Moving From Corps to Solo Performer

One of the more fun parts of coming home, especially when your current work space looks out over your old play space, is that it forces you to look at your life choices. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up studying ballet and performing in choirs and bands, often practicing and creating my own little “performances” in my backyard. Like so many kids, I wanted to be in the spotlight.

No, that’s not true. I wanted to be a soloist, because that was where the more complicated, interesting choreography and musical passages were (and I spent a lot of my free time learning not only my part, but the part I really wanted to be playing. Again, not terribly uncommon.). And if you were the soloist, you got to spend more time dancing, singing, or playing. The spotlight was an unfortunate side effect of being a soloist.

Thanks to this internal struggle, I spent most of my time as Corps or ensemble, gaining the occasional demi-soloist, character, or featured piece when a teacher just couldn’t spend another minute watching me fail to get out of my own way. As a result, I’m really good performing as part of a group…and not entirely comfortable being on stage by myself.

And so it was with this background (coupled with a nearly crippling stage fright that two decades of teaching failed to beat out of me) that I walked into my first voiceover audition. I decided a booth had to be less scary than a stage, but the minute the audition was over and I realized that I had possibly just signed up to have my voice either permanently on file in audiobooks or (even more terrifying) broadcast live once a week, I started rethinking my bravery in seeking out the audition to begin with.

I got the audiobook job, and a game job right behind it, and dozens of jobs since. And I still freak out when I sit down to start working on an audiobook. There’s no Corps to hide behind, no ensemble to blend in with. It’s just me, the book, and the microphone recording my every sound. It’s the soloist role I always wanted, without putting me into a spotlight during the performance.

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