A year ago, I wrote about my friend, Jaime, and I each taking our own leaps without a net. I coined it “The No Net Society.”
My leap: leaving somewhat steady income to take a deep dive into the voiceover world. Jaime’s leap: leaving Los Angeles and moving to Atlanta (with her fiancé) and buying a mid-century fixer-upper house.
Where are we now and what have we been through?
I’ll go first. I think I can speak for both of us by saying we’ve been through something like this:
A shit storm. 😊
Leaps of any sort are not easy. Ya gotta weather the storm. A leap is exciting, sure. But it’s also terrifying. Exhausting. It tests your strength. Your sanity. The unknown can be very unforgiving. Deciding to really commit to something takes a whole lotta courage. I’m not sure you get just how much courage it takes until AFTER you leap and you’re mid-air. There’s no room mid-air to change your mind.
Times get tough. Sometimes you wonder what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into – and you want to crawl into a ball under the covers and take back your leap. But it doesn’t exactly work that way. The upside? Growth is painful. So YAY, we’re growing!
One of the first things I did was upgrade my recording “studio” which was essentially in my closet. If I’m going to be a full-time voice person, I need to act like one. The closet I had been using was treated for sound and was working just fine for many years, but I share walls with my neighbor. Recently I began hearing his day to day goings-on. I think it was because I was spending a lot more time in there. I heard every phone call. Every door slam. Every rehearsal (yes, he’s a musician).
Working around his daily routine was becoming pretty taxing, but a stand-alone vocal booth can be very costly. Yet I knew I needed one. So, I made a list of things I wanted to manifest, and a vocal booth was one of them. After a few weeks (or months) of searching, poof, it appeared. Some guy on Craigslist was selling his, and the price was insanely great. I just had to drive an hour, pick it up with a truck, and then put it back together again. Easy, right? Well, thanks to help from Nick, Jason, and Tim – it was. (Thanks, guys.) You know what they say – build it and it will come. We built it alright:
I also upgraded my mic and had it all checked out by an amazing sound guy who told me I was good to go.
About a year ago, Jaime’s fiancé Curt helped me get into audiobooks as well. Since then, I’ve narrated about 15 books. Non-fiction is my specialty and with each book, I learn so much. Let me know if you need to know anything about (the books I’ve narrated) financial planning, living your dreams, parenting, CBD oil, body oppression, talking to plants, living through Hurricane Katrina, starting over single at age 60, or my next one: FoodWISE – eating healthy.
One of the most exciting parts has been starting my own company – Lotus Flower Productions! (Shit’s gettin’ real, folks.) Recently I landed a pretty huge voice/production project that I can’t talk about because I signed a non-disclosure. But it’s been super fun saying, “I’m working on a ‘secret’ project.” I’m kinda like a secret agent.
It’s been very gratifying this week to be busting my ass on all these projects, and within a