My First Seven Jobs

Have you seen this “First Seven Jobs” thing floating around on the interwebz? It started with celebrities being asked what their first seven jobs were, so all us non-famous folk can say to ourselves “Whaaaaa? Famous people are normal people who had normal jobs?! Now they seem so relatable, and I feel good about my life now. Move over [insert job here]!! I’mma make it big one day! BIGGG!”

colbert jobs

I bet Colbert was the best lunch lady ever!!!!

Lol. Anyways, my voiceover success story stems from a Job Journey fueled with fear of hating what I do forever and learning lots about myself. I mean, my whole spiel is that I escaped the jobs I couldn’t stand and fled to Freelance Land, a magical place where I am my own boss and LOVE what I do. That being said, the First Seven Jobs thingy is so relevant to my life that I felt it warranted a blog post.

  1. Hollywood Video – Remember the olden days when you rented movies from a place and not the internet or a box at the grocery store? Well, I worked at one. I went there every day after school for weeks asking for a job, and finally they caved and hired me. I remember my very first day, when some mean lady got mad and threw a DVD in my face. Oh the memories! Actually now that I think about it, I had things thrown at me at most of these jobs. Huh.
  2. amc prenticeAMC Theatres – You’d think I’m some big movie buff, since my first two jobs are about movies, but I’m not really. I worked at the movie theater all through college and after when I couldn’t find an entry level job. It was like, 6 years! I started as an usher and eventually fell into a management position. I made so many long lasting friends while at AMC. The company may not have been a great fit for me, but I wouldn’t take it back. Amazingly enough, I still LOVE popcorn.
  3. Henry’s Louisiana Grill – I had this issue where I wasn’t getting promoted at AMC, and I felt like my hard work didn’t pay off at the time. So, I decided to have two jobs, one where in theory, my work would directly affect my pay. I was head hostess at Henry’s for a long time, and I eventually waited tables there. My love of spicy food started here, and as far as serving jobs go, this was a good one. I met my maid of honor there, and Mr. Prentice proposed to me at the hostess stand (Now that is a hilarious story).
  4. Red Bull Gal – This was my very first promo girl job. I was one of those Red Bull girls jim beam racer goooowho drives the Mini Cooper and gives away free drinks. The interview process was interesting. We had a group interview at a nightclub and had to play a ton of improv games. Luckily, I rock at those. Nailed it! I honestly don’t know if I could have made a career of being a brand ambassador/sales model without this first impressive piece on the resume.
  5. Sales Model – Once I was done with Red Bull, I got work doing promotions for a marketing company! I got to rep a lot of big liquor brands and cosmetic lines. I technically still am on the roster for them, but they don’t do as much in Atlanta as they used to. Some of my all time favorite promos were with this company. I got to visit some rad places and meet all kinds of people…mostly in bars and clubs. It was a fun way to make money in my early 20s.
  6. Receptionist – I left my management job at AMC (Yes, I had multiple jobs while working at AMC) to take a receptionist job for a cosmetics company. It was honestly the worst job I ever had. Those who followed this blog before it became my VO website
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    This is Franklin. He was by office buddy, and I used to feed him plant food in secret to convince the office I was some kind of wizard. He and the CEO’s orchid would network on weekends.  I miss him. Wonder how he’s doing?

    know, because I used to blog about the insane, The Office-esque drama. I started training to do voiceovers as a creative outlet and hopeful escape route. Let me just say though…I despised this job, but I was really good at it. My best acting performance ever was working here for over two years. #OscarWinningPerformance

  7. Acting Studio Assistant – Once the receptionist job came to an end, my voiceover coach, the amazing Deborah Richards, got me a job as a studio assistant at the place where I was training. I loved getting an inside look at producing audio, coaching, acting, casting, and all the other awesome industry stuff that came through there. It made me really understand the ins and outs of showbiz. I also met so many people who I still work with today!

 

About five years after Job 7, I became a full time voiceover talent. I’m not famous…….yet…..but I think this goes to show that finding a fulfilling career is possible. I sometimes wish I had found VO sooner, but you know what? As not fun as it is, learning what you absolutely DON’T want to do is just as important as figuring out what will make you happy. If nothing else, it builds character, right?

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RIGHT?!?!?

