This is a review of Joshua Alexander’s book Voiceovers: A Super Fun Pursuit. If you have read any of his written work, what I am about to explain should go without saying. If you are about to experience Josh for the first time, let me set the table for you. You are about to receive a high energy heaping helping of a multi-course meal, served from every direction, all at once, like an octopus wielding a firehose. Plastic under clothes are highly suggested.
In this, the second in a series of three books, Josh builds on the content from his first book, Voiceovers: A Super Business – A Super LIfe. I reviewed that book here. The new one is more of the same, yet very different. This book takes a lighter tone, as he reminds us how fun and rewarding a life in voice-over can be.
It’s not all daisies and rainbows
Now, don’t misunderstand me. He doesn’t sugar coat the main course of the work involved or the obstacles we all face as business people, but he offers laughs and encouragement as a side dish and dessert. You’ll find a lot of practical advice on topics from email marketing to pricing, but they are frequently hidden inside tasty humor treats like when I was a kid and my mom used to hide a pill inside a piece of meat. Those particular treats may have been for the dog, but my memory is fuzzy on that part.
For instance, Josh takes the fear out of cold calling by telling his story of a far worse gaff than you and I will (probably) ever make. Lesson learned: use the bathroom before dialing.
This isn’t like most other voice-over books
In his signature style he lets us go into the kitchen to see how the meal is made – the human behind the supersuit (it’s really just a t-shirt, but I wouldn’t mention that because it would burst his little bubble of self-delusion and probably make him cry). In our industry we are constantly marketing and managing our public images. It is a necessary part of what we do. In that context, it is a breath of fresh air to have someone be willing to be real rather than just trying to sound real.
In these pages you will learn more about Josh than he probably wanted you to know, including:
- His handwritten signature looks like it spells Valerie. (I’m not going to ask and you probably shouldn’t either).
- Despite what you may have heard, he never really works.
- He shows signs of serious mental illness. For instance, he gets up at 4:45 each morning to start his work day. ‘Nuff said.
- He is a bit OCD. Organization? After reading about how he keeps his desk, I sold mine on Craig’s List. There wasn’t any point.
I must admit that reading the book raised unresolved questions. To be fair, Josh doesn’t explain all there is to know about voice-over in this book nor does he intend to, being one part of a three-part series. So I figure it’s acceptable to come away with a few questions unanswered. For instance, I still want to know what exactly is wrong with smearing myself with butter and swimming naked with elephant seals? Maybe the answer will be in book three. If he has a solid reason, I may need to reschedule my vacation this summer. I hope I can get a refund.
In the interest of a fair and honest review, I want you to know Josh and I don’t agree on everything. There are things in this book which make me uncomfortable, some of which may even jeopardize any future contact between us.
As an example, I was taken aback when he professed his belief that “. . .peanut butter should be creamy, not chunky”.
Them’s fightin’ words
As anyone can see, he isn’t right about everything and has some rough edges that must be overlooked in order to glean the good things from the book. However, since we all have faults, I suppose tolerance is in order, but on subjects as important as these . . . I must admit my good nature gets tested.
Although we have never met in person, Josh is my long lost younger brother in comicality. And yes, that is a word; I looked it up on the internet. We share a similar sense of humor, much to the detriment of society as a whole. You are going to get the most value from this experience when you come to the table with your sense of humor napkin firmly tucked in your collar. It could get a little messy.
Josh describes the life of being a voice artist as a “beautiful craziness”. It also applies to this book, so fair warning.
So why should you read this book?
- Space Aliens
- Voice-over pick-up lines
- Revenge tactics
- Multiple instances of nudity
- Voice-over toilet paper
- Murder hornet lemonade
If you are interested in voice-over and have a willingness to learn, Voiceovers: A Super Fun Pursuit is for you. If you are more experienced and need a challenge or encouragement, this book is for you. If you like really funny, timeless humor, this book . . . is a good book to get voice-over tips from.
And if that isn’t enough, you might just learn something, and come away challenged, encouraged and believing in yourself a little more.
And no, I didn’t write this very positive review just so that Josh might give me a quid pro quo in the event that I write a book someday. I also wrote it because I needed material for a blog post this week and I couldn’t think of anything else.
P.S. I am quite relieved to report that Josh found his underwear.
P.P.S. To Josh’s son Brennan: I don’t think “I love you” means what you think it means.