Do you like my dramatic title for this paragraph? What a way to open a blog, right? Well, in this instance, I wish I could say it was exaggerated. ‘It’s all so Alien’ was birthed out of one of the most challenging points of my life because family, work, health, and career all blurred into one for three weeks of my life. And I’m sure it won’t be the last of the life and voice over transitions headed my way.
Leaving the day job and going into voice acting full time
In June 2020, I gave up my final PAYE job and began working independently as a voiceover artist. My wife at the time was 7 months pregnant, and we were decorating the nursery for my new baby on that first Saturday of me being free from work. As I was painting our lodger commented that the paint stunk to which I replied saying ‘’I can’t smell anything’’ oh no, you know where this is going right? Wait for it!
I began feeling more poorly, and this was in the days long before a vaccine was common. After testing, my leave turned into a nice bout of Covid-19, just what every voice actor needs right?
Battling Isolation, Spiders, and Covid Symptoms
Covid-19 hit me hard this first time. I struggled to breathe, eat, and sleep, and had other unusual, weird symptoms. When the virus was in full force, my wife had crossed over from being 7 months pregnant to 8 months pregnant, so we slept in different rooms (don’t worry, we did get the nursery finished!).
There was one evening when everything was a bit of a blur, and I remember hearing a scuttling of wrappers on the floor. (Oh no…) At first, I ignored it! I heard it again… I then decided to turn the light on and look, nothing! I thought, must just be wrappers brushing against each other when I laid back down and alas, I heard this scuttling one more time! Before I go any further, let me just reassure you, I am not a big slog who keeps loads of wrappers on the floor, just during Covid, I did enjoy a few bags of crisps to see me by, and I did isolate in my room, so access to bins was limited!
Now that’s all cleared up, let me get back to the tale! I once more carried my blurry self out of bed and turned the light on and when looking down at the floor laid THE BIGGEST, DIRTIEST, and most MONSTEROUS Spider you have ever seen (in the UK – it wasn’t anything compared to what is out there around the world). Not liking spiders all that much I did think to myself at 00:30am “WHY ME?” Anyway, I got it into a glass, and it went out the window. But in the midst of feeling simply awful that was the last thing I needed.
Voiceover Transitions – Motivated Out of the Fog
Prior to getting sick, I had just auditioned for a new and upcoming animation. A wonderful story promoting good morals. It was both educational and entertaining, and I noticed a few friends of mine were getting cast which was exciting. The email then landed in my inbox that I, too, had been cast! It gets better! I got cast in one of the most prominent roles in the series!
But I was sick!? Well, after two weeks, my sinuses had cleared up a bit, so I was dealing with fatigue and breathlessness. I noticed some clients generally were more sympathetic during the pandemic towards people’s health. They were happy with my pace, and a bit of editing gets rid of those nasty deep breath sounds between the lines.
So! I managed to do the session and get through the job. My first-ever animation booking came in during one of the worst bouts of sickness I have ever had in my life. Now, please do not misinterpret me here. I am not saying if you’re sick, you should work! There were indeed points where I was physically incapable, but I did just about manage to work everything out with enough recovery time to get myself through the session. I remember feeling exceptionally exhausted after it, but I love voice over and I love being an actor. The jolt and thrill it gave me, I believe, helped with my recovery, in fact!
But to summarise – if you are not well enough to work, don’t. But if you want to, then do! I have said it before, but I was so pleased to be a working voice actor who had invested in a home studio years prior because without that, the job would have been impossible for me to complete without the client needing to change their recording schedule.
Voice Over Transitions – It’s all so Alien to Us
The whole world stopped, everything we knew changed, and we had to adapt! Whether it was learning how to do online shopping or getting used to finding stuff to do at home, it was a very alien environment. I fortunately did not struggle too much work-wise as I worked a lot from my booth already. I did miss getting out the house and going to a studio, though, as it is good fun. So, what happened to my wife and newborn? Well, Covid dragged a bit, but I got a negative test 3 days before my daughter was born. So, it was nearly a nasty situation, and no one wants to miss out on their child’s birth, but fortunately, I got better just in time.
In many ways, the world still is and continues to be a bit ‘Alien,’ and accepting the new normal as a little abnormal is a good approach to the ever-changing climate we live in.