Many years ago I went to a wine tasting and struck up a conversation with the representative of the wine maker. I don’t remember how we got on the subject but he talked about how joyful he was with his job as a rep. He said that previously he’d had a job that he didn’t much like and his love for wine was something reserved for off hours. He told me that he came to the conclusion that he needed to put what he loved and how he made his money “on the same page.”
I remember that image. A hypothetical ledger of “stuff that bring in money” and “stuff that makes me happy to get up in the morning.” and getting those to columns to be one and the same. I don’t honestly remember what I thought at the time (I had been drinking, mind), but I think I was just admiring that he could do that and I thought no way I could emulate such a drastic plan. Walk away from my job to do something I loved? Crazy talk.
Well. The job walked away from me instead. It wasn’t until I had moved back in with my parents and needed my mom to cover my bills that I realized that I was free to talk that crazy talk for myself.
Once the uninspiring middle class lifestyle had left me – no more tiny apartment with the wine fridge, no more compact, gas-efficient car, no more occasional vacations traveling hither and yon – that’s when I realized the day job had never been an absolute necessity.
Also not a foregone conclusion? The continuous mild depression… I was told I should get therapy and possibly take drugs for it for the rest of my life. Maybe. Or maybe I should build a life that actually suits me instead of trying force myself to fit the prescribed roles.
It’s hard work. Mad hard work and I haven’t had what anyone would call conventional success. But hard work is unavoidable in life. At the very least, hard work in the service of achieving my bottom line doesn’t feel nearly as frustrating as hard work in the service of achieving someone else’s bottom line. It’s hard work getting the money and the love on the same page, but I prefer it.
Now, funnily enough, I’ve had to dodge the assumptions that the money voice over can potentially bring is what makes it so attractive. It certainly helps that there’s more money in it than, say, Equity-waiver theatre. But the idea of chasing the big payday of a national TV commercial spot is almost laughable. (Hey! I COULD do it! It’s just not my goal…right now.) I started nosing around VO because I like anime and even some domestically produced animation is pretty darned good. It’s still what I want to do most. If it doesn’t pay as well as a tag for a national chain, so be it. As long as it does pay.
I tried talking about that once with other VO people who didn’t know me very well, and whom I didn’t know well. Bit of a mistake. Their attitude was never fail to chase down the big time. I can absolutely see their point. I don’t want to _fail_ to chase it. However, it’s just not my goal to get up first thing the morning meaning to land the big time before dinner.
I don’t need or want a big house, an expensive car, or much in the way of fancy, pricey toys. (I will admit, however, an underground wine cellar has a certain appeal.) I want to pay my own way. And I want to work on projects that are interesting to me, that get me excited to tackle. I want to work toward that day when I can joyfully say that I have doing what I love and paying my bills on the same page.
God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m pretty sure I can do that.