Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wow, what happened?

Ok…..I have been remiss in my postings and I know it but WOW, what happened?  It seems like the world has gone to hell in a hand basket for sure.  COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic!  Yes, we have had similar things in the past but they are way back there.  Not something most of us remember anything but stories told by older relatives.  Since moving I have not been able to pay for anymore classes for my Voice acting and therefore have gone no further.  I can do the reads and such but I don’t have a grip on editing the files once I do the recording.  My job is considered essential so while many others have been laid off work or have gotten some paid time off, I am still going to work.  I am both thankful I still have a job and terrified I still have a job.  A little torn to be sure.  I have heard people say that this is all blown out of proportion and that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about and I’ve heard others say that it is MUCH worse than we are being told.  I have heard the shelter in place orders and curfews are to help flatten the curve of the virus and I’ve heard the government is trying to take away all of our constitutional rights to usher in a socialist regime.  I don’t know what to believe to be honest but we are taking precautions.  I can’t afford for anything to happen to me or my son.  I may be a bit over cautious, but that’s better than not cautious enough in my book.  I am homeschooling my son for the first time, and of course it is in the evening instead of during the day because I am at work during the day.  Things are crazy right now.  This is just me letting you know we are well and we hope you are too.  Be careful, stay safe, stay healthy.  More soon.

A roller coaster

Ok, so in late-July I quit my job in Texas and made the trek all the way back to my roots in Florida/Alabama.  I have family that was kind enough to put my son and I up until I found a job and a place to stay.  A huge thank you to them for that.  In late August, I started a new job (not voice acting) and within a week I was on the road to getting the house I want.  It even has a white picket fence!  🙂

Hurricane Michael hit in the midst of all this so I’ve missed some work but we were all very lucky to only have had to pick up a LOT of fallen branches.

Now it’s down to the wire, I close on the new house this week.  My job is a half hour commute into another state from where I am now and the new place will be a 20 minute commute (in the same state), so I’ll save a little time and gas with that.  Now I get to move my son into a new school, get utilities turned on, get internet and set up a new house in the couple of hours a night I’m going to have until I hit the weekend.

Once everything is set up, I can get the studio set back up and get back to my coaching sessions with Uncle Roy and get back on the road to quitting my regular job and moving to voice full time.

It’s been a pretty serious roller coaster since I moved but we’re making the best of it.  I am so far beyond ready to be back in my own place with my own stuff.  My son is as well.  I’ve done all the paperwork and now it’s just waiting for the closing.  Then I can move everything in this weekend!

 

Flabbergasted!

So, here I am in beautiful DeFuniak Springs, Florida for a week.  I’m hunting down job leads and the like so I can get moved and settled, hopefully before next school year starts.  I was driving around ‘downtown’ this morning, it’s amazing.  It seems like every building is a historical landmark…I went to a small printing shop and came out to see a genuine ‘general store’, the old kind, where you could go in and get candy cigarettes or an RC Cola and a Moon pie-yes, that’s a real thing-I thought about vising but decided against it. This is a pretty small town and things move MUCH slower here than I’m accustomed so I didn’t expect much more than this to be honest.  Low and behold, I kid you not folks, I got in the car and turned the corner and I saw six parking spots with devices standing near what would be the rear passenger side of a vehicle parked there.  I slowed down to take a look and they said “Tesla” on them.  This place has ELECTRIC vehicle charging spaces!  I am all for solar power, wind power, water power, electric cars and all that, I was in complete and total shock!  Planning to go around the block and see them again, I saw something else!  A genuine Victorian style home with the full wrap around porch and all that…….THERE WERE SOLAR PANELS ON THE ROOF!  By this time I was almost in tears of joy!  I called my Dad and told him and he said, “Yeah, those charging stations have been there for 15 years!  They’ve always been like that down there!”  Still y’all, I’m flabbergasted!  That is WONDERFUL!  Maybe when I move I can afford to get solar panels or get a house that already has them!  Ok, so it’s not that big a deal maybe, but for me, THAT’S AWESOME!