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Don’t be so Powertuff on these Powerpuffs!

powerpuff-videoThe new Powerpuff Girls reboot premiered this week. I’ve been pretty stoked to check out the new take on a classic, and I absolutely LOVED playing with the Powerpuff Yourself game! How fun! I’m really enjoying the show so far. To me, it balances old-school aspects of the original with the quippy styles of modern animated shows. I dig.

Something I really have not enjoyed are fantrums (fan tantrums) over the new voices for Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. I get it. We loved Cathy Cavadini, Elizabeth Daily, and Tara Strong as the PPGs when we were younger. The show was a huge hit for kids and adults alike, and it got quite the following. Fans are passionate, which is wonderful, and I can absolutely understand why our love of the original can affect how we feel about this reboot. Love it, hate it, be indifferent. It’s all good. What is NOT all good is having a fantrum and throwing shade, blame and hate at the new voice actors, saying they suck, are awful, and did a crappy job. Not cool, Yo. Let me throw down some thoughts on the matter. Let’s get real:

This Isn’t For You

I know. I know. PPG is a show that reaches out to a broad age range, btumblr_lkb7bmMPZG1qhhm7tut just remember when planning a new television series, Cartoon Network is catering to their main audience…kids…just like the original PPG was planned for us nearly twenty years ago. Changes were intentional, not some inept, Chemical X mistake. The writing is different, the art is different, the industry is different, and yup. Most voices are different as well. These are choices the network made. The actors did not, and on that note…

These Girls Did Nothing Wrong

I remember when I voiced the mascot for a MLP convention, and some people really hated her voice. “It’s too high pitched.” “She’s so annoying.” “Her accent isn’t authentic.” Did I care? Hell no! I auditioned for the role, booked it, and then I delivered exactly what the clienPowerpuff-Girls-06102015t wanted. Mic drop (not literally…mics are expensive).  You can hate them all you
want, but Amanda Leighton, Kristin Li, and Natalie Palamides auditioned for these roles (and you know the competition was steep for this job), probably had callbacks, booked the job, and then they took direction and delivered a great performance in the booth. It seems obvious the girls were not asked to impersonate the original PPGs, and  if the creators of the reboot didn’t like the actors, they would have been replaced with some of the hundreds of other girls who auditioned. Which brings me to my next point…

Recasting Happens…A Lot!

In all genres of voiceover, people get recast for many reasons, some within the actor’s control and others not so much. Your fault or no, it’s a huge blow to the ‘ole ego. You can do everything right and not be in the final product or the next go ’round, and it sucks. I’ve heard from top actors who voice iconic characters that they sometimes have to audition to voice the character they have done a million times. Despite assumptions I’ve read in articles about this, no role is promised to you forever (well, unless it’s in the contact. lol). Was Tara Strong right to call this a “stab in the heart?” Absolutely. Is this scenario some kind of rare conspiracy that never happens in the industry? Not by a long shot! Even the original actors wished the new girls luck and/or expressed no ill will toward them. That’s showbiz, and as bad as it feels, you gotta be supportive and professional toward your fellow talent.

It’s okay to not like the show. It’s even okay to not dig the new actors, just like you may not like the new writing and aesthetics. These gals do have some big, ballet shoes/Mary Janes to fill, but don’t let bias and fandom loyalty cloud your judgement. I personally think the new take is pretty great and worth checking out. I mean, how could you not love this?!

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Prentice’s VO #TBT 2015

Is it really almost 2016 already?! Wow! What a year 2015 was. Well, I want to treat this NYE like an extreme Throwback Thursday and take a look at some VO highlights of my year. I may as well take advantage of NYE being on Friday Eve, right?

Pandora

I’ve been with Pandora for quite a while now, and no ad or brand is too big or small for me to tackle with them. If you listen to Pandora, chances are VoxyLadies_logo_new_Fullyou’ve heard me between your favorite tunes!

Voxy Ladies

This year I was accepted into the Voxy Ladies, an all female, professional VO group. Being a part of this prestigious sisterhood has been awesome. It’s brought new opportunities, and I’ve made tons of new VO BFFs! I absolutely can’t wait to go to the Voxy Summit here in Atlanta next month! It will be insane, Yo.

Peg Heads

I booked my first animated role this year on a show called Peg Heads. It’s a cartoon seriDrone ones based off of the Laser Peg toy line. I play the part of Drone, the sassy, hovering robot assistant to Professor Laserus. She is a sarcastic, floating cube with a robo-heart of gold who begrudgingly helps the Peg Heads save the day. She only has a couple lines in the pilot, but worry not. I will get to drone-on quite a but in the upcoming episodes planned for season 1! I will link the pilot episode below!

