A voice over fable

Morgan

A long, long time ago, there was a boy named Morgan. Morgan had big dreams. Whenever anyone asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Morgan had a long list. “I want to be a sorcerer!” he would say. “Or a castle builder… or mighty warrior… or, or… a dragon trainer!” Morgan had lots of ideas and knew he would be happy with any of these exciting options.

As Morgan grew up, he tried all the jobs on his list. He tried being a sorcerer, but the potions were too smelly! He tried being a castle builder, but the stones were too heavy! He trained to be a mighty warrior, but fighting was too sweaty! Finally, he tried being a dragon trainer. Morgan soon found out that dragons do not want to be trained!

Seeking guidance, Morgan visited the Oracle of Usbyeti. “Oh, all wise and knowing oracle”, he asked, “What path should my life take that is easy, fast, fun and leads to riches untold?” Out of a glowing blue dome came a mysterious voice.

“There is a path,” the voice said. “An easy and fun path that leads to fame and riches beyond your dreams! It is known as The Path of Vois ’Ovair. Find this path, follow it, and very soon you will have your heart’s desires!”

Morgan was excited. He traveled the land stopping at tavern after tavern asking about The Path of Vois ‘Ovair. He heard many stories of how easy the path is to walk and how little gold he would need. There were songs and poems about the endless entertainments along the path to fame and wealth. All the tavern folk encouraged him and cheered him on his way. Go, Morgan, go!

Madison

Also a long, long time ago, there was a girl named Madison. Madison also dreamt about what she would be when she grew up. “I want to be a scribe!” she said. “Or maybe a river nymph… or a cleric… or, or… a dragon trainer!” Madison had a ton of interests, but hoped to find the one thing that would suit her best.

As Madison grew up, she thought through all the things she wanted to do. She thought about being a scribe, but their fingers were too inky! She thought about being a river nymph, but their beds were too wet! She thought about being a cleric, but their clothes were too scratchy! Finally, as she thought about being a dragon trainer, she knew right away they would not want to be trained.

Seeking guidance, Madison visited the Oracle of Noimhyzr. “Oh, all wise and knowing oracle”, she asked, “What path should my life take that will provide for me and fulfill my heart’s desire?” Out of a shining silver tube came a mysterious voice.

There is a path,” the voice said. “A path that can bring you joy, fulfill your destiny and provide for your needs. It is known as The Path of Vois ’Ovair. Find this path and follow it, but beware! It is long, hard, and fraught with peril. To succeed you need to learn the arcane ways of the Keepers of The Path and the lessons may cost you dearly.

As you travel, you will be hounded by the twin monsters of DysKurrij and Dowt. Other haunting voices near and far will seek to lure you astray. However, if you seek knowledge with an open heart and persevere through all of these dangers, you will reach your heart’s desire.” The voice paused, then spoke with a deeper tone that carried a note of compassion as well as warning. “Before you decide, know this: The Path of Vois ’Ovair never ends.”

Madison was excitedly curious. She traveled all over, asking elders and sages about The Path of Vois ’Ovair. She heard stories of many who had embarked upon the path with gladness, only to leave it in sorrow. There also were songs and poems of those who had endured and found their heart’s desire. All the elders and sages encouraged her to know her heart, and choose wisely. As she left, they cheered her on her way. Go, Madison, go!

Choices

Morgan eagerly set off. As time went on, he learned that what the tavern folk had told him wasn’t true. The path was hard, costly and seemed to have no end. Morgan also discovered that hard and costly and long do not add up to fun. DysKurrij and Dowt were his only companions. Morgan began to look for a way off the path.

At the same time, Madison also set off. She soon realized the elders and sages had told the truth; the path was hard and the obstacles many. Still, deep in her heart she knew she must continue in order to reach her heart’s desire. Following advice, whenever Madison encountered one of the Keepers of The Path, she paused in her travels to learn all she could, even when it required diminishing her resources.

As foretold, the monsters of DysKurrij and Dowt assailed her again and again, weakening her, and slowing her pace. To combat them, Madison made friends of fellow travelers with whom she could give and receive encouragement along the way.

Through all the struggles, Madison grew in knowledge and endurance. Her confidence multiplied as she adapted to each turn, fork and switchback. The challenges began to slow her less, and the monster’s voices began to fade. As her joy grew, she dared to wonder if maybe, someday, she might become one of the Keepers of The Path of Vois ’Ovair.

The end.

The moral of our story? Choose wisely.

  1. Carefully choose who you get advice from.
  2. Never choose a path because it looks easy.
  3. Choose to take the time to learn all you can.
  4. Choose to remember who you are and be true to yourself.
  5. No matter the obstacles, choose to keep going.
  6. Choose to be vulnerable enough to make friends along the way.

Oh, and one more thing. Before you get too far down the path, make sure you love it. It will be difficult to keep going if you don’t.

____

Obviously, nobody’s story is so simple in real life, but like most valuable achievements in life, the deciding factors for success come down to The Four Hows:

1. How much you want it.
2. How hard you are willing to work for it.
3. How much you are willing to sacrifice.
4. How patient you can be.

All of these can really be condensed to number one, because your desire will fuel your determination to put in the work and keep going for as long as it takes. If you don’t have number one, you might want to consider dragon training after all.

This story was written as a cautionary tale. The more realistically you approach voice-over as a career, the more likely you are to succeed. I have seen many people get into voice acting because it looks fun, easy, cheap, fast and lucrative. It can be fun and it is lucrative for some, but for the vast majority of us it isn’t easy, cheap or fast. It will take a lot more work than you think, a lot more money than you are being told, and a lot more time to come to fruition, if it ever does.

As with much of what I write, I am speaking as much to myself as anyone else. I write to reconnect with my inner certainty that I belong in this industry and don’t really want to do anything else. This creative outlet reminds me how much I love the process of using my voice to make something real and meaningful out of words on a page. When my own path is rocky, strewn with obstacles and seemingly endless, I write to provide myself with a figurative flashlight. It may not smooth everything out but it does make it easier to see where I am going.

Epilogue

Morgan thought of voice-over as just one more item in a list of jobs he would try on. He ended up leaving the path because he found it wasn’t a good fit. Put simply, he didn’t love it enough to make it worth the effort.

Meanwhile, Madison… (in a whisper) shhhhh… has fallen asleep. She stayed up late again doing auditions and marketing research *ahem* I mean… battling monsters and scouring the Scrolls of Wisdom. Becoming a voice actor *ahem again* I mean… traversing the Path of Vois Ovair is long, hard work and she is very tired. When she awakes tomorrow, she will press on, knowing deep in her heart it will be worth it to fulfill her destiny, and find her heart’s desire. Go, Madison, go!

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4 Responses

  1. YOU, sir, are a Storyteller and a half! As far as the recommend rules go, I choose #1: Carefully choose who you get advice from. I get my advice (and dragon training stories!) from the TL;DR blog, and nowhere else. *mic drop*

    • Although I know that your flattery is somewhat (completely) less than factual, I will bask in its glow nonetheless, all the while reading my copy of “Running a Successful Voiceover Business” by that icon of voiceover book publishing, Joshua Alexander. Quite the coincidence he has the same name as you, isn’t it?

  2. Really enjoyed this! Especially the invented names and DnD references! (My favorite was NeumHeiser!)

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