Just had to share.

It’s been hectic

GREEEEETIIIIIIIIINNNGGGSS YAAAAA’LLLLL!.

Ok, so not so much.  I’ve been quiet recently but I won’t apologize.  It’s been for a good reason.  Between dealing with my son’s school antics, cleaning house, trying to find a job, getting ready for a week long trip to Florida and dealing with the new software at the day job, it’s been a bit hectic. 🙂

At work, we have that whole new software system thing and all the growing pains that go with it.  At one point, I thought I was going to be doing the education videos for the software but that, apparently, has since gone out the window.  Ah well, so much for that great possibility.

I’ve also been bugging my instructor half to death about getting started working.  About pushing ahead faster so I don’t have to get a regular job just so I can quit after 6 months to a year.  Pushing ahead faster so I can move to Florida already doing my VO thing…..that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen either.  So much for that idea.

In the meantime, I’m practicing and practicing and practicing but I can’t seem to move any faster myself.  Never ending laundry, endless dish washing, constant cleaning and I just can’t keep up.

I’m going to Florida for a week to see about getting a job, meeting some people, making some good impressions and getting closer to this move.  It needs to happen NOW, but I can’t very well move without a job.  I mean, I could, but it would be stupid.  I don’t want to mooch off of anyone while I try to settle my kiddo in a new school, find a new job and then find a new place to live.

Another note, TOTALLY off topic, because I just thought of it, I bought a nice mint plant yesterday at the grocery store.  I bruised some leaves and dropped them into my tea as I as making it.  Now my gallon of tea has a hint of mint in it!  Not enough to over power anything, just enough to be barely there, it’s good!

I bought myself a FitBit Charge 2.  I’ve been walking my butt off, unfortunately, it’s still there.  I’ve lost about 5 lbs, and as with any weight loss, it fluctuates a bit.  My Dad got one the next day, so it’s been kinda fun having a little friendly competition.

My son has me so incredibly frustrated I can’t see straight.  He’s being 12, doing the same things I did….and THAT’S what makes it so frustrating!

I treated myself and got a gel manicure a few weeks ago…now I remember why I quit doing it….other than it being expensive as hell.  I need a fill in the worst way but I’m not willing to pay that kind of money again.  Trying to save my money for the move and a down payment on a house.  I don’t want to ruin my nails, so I’m filing them down to a manageable length every week and trying to let them grow off.  Since the color is royal purple, they look odd against my pale hands.

I can’t even begin to count the applications I’ve filled out, resumes I’ve sent out or phone calls I’ve made, I just hope something comes of it soon, it’s time to go.

And there you have it.  All the boring, non-descript details of absolutely nothing.  🙂

Another day puts me another day closer to moving!

While it has been incredibly stressful, it has also been a learning experience.  I’ve learned things about myself I never wanted to know. 🙂  Isn’t that always the case though?  We lie to ourselves about those things for a reason, right?  When you have nothing left but to be honest about those things, and then DO something about them, it is a form of empowerment.  I SHALL PERSEVERE!

🙂

I hate migraines

I’ve been a little quiet lately, things have been…hectic.  I’m also on the third day of a migraine and sitting at my local VA clinic to be seen.  Just my luck, one of the gentlemen at the front desk to check people in talks incredibly loud, as if he hearing problems, and even the earplugs I’m wearing are only mildly dulling the booming sound of his voice, it’s painful.  I can’t hear anyone else talking so I know it’s just him being that loud.

As for VO, coaching, coaching, coaching.  My coach has been good to me.  He tells me when the read sucks and when it doesn’t.  That’s more than my last coach did.

I’m still looking for a job in northern Florida so I can move, but that’s a slow process.  I’m planning to go there to do some job hunting early this summer but nothing is set in stone.

So there’s the update.

