Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Running From My Niche

"No! Not narrator again!"

When I was about 6-years old, I remember being excited when the teacher told our class that we were all going to be part of a play. The thought of acting in a play made me jump and raise my hand as I shouted, "Oo! Oo! Oo!" If you're over 40, you might remember the character Arnold Horshack doing something like that on the TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter." Yeah. That was me that day.

However, my excitement died down as the teacher picked all of the kids who would play the characters in the play. One by one, she chose Bobby for the lead role, Susan for the wife of Bobby, David for the bad guy, Harold for the farmer, and so on. Then, finally, she looked at me. I frowned as she said, "Scott, you will be the narrator."


I thought to myself, "Why me?" Why was I the kid who got stuck at the side of the stage reading from the book? I wanted to act! But no. I was the kid in the shirt and tie, standing at the podium with a microphone in my face.

After a while, I learned to accept the role, and vowed to do my best. The play went well. Bobby and Susan wowed the audience, while David, Harold and the rest brought laughs from everyone. That day, I decided that narration was not for me, and that I would be an actor in the next play.

You might be ahead of me here. Yes, every year after that first play, I was chosen as the narrator. And every year, I trudged through it, wishing I was acting in the play. I don't remember if I ever complained to the teachers who chose me, but I don't think it would have mattered. It was like the word "NARRATOR" was stamped on my forehead.

After grade school, I continued to narrate and announce various events. In between those events, though, I would entertain my friends with celebrity impressions and character voices. I even did a George Carlin skit in a 9th grade talent show, and it was a blast. Then in high school, you guessed it. I continued to narrate and announce.

Strangely enough, it was only just recently that I realized that most of my clients hire me to... narrate! I also realized that I was still focused on character voices, which I do get hired to voice from time to time, but nowhere near as much as narration.

So often in the voice acting business, you will hear peers say, "Find your niche and hone it." All these years, I have been running from my niche. Running from my God given talent. How silly is that?

If you are a voice actor, are you running from your niche? Is it staring you in the face? Stop running. Grab it and run with it!

Wishing you all the best in VO Land,