January 27

Voice Acting in the Modern Era

I sent this web page to an old theatre friend, Jarrod Bock, as he had shared his interest in professional voice acting with me. Thus, my intended audience shifted from a teacher’s perspective, which examines not just for interest or content but to analyze writing schemes and such, to a more personal observer who could use this information for the benefit of himself. 

Because of this, I decided it would be a good way to advertise such a technologically-based career to a potential party of interest with a website. I was able to divide the subtopics by page to make the information easier to navigate. I also chose to change the tone to something a bit to a more second-person instructional. In this way, the reader may feel they are being directed through the process of what to prepare for. I took out several of the quotes and superfluous/redundant details so as to make it a bit more concise. It is more important, in this instance, to create something easy to follow than something verbose and professional. It also helped to divide up the text under headings and pictures to make it seem less daunting of a read. That being said, I maintained my usual professional voice because I didn’t want to edit much and it’s a difficult tone to change without sounding too informal.

Nevertheless, I wanted to include most of the main points included in my essay, and the research I did didn’t cover thoroughly how one may go about the pursuit of a voice-over career. In the essay, I was required to focus on an issue, so I explained the challenges and changes the industry underwent. I was unsure whether or not to include history in the Google Site, as it didn’t seem particularly relevant, but I was influenced by the strictures of the assignment that influenced my choices of genre and application of research as much as the audience.

https://sites.google.com/lcps.org/voice-acting-in-the-modern-era/home

October 31

A Love Letter to Theatre

Dear Theatre,

You have been with me for as long as I can remember. At first, I couldn’t recognize you. In fact, I was often afraid of you. You asked me to put myself out there, something I didn’t think I was ready for.

But when you offered up your hand, I took it. Granted, auditioning for a named role in the 2nd grade musical was a step up from playing pretend, but something in me knew that it would be just as fun. Sure, I didn’t get a named role, and I broke down crying in the middle of class. Does it matter now? Would my life have been any different if I had gotten a role? Maybe. But it’s learning and recovering from those kinds of setbacks that really defines your passion, isn’t it?

I can’t say for sure when the spark was first lit, but I think I really started to warm up to you during Odyssey of the Mind in 4th grade. I was terrified to go out on that gym floor. To embody someone else in front of all those people. But as soon as I began to speak, I lost myself in the story. The anxiety just vanished. That had never happened before. And I wanted more of it. So I did ODM again. Up through 8th grade. And I was in both musicals, 6th and 8th grade. Still disappointed that they cancelled the 7th grade show. Experience is valuable.

Now that I think about it, though, I did do drama club in 4th grade. I played a character named Bob. My first lead. Good times. Even so, ODM stands out the most. It just goes to show that I’ve always had a thing for you, y’know?

I don’t think anything has made me cry in my life as much as seeing a cast list. The first few times, I couldn’t get a hold of myself. But of course, it got better. Not necessarily my appreciation of the smaller roles, but the roles themselves became more impressive. Now I’m the female lead. How about that, huh?

But there’s always room for improvement. And if I’m being honest, I’ve got a long way to go. But I’ve come a long way, too. I went from being hesitant about taking a theatre class to participating in every mainstage production of my high school career. It’s been fun, it really has.

So please don’t take this the wrong way, theatre, but I think I’ve become a bit obsessed. Some may say clingy. I so much as hear someone mention you and I feel the overwhelming desire to insert myself into the conversation, even if just to establish that I, myself, am a theatre kid. It’s probably obnoxious to some. But I don’t care, because I love you, and when you love something that much, you feel the need to make that love known.

So thank you, theatre. For the good times and the bad. For the friendships and the heartbreaks. For the moments of confidence and of self-deprecation. You’ve shaped me as a person. I don’t know who I’d be without you.

