Work, Time Control and Being Human

I hate that I haven’t uploaded a new video in weeks but I’ve been balancing between my jobs and haven’t had he time to record much of anything. I did some editing the other day and forgot to track my progress. I’m not 100% finished editing that scene though. I’ll be sending it in to my editor for feedback.

I’ve also been working on other projects as well, like recording an audiobook which I’m very excited about. I’ll definitely share more information on it in the near future.

Lately I keep wishing that time would stop, not forever but just for an hour or two. I just want to have a few extra hours to get all of my work done, whether that be editing, recording or writing. Sadly, I haven’t discovered the power of time control. If I had, I’d probably send everyone into some weird time loop anyways. Not everyone should be granted such power.

My niece commented on how fast I can type the other day.

“How can you type so fast without looking at the keyboard?” she asked.

“I’ve been typing for a very long time…everyday…forever.” I said. Which wasn’t entirely accurate but still mostly true. I have probably spent the majority of my life on the computer writing. The thought of it makes me a little sad. I could have been making more friends or something a kid but instead all I did was write. I’m not disappointed in my progress though. My old stories aren’t half bad. I kind of like them. I for sure thought I would cringe reading them but…they were actually interesting.

It’s funny because I’ve never cringed at the books I wrote in 4th grade. I adore those stories. I guess because being a preteen-teenage is such an awkward transition period for most people…I assumed that I was absolutely the weirdest human alive.

I got up early so I could try and squeeze some work in before I go to work…sounds funny but my days are constantly filled with me working. I have to remind myself to do normal human things, like eating and exercising and most importantly taking breaks. I never realized how valuable it was to get away from your work for 30 minutes until I became an adult. All of this work will be worth it though. Still, I kind of wish I’d slept in a little longer this morning.

Projects, Planning & Productivity

The weather’s been weird lately. One minute it’s boiling the next the wind is so strong I can barely open the car door without it slamming back in my face.

Windy days aren’t exactly fun when you decide you want to wear your hair out either. If I wanted a bowl out, I would’ve used a hair dryer! Sigh…of course the heat isn’t always friendly to hair either is it?

One thing that is nice about this bizarre weather is that it’s spontaneity inspires me to be more productive. The unfortunate thing is that with all I have on the go, I probably need to invest in a personal calendar. My phone just won’t cut it. I’d like to try and manage all of my projects effectively, whether that be recording which is currently my #1 priority (I’ve been recording an audio book this summer and it’s been so much fun!), or editing.

I also just started working part-time along with my job as a voice actor and the editing I do occasionally on the side. It’s nice to be working again, since the media industry is still adjusting to the changes happening during the pandemic. I’m eager to get back into the studio but I’m being as patient as possible and I’m making the most of the gigs I’ve been getting here and there during this pandemic. Plus my part-time job is loads of fun! I spend all day surrounded by books!

I do wonder if it’s possible for me to become more productive? Especially on my days off. Of course it’s important to take a break every now and then but when you have goals in mind, it’s good to stay on top of them. I try to set miniature goals for myself, of the things I’d like to accomplish in a week. I have a few set for this coming week. I’d like to get lots done in the next couple of days, but I also try to be realistic in what I can accomplish within a short span of time.

I have a habit of trying to do too many things at once which can at times be overwhelming, so I know that in order to counteract that, I have to make time for myself every so often so that I don’t burn out.

In terms of editing right now, I’m a lot further behind than I would have liked and what’s frustrating about that is the fact that I’ve got 3 chapters and 2 scenes to go. I’m at the end of the race with this 3rd round of edits but I chose to put it aside to complete other things. I think that by planning out my day and getting some sort of routine going for my editing, like I do for my at home recording sessions, I could probably get through these last few chapters more efficiently. Of course I still have to do a full read through before returning my corrections and my approvals back to my editor but I think once I get the last bit of editing done I can relieve some of the weight on my shoulders.

This is my debut. I just want everything to go smoothly.

Speaking of writing, I thought I’d do a little survey out of curiousity. If you’re a writer yourself, what is your writing style?

Back in the Studio

Yesterday was my first day back in the studio!

