On Introspection: an outsider, looking in
There was an old war flick I saw a while back, in which two POWs were discussing romantic conquests. One was instructing his fellow POW how to say ‘I love you’ in Russian. I got curious and looked it up on a popular translation engine, then looked up how to say ‘liar’ in the same language (an appropriate response in that situation, I thought). Funnily enough, one of the secondary meanings of the word is ‘storyteller.’
Stories exist throughout all walks of life. They range from the stories told to children at bedtime, with dragons and furry-footed foodies; to the ones told to them around the kitchen table about why they can’t go on that field trip when the bills are piling up. There are the stories told to friends about ‘no, of course my dad didn’t mean to imply that about your boyfriend’ (yes he did); to the ones told to old classmates about ‘yes, that is my Jaguar in the parking lot’ (until the rental period ends).
While it may take looking outward to see and hear these stories, it takes a knowledge of oneself to know which ones to accept, and which ones to call bull. Are you the kind of person who understands the little white lies told to protect another’s sensibilities? Are you the kind of person who won’t stand for people who call colleagues names, and later claim those encounters were warm rather than heated? Are you the kind of person who disagrees with a company that encourages the use of exclamation points and first names, and uses that mask of cheer and inclusiveness to distract from compensation policies that are unclear to the point of dishonesty?
Voice acting is about telling someone else’s story in your own voice. It may take looking outward to encounter that someone else, but understanding comes from looking within. How convincing are you as a storyteller if you can’t take in that other person’s story and examine it for yourself, find something that links that story to you, and make that story your own?
All fields nowadays seem to rely so heavily on social media to promote, connect, find work and industry information, but maybe it’s just my lens that makes it seem to me that voice acting relies on it just that much more. Considering the prevalence of social media in this field and in so many other parts of modern life, it’s more important to me to be introspective and look within. With competing and conflicting information coming from every front, it’s more important to know oneself better in order to winnow out the useful stuff from all that noise, to examine that information according to your own needs and practices; and choose to accept that information, adjusting as necessary, or choose to discard it.
What do you choose?