Ever in your devotion,

Izzy

October 28

Dream Journal

I found myself a young child again. I was sitting inside a treehouse in this colossal, beautiful oak tree. Surrounding me were two others: my best friend (another young girl my age) and a giant, silver wolf. The wolf was, of course, magical; he spoke, shapeshifted, and most importantly, he traveled across the dimensions, taking me and my friend on otherworldly adventures. We journeyed through outer space on his back, the wolf in the form of a lion made of stars. We trekked through a cold tundra under the northern lights, the wolf now our polar bear companion. The sceneries served to calm my thoughts from the reality we were escaping from, pushing aside the memories of my broken home.

Now I was leading a secret double life in a dystopian society. My parents were always working to make ends meet, so I often had to take care of the food at home and make sure my siblings got safely to and from school. Sometimes I found myself taking care of the kids of other families, as well. But more remarkably, I was infiltrating the inner workings of a corrupt government organization using my ability to adeptly assume different identities and my exceptional agility. I masqueraded as a radio actor’s young daughter after discovering he was to be captured and interrogated. I had a vision that I would be spared and escape, but I stayed to defend him. We both made it out alive, but not without a clear threat of return. Another time, I went on a mission to deliver a package to the CEO of the organization and tried to befriend him, all the while stealthily investigating every corner of his mansion and the corporate office, eavesdropping on conversations and looking for important documents. I did get caught once: I was walking out of a restricted area, calmly and coolly, but the guards didn’t fall for the ruse and began chasing me. I got away in the end; though when I was filling the trunk of my car with important evidence, I turned away for a split second, and it mysteriously disappeared. I had thought that my facade was impeccable, but they were on to me, weren’t they?

This time, my friends and I were thrown into a dungeon after attempting to steal the treasure of a powerful villain. They put me in a different cell, which I managed to escape pretty easily as the cell door had rusted. I wandered around, looking for context, and discovered that the best way to escape the dungeon would be to defeat the villain’s main henchman before I took on the leader herself. I found this henchman in a large, empty room, appropriately video-game-boss style. Despite his formidable frame, I somehow managed the resolve to take the guy on by myself. To my surprise, though, he thought it’d be more amusing to battle him in a virtual reality game of sorts. It involved us running through a parkour course with falling platforms. My strategy was to run as fast as I could, jumping randomly, and surprisingly, it worked, though I changed my strategy up at the end to grabbing escalating platforms with my hands and doing that monkey climb that I love to do in dreams. I succeeded enough to end us in a tie. The henchman argued childishly, “But you didn’t win the game, so I say you failed, and now you must die,” except this time, his voice was coming out of my body. Recognizing that I was now him, I used his gauntlet (which looked like a pool arm floaty but with some buttons that increased and decreased the pressure that my hand was able to apply) to knock him/me unconscious (without shattering my skull of course, I’d need that back later). Imprisoning my body in a balloon that was meant to look like my head, I strolled to his room, right past the leader who seemed pleased with my work, and put the “head” in a safe in his room. I did some planning and investigating before confronting the leader directly, giving generic answers to her questions so as not to blow my cover. Eventually I just kept talking to her, and to my surprise, she seemed like a nice lady. She asked me to run a few errands for her son because he was starting school, and she genuinely loved him. And this whole time I had just been waiting to jump her; to surprise her by bashing her head in with a glass and cranking the pressure up on my gauntlet until she exploded. But the more I spoke to her, the more I didn’t want to. Not that I wanted to kill anyone in the first place, I just thought it was the only way. But I changed tactics. I wrapped her in an embrace and said, “I’m sure those prisoners out there have families. People that love them. I’m tired of fighting. Of killing. Why don’t we just let this all go and live a normal life?” But she pushed me away and retorted, “These people are trying to take away everything I have worked so hard for!” I continued trying to convince her and she kept resisting until she snapped, sending a magical bolt of lightning at me. I defensively swung the glass to crack over her head to incapacitate her, but she deflected it, and it broke over my head. I collapsed to the floor. Stubbornly determined, she screamed, “I will NEVER give up!” Afraid of losing my resolve, I muttered, “I’m sorry about this,” before shooting her with the strongest setting of the pressure gauntlet. I somehow knew it would reroute her way of thinking, because after screaming in agony for a bit, she conceded. It was as if her eyes were opened, and she began crying and hugging me and her son and setting everyone free. Yet I still felt a tinge of guilt for coercing her into changing the way she felt. I wondered if it would wear off. For now, I went back to the room of the man whose body I was currently occupying to free him and return to my own body. I didn’t know how he would react when he woke up, but I didn’t want to stay and find out. I reunited with my companions, thanked the leader for not killing us, and we went on our way. Or did we?

