Thanks for reading, and if you are a new subscriber; Welcome and thanks for joining us! I know you were eagerly awaiting a post last week, but as I mentioned week before last, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah for my M-I-L’s 80th birthday.
Have you ever been to Utah? No? Neither had I till my met Karen, who grew up just outside Salt Lake City. Man, what a beautiful place. If you didn’t know, SLC sits in a VERY flat valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains.
This picture does not do it justice
We had a really great time this trip, and the birthday party was a HUGE success. It’s really nice to celebrate a milestone birthday with someone and see how many people love them. Happy Birthday mom!
A Funny Story
Yeah, I know this blog is supposed to be about Voice Over, I’ll get to that…but I have a funny story to tell you about one of my first trips to Utah.
You see, Karen grew up there (as I mentioned) and with perfect mountains all around, it is easy to understand why someone would become a skier. Karen did. I, on the other hand, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and while Cleveland definitely has some things to offer (like Lake Erie!) the one thing it does NOT have is a mountain. Hardly even a hill.
I was not a skier
But, when I started to date Karen, I agreed to give skiing a try since she liked it so much. She got me hooked on golf, but THAT’S another story. Anyway, we headed to Wisp (in MD) and I took about ½ day of lessons and practice on the bunny slope…and I was HOOKED! I actually got the point where I could:
- Get ON the lift without falling
- Get OFF the lift without falling.
I was sure I was ready for the Olympics! Well, not really, but I was CERTAIN I could do this skiing thing!
So we were heading out to visit her mom in the winter and we decided we needed to bring all of our ski stuff so we could spend some time on the slopes while we were there. It would be an understatement to say I was not prepared for what faced me there. Just in case you weren’t aware, with an elevation of under 4000 feet, Marsh Mountain in Garrett County Maryland (where Wisp Resort is located) PALES by comparison to the 11,000+ feet of the Wasatch Mountains situated to the East of SLC and Snowbasin Ski resort, where Karen took me because they had “easy slopes”.
This is NOT your mama’s ski resort!
First, when you ski on the East Coast, it is a simple affair of getting on the lift, getting off the lift, skiing to the bottom, then getting on the lift and going to the top again. If you want to go to a different slope, you just get on a different lift at the bottom…well, for the most part. At any rate, it is SIMPLE. At Snowbasin, you need a MAP. Depending on where you park, you’ll probably need to SKI to the first lift, and then choose a run to take, then get on a different lift and head to another run. You can easily get lost working your way around the mountain.
The very first thing I noticed when we got out of the car and started to head downhill was: There are no “slopes” on this mountain, and it is NOT a “hill”. I found myself staring straight down (or so it seemed to me) a cliff. Well, I suppose straight down is technically a slope, if you’re a mathematician: I was far less worried about math, and a LOT more worried about dying on the mountain that day.
It MAY be a guy thing…
I don’t know, but when Karen and her friend gracefully headed down the “slope” (I’ll just call it that from now on I suppose), nice and smooth and at a reasonable pace, there was no WAY I was going to chicken out and not head down myself. I refused to be shown up!
When I bought my shiny new skis, I told the 20-something guy helping me at the ski store that we were headed to Utah. He selected the perfect pair of skis for me to ski in Utah. Karen questioned the wisdom of the extra-long skis he chose, but I told her he assured me they were perfect. If you’re a skier, you know that “extra-long” can be translated to “Very fast and difficult to control”. **NOTE TO SELF**: Never listen to a 20-something ski guy when you are approaching 60 and just getting started.
WOW – They were FAST
If I even THOUGHT the word slope, my skis were headed downhill FAST and with a mind of their own! I won’t bore you with details of each hill, just know that I spent more time trying to stand up on a steep angle and get my skis back on than I did actually skiing. Karen and her friend, sadly, spent more time standing at the bottom of the hill laughing at me. Even on the fall where I apparently broke a rib. Skiing can be dangerous for an old brittle guy like me.
By the time the girls were ready to quit, I was beat up, sore and exhausted. I could barely stand. Remember how I mentioned you need a map and could easily get lost? Yeah, well we were about 3000 miles and several slopes/lifts away from the car. Maybe not 3000 miles, maybe more like 3…but it FELT like 3000. I was done, but I had to ski for another HOUR to leave. I had no choice but to keep going or die on the side of the mountain.
What does that have to do with Voice Over?
I’m glad you asked! The story of my first ski trip to Utah seems unrelated, but it reflects my (and I suppose many of your) journeys in Voice Over.
In the Beginning….
No, not Charleston Heston, but when we first start out in voice over, or any new endeavor really, it’s like that first day for me at Wisp on the bunny slope. We take some lessons, get some coaching…and then one day it seems like we “get it”. We can turn, stop, get on and off the lift without wiping out. It’s a great feeling, we MIGHT even book a small job and feel good about ourselves!
But one day…
But then, as we gain confidence, we “head to Utah” where we can begin trying out the big slopes. Those higher paying Voice Over jobs. Suddenly, we are competing with pros, people who have been doing this for years. And then we spend a lot of time falling down and trying to get back up. Thankfully, those seasoned pros aren’t standing at the bottom of the hill laughing at us, well, except on Facebook when we ask dumb questions that have been answered a million times. Anyway, it feels like they are sometimes.
And then you may feel “done”
Or maybe not, but likely so. Your legs will be shaking, your chest on fire from a broken rib…you may feel like you can’t continue, and you never want to do this again. OK, not literally, but you get the point. You may come to a point where you just want to throw in the towel and find something else to do.
That’s right don’t do it! Keep on going! I know it’s not like you are stuck on the side of the mountain with no choice but to “keep skiing” but keep skiing anyway. Make it back to the relative safety of the car. Drive home, put your feet up, have an “adult beverage” or six (if you’re into that), and then gear up the next day and try again. Maybe not the next day, maybe, like me, you need a week or so to let the fractured rib heal…take the time you need to get re-centered and then head out again. Get some coaching, get a practice partner, find a mentor…and keep chugging along.
It gets better…
It really does. Like with any other thing you try to do, at first you are pretty terrible at it, then you get good enough to be encouraging, then you hit a slump and THEN you start to be GOOD at it. Giving up means you never get to the GOOD stage. Personally, I look forward to the day I consider myself good at Voice Over…well, and skiing…AND golf…but again, that’s another story altogether.
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