My Little Pony: Friendship Celebrationmaxresdefault

This is a new app from MLP that is basically an extended play experiencefor the line of dolls that came out over the summer. With the click your tablet or phone camera, you and your ponies can go to parties hosted by characters on the snow. I am the voice of Pinkie Pie! So, anytime you party with Pinkie in Friendship Celebration, you are also partying with yours truly. As Pinkie says in the game “I’m so excited, I can hardly stand up straight!”

New Digs

I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but I still want to share here in my 2015 highlights. I gave my setup a technological makeover! It’s only made my recording studio more effective and fun. Here’s a link to the original post if you want details.

What’s Coming-Up in 2016???

Well, I don’t know! That’s part of the fun of the freelance life (and what makes it scary as hell sometimes. Lol). Anything is possible, so I gotta be ready to roll with the punches and seize any opportunity that comes my way.

Thanks to all of you: My friends, family, clients, and new visitors!
Let’s enjoy this New Year’s Eve, and here’s to a fabulous 2016!

CHEERS!

NYE 2016

 

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VO To-Go: Prentice is Now a Traveling Act

This time a week ago, Nick and I were coming home from a family vacation to St. Augustine, Florida, and a little getaway for our seventh wedding anniversary. I didn’t want to miss out on a week of work, so for the first time ever, I decided invite my equipment along! Now I can have my VO to-go, not just dine-in only! Hooray!

This is how I packed my equipment! Lol.

This is how I packed my equipment! Lol.

At first I was looking to purchase a travel setup. I researched and talked to colleagues about their favorite choices. It ends-up lots of the better USB mics are BFFs with Mac products, and I wanted to make sure whatever I bought would be good buddies with my PC and Adobe Audition. After being mansplained at a local shop, I asked myself “Prentice, why are you trying to buy a travel setup, when you can travel with your current digs?” To which I replied “Dude, you’re right, Prentice. We are staying in the same condo we’ve visited many times, and there is a perfect space for me to treat and use. Besides, Mr. Prentice and I are driving down, and devoting one small suitcase to my work won’t be a problem.” Then I added “GOOD THINKING, PRENTICE! We can shop online later for a second setup. No need to stress myself out over this right now.” I have great conversations with myself.

Anyways, it ended up being a slow week (I only did paid work that just needed me to record and send. I didn’t want to commit to auditions because they can be a time suck.), and I was kinda okay with that. As much as I adore busy, profitable weeks, slow ones happen from time to time, and if the stars are going to align and make a not busy workweek while I’m out of town, cool. I still got to test the waters of traveling VO and then hop in the waters of a pool and the ocean.

Running logoIn case that wasn’t being productive enough, I decided to join my Voxy Ladies in their Pretty in Pink Virtual Marathon for Cancer Research! I was able to knock out about half my 26.2 miles while doing beach walks and exploring historic St. Augustine! Way to multitask, Prentice!

I do realize someday I will want to invest into a smaller, simpler setup that reduces the risk of my at-home equipment getting messed-up or lost on an airplane or in a cramped packing space. Do you have a travel setup? What do you like best? I’d love to hear more about your favorite equipment for doing voice work on the go!

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Celebrating My Unconventional American Dream

pet-cat-dog-1-1496989-639x960Today marks a pretty big milestone for me. For the first time in over a decade, I will only have ONE JOB. That’s right. I have officially retired from promotional and demo work and am focusing solely on my voiceover…and it’s a full time job…like…that pays the bills! This is not a case of choosing to be a poor struggling artist either. I have work. It’s legitsies!

I have had at least two jobs since 2003, and I’ve balanced between 2 and 6 part time, freelance and full time jobs during that time. For a few years, I was also a full time student. Talk about juggling your life around! The juggle struggle was real, and my post-graduation journey was nothing like I thought it would be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI couldn’t find grown-up work, tried a receptionist job to get my foot in the door, hated the job and couldn’t get anywhere (as plenty of you heard about when this site was “Receptionist on the Verge.”). I started voiceover training on the side, experienced being laid-off for the first time, felt pressured and took another front desk job that underpaid me but at least brought forth great connections in VO, and experienced another layoff before embracing unemployment and looking at things differently.  I stacked multiple gigs on top of each other to make ends meet, until now. Now I have enough consistent VO work to do just the one thing I love! Yay!