We’ll never know for sure. These stories never continue. But every night, I get to experience something new. And I’m okay with that.

October 11

Organic Object Obituary

We are gathered here today in remembrance of Mr. Mint. Though, as we all know, this is merely an alias, as his true name must remain a secret. They are searching for him.

His life began, as most do, when a small seed found its way to a plot of soil, and with enough care, was able to sprout a stem with many leaves. That was Mr. Mint’s family. It is a shame that they could not be here with us today, as they must remain in hiding. I know that they are mourning with us.

Dear Minty’s life was rich with sunlight and the bond that he shared among his brothers. He always shined with his bright yellow-green skin. He had a real good figure, too: flexible and durable. He was a capricious one, though, always getting himself into sticky situations despite that well-intended nature of his. This is why the poor man found himself getting caught up with them- but let’s not discuss that anymore.

When I first met Minty, he lit up my life. He was one of the few people who didn’t cry when they saw me. He knew how to dig down to the layers beneath and see me true to my core.

But alas, his gradual death began as he was separated from the stem, his only source of nutrition. The culprit remains a mystery; poor old fool insisted until the very end that it was a flesh giant. No one has seen one of those in years.

It is speculated that the scent that he gave off, adjacent to mint (as per the alias), was merely a result of decay. We knew the end was coming for him. He had clearly begun to lose his bright shine, beginning to brown around the edges as his life waned and eventually wilting into dark brown, brittle pieces. At least we know that he is safe now.

May you forever rest in peace, Mr. Mint.

September 28

Childhood

I don’t know much about my older brother. His favorite games, what he does with his free time, who his closest friends are, how he acts around them- in the last couple years he lived with us, I barely saw him at all, save to tell him that dinner was ready or walk with him to the bus stop. Now he’s off at college. Four hours away. And so sometimes I forget that he was my first friend.

I was never good at making friends. There weren’t a lot of girls my age around the neighborhood, and I rarely found the courage to speak to my preschool peers. But when I came home from school, he was always waiting with a smile, ready to dive into another adventure with our Rescue Heroes figures.

He and I loved to bring our imagination to life. I would star in his FlipVideo creations. He would help me build Lego sceneries. We would draw chalk train tracks down the sidewalks on our street and ride our scooters back and forth, stopping at pretend train stations at each driveway. We were content in our own little worlds.

But of course, he grew up. I began to notice it slowly. He started spending more time with the boys around the neighborhood. They had let me join them before, but they began to use the fact that I was a girl as an excuse to exclude me from things. And my brother wasn’t strong enough to stand up to them. At least I had hoped that was why he stopped bringing me along.

He was moving on to single player video games. He was making stop motion videos. He was becoming more passionate about the drums and the piano. He was secluding himself in his room. I was just getting in his way.

In the end, I didn’t turn out much different than him. I became a somewhat of a recluse, myself. I moved on to creative outlets that suited me better, like art and theatre. I still yearn for the old times, but maybe it’s a good thing that we went our separate ways. After all, I was able to find my own friends, my own interests, my own path.

And yet, when we do see each other, we never have trouble finding things to bond over. Maybe we haven’t grown so far apart after all.

September 23

High School Artifact

The end of the beginning of sophomore year.

