Continuing the series
With this week’s topic “Keep a picture of your first fish, first car, and first boy/girlfriend”.
Not sure why
Confession time: I’m not really sure why I chose this as one of the topics to write about, but I really liked the sentiment and now I am committed so here we go!
Typically, I research these topics (read: google them) once I select them to get some idea about how to approach them. I did that this time, too, but all I got in return was either the original list of 100 things, or people’s snarky responses to them. As a result, you will now be subjected to my very own mad ravings about the topic instead of a well-researched discussion. Bad for you, maybe more fun for me!
Overall, the sentiment here is a good one. Firsts are important. Remember the first fish you caught. That was a red-letter day for you even if, almost especially if, you have gone on to catch many more fish. Remember your first car. That was a milestone day in your life when you became independently mobile. Even if you have subsequently driven millions of miles, that first car was a special one! Remember your first boy/girlfriend. Another milestone for life! This is where you began learning about how to be in a relationship, and that not everything is about you.
Maybe these were not awesome milestones in your life (although I struggle to think of a way catching your first fish might be bad) but it’s still a good idea to remember them. I’ll talk about why in a minute.
So maybe you didn’t TAKE those pictures, I didn’t. But I still have a picture of them in my mind. Just because you didn’t have a “Kodak moment” (and yeah, I know I am dating myself here) shouldn’t stop you from picturing it and remembering it (fondly or not).
Why is it important to remember that first fish? No matter how old you were, it was your first success at fishing. Maybe you caught a fish the first time you dropped a line in the water. Maybe it took several fishing trips before you caught one (They DO call it fishing and not catching). Either way, you were clearly trying to catch a fish, and then you did! You succeeded!
There is a fair chance that this first fish was caught while you were still young. Maybe pre-teen. It MAY have been your very first success at something you were trying to do. These early successes set the stage for future success if for no other reason than learning that persistence pays off. A string of failures does not make YOU a failure, because a success may be right around the corner!
This one is also a success story. People obtain cars in a lot of different ways. Some save up for a long time to buy one, some are gifted cars from their parents. It’s different from catching a fish because it MAY not have been anything you did to acquire it (not minimizing those of you that worked hard to be able to afford it). You can get a car a lot of ways, but you can only catch a fish by…fishing.
The really important thing about your first car is the independence it affords you. You no longer have to rely on your parents, siblings or friends to get to where you want to go. You can now make your own schedule and not tie it to bus or train schedules or rely on taxis or Uber to get around. Your first car sets you apart and establishes you as an individual.
Unless you are married to your first, then this one could be tricky (depending on how jealous your SO might be). Like the fish and the car, it is a success. Like the fish, you had to pursue them to achieve success. However, the real reason remembering that first boyfriend or girlfriend is important is because it was likely the first time someone other than your family valued you for who you are. Regardless of how you felt about them, THEY wanted to be with you! They saw your value, your worth.
EVERYONE has value, partner, or not. I am not suggesting that you need a partner in order to have value, only that they are one outward sign of your value as demonstrated by another human. It’s not the only way to get that affirmation, but it is one way so if you have that, remember it!
All of these things
Each of these “firsts” in a person’s life marks a transition for them. It changed the way they looked at the world AND made them “feel” a certain way. With your first fish, you got the sense that if you just stick with it, you can accomplish your goals. With the car you get the feeling that you don’t HAVE to depend on anyone anymore and with that first partner you understand that you have value to others. These are all important things to remember.
A journey of 1000 miles
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Simple, but true. These firsts, and MANY others are steps along that journey that it would do you well to remember. The original author chose these three things to highlight, but I submit that they were talking about ALL your firsts not just these.
Your first VO Demo
I remember receiving my first professionally produced VO demo and how AWESOME it made me feel to listen to it for the first time. That demo represented WEEKS of training and preparation, as well as my first trip to a professional recording studio and it helped me to remember that training, preparation and hard work will definitely result in something worth having. It’s important to remember that, especially when things are slow or being a drudge. Work through it, keep practicing/improving and it will happen.
First VO Gig
Man, what a great feeling the first time someone wants to PAY you for a VO gig! I remember the excitement of booking my first gig and imagining myself as a professional voice over artist! It serves me well to remember that feeling with every new gig booked, but more importantly when I’m in a slump: I WILL book another! I keep a copy of that check to remind me that people DO want to hear me read their copy. I mean, I DID cash it, so it is now just a worthless piece of paper, but it symbolizes something.
First acting gig
For me it was a background role in a Hulu/Disney production (Dopesick – check it out on Hulu October 13th). I was both excited and nervous to arrive on set that first time, but MAN it was absolutely the coolest thing I had ever done. That feeling compelled me to study acting and submit for numerous roles. The first time I was cast in a speaking part I was OVER the moon!
They sustain you
These firsts serve to sustain you in slow times, and help you remember why you do this. I can tell you that in both VO and acting, there are a LOT more submissions and auditions than there are roles cast. Sometimes, it is remembering those firsts that help me to keep moving forward.
At the end of the day
There are so many firsts in our lives, and each one opens a new chapter for us. It’s important to remember them, and how they made you feel, as you continue to grow and improve. And if you haven’t had some of these firsts yet, look at and maybe talk to those who already have. Believe me, they’ll happen if you keep striving toward them…and they are AWESOME to think about when they do!
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Craig Williams says
Excellent blog Gary. Firsts should be cherished. In fact, every win in your voiceover business should be cherished.
Gary Mason says
Agree, every win should be cherished…but that first one…it’s special!
Nancy Mason says
Gary Mason says