness instead of hope.” (Ted Roberts, Pure Desire).  So this time I am sharing  what a miserable failure I am, groveling in the dust and emitting pathetic, whimpering groans.  I’m fat and no one likes me.  I belch and intentionally yodel in elevators.  I sniff my finger.  I once tried to step on a bird. I’m disgusting and altogether revolting and I still listen to Wham!

Here’s the hard truth lately:

  • I have not hit my weekly goals for two weeks in a row
  • I have averaged only 8 jobs per week over the past few weeks
  • I have taken great pains lately to improve my thumb twiddling craft
  • I have not really wanted to do any marketing
  • I have been endlessly tinkering on my new blog website
  • I’ve had a mild lingering cough and cold from Covid
  • I have become a Ninja Master of a new skill: counting the paint bubbles on my wall (4,396,618).

 

But even in all this Nothing, there is yet still a grain of hope.

 

Silver Linings

OK, enough whimpering.  There’s always some good that comes out of undesirable situations.  Sometimes you have to really scour for it, but believe me, it is there.  So let us discuss the good that has come out of this slowdown:

  • I published this new blog website, which you, dear reader, are sitting and reading while I sneak off to audition for the jobs that you’re missing while I keep you occupied with lengthy sentences containing such endearments as “dear reader”
  • I revamped my main VO website with updated links and consistency
  • I overhauled my voiceover store so that it is a more convenient browsing experience
  • I designed and received new updated business cards
  • I planned a new From Hobby To Enterprise workshop
  • I am currently doing much swimming with my boys in our backyard pool
  • We went to Northwest Trek and enjoyed seeing wildlife
  • Our family created a time capsule and buried it in the pasture. I am sure we will dig it up when we discover that we accidentally included the remote control in there
  • I started exercising sporadically.  By sporadically I mean every 32nd month on the 7th Thursday
  • I painted the door of our new shop
  • I worked on improving my auditions with more takes for variety
  • I paid off my new 2021 Nissan Rogue with the money I am not making

 

Here are my questions for you:

  1. Are things slow for you?  Perhaps there is a reason?
  2. What can you do to take advantage of this free time?
  3. What areas can you take time to reflect on and improve?
  4. How can you optimize your marketing approaches?
  5. What time is it where you are?  (A perfectly legitimate question; please stop looking at me funny.)
  6. What kind of new techniques can you retain coaching for and learn?
  7. Do you have savings to carry you through dry spells?

 

Voiceovers can be a roller-coaster career.  Full of ups and downs.  Replete with lush bounty and cracked desert.  Feast and famine.  You have to constantly grease this wheel, and surrender?  It is not an option.

So plunge headlong into it!  Keep at it!  Damn the torpedoes!  Full speed ahead!  May fortune favor the foolhardy!  May you "trust and be brave", as Kay Bess says, as you still put yourself out there and repeatedly try to spark a bit of flame to reignite momentum, as I am doing.

How you navigate this journey, the bad with the good, whether you are rolling on a bed of cash or clawing your way through the dust, is up to you.  Of course, if you develop a bad case of BTS, I have some Tapinarof I would be happy to smear on you.

Keep your chin up.  Voiceovers, after all, are really a never-ending story. 😊❤️  Get yourself a Luck Dragon and fly again.

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Joshua Alexander
The Voices In My Head Blog
blog@itsthevoicesinmyhead.comjosh@supervoiceover.com
206.672.6200 / 360.339.1900

14 thoughts on “How Do We Defeat The Nothing?”

    1. Thank you brother! ALWAYS things we can work on. Sometimes I am guilty of sitting here and waiting for something to happen, scanning all my open tabs as if expecting them to jump out at me or something like the Poltergeist hand towards Carol-Ann…but I have to actually engage that mushy wrinkly thing in my head and see what else I haven’t given yet.

