Well, this was a hell of a year. What started out as a desperate struggle by my wife and me to re-establish our lives in Maryland and find work has ended up seeing us both launch our careers and have work schedules as erratic and fickle as we are.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Unless You Should)
I started the year with the intention of writing and DJ’ing when I returned to Baltimore. Specifically, I focused on working at Agora, where many of my fellow English degree holders had found refuge. I eventually scored an internship there, but the transition was tough. I went from managing a department for a decent salary and benefits to being a paid intern for a much more daunting, less welcoming company. Still, I took what I could get.
The work was garbage. Simple. Repetitive. Menial as hell. I held a Bachelor’s in Writing and a resume that had everything from web designer to graphic artist to audio engineer on it, and I get hired to do data entry. Hell, not even data entry, it was copying and pasting data over from one source to another. I wasn’t too broken up when the “internship” ended and I was released back into the wild without so much as a good luck.
Baltimore Rock Opera Society To the Rescue
Luckily, I fell in with the BROS while I worked there. Murdercastle premiered at the same time, and as fate would have it, that would steer the course of my career in a much different direction than what I’d originally planned. It was here that I learned I could actually maybe act a little bit. The shows all sold out, we got tons of positive reviews; some people even told me that I was their favorite character despite only appearing midway through the show. Also, I got to hang out with my new friends on a constant basis and party like I hadn’t partied since maybe ever. There was a hazy moment at one of these many post-show ragers where I typed a note to myself in my phone that would become my personal mantra by the end of the year.
Since then, I’ve decided that as long as the world was going to reward my months of job searching with soul-crushing busywork like what I’d been offered, that I was simply going to start looking for work I actually wanted to do. Since I entered the workforce, the office scene was predicated on the unsaid agreement to put up with a life of monotony in exchange for a living wage and benefits. Seven months into the year and each offer was less and less of this. I’d have to work full time and keep DJ’ing on the side just to pay my half of the rent. Why bother?
So I started acting.
And lo, I started to get work. Fun work. Dress up in a suit, hang out on TV show and movie sets, meet interesting new people. Really, it didn’t feel like working at all, and while the pay and security weren’t great good, at least I wasn’t staring at a computer screen all day wishing I were somewhere else. So with this new found optimism towards working, I decided to pull the trigger on my biggest dream, the one I never thought I’d actually pursue out of fear of not being talented or trainable or disciplined enough.
The Journey Starts With One Step
I’d researched a career in voice acting before. Even made a demo with my brother’s father-in-law once. But I never seriously thought I could do it. How could I? I mean, for God’s sake, just listen to Rob Paulsen or Fred Tastasciore or Jim Cummings. How could I possibly compete with that? It never seemed plausible, and I didn’t think I had a talent for it. But with the overwhelming support, hell, even goading I received from the BROS pushed me to start making demos, getting out there, and making a real go for it. A short few months later, and I proudly call myself a voice actor. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but at least I’ve finally got my heart in the fight.
I’ve finally arrived at my career, and it truly feels like I’m entering a new era of my life. Maybe I’m arriving at my thirties a couple years in advance. I’ve always tried to be ahead of the curve (i.e. I’m a cranky old bastard at heart). In any case, I’m just glad to be here.
Also, Meanwhile, at the Skull Base. I can do a whole other post about what an amazing experience this has turned out to be, so I’ll hold off for now. Just please, go listen. Everyone involved rules and is killing it and I’m very, very proud of it.
I still look at that note on my phone every time I think I’m not good enough or that I should quit this silly dream and go get a “real” job. “They asked me to do it, so I assume I can.” Thanks again, guys. I wouldn’t have made it here without you.