Eight years ago (12 years after my mid-life crisis. He’s 19 now and calls himself ‘The Closer’) I embarked on an adventure for the ages. A complete and total career (and life) change–a decision to take the visions and voices in my head and unleash them (in a good way) on the masses of mankind. How’s THAT for drama?
Since my last audio production stint in St. Louis (a full 30 years previous) things had changed. A LOT!! Analog became digital, audio studios moved from back lots to garages, basements and closets and thanks to technology it was now possible to produce broadcast quality audio from the comforts of home.
Sounds like a sweet set-up. All I have to do is get myself a computer and a mic, read in a deep voice and the cash just rolls in, right? Heh, heh, heh–no.
Reading, training with others, constant regular practice, constant skill sharpening and investing in the right equipment is the order of the day. The Great Don LaFontaine didn’t become the great Don LaFontaine without being ready when the opportunity arrived. Somebody didn’t show up for work and Don was ready. Not because of his legendary voice (it wasn’t legendary yet), but because he was available and had the skills. Dreams CAN come true, but you need to invest in them–in YOU. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunities, fun collaborations and great projects that I’ve been blessed to be a part of. But without the work ethic that’s needed to present yourself as a professional, voice over becomes a ‘hobby’ and not a lifelong craft.
What has the 60 year old voice learned?
- that no matter how gifted or talented, any ‘blade’ must be sharpened before it is effective.
- that it’s better to show up on time and ready for work–or they’ll never remember your name.
- that no matter how old you (or your dreams) are, you can still blow the dust off of ’em and (with a LOT of help from your friends) make them real.
- Listen to ALL criticism–throw out the bad stuff.
- that having a voice that is being heard is a powerful tool. Some of that power should be used to help the powerless–those who may not have a voice. A voice that is shared will get stronger everyday.
- Reject rejection and never give up!
And finally–The people who hire you (and you audition for) deserve your absolute best! And that includes your attitude: toward the script, the director, the engineer, the equipment and all those others who are listening. Humility gets you remembered; haughtiness gets you edited out.
The Legendary (?) Herb Merriweather is extremely grateful and God-ly thankful to be turning 60 this year and has plans to voice epics, laugh at himself and enjoy his time “In A World…” for at least another 60 years…