It was weird not having everyone around, but everything went smoothly and we had a great recording session.

I got to see the animatic for the show, which was absolutely fantastic. I hadn’t seen any concept art for my character prior to that, so when I saw her I instantly fell in love! She looked exactly as I imagined!

I really missed going in and recording versus being on my own at home. It was nice having a change of scenery.

Hello! – June 16th

I haven’t updated my blog recently…mainly due to the heartbreaking events that have been happening over the past few weeks. It didn’t feel right to post novel updates or do character collages. I felt that it was better to amplify the voices that needed to be heard at the time.

These events also made me reflect on my work, and how I can use my platform (although it isn’t very big), to educate people on the importance of diversity in the media.

I have been complaining about the lack thereof, for a couple of years now and before the tragic death of George Floyd I had been writing and planning post regarding diversity in books. I noticed that within my older work, despite having mainly white leads, there have been themes of injustice, not feeling like one fits in, prejudice and racism. Topics that I unintentionally included, and was writing about as a teenager…that I never thought to reflect on until becoming an adult. I think that in the back of my mind, as a visible minority in my community, and being mixed race, these were things that were constantly happening to or around me, that instead of speaking about them openly, I ended up expressing them through my art. A lot of my older stories explore things that I sometimes struggled to understand…emotions that perhaps at the time I didn’t know how to work through.

Do I put myself into my stories? No…I don’t think so. However, I cannot deny the correlation between things happening in the world around me and themes that appear in my books.

Injustice and racism play a huge role in my debut novel…along with discussions of police brutality. I wrote this when I was in high school. I have cops in my family…however, I am a POC. I am fully aware of how people view black people. I have had family members racially profiled. When I started this novel, I was being bullied at school and called all kinds of derogatory names. I brushed it off, but it still hurt…and somehow those emotions manifested in a place of creativity. It actually made me realize how deeply racism affected me growing up.

At seventeen I unintentionally wrote a series where one of my main characters is a visible minority, who is profiled and mistreated because of he’s different. He is forced to change himself to fit into someone else’s standards in order to “protect” himself, and has to act a certain way so people don’t “fear” him.

This series has definitely grown up with me in many ways…but I can’t deny that this character and his experiences are a reflection of how I felt at the time, when I was made to feel…different because of my hair, and my skin. Things that I couldn’t change or control. I understood and related to his frustrations while writing because it was something myself and many other people of colour have and continue to go through.

Realizing this…makes it a bit painful to write. I’ve been working on another novel while my debut is off with my editor, but everything in this series seems so much heavier than I initially thought…I had no intention of writing a story like this…but it seems I’ve been telling stories of injustice and cruelty my entire life. Somehow…pain seeped into my space of creativity and transformed itself through fiction into something that I could handle. In a way…it’s almost a blessing that I’ve been able to use my creativity to express these types of emotions…despite being fully aware of it.

The world is definitely changing…and I think this change will be good. I don’t want my children to have to bury those feelings of frustration and pain so deep that…years later they realize it manifested in their art.

On a less…depressing note…I’ve been working on some really fun voice over projects lately, and I’m really enjoying myself. I’m also finally able to buy makeup, which I haven’t done in…wow…I have work, so I actually want to use some concealer and what not. I’ve liked taking a break from wearing makeup, however, I also miss playing with all the beautiful colours and seeing what types of looks I can create. Honestly, I think Valentines day was the last time I did my makeup. My skin was really clear at the time, so I only used a bit of concealer. Being single on Valentines Day was so fun. I’ve been single every Valentines Day…so far though? I don’t mind honestly. Most of the time I was either in school or working, and I just like the holiday because I have an excuse to wear lots of red (like Christmas).

I’m rambling now, but I really just wanted to end my blog post with something a little less gloomy. I’ve been on and off social media as well because I’m finding it’s been taking a bit of a toll on my mental health, and because my job requires me to be very energetic, I don’t like to feel sad before I get in the booth.

Please remember to take care of yourself, stay safe, wash you hands, and be kind to yourself and others.

