No Experience Truly Wasted for an Actor…

14 Jan
Rubber-faced frustration in my first print ad (back when i had hair to pull).

Rubber-faced frustration in my first print ad (back when i had hair to pull) about bank service.


…if you can just survive long enough to use it!

Happy New Year, by the way.  And it appears as though that may be more than just a generic greeting, the way work is shaping up for 2009.  But more on that in another post.

Some of us believe “everything happens for a reason”.  Some of us believe that reason is because the Universe hates us.  But even cynical ol’ me had to admit today that a number of downright annoying experiences actually have a silver lining (and a paycheck), if only because…I’m a Voice Actor.

Case in point:  a job doing some audio character work for a multi-media presentation produced for Days Inn on customer satisfaction.  And dis-satisfaction.  They gave me a range of scenarios where I was the same guy with a problem which needed resolving.  The directors guided me through positive moods like “above and beyond”, to “neutral reaction”, to “slightly aggravated”, to “highly aggravated”. 

The scenes involved a tired traveler with a fouled-up hotel stay made worse by a broken air conditioner.

Those who know me have already guessed that I nailed the “highly aggravated” scene in one take.  It was the upbeat and appreciative guy I had to work on (but it still only took about three takes for him). 

Honestly, I do try to hold my temper with individuals who are trying to help solve a problem they themselves had no fault in creating.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have that invective-laden tirade formulating in the back of my frazzled mind all the while.

Mere mortals must either give vent to their frustrations in the moment, or stifle the urge and compound their frustration by supressing it.

But we…!  We fortunate actors (including voice actors) can at least take some small comfort in knowing that if we can file the experience away for future use, those feelings can be channeled back into a script at some future time, adding a welcome element of truth to a performance. 

And it can literally provide a “payoff” to life’s rich pageant of frustrations, which most people are never able to enjoy.

…the trick is not to burst a blood vessel or die of a monster ulcer before that payday arrives!

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I phone tech support to find out why those #*@%!! morons haven’t fixed the problem with my *$!@%** DVR yet!

— over and out —


5 Responses to “No Experience Truly Wasted for an Actor…”

  1. Mary McKitrick January 15, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    What a wonderful story Rowell! Congratulations on the Days Inn gig too.

    This will help me think about frustration in a new way. I can see it now – when another driver cuts me off, I will yell, “oooooohhhh, just wait til I get into my booth!!!!”

    Best wishes for a prosperous year –


  2. Bill Pryce January 16, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    The funny thing is whoever you talk to at tech support will likely be a relative of the average Day’s Inn owner. I’m just saying. Stay at one some time, you’ll see. Good post!
    Bill Pryce

  3. Rowell January 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    thanks, mary. yeah, the main trick is holding the essence of the experience without your head exploding.

    and bill…your creative snark is well taken. just keep in mind i have no grudge against day’s inn (especially since they hired me). my accumulated experiences with all sorts of customer service/suffering gave me a lot to draw from.

  4. Bobbin Beam January 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    Admit it. You’re an excellent actor! You pulled from experience and created a compelling character. Must’ve been fun. Kudos on the gig.
    All The Best,
    Bobbin Beam, Voice Actress

  5. Sprecher April 12, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    True story. We work with a lot of voice actors and some of them tend to let their agression out during recordings when their scripts are rubish. I remember one recording where a voice talent got so angry that he almost broke the acoustic wall with his shoes …

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