I am biased…

Yes, you saw that right, I am biased.  I am biased against things that are monthly/annual fee.  I hear so many Voice Artists talk about this service or that and I start counting up what it sounds like folks are paying for.   $20/month for a CRM, $30/month for a DAW, $10/month for this or $15/month for that.  Ads, email campaigns, post boosters, the list goes on.  Then there are the fees for the groups, a few HUNDRED a year, I’ve seen some that are based on what you make and some that are in the THOUSANDS. It sounds like there are many VOs out there that are putting out hundreds of dollars a month on subscriptions!  If you add all that up, it really looks like you’re cheating yourself.  Now I’m not saying that some of those services aren’t worth it, I’m sure some of them are invaluable, like CRMs.  Seeing as how I’m still new to all this, I just can’t believe there are THAT many required things every month or even every year!  I spoke to one Voice Artist that said they figured it up and they pay almost 20K a year in fees alone!  Yeah, when you make six figures maybe that’s not a big deal, but even if I made EIGHT figures, why would I give up 20K if I didn’t have to?  I’m working on finding things I can use that don’t cost me to use monthly.  Why this move to gouge the user by taking money every month instead of an outright purchase?  I seems excessive to me.  Does is make me a cheapskate? Maybe.  But I’m ok with that.  For now, still opting for items I can purchase outright, not ‘rent’ for a fee every month.

Ok, done with my rant.  🙂

 

A potentially AMAZING development…

Here’s an interesting development.

I have been writing step by step instructions for the software we use for a few years now for them, just because nothing like that existed. They love them and I do them super fast and they’re super easy to follow. So there’s the background. They also know I have started doing VO work. They are aware I am VERY new to it, as in still taking classes. We are migrating to new software and the ‘step by step’ instructions from the creators of the software are absolutely horrible for a myriad of reasons. They have suggested that I might make tutorial videos with voice showing each of the processes our personnel need to know how to perform.

I’ve never done this before, but I’ve been a teacher, I’ve been doing these written tutorials with and without screen shots for years so this doesn’t seem like a big leap to me. I found an app called Movavi that does screen recording and I’m thinking that would be just what I need. Are there others? Is there a better way to do it? They would like me to put some samples together this weekend so they can see if they like it.

 

The fact that my VO resume is currently a blank page makes this potentially AMAZING!  I could put this on my brand-spanking new VO resume, once I figure out what that’s supposed to look like, and it be super AWESOME!  That app I came across will be one I need to purchase, but it’s still something I can use in the future.  So that’s a small amount of money I think would be worth it.  I got the trial version of the app installed and did a little one minute and twenty second video and sent the link to my colleague that originally requested it.  Of course, there was no audio because the work computers don’t have mics.  If all goes well with that little piece, then I’ll take my interface, mic and stand to work after hours and get to it!  The app seems very easy to use.

I’m really excited about the possibilities!!!!!

Another day, another….several dollars

Well, there is finally good news!  I closed on my house last week!  I am officially homeless!  Well, homeless in the sense that I no longer own a home of my own.  I am living with family for now, but now that my house is sold, I am doing the job hunting thing in the area of my intended destination in the beautiful state of Florida.  At the VERY least, I have something to tell potential employers.  It’s difficult to speak to a potential employer and they say “Sure, you sound like a great fit, when are you going to be moving?”  and you answer with “Well, I don’t really know yet, I’m waiting on my house to sell.”  Yeah, that pretty much closes any conversation about a job right then and there.  Now I don’t have to do that.  I have something definite to hold on to, to share.  I like that.

Beyond that, I have started coaching again.  It isn’t cheap, but I think this is going to be much better coaching.  This coach isn’t blowing smoke up my ass and if I do a reading that was bad, he tells me, he doesn’t sugar coat it.  He’s polite, but he makes sure I understand that my last read was NOT up to par.  He isn’t pushing me to sign up for some P2P site I can’t afford.  He doesn’t want me making new demos because I’m not ready to do it.  No, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it WAS what I NEEDED to hear.  I respect this man and, although I am paying for training AGAIN, I understand this was my mistake and that I can’t expect anyone to fix it for me for free.  I’m taking advantage of discounted specials and free education as much as I can.  I hear problems with my reads and I’m working on them.