  1. Though your goals weren’t met, I still think it’s fantastic that you were finding ways to continue to fine tune and develop your business and brand. Your new blog looks great, your business cards are something to be excited about, and your store is is no small thing to brag about! And who doesn’t like a nice, painted door?! You have a lot to be very proud of my friend. And this will all be a distant memory when you smash through your next goal 🙂

  2. CLASSIC tie-in of a CLASSIC 80’s retro vibe video. Way to go Josh. 🙂 Thanks for the never-ending-pick-me-up.

    1. You like that? Thanks Craig. Truth be told, this blog didn’t start that way. I just started typing and I came to the sentence “nothing was happening.” I accidentally typed “the nothing was happening” and realized my error and then it dawned on me: what a great idea for a blog! See? Silver linings even in typographical errors can lead to great blogs.

  3. Well, at least I can say I’ve waken up most days before you go-go, HAHAHA! Timezones have that effect.

    It is currently 20:16 (GMT+2, or CAT, whichever you prefer. I don’t know where DOG is, but CAT works for the moment) as I am typing this. I’ve had a very loooooooong dry spell of no auditions, but honestly, I’m so swamped with the visual side of things. There’s a new project coming this week that I’m SUPER excited about.

    Honestly though, as much as I love doing voice over, I don’t see it as primary to my work life atm (though I’d like it to be). I think because my strongest and longest pushed gifting lies in visuals, I find more opportunities there right now. What I wouldn’t give for a solid commercial read! I’ve come close to joining fiver a few times, lol, no joke, so I get it! Thankfully the fact that I do get paid atm, I have something to support my convictions and not join.

    As for wins only – yeah, all that does is activate the brat jean. Levis would be better, but no, the brat jean complains that it’s not a levi. We can gracefully take the slumps with the victories. Right now, for example, I have to save up for the slump over the new year – that is a scary thought, but if I really pinch to the point where the atmosphere starts tearing up, I think I’ll have it, LOL.

    Seriously though, I think for the moment, for me it is by far the best option to push hard for the visual side, because it’s working really well – economy is too flimsy to not have something steady that allows for savings. I know your work will pick up again! You’re great at what you do and you’re doing what you’ve been called to do, so it will work out. So see this as a toast for it’s inversion on the way!

    1. Hmm…yes, this I know! I’ve heard your Careless Whisper Last Christmas when I was at The Edge of Heaven! But Marius, remember…ALWAYS remember…I’m Your Man! 🙂

      Yes, you are a pro at the video side of things…man, you do things that I could never even wrap my head around how to get started on. Nice work! Keep up the great visuals.

      1. Hahaha! Awesome!
        Gotta say, that saxophone solo is so iconic!!! I knew the solo (as in listening) before I knew what the songs was called, haha. Funny story though – I can play some (as in VERY little) saxophone. My mom got one and we couldn’t afford her a teacher, so I had to learn and as I learned, I taught her some. Was really handy when we sold it about a year or so later – that demo went better than most of my practices, LOL! #improv

        Thank you! I felt exactly the same way when I wanted to get started in Blender. My first project was a bird bath made out of primary shapes (spheres, cones, donuts and circles), because I couldn’t model to save my life, haha.

        Keep these posts coming!! They rock! 😀

  4. Josh!
    Your Newsletter sailed in with perfect timing. I thought I was reading a blog about myself. Literally word for word. Thanks for brightening my day, being humble and sharing with us your “Tough Days”, which is not the easiest thing to do publicly, and giving me a good laugh. Your blog is well written, entertaining and informative. Thanks dude! You RAWK!

    I’m not confirming nor denying…. um… errrr…… Moon Child might have been my first real crush … well….. that is ……. next to Punky Brewster of course.

    Make it a great day dude!

    Charles

    1. So glad you liked it, Mr. Coats! And OMG you didn’t just mention Punky Brewster did you?!?!?! ….whose actress’ name is ALSO “Moon”…a la Soleil Moon Frye. I think we’re on to something here!

  5. Really needed to read this today, especially while I’m in a bit of a self-imposed slump as I learn a new DAW and it can be discouraging to have to learn a bunch of things from scratch, leading to low efficiency. However, I’m also using the time to work on my marketing, take a class (hopefully, I think I’m on the wait-list), work on making more connections, and read great blogs like this one!

    1. I’m glad for you, Julia! Keep at it. The slumps can be maddening, can’t they? But there’s always a silver lining, and a blessing in disguise, where we can take that free time and still be productive with it. I created this new website during this time, after all – and it was something I really needed to do! I’m very grateful for it.

      May you quickly ascend back to a level of providence!

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