I’ve got this old Playbill with some sort of pink marking at the top. Actually, it says “Showbill” at the top because it’s not for a Broadway production. Rather, it’s a small, 18 page booklet containing only a couple advertisements and the names of past and present Pride Productions members. These Showbills were handed out at each performance.

The end of the beginning of sophomore year- more specifically Saturday, November 18, 2017 at around 9 PM- was when I took my final bow as the Shadow of Gisbourne. Now, you may be wondering who exactly this character is. Not even I knew what to think when I saw my name in black print next to that unfamiliar string of letters. And yet, I had a good feeling about the upcoming production of Robin Hood.

Upon attending the read-through, I came to realize that this would be the biggest and most challenging role I had ever played. I was, in the words of one of my close friends, an “edgy assassin.” And as an assassin, I had to learn a bit of stage combat. I was taught to twirl a dagger in between my fingers as a nervous twitch. I had to speak with an inflection that conveyed an edge of insanity. And I had to establish a friendly yet manipulative dynamic with a boy I wasn’t too familiar with, leading up to when I would inevitably kill his character.

The thing about this role was that it was unique. A fan-favorite, quite possibly by the nature of the character and the lines that came with it. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic with each compliment, each recognition that I received from people that I didn’t even know. It helped me build a confidence that I didn’t even know I had.

Looking back, I could have put more characterization into my role. I could have used the dagger more effectively. I could have enjoyed myself more. But what I did do gave the experience a significant impact on my life. I had a passion for this unique character; I actually enjoyed embodying her. I made a new friend in the boy that I spent so much time on stage with. And I was given the assurance that I could play a more important role, that putting in the work was worth it.

I don’t need the Showbill to remind me of my time as the Shadow, but it certainly evokes a pleasant sense of nostalgia. I think it’s safe to say that my life took a turn for the better at the end of the beginning of sophomore year.

September 10

Organic Object

I see a small leaf. Mint. Is it mint? It smells like mint. No matter, I’ve given it a name, and whether or not it is correct, the plant can’t object. Even if plants could talk, it wouldn’t now. I’ve plucked it from the stem. It’s been taken from its home, its family. Essentially, it’s dead. Luckily, though, plants can’t talk, nor can they feel. Yet I can’t help but feel a bit of remorse. Its fading scent reminds me of its fading life. But as I caress the leaf, the smell becomes more pungent. Perhaps giving him a little attention brings out the best in him. Or perhaps I am forcing it out.

Even so, the scent brings me joy. It evokes the familiar feeling of Christmastime with family and friends. I do wonder how mint became so closely associated with Christmas. Just as how pumpkin became a symbol of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Or how both of them are vegetables that, alone, don’t taste particularly pleasant, and yet they comprise some of the most memorable tastes and scents of the season with the addition of what, a little sugar? It’s crazy how that works.

Not to mention the color. A lovely shade of green, no doubt, but so very different from the shade that has come to be known as mint green: a pale green mixed with a light blue. Seafoam green, too. The ocean can appear such a hue, but seafoam is white; there’s not a bit of blue or green in the foam itself!

I guess mint candies give off a kind of cold sensation when they’re eaten, and winter is associated with cool colors, and mint green has a bluish hue, and green is also a cool color, but the actual leaf is more of a warm green, and peppermints are usually white like snow. That’s all I’ve got.

But as winter marks the close of another year, all good things must come to an end, I’m afraid. What is a good life for a plant, though? Do they want to be eaten? Used as a garnish or decoration? Or just remain where they grew? That doesn’t sound like a particularly eventful existence, but being eaten doesn’t sound pleasant, either. Though I suppose the mint did not become as brittle as I would have expected it to be, like the flowers that I shove together in vases after shows. Despite being in water, they dry out and crumble rather quickly. But ever since I picked the mint from its plant, it has endured.

Oh. It wasn’t mint.