I resent my mistake, not the man that’s helping fix it.  It’s sometimes hard to swallow ‘I made a stupid mistake,’ but I have swallowed that pill and now I’m moving forward.  begrudgingly, but forward. 🙂

So…the house is sold and I am looking for a job in my intended new state, I have a thousand other decisions to make….and I don’t really like any of them, but that changes nothing.  Do I pay the car off so I am completely out of debt and can put more money away for both my training and my move or do I just keep making payments and let it all play out and hope I don’t get screwed over?  Do I (not now of course) quit my job and go to Florida alone to find a job and then have the rest of the family follow me once I have a job?  So many things…..so many potential pitfalls.  I don’t want to swallow another bitter pill.

So, off we go with everything doing the one thing I actually DO want everything to do…..move forward.

Take the wins where you can get them.

Have a great week everyone!

Almost there!

Good evening everyone!  Like anyone really reads much of this anyway…except me.  I read the hell out of my own posts.  I’ve found spots where I’ve mentioned the same thing twice, and both times like it was the first time I had the idea!  Yeah, a little scary.  But, that’s just me I suppose.

On to the fun stuff. I am a GEEK for home automation.  An absolute geek!.  I have been automating my house(s) for years now.  I don’t mean the hardwired stuff that costs thousands of dollars.  I mean the cheap, super easy, very effective things you can do that you can take with you when you decide to move.  None of it is permanent, you don’t have to drill holes in the walls or the ceiling or anything like that.  I have Philips Hue Smart light bulbs in almost every light in the house.  That means my lights are now voice controllable.  I have several smart plugs, which means everything plugged into them is now voice controllable.  So here we get to the fun, at least for this geek.  I have a surge suppressor that is voice controllable now….I put it in the studio.  I plugged my new floor lamp into it and I plugged my laptop into as well.  It also has four (yes four!) USB ports for charging.  No more charging blocks!!!! I went into the Jinvoo app (that’s the company that makes the smart surge suppressor) and named the surge suppressor ‘studio’.  I went into the Hue app and named the two lights ‘studio one’ and ‘studio two’ and put them in the room named ‘Studio’.  Now I can say, “Alexa, start up the studio.” and the surge suppressor turns on as well as the floor lamp.  This powers everything I have in my little recording space.  So now when I’m ready, so is my studio!  I know, I could come in here, turn the laptop on, pull the chain on both of the lights on the floor lamp and sit down and wait for everything to boot up, but now I don’t have to!  Dad bought an Echo Dot tonight for his bedroom….that means we have an Alexa powered device in every major room of the house.  The best part of all this…..when we move this summer (fingers crossed) all we have to do it unplug the various devices and put them back in their original boxes, take out all the light bulbs and put the old ones back in and take all the smart plugs with us.  That is the entire system for this (almost) completely automated home!  I don’t have to buy anything else for the new house or apartment.  I have an old Army field fax machine wooden chest.  I put all of my home automation stuff in there.  I pack up the stuff in the boxes, lock down the box with the closures on each side, pick up the handles and walk away.  TOO EASY!

More on the studio.  Ok, so it isn’t really a studio….it’s a recording space.  Studio is shorter to say.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  I was having mic issues and interface issues and Studio One issues and so much more.  After messing with it for two days, I finally just asked ‘Uncle Roy’ to help me.  It took him 10 minutes to get me recording at acceptable levels and everything running the way it should!  He’s great!  I’m ready to start a good long session with him to get him to show me more stuff…..it costs, but it’s worth it!    I was ready to call up George Whittam, had my card in hand and everything, but he wasn’t available until the middle of next week.  Turns out my problems were caused by my own ignorance.  Thankfully Roy only gave me a little flack about that and fixed me right up!

So now I can record easily, at acceptable levels, I can play it back and actually hear it, and I have light in the studio so I can see what the hell I’m trying to do.

