Oh! I see you were curious and wanted to know a little bit about me. (You know, my husband detests this style of narrative, but he’s a professional copy editor by trade, so…joke’s on him, because gets to proofread my writing). I’m a people person and a people pleaser—sometimes to a fault, as my husband would say. What seems like a lifetime ago, I worked in retail at a video game retailer I’ll call GameGo for legal reasons. Seeing the smile of a customer getting a game for which they’d been waiting for months was intoxicating. When I worked on fighter jets for the Air Force, when I was training my co-workers because they didn’t understand something and finally seeing that “click”—again, SO satisfying.
I’m an avid gamer who met my “Romeo” while working at GameGo. Seriously, our district manager thought it was a love tale as moving as Romeo and Juliet (our DM was a bit melodramatic, but I do truly love my husband). For our DM, our tragic ending was leaving retail work. When I’m not gaming, I love to spend my time building awesome cosplays and drawing. What else…? I absolutely LOVE the Golden Girls (Rose Nylund is my favorite character, obviously). I was born in Utah, but I’ve always been very in tune with my Scottish heritage. I’m very energetic and silly (some might call it childish, but I prefer the term “youthful”). But, most importantly, I just want to be the truest me I can be!
Now… How did I get into voice over? Picture it. Utah, 2012. I had just purchased my first rated-M game, a little RPG you may have played called Mass Effect. Technically, I purchased the first and second game while preordering the third. Mind you, I had NEVER played the game and knew very little about it at the time. I had only heard it was a sci-fi game with aliens, customizable characters, and consequences that would last throughout all three games. I booted up the game, customized my “Femshep,” and soon heard the talented Jennifer Hale come through my old, box TV speakers. Needless to say, I. Was. HOOKED. I immediately wanted to know more about the voices behind the characters and how they became voice over artists. For too long, however, I found myself unable to dive into the research or figure out what to do to try and get voice over myself. Life happens, and life DEFINITELY happened for me in 2012.
Fast forward to the summer of 2012. Machinima was, in my humble opinion, producing its peak content. Rooster Teeth was making Halo into mini YouTube videos with Red vs Blue, and, thanks to Halo Reach’s Forge and recording modes, so many others were also wanting the make their own. One of my friends was one of these people, and he encouraged me to help out and look more into it. I LOVED Red vs Blue and wanted to be the voice behind an awesome character like Tex. I saved up enough lunch money, stuck with just PB&Js for a month, and bough myself a Blue Snowball USB mic. I helped him and a few others in making Halo Machinimas. I had no technique and didn’t really listen back to my own voice over—I just went for it! And it…wasn’t…great. But, I loved it!
Once again, however, life happened. My parents didn’t really believe in “the arts” nor making a career out of it. As far as they’re concerned, “In the real world, a supportive job isn’t supposed to be fun. If you’re having fun, you aren’t truly working.” Their crooked mentality stuck with me for years. I even went to a technical college so I could get a job at the same place my father had worked since he was in his 20’s; I was going to be an aircraft painter. At the time, it seemed a fitting job for me; I got to work swing shift, the pay was good, and I basically got to “arts and crafts” on a jet instead of a sketch pad. I wasn’t super happy, but I was content with my job. I was working my way up, I was really good at it, and I really clicked with most of my coworkers. After two short years, everything changed. (I know it’s a cliché, but it’s an effective cliché.)
Two years into working with aircraft, out of nowhere, I got sick. At first, I thought I might have walking pneumonia; it was something I’d had before, and this felt VERY similar. My chest was heavy, and I needed to force two breaths to feel like my lungs were being filled; it was honestly pretty scary. My supervisors moved me away from the shop floor and put me in an office to see if it would help my lungs. Meanwhile, I was in and out of the doctor’s office on different inhalers and antihistamines. To make a long and complicated story short, and after many months of anxiety, I was diagnosed with reactive airways dysfunction syndrome—RADS for short (no, it’s not from radiation like in Fallout). I was told it was because I had been exposed to a high volume of emissions (from the machinery in the hangars) when my immune system was already weakened. Not much can be done about it other than to try and improve my lung function through cardio, stay away from diesel engines, and try my best to not get a respiratory illness.
Now, why is this important? Because of the last part, “try my best to not get a respiratory illness.” This diagnosis happened at the start of 2020—one month before pandemic lockdowns started and three months before I rediscovered my inspiration, drive, and passion for doing voice over. Since I was high risk, and to try and prevent the spread of COVID, my supervisors sent me home around mid-March. By this point, I hadn’t worked on an aircraft for six months, and I hated sitting around not knowing when I was supposed to go back to work or if I’d have a job to even come back to. I did my best to keep myself distracted from my current predicament. I bought a drawing table and entered a short story contest with Webtoon comic. I didn’t win, but it was a great learning experience about my drawing, time management, and about myself. Unfortunately, when the contest was over, I once again found myself alone with my thoughts. One day, I came across an ad for Steve Blum’s Blumvox Studios and a free webinar. I thought to myself, “I’ve never done a webinar before… Why not try it out?” This is where my career in voice over truly started—where the kindling was reignited and a new and uncertain journey began.