Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Bast(ard) from the Past

Today, I was trying to determine when exactly I started doing audiobooks "professionally"* and remembered that I had a folder on my computer where I'd stick all my auditions in those days.  They're still sitting there  . . . for some reason.

I noticed among them, the audition I made for a fairly well-known author where I got a personalized rejection note unlike any other.  And it all came flooding back.  The writer in question told me that he was not going to pick me to produce his book, and he would NEVER pick me to do any of his books.  He then told me, and I still remember the quote, that my "performance might be appealing to some," but that he found my "voice and delivery to be irritating and obnoxious."

I recall the afternoon I got that email.  In those days, I didn't quite realize that I was offering to produce hours and hours of audio for these writers for *free* (I'll put that in bold, italics, and do that little asterisk thing, in case I'm being at all unsubtle), and I considered this guy's message a validation of what my inner voice had always said to me, that I wasn't good enough, and that the mighty Pacific awaits me.

But then . . .

2013 Me stopped.  I understood that, in that moment, I had a choice: I could either take it to heart, and become depressed, repeating the rejection over and over in my head like an inane religious mantra . . . or I could dismiss it, and the author, as an asshole, and try my best to forget it, and just move on, make more art, audition for somebody else, etc..

I chose the latter.

Years have gone by, and it honestly doesn't bother me anymore, because I had chosen not to believe it.  In fact, it's almost a badge of honor to me at this point, and if there's one author out there that I feel better than . . .

Well, it's Drac Von Stoller.  But if there are two . . .

So, today, I saw that audition in the folder, and thought I'd listen to it . . . just in case Hugh J. Rectum Esquire was right.  I mean, maybe I was tired when I recorded it, maybe I forgot to edit it, maybe there was something obnoxious about it.

But I listened and, nope, it's just me, and a bunch of voices I did for the characters.  But two things: 1) the audition was nearly fourteen minutes long (which seems like more than a great deal), and 2) the segments I read were just weak, with especially lame dialogue.  The thought of me spending weeks or months producing that kind of mediocrity is cringe-inducing, even back in 2013 when I was just learning the ropes.

And yeah, maybe it's simply sour grapes talking.  I wondered if I listened to the same audition, but for somebody who hadn't sent me a personal attack, if I would have felt differently about it.  Impossible to say.

But the guy is an asshole, there's no wiggleroom there.

Rish Outfield, Audiobook Narrator and Parsec Award Winner

P.S. Hey, if you want Rish's obnoxious and irritating delivery for your own audiobook, feel free to contact him at this address.  Or, you can support him via Patreon at this link.

*I put "professionally" in quotes because I got my W2 from Audible and the number for 2016 was way less than even my lowball guess would've been.  Ah well, back to the drawing board.


Chris White said...

Just because these people are in a position to judge us we are programmed to believe that this somehow qualifies their judgment as justified. It's important that we all remember that some of these people are assholes and get to where they are by being ruthless, nothing more. I like your work. Very much. I'm really impressed by your selection of voices because it doesn't sound like you doing a voice, it changes completely! I wish I could do that. He probably did too! Oddly enough, I had trouble with bad feedback too and had completely given up until recently when it became clear that I hadn't been at fault at all, so there you go. You and Bigg do excellent work. The chemistry you share and the atmosphere of the show is its magic. It's like chilling out with a couple of friends and there aren't many shows that can promise that!

Rish Outfield said...

Well, thankeesai, Chris. A lot of people (including myself) struggle with depression through their lives, and while many have it way worse than me, we always hear someone say, "Hey, just choose NOT to be sad, why don't you try that?" as though that's a possibility. But I found, in this one instance (and one other that I often recount on my shows, because it involves me mortifyingly tearing the seat of my pants out in public), that I actually COULD make that choice. And that has made all the difference.

And I appreciate the compliment about the Dunesteef. That was my goal when we first started, to make people connect with us the way I had connected to that radio show that made me feel less lonely when I was in Los Angeles (and very literally alone). Hopefully, if Big will ever post it, we'll have another episode for you soon!

Bria Burton said...

This reminds me of the times that I adore something when my husband can't stand it, or vice versa, in relation to something creative. As an author, I've heard the phrase repeated that not everyone will like what you write, even when it's good. This post actually surprised me when it turned out to be out a rejection for voice work because there's no question in my mind about whether or not you, Rish, are good at it or not. You're an actual professional in your voice work, and it shows. Your skill is unquestionable, and I never would have thought to add... In my opinion. Because it's a fact. You do amazing voice work. That author may have had something specific in mind for the type of voice he wanted... But yeah... He sounds like a real piece of work. Is it really necessary to add anything beyond...Thanks, but no thanks? ...would be my question for him.