Monday, August 20, 2007

Perfection

I made a very dumb decision when I was planning my wedding a year and a half ago. I decided to make every centerpiece, bridesmaid's gift, and favor by hand. 27 table centerpieces, 150 favors, 4 bridesmaid's gifts, and one gift for my mom. By hand. My own two hands.

It seemed brilliant at the time (many months before the wedding). It would save us money, it would add a personal touch, and besides- I love to make things! Genius!

4 months out I began creating the centerpieces. They would be hurricane lamps decorated with ribbon that matched our ceremony colors. Of course, I couldn't just tie a silly ribbon around a lamp! Oh no! I decided I should add flowers and pearls, and rhinestones, and 'I love you' charms. They should be sewn together so they could last forever! It didn't matter that my back was killing me and I had multiple burns from the hot glue, sore fingers from the needle...I was doing something important.

The favors each had little hearts tied with red ribbon around them. The bridesmaid's gifts were picture frames with pictures of us as children and as adults. Not just any old frame- each was handmade with embellishments and mementos of our lives together. My mother received an entire scrapbook from my birth to my wedding...showing what an incredible mom she was!

If you haven't figured it out yet...I am a moron. Plain and simple...an over the top self inflicting perfectionist.

A few weeks ago, we had a yard sale. On a table covered with cloth set 15 hurricane lamps. The hand-made centerpieces for our wedding. My time, my sweat, my stress...for $2 each. I sold 2 of them. At one point, I tried to give them away...no one wanted them. They are now sitting in boxes in my garage.

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately, and noticed several of my fellow voice actors (including myself) are doing to their careers what I did to my lanterns. Perhaps I should say 'overdoing'.

It is easy to fall into a pattern when you work for yourself. We each want to succeed, and it can be hard to know when to walk away. In the downtime between voice jobs, I have a tendency to still sit in my studio on the computer. I read the voice actor forums (there are almost too many to keep up with!), I listen to auditions from other voice actors that have been posted online, I read blogs, I research the market and make sure my demos are in every appropriate location, I listen to every demo at the top agencies (oh yes, there are a few I even know by heart), and I brainstorm ways to improve my business and my acting.

Obviously, this is what makes me great at marketing and it also makes me a better voice actor. The question is...when do I just let it go and trust I've done everything I can do for the day?

I've been thinking a lot about those lamps. One sits above my computer- another to my right. One in the guest room and two in my bedroom. They are beautiful and would likely sell for a fortune in the right store. Sometimes I wonder though...did anyone see them at my wedding? Were they really just for me? Did those pearls really need to be sewn to the ribbon, or was the ribbon just fine on it's own?

This last weekend, I walked away from my studio. I went out with a girlfriend and tasted some new wines. I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I spent time in my gardens pruning the flowers. Sure, I checked my e-mails and even recorded a couple of auditions, but I didn't worry if I had missed something. I didn't spend all of my time sewing pearls- I stopped and looked at the big picture. I remembered what mattered.

Success isn't success if all of your time is spent getting there. Success is defined by the person you are at the end of the day. (I think someone famous said that once)

If this is the job we are each meant to have- the little embellishments won't be necessary. Our work will speak for itself. So, stop worrying and go enjoy the party!

9 comments:

The Nerd said...

I was just wondering, how does one get into voice acting? I've always had a knack for doing voices and wondered if it was worth pursuing.

cindy said...

Kara~
I'll swap you for your hurricaine lamps! If you remember, awhile back I asked what your and Chris' favorite colors were. Well, I meant to bring them the last time we saw you you, but forgot to. So I have some homemade things for you to swap for one of your lamps. Let me know!

Love~
"mom" Cindy

jessespringer said...

Yeah, it's feels hard to take a break and walk away every now and then. But I've certainly discovered that you feel so much better once you're out and doing something, and you definitely feel better when you get back. You're certainly refreshed and ready to kick back into gear!

Christy said...

Kara-

I just had to say that I love the way you introduce your ideas in your blog. It's very fun to read and it always makes me stop to think.

Your entry made me stop and think for a bit. Maybe I overthink things too much...and in somethings maybe I don't think enough. I find myself straddling a line in my life, and I'm not too fond of the unbalanced feeling that I get from that.

Ah! And you'll be pleased to know that I now join you in the ranks of "those who have been stung". Heh, it actually happened the day after I replied to your post! The wasps didn't like the fact that I was watering my plants and accidentally watered them too. ^_^; I had to go to the doctor and get a shot...apparently I'm allergic (my arm swelled big time). Now I am double the flailer that I was!

Take care, especially in this heat we're having here!

~Christy

Bob Souer said...

Kara,

Thank you for this lovely and thought-provoking post. May you enjoy many such moments away from the madness; and much success however you would like to define it.

Charlie Glaize said...

Kara -
I've been doing VO's for over 30 years & I'm glad to see you learning about your "real life" vs the "VO life" and how to meet in the middle, or now and then leaving the VO life behind. That's why I'm big on using my portable studio and heading west for vacations. My wife & I stayed for a month in Sacramento a few years ago. Rented an apartment ... worked most days until 2 PM - but that's 5 PM EST - the clock for most of my clients. So we were off for day trips to Napa Valley or Tahoe ... weekends to Carmel or Yosemite. ISDN session were done in downtown Sacramento at Bongo Post. Lovely!

Charlie Glaize

Kara Edwards said...

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful comments! I've been out of town, and am catching up with my reading!

Nerd- send me an e-mail and I will send you a list of books that would be good to read, as well as some websites to read over.

Cindy- You are so sweet! We will have to try and meet up soon!

Jesse- You are very smart- I can't wait to see where your career takes you!

Christy- I hate hearing you were stung- it hurts! Yes, it is a constant balance in life and career. I am an over-thinker as well. Like Jesse said, when you get away it helps make things clearer. I'm ready for another vacation!

Bob- As always, thank you for your friendship and wise words.

Charlie- We like to head west too! However, our westward treck seems to end in the North Carolina mountains. It's wonderful to hear from someone who has made VO a successful career! I'm still in the beginning stages and learning as I go.

Thank you again to everyone for your comments! I hope you are enjoying your weekend and getting out of the office :)

Philip Banks said...

I once read on a voice over forum.

"It's quiet tonight, where is everyone?"

It was posted at 3am on a Sunday. A response was SO tempting! "Living their lives or in bed you MORON!"

A few years ago I left the following message on my home answerphone - "Hello this is Philip Banks. I'm not available at the moment and don't tryt to call the mobile(cellphone) as I haven't taken it with me".

Where was I? Where were we? Do a search for the Lecht. It was snow covered and we took two flasks of soup and some rolls. Voice over work is my job but a snowball fight followed by hot soup and a bread roll is a calling.

Kara Edwards said...

Philip-

Thank you for your insightful comment! I was reminded this weekend how life's memories are made...and how it is often the most unexpected moments that stick! I will be writing a blog soon about a twist on a vacation I will never forget!

Thank you again :)
Kara