Celebrity? P’Shaw.

No Thanks. Keep it coming. You’re too much; stop. C’mon, lay it on me.  Shucks folks I’m speechless.  More, please.  Pffft.

That cozy feeling of adoration

Image result for being adored

We’ve all felt it.  Practically worshiped by someone else at one stage or another of our lives.  I used to be a travelling, singing, speaking Christian musician, and boy did I get it in spades.  It was something I was never comfortable with, which is why I left the limelight and preferred the comfort of working behind the camera, and then behind the studio door.

As voiceover artists, sometimes we're over-celebrated.  "Oooo, look, it's so and so!  I'm your biggest fan!"  We’ve received that praise too lofty for us and engaged in two distinct operations in our mind:

  • We project a refined air of humility with a subtle rolling of the eyes whilst rejecting the compliment or praise or adoration. We “tut tut” and click our tongues and wave away praise with a firm “oh jeez…thanks, but stop”
  • We craved said adoration or praise or compliment, and yearned for more.

Granted, we’re all voiceover bigshots.  I say that in a confidence-building sense, because we are.  We’re all given the same basic set of abilities and desires.  It’s what we do with those abilities and desires, and how we equip ourselves with a structure around them to make them succeed, that determines our fate.  But being a bigshot doesn’t have to mean that we’re a celebrity, much less that we’re vain about it.

In short, stop refreshing your screen to see how many people liked your post.  Let's get back to the real world.

What if we handled it humbly?

Image result for humility

We can use our celebrity to bless others.

I know others in the voiceover industry who simply don’t invest into the community.  Giving to others isn’t everyone’s bag, I know.  Still…that doesn’t ring true with many…in fact it doesn’t seem to ring true with most in the voiceover industry.  I know a lot of VO peeps that just simply must give.  They’re called to it.  They’re compelled by it.  They’ve been given a lot.  And to whom much is given, they know, much is required.

I remember arriving at VO Atlanta 2019 and a woman in a crowd leaned out and said “Joshua Alexander?”  I had no idea who it was…and that feeling is horrible.  She knew me, but I didn’t know her.  It reminded me of my from-the-stage performing days where I was untouchable.  I was disconnected.  I was higher-than.  And frankly, I hated it.  In my business as a videography company, I would employ various 1099 videographers.  And I hated the feeling of being above them, as their “superior.”  That’s the feeling I got when AnaMaria Roa stepped out and greeted me.  I remembered who she was eventually (we connected on Instagram) but I hated that initial uh-oh.  The celebrity of it bugged me.

Anytime there’s a tier system of me up here and you down there, you can expect me to writhe in revulsion and discomfort.  It’s like bathing in worms or stinging nettles.  I don’t like it one bit.  I would much rather sit down and have a nice cup o’ joe with you, as equals.

As a voice talent who is active in the voiceover industry and very active on social media, sharing victories and failures, giving back, connecting with others, I am a bit of celebrity…but I say that humbly, because I treat it humbly, and I’m very respectful of it.  There are several living celebrities in our industry, and in my network of colleagues.  I can name a dozen names right now.  But ultimately, we’re celebrities because we give back to the community and we’re involved in it.  That is the greatest type of celebrity I could ask for: the Mother Teresa kind.

I don’t want to be in that tiered place, because there’s no place for a tier.

Be like Searan

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One of my very old friends was named Searan. (Funny thing is, that’s still her name!).  We dated briefly in my college years, and I’ll never forget how she would accept a compliment.  It was so gracious.  It was a genuine thank you coupled with a heartfelt receiving.  It was a beautiful thing to behold at the time because it was somewhat alien to me, being in music ministry.  I was of the mind that I must brush away praise and deflect it upwards as quickly as possible, because the lightning bolts were coming if I didn’t – held in reserve for that one moment when I absorbed the praise unto myself, to be released with blinding fury.

There’s nothing wrong with praise.  Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with being praised.  They say cleanliness is close to Godliness.  I say, receiving is close to maturity.  When we receive, we acknowledge that we’ve been given a gift.  Searan understood that, and anytime she was congratulated or thanked for a job well done (she played violin and sang), she received it, understanding that she wasn’t being “celebrified”, rather, her art was being celebrated.  One is about the doer being beautiful; the other is about the deed.

Perhaps Alanis Morrissette said it best in her song “Receive”:

I wake up and search things first
I'm of service
I make sure your needs are met, I'm so selfless
I give hard and serve hard and now I, I need a break
I give in, I give all and now it’s time to regenerate

Today’s all about me, all about cup filling
Today’s all about me learning how, how to receive
How to receive,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

I move on through offerings, I find exciting
In this slow on list of worth of understanding
I give hard, provide hard and now I need some relief
I look out, I prefer and now I need some respect and ?

Today’s all about me, all about cup filling
Today’s all about me learning how, how to receive
How to receive,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

My habit to love you first, in me it lingers
To renew is so knee-jerk leaves me a stranger
I give…

It’s like that with praise.  When we take one down, pass it around, when we deal appropriately with praise and recognize it for what it is (for the act, not for our identity), we can keep ourselves in check.

My former pastor used to say, “If your input exceeds your output, then your upkeep will be your downfall.”  Que profundo!  If what we take in doesn’t exceed what we give back, then the maintenance of it all will destroy us.  Again, profound!

Celebrity?  P’Shaw.  Another cup o’ joe with you, si vou plais?

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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire
joshua@voicetalentseattle.com
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2 thoughts on “Celebrity? P’Shaw.”

    1. Thank you so much Bren. From the heart as always! 🙂 I really appreciate you reading. Make sure and subscribe – there’s more goodness to come! I’m really excited for Monday’s blog!

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