[TRUTH SERUM] Raising Your Voice

This past weekend, I got to take a much needed break from my insanely busy life as an author, editor, and voice actor. But I also got to endure a rather life-changing experience for the VO side of me.

This past weekend… I auditioned at Anime Central for Bang Zoom Studios.

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I’ll be honest. I never imagined I could muster up an ounce of courage to take any stage, for business, for pleasure, anything. I’ve always had the worst cases of stage fright take hold of me. I was the graduate that sped-talked her way out of any speeches. But late last year, after having played roles for six years, I decided to try doing voice acting again.

I was partway inspired because I watched some of the Bang Zoom auditions in 2018, my first year at Anime Central. And then my kick came when I saw a Blue Yeti microphone in the pawn shop where I worked. Something awoke in me. Something that said “you can do this.”

And that same emotion came over me when I decided that I wanted to put my foot in the door to audition for Bang Zoom this year.

My mind opened up a bit more when I learned that many of my VA friends would be attending too, and meeting them made the weekend that much more thrilling. I’m so grateful to have gotten to know each and every one of them better, and they’re so encouraging and fun, and everyone is wickedly talented.

 

I wish the world for all of them. My biggest thanks go to Branden, who was an awesome guide to all things involving the process. I couldn’t put into words how amazing he is at his craft and how altruistic he is. To Joe, who was so supportive of me throughout the entire audition process, giving me guidelines for my first time around! And to Megan, someone I admire, and was honored to meet!

Now, with the grace of Bang Zoom casting director Mami Okada, who graciously gave me her blessing to write this blog post about my experience, let’s get on the road!

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The Journey of a Heroine

Standing on stage as a voice actor has always been a dream of mine since I first decided to give it a shot when I was fourteen. And after my winded break before diving back in, I still maintained it. To stand as an equal to many other talented vocalists was… honorable. And terrifying. And that was the biggest challenge.

I always worry about tripping over my words. Because I have this habit of speed-talking and rushing through if my nerves are, well, unearthed. But I spoke with my friends about my excitement and my anxiety (while keeping my actual anxiety problems in check as much as possible), and pushed myself towards the stage.

One more piece of amazement came from the lovely and bubbly Laura Stahl, who helped to motivate and pump up each and every one of us before we had our turn to speak. She was incredibly helpful in breaking down even the smallest of nerves, and pushed us to do our best. She helped us get into the momentum that standing on stage to audition is a stepping stone.

Even if you don’t make the cut, you stood your ground, opened your heart, and you made a difference within yourself, and within others.

You shone, with your own voice.

And that alone makes one person grow for a lifetime.

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A Bit of Magic

Our world is full of magic. Some that even we’re unable to touch with our own two hands. But when we are in the presence of it, we become renewed. Reborn, almost. And that magic resides within us for the rest of our lives.

We watched someone’s life change for the better at this event. And in turn, we got to see our own turn a little towards light. A burst of happiness that can never be replaced. I’m honored that I got to witness Ryan Burch’s victory at the audition. And honored that I was able to see that bit of magic. It touched my heart so much that it brought me to tears.

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I hadn’t won the competition. But I was excited to see everyone grow throughout it. Myself included. I was excited to be a part of something bigger. I became a little more open, a little stronger. And more excited to push on to become someone that knows how to use their voice for all the right reasons.

Best of luck to you, Ryan, and I look forward to seeing what you’ll pull off in SAO!

Picking Up Pieces

There’s a lot to ascertain by kicking down the doors to your first jump forward. And yes, that wording means you’re going to be taking a lot of them.

I could speak for miles about the advice that I can offer, but this weekend gave me a few really good tips that I’m hoping to share with those that are afraid to push on, or even just need that extra boost to your morale bar.

Align yourself with the right crowd.

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Anime Central was an adventure that began with close friends, and became something that we’re meant to pull off yearly, together, and celebrate. And now that I’ve found my place among more friends, it becomes easy to fall in line with those that you love, respect, and can grow with.

Your friends are your power. Always keep them close.

Never stop growing.

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Speaking with Laura Stahl and Mami Okada was… overwhelming. I don’t think I would change that experience for the world. I wish I found more words to say, more ways to interact, but to have the chance alone was incredible. I hope to someday become better as a person and find a place in the world that makes me feel… accomplished.

Always ask those that are in a place that you want to be for more advice, more ways on how you can improve. Never stop growing. Know that you are amazing at what you do, even if you still need time to figure it all out for yourself.

Dreams can become reality.

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We’re all born for something. That’s the fun thing about life: really getting to break the barriers of our being down to figure out what it is, and how we’re meant to do it. That’s why we’re given the idea of dreams. To drive ourselves a little closer every day to reach them, until one day, they become a reality.

So long as you have a dream, you will one day reach it. And trust me, it will be magical.

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I’m genuinely excited for next year. I really hope that Bang Zoom will come back to hold auditions again. Because if they do, I’m going to push even harder to grab that blue ticket. In the meantime… I’ll keep following my dreams and becoming better.

I hope that you do too, a little at a time.

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