Exploring MoCap with Pascal Langdale

At the end of February, I had the privilege of taking a MoCap class through The MoCap Vaults, with Pascal Langdale.

I haven’t done any sort of theatre in the last few years, so it was definitely different than what I’m used to—standing in a booth behind a microphone.

mic radio GIF by Clara MacDonell

For a moment I became self aware of my own body and my movements. I started to question how I walked, how I stood, what gestures I commonly associated with what emotions. These were things I hadn’t ever thought about. I think about them while I’m writing characters, but usually, as a voice actress I think more about how my character feels, what they are thinking and what they sound like. It’s less outwardly, and more internal.

school of rock curly hair GIF by Nickelodeon

Pascal had everyone in the class do mask work. When I put the mask on, to be honest, I couldn’t stop from giggling. I wore my hair out and released getting a mask over my head would be a little challenging. I’ll try to remember to do a ponytail or something for next time. While wearing the mask that self awareness grew, but I didn’t feel self-conscious or awkward. Instead I felt free…and less restricted. I didn’t care how silly I looked. I just cared about being authentic to my portrayal of movement. I wanted to be in that character, for that moment.

walking big and tall GIF

After the masks came off for our other exercises, I felt comfortable. I got to play characters of all types, and it never occurred to me that I couldn’t because I was a 5”1, female with a young voice. During one of our earlier exercises, before putting on the masks, Pascal had us create hero poses. While assessing mine he said, “You are big, you are strong, and you are confident. You have mission and purpose,” and it resonated with me throughout the remainder of the class.I’ve always been so used to being little, that I’d never thought of myself as being big…or at least playing a big character.

Then Pascal had me play a dragon.

elder scrolls dragon GIF by Bethesda
I’ve never been a dragon before. I tried to think of how they moved, how they slithered about, how heavy they were and how to sound like I was actually breathing fire from my lungs.
My knees were pretty dusty afterwards, but there was something really fun about playing a giant, that walks around on all fours and has these massive wings.
My voice carried out, in a way that only my body and movements could help me create. It was such an amazing experience.
There is definitely nothing like trying to breath fire.
game of thrones dragon GIF
MoCap is such a cool stream of acting because, like Voice Over you can become anything, but it’s the physicality of it, that makes it interesting. You have the freedom to really transform into something new. Characters that are human or aliens or dragons, male or female, young or old…and it’s the actor’s ability to create something believable in this playful space that is truly fascinating.
I had such a wonderful experience in this class, working through scenes with everyone and doing these exercises. It was truly amazing. I hope I get to explore this medium more in the near future.
Happy Full House GIF

Book Talk Episode 3: Talking About My Work

My Nana recently asked me what my novel was about, and I suddenly got extremely tongue-tied. This of course isn’t the first time this has happened. Trying to write a synopsis was its own challenge…however somewhat easier than trying to verbalize it.

shy girl

It’s a little sad, because my other job is talking. The difference with that is, you usually have a script handy and time to rehearse. Being put on the spot and asked to talk about your work can be a little overwhelming.
I find that all the wheels in my head start turning: I should mention what genre it is? Do I explain the plot? The subplots? Characters?

reading outside

These are only a few of the questions that come to mind. Luckily for me, my Nana was able to get the gist of what I was saying over the phone through my jumbled explanation. I was actually really happy she asked about my novel, and honestly wished I carried around a tiny script in my wallet of key things to mention…sort of like an elevator pitch. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has a hard time describing my work…honestly I loath the question, “What do you do?” in job interviews or when meeting new people, because for some reason my brain goes, “What do I do? What do I like? Who am I?”

confused girl

It makes me laugh a little…because honestly, what else can you do in a situation like that other than laugh, take a deep breath an try to collect your thoughts? Now, personally when I wrote the synopsis for my book to submit to my publisher, I took my favourite novels, laid them out and skimmed what was written on the backs (or the inside front flap). I actually found this really helpful, because it allowed me to narrow down what key points stood out to me as a reader, when selecting those books in the first place.

book and coffee

How do you react when someone asks you about your work? Do you get a little bit flustered or are you excited and readily prepared to deliver your answer?