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Jon Gardner Voice-Overs, social isolation, online socializing

Someone told me this week that I need to stop apologizing. They’re right. I apologize for apologizing too much.

The problem is, If I stop apologizing, I won’t apologize now that I genuinely have something to apologize for. You see, this blog post isn’t funny. So if you came here for your usual weekly dose of my off kilter sense of humor to raise your spirits, I apologize. Tune in next week and I am sure I will be back in my usual, thankfully rare, form.

Not funny

The thing is, I woke up this morning without a sense of humor. I misplaced it somewhere, but couldn’t find it. Not worried, I expected it to come back while I was writing, but no matter how hard I squeezed my eyes shut and shouted “Funny, funny funny! Funny, funny funny!” nothing funny oozed out. I’m sorry, I have failed you.

Honestly, I don’t feel too bad about it. I hear it happens to all the greats. Bill Watterson, Dave Barry, Douglas Adams, Patrick F. McManus and other sophisticated comedy greats have been known to go whole minutes without saying or writing anything funny, so I am in good company. Plus, I just got to live a life long dream of being mentioned with those writers in the same sentence.

There is an official name for it, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now. Non-comedicalis Barreniformis I think. I have been practicing my medical narration terminology lately, can you tell?

Fortunately, I know these periods where my humor muse gets sick of me and runs away are usually short lived. Nobody else gives her as much to laugh at as I do. At. Not with.

Not a downer either

The topic this week isn’t particularly serious either, so don’t get worried. It won’t be a bummer.

It started with J. Michael Collins recently announcing he is doing a new podcast series where he will interview people from around the voice-over industry. I enjoyed the first episode, and even more so because he is taking an informal approach which gives us a peek into the personalities behind the performances. I am looking forward to more.

I got to thinking about how valuable this type of resource is in this time of lockdowns and travel restrictions, especially to those who have joined the world of VO recently enough that they haven’t been able to meet any of these people at voice-over conferences or other live events. That lack of a face-to-face/handshake/hug connection troubles me sometimes and I think it can be a bit of a disadvantage in some cases. You can feel like you have missed out on something important.

Shake my hand?

I hope for a day when we will be able to shake hands again. Would you, if I sang Happy Birthday while I washed my hands first? How about if washed my hands then sanitized afterward? How about if I wash my hands, sanitize, then don clerical garb, light candles, get out my oversized crucifix and loudly beseech the Lord in high volume Latin to exorcise any remaining germs, bacteria or other signs of life? I want to do my part in preparation so I am ready for that day.

In the meantime, these types of interviews can be the next best thing. One of the first I encountered was the YouTube channel for VO Buzz Weekly with Stacey J. Aswad and Chuck Duran. There is a great archive of past episodes here that is well worth watching or even binge watching. Another informal interview series that began more recently is How Did You Do It? from Ian Kleinfeld. Podcasts that have helped introduce me to other people in the VO landscape include Voiceover Insider from Gary McFadden and Julie Williams and Kay BessB-Hive Podcast: Women in Voiceover. (‘ll confess, I have listened to Kay’s podcast, but I’m a guy. Should I not have? If so, I apologize.) The Voice Over Body Shop also regularly interviews industry notables. A couple of other notables are The Mike Lenz Podcast and Voice Acting with Veronica Barrera.

I joined Gravy For The Brain almost two years ago and their webinar archives feature a treasure trove of established talent from both sides of the Atlantic which has been very valuable to me.

Other options

Participating in webinars, socials and workout groups are particularly good ideas. You receive a lot of valuable information and get real time face time with industry peers as a side benefit.

None of this is as good as meeting each other first hand or sharing a meal together, but it will have to do for now. There is a lot you can learn, plenty of tips you can pick up, wisdom and encouragement to be had. These are also nice opportunities for a newer voice talent to get a feel for some of the top personalities in the industry as people, learning a little about what makes them tick. Take notes and you’ll have ready-made things to talk about whenever the industry live events open up again.

Meanwhile, back at the bathroom sink

In the meantime, I am going to put the candles away before I burn the house down and wash my hands over and over again non stop until we have a voice-over conference in person. Then hopefully someone, someday, even if it is just the concierge at the hotel, will shake my hand again, or at least fist bump what is left of it.

I apologize for that mental picture.

I am sure there are many more places to go to “meet” our fellow colleagues. Please comment with other similar resources you have enjoyed!

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7 Responses

  1. I have read your “article.” I would like to point out that it is almost entirely devoid of humor. I should therefore like to inquire, “Who actually wrote this and what have you done with the body of Jon Gardner?
    I need it in order to sacrifice it to the Lord while beseeching him in high-volume Latin.”

    Also, the sentence containing “Bill Watterson, Dave Barry, Douglas Adams, Patrick F. McManus” etc., does not actually mention you. I am concerned that you may be suffering either from a superiority complex or an overage of black licorice and Haribo Golden Bears. Please see a physician to have that overage removed at once.

  2. I’ve such a hard time making…well time…to listen to podcasts and take advantage of all this great material. I’ve bought webinars and videos (sorry Josh!) that are awesome but just can’t seem to get them scheduled in.

    It’s an area I really struggle with.

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