In all our years, we don’t know if we’ve ever seen such a vivid depiction of that first-booking thrill as this astonishing account from ‘Traxer Emiko Susilo:
‘I can’t believe I’m sending something to our booking news, but I swear there is a check on my mantel from a voice job!
Ok, this is part booking news and part love letter to all of you amazing teachers and engineers.
I remember distinctly where I was sitting the first time I called Voicetrax. Vicki answered my call. She was honest, supportive and realistic all at the same time. I perform professionally so I know that any kind of performance requires serious commitment if we want to be good and even more commitment if we want to be exceptional. Though I had been hoping for someone to say, “Oh after a few classes you’ll be ready”, Vicki’s thoughtful response and realistic assessment of how long I should expect to spend on this new direction in my life solidified my respect for Voicetrax. “Ok, these guys are serious” I told myself.
That conversation was a while ago now, and this term, I had a perfect storm of classes I was taking: home recording had me geeking out on recording equipment, software and soundwaves. Got Game had me pushing, pushing, pushing my comfort zone. My second round of script analysis gave me a bigger analytical toolbox to work with. Vicki’s Booking Gigs 123 had me getting to know the nooks and crannies of Voice 123 and how to navigate the system effectively.
The night before I recorded this audition I was in Chuck’s class. I had let my inner ‘bitch’ loose much to the surprise and giggles of my classmates. I had SO much fun, and had an epiphany. A realization that the dark side of me, the things I had been trying to suppress /control and which I am tremendously critical of were actually a RICH mine of emotional gems. I could have FUN with them and OTHER people could ENJOY them! The next day I was working on an assignment for my Booking Gigs class, and I decided to go ahead and ‘submit’ the audition we had done as homework. I still had the spirit of playfulness and risk taking that I had so enjoyed the night before in class.
BEHOLD, I got an email! I couldn’t believe it! I got my first voice-over job!
I came to class and sheepishly asked Vicki to confirm if an email saying “I’d like to hire you for this job” meant I was actually hired. Vicki, lovingly talked me down from the tree branch of nerves that I had backed myself onto…Could I DO it? What if they didn’t LIKE the ‘real’ take?
My self doubt came in a big flood, but my classmates were celebrating my job. They were so sweet, everyone was excited.
Like so many times I have had in Voicetrax, my teacher gently but firmly re-grounded me. I left class with the confidence (and mental tools!) I needed to do the take. I sent two takes in and spent an unbearable, sleepless weekend waiting to see if their client would approve it. I literally could not sleep. I was over the moon when they said the client really liked the first take, and where should they send my check?
O.M.G. Vicki had even discussed how to do our invoices, keep our records, and what the tone of professional communications in VO should be. So I was SET.
It’s just a baby step, and I feel like I have more to learn than ever, but I’m so grateful to have booked my first job. It’s true. It’s not about a ‘talent’ we are born with, it’s about a lot of work and dedication and taking risks and trusting these amazing teachers.
I wanted to say one more thing to you all amazing teachers…not directly related to booking the job, but about this process. I realized at some point that certain kinds of voices (angry, bitchy, funny) were exceptionally difficult for me in the booth. I drove home wondering one night last year, “Why do I not have an angry voice. Where is my angry voice? How come I cannot sound silly or fun? “ I knew that those were emotions that I have, but I got teary when I realized I had spent my entire adult life trying to sound calm, professional, friendly, completely under control and knowledgeable. It was essential for my professional life. I had cultivated one part of my voice, but I had completely denied parts of my voice…not just the ‘sound’ of my voice, but even my thinking process.
A Javanese singing teacher once told me, “I don’t want you to sound like that famous singer. I want you to sound like you. When people hear you sing, I want them to say…ah…that is Emiko’s voice.”
And in that moment, I wondered. Where was my voice? What did it even sound like? How was I supposed to find it?
I’ve come to realize it’s not just the vibration of my vocal folds he and Sam are talking about, it’s something much deeper than that, it’s all the richness of our lives, our sadness, joy, anger, love and silliness. That is our voice, and I’m so grateful that being here is helping me to find those part of me that have been under lock and key for so many years.
I’m ready to dive into my next round of classes and continue this process of learning with this amazing community.
Thank you Voicetrax. I LOVE YOU!!!