THE BLOG

Having a Voice

08/31/2010 09:45 am 09:45:57 | Updated Nov 17, 2011

When I met Arianna Huffington last year during parents' weekend at our son's college she invited me to blog for her Post.
I wasn't sure what the point was, but since I was about to leave my local news career, I was eager to try something new. Besides, my then- agent suggested, it would "give me a voice."
And so for the past 7 months I've written about life after television: travel, health issues, motherhood and other family observations, whatever struck me as blog-worthy. Turns out The Huffington Post means different things to different writers and readers. For me it's been like the journal I never kept.
The problem with having "a voice" in the blogosphere is that it can be a bit narcissistic... no different than Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. I understand their usefulness, but question whether my experiences are of interest to others. But here's something that should resonate with many people these days: I am now trying to reinvent myself.
I've had the luxury of exhaling during this self-proclaimed gap year but am ready to get back to business and have begun training in NYC for voice over work. This is far from original. There are hundreds in this city alone who are already in the field. Thousands more of the recently un-employed are trying to break into the profession. Let's not even talk about the Sigourney Weavers and James Earl Jones' whose golden pipes grace documentaries and news networks worldwide.
I'm not competing with any of those artists (and it's a good thing!)
But after 3- decades as a newscaster I've realized that my voice is as much my own as the rest of me. When I'm out and about in Baltimore these days without anchor hair, make-up, and suits I'm relatively anonymous. Until I open my mouth. Many viewers are actually listeners... doing a million other things while Eyewitness News is on in the background. My voice is a dead give-away.
I'm going to continue to write, but why not work on a whole new skill set that is challenging, yet somewhat familiar to me? I've already learned that there's much more to voice overs than reading in front of a microphone. I look forward to being a student again and receiving feedback that goes beyond rating points.
And how liberating to be encouraged to interpret text instead of attempting to remain neutral! I can actually have an opinion. A voice!
My definition of success will be to learn. Of course in an ideal world I'd be asked to narrate documentaries and biographies while retaining the freedom to travel and have a life. I'd also be happy to read audio books, or record guided tours!
I'll still have a voice, but the content will change. Hopefully it will be a lot more interesting to all of us.
After my first workshop at Edge Studio, a no- nonsense voice coach named Kristin said I had 'the delivery of a news anchor.' So much for reinvention. She wants me to lose my 'reporter sound.' This could be an exercise in futility. Wish me luck and stay tuned.