That means I started playing with Audacity.  I tried using Studio One but so much of it didn’t make sense.  I was already a little familiar with Audacity so I’ll be sticking with that until I get a feel for cleaning up my files so they’re presentable for auditions and such.

On another VO note, I think I want to give telephony a shot.  It sounds like fun really.  A fellow VO said she even has a contract with one of her local installers that bundles her voice files with new phone systems and such.  That sounds like a GREAT deal!

I’ve met some AMAZING people in the VO groups I’ve joined.  I’ve met some that aren’t so nice as well.  Every barrel has a few bad apples, the VO business is no different.  No biggy.  Some people are more patient than others.  With me being so new to the industry, I have questions these professionals have heard a MILLION times, I’m sure they get tired of answering the same questions over and over and over again.  I can’t really blame them to be honest.  I’d get a little testy as well.

So, now that I’ve talked your ear off about that….think about what tasks you would like to have automated in your house.  IFTTT is an amazing tool for home automation.  Every morning  when my Echo Show alarm goes off, the lights turn on very dim and steadily get brighter for the next ten minutes until they are at 100%.  I did it using an applet I created in IFTTT.  I was watching an episode of Booth Junkie and he said he uses IFTTT to do backups of his work.  While I don’t use it for this right now, I am in the process of setting it up.  IFTTT lets you make your own ‘recipes’ for whatever it is you want to happen.  You can set things up to happen at a certain time or when you trigger the action.  There are more than a hundred ‘ifs’ and the same for ‘then that’ options.  If this happens then that happens.  Old school style.  I set up two new applets tonight for this blog.  Now anytime I publish a new post, IFTTT will automatically post the title and link to my Facebook page and will also tweet the same information for me so I don’t have to do it anymore.  Every time I get a text on my phone, that text and corresponding information is automatically added to s spreadsheet on my google drive.  I don’t have to do a thing!  Once you have your lights set up, you can set up IFTTT triggers for those, too.  On at sunset off at sunrise if you want…or you can use a specific time.  So many things you can do!  Oh, and did I mention that IFTTT is free?  Yeah, IFTTT is FREE!

I’m ready to see if my two new applets worked and then go play with the editing chain presets in Audacity.  Have a great night!

Step one completed

It’s been a horribly harrowing day at the day job. It’s been a horrible day for house selling, too.  My buyers pushed back the closing date AGAIN….we’re coming up on 50 days now.  I’ve had enough.  I signed the paperwork to extend one last time until this Friday and if we don’t have a rock solid closing date within 7 business days of then, I’m taking the $1250 earnest money, putting it in my pocket and putting the house back on the market.

After all of this, I came home to a box sitting on my bed.  My brand-spankin’ new AT2035 mic.  I also found in the paper where Harbor Freight has their Pelican style cases with pic-n-pac foam inside on sale for $30.  It looks just big enough to be a great case for my mic and it’s accessories.  I was excited about the mic, of course, but I can’t do anything with it until my interface arrives.  I apparently made a very bad decision on my first mic because no matter how quiet it is in the house and outside, there is a nasty hiss I can’t seem to get rid of.  We’ll see how much better this one is than the old one.  I’m ready to get started but can’t do anything…yet.

Of course, right now the neighbor is running his truck with the radio on at full blast with no one in it or even outside to listen to it.  The dishwasher is running, the fan on the oven hood is going, Dad is playing the Xbox, my son is super talkative (as usual 🙂 ) and my other neighbor has his music up much too loud on the other side of me, not to mention the kids playing outside.  Screaming is always part of the playing.  So I don’t see me recording ANYTHING tonight on EITHER mic.  *le sigh*

That’s all OK though.  When things are really bad, the only way left to go is up!  That means tomorrow will be a better day and I’m looking forward to it!  So I’ll fill out the registration for my mic and then turn on my own Xbox and go kick Dad’s a$$ in Call of Duty for a few hours.  🙂

Catch ya’ next time!