I’m so happy I found this awesome industry, where being me is what I do! There are so many wonderful people who helped me get to this point, and I am truly grateful for them and for every opportunity I found and grasped. I gotta say though, old fashioned, bootstrappers’ “logic” and tactics didn’t help me find success. It was not that simple and untrue equation that failure = you didn’t try hard enough. Not so say that working hard and not giving up isn’t important, but I think this pie chart gives a more accurate slice of career life…at least from my perspective!
Success Chart

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Got My Eye on You, My Kaotica Eyeball that is!

IMG_0064As you may or may not recall, I acquired a Kaotica Eyeball last fall (Oooh! That rhymed!). Needless to say, I was pretty stoked. I’m always down for finding ways to improve my audio. The only problem was the Eyeball would not fit over my microphone. Bummer! So, the little guy just sat in my study until I did a complete studio makeover! It’s been a few months since I upgraded my equipment and added the Kaotica Eyeball to the mix, so let’s talk about it!

For those of you who don’t know, the Kaotica Eyeball is an acoustic treatment device that isolates and channels sound directly to your microphone. By isolating and channeling sound, the Eyeball is able to accurately capture the pure vocal tone while greatly reducing room reflections and ambient noise.” So yeah. It’s this rad looking sphere that goes over most any microphone. It’s lightweight, has a built-in pop filter, and requires nothing more once slipped over your mic. But the real questions you may have are A) Does it work? And B) Is it worth purchasing? Well, here is my honest opinion:

Bad audio? Ain't nobody got time fo dat!

Bad audio? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

The Kaotica Eyeball does work. There’s science behind it! Anyways, I do believe it makes my studio sound cleaner, and it exceeds my expectations for lowering my noise floor. I wish I had recorded some before and afters, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Is the Kaotica Eyeball worth buying? It does cost about $200. If you have the budget, I say go for it! If you are looking for a way to improve your recording space but don’t have the resources for a complete sound treatment, the Eyeball can help immensely. I also hear the Eyeball is great for travel set-ups. I’m looking forward to testing that out. It makes sense to me. Since travel spaces can be inconsistent, I would think adding the Eyeball to the travel line-up would easily improve less than ideal recording scenarios.

I do want to throw something out there though. I blogged about this years back when writing beauty reviews for a cosmetics app. People can have unrealistic ideas of what a product can do. You have to have reasonable expectations, People. No mascara is going to make stubby lashes suddenly be a mile long. No fad diet is going to make you look like Heidi Klum in one month. No skin cream is going to literally make you look 25 years younger. And…the Kaotica Eyeball is not going to magically make a crappy recording space and setup sound like a professional studio. Like, don’t stick your iPhone in this thing while at a red light to quickly record something and expect oohs and ahhs over the pristine quality of your audio. Because…that is ridiculous. Just stop. Like actually just stop and Prentice Silly - croppedenjoy some tunes on your radio at that red light. Or have a sip of that iced latte and calm the eff down.

That being said, I love my Kaotica Eyeball, and I think it makes a wonderful addition to my studio. I would definitely recommend it. Heck. I like mine so much that I didn’t remove it for my Voxy Ladies profile pics. This thing rocks.

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Heeeeeeeey, Voxy La-day!

11377236_10204073455180287_2146861306850542323_nI know I’m a little late in posting this, but I’m still excited…so it’s still relevant! My Memorial Day weekend was pretty rad. I went to the Ghibli film festival and watched My Neighbor Totoro, and then I got to see my brother be a dancing flamingo man at Zoo Atlanta’s Brew at the Zoo. I even got some boat time in with my folks before eating some barbeque. Good stuff.

You know what I did as the cherry on top of this long weekend sundae? I went to the Voxy Ladies Swap Til You Drop at Doppler Studios. The amazing gals with Voxy Ladies held a clothing drive, benefiting Atlanta Mission. And since we were all together, we got to talk shop and introduce ourselves to new, awesome, voiceover gal pals. It was cool, and we got a bunch of donations, too!

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Oh, did I fail to mention I am a Voxy Lady? Well, I am, and I’m loving the sisterhood so far. They are a very talented group of women, and I can’t wait until their Women’s Voiceover conference in Atlanta next year! Until then, feel free to check out my profile!

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