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When Firefighting and Voice Over Collide

If you’re a regular here, or if you read the little mini bio over there on the right column, you’ll know that in addition to being a full-time voice talent, I’m also a volunteer firefighter. I’ve been a proud member for 13 years and currently serve in the position of Acting Captain.

Always On Call

meAs a volunteer, I’m on call 24/7. My pager could go off at any moment.

I’ve been on the phone with clients and had to politely excuse myself. I’ve rang in the new year on the roof at a house fire. I’ve spent Christmas morning doing CPR. I ran out of my dad’s birthday party last week for a transformer fire.

Such is the life of a volunteer firefighter. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Answering The Call

This morning I was sound asleep when the pager went off.  I mean, I was sleeping so good at first I wasn’t even sure what was happening. When I figured it out, I jumped up, got dressed and took off to the fire hall. The call was a head on collision with a possible fatality.

As it turned out, I was Incident Command for the call. I guided my crews through extrication on two vehicles in an attempt to safely and quickly remove all the patients involved. I’m honoured, privileged and humbled to serve with some amazing firefighters. Their efforts are always second to none.

The work can be draining. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. That’s why we train so much. Our training takes over when we’re on scene. That’s often what gets us through each incident.

When Worlds Collide

worlds-collide-2There was a fatality in the collision. That’s never an easy thing to see or accept. As firefighters, we want to save people. Always. Sometimes, there’s simply nothing we can do.

When we returned from the call I took some time to breathe and collect myself. I spent a little time in prayer, something that always helps. After finishing up all my paperwork and making sure the trucks were back in service, it was time to get back to work. My other job. My full-time job. Voice over.

I should have took the day off. I was off my game all day. Lots of thoughts in my head. Reviewing the call. Analyzing all the decisions I made. Wondering if they were the correct decisions. Thinking about the patients. The victim. The loved ones that will be affected. Whose lives will change forever.

But a client needed a voice over. And I had committed to getting it done. Such is the life of a full-time voice actor who also happens to be a volunteer firefighter.

Game Off

I pride myself on offering exceptional service. On getting it right the first time. I want my clients to know that when they’re dealing with me, they have nothing to worry about except receiving a top quality voice over.

I recorded the script I had waiting. I edited the audio and cleaned it up so it was ready to simply be dropped into their project. Then I sent it off well ahead of the requested deadline.

Not too long after I got an email from the client. They needed pickups because of mistakes I made. I was so embarrassed. I never send audio with mistakes. I listen back to final audio several times to confirm that everything is correct. I had listened to this project twice before I sent it off.

My head wasn’t in the game. My game was off.

I apologized to the client for my errors and corrected everything immediately. They weren’t upset with me. I was just embarrassed.

Later, I realized I had made a second mistake. An error in the invoice I sent to them. Good grief! Another email. Another apology.

This was my first time working with this client, and I wanted to make a good first impression. Had I? Or will they doubt me now because of my rookie mistakes?

Tomorrow Is A New Day

I could have told the client about my day. Explained it all to them. But I didn’t. I simply apologized and made the corrections quickly. Really, what else can you do?

As I reflected on the days events later in the evening I realized that, hey, I’m a human being. Sometimes I make mistakes. Beating myself up about it doesn’t solve anything. I handled the situation as best as I knew how. Then I reminded myself that with the sunset comes the promise of a sunrise. A new day. A new start. A clean slate.

We’re all going to make mistakes. We’ll send bad audio, wrong audio, wrong file formats, incorrect invoices and any number of other things that can go wrong as voice actors. Just don’t let the mistakes get you down.

Don’t make excuses.

Say you’re sorry, and promise yourself that next time you’ll do better.

QUESTION: Have you ever had an off day that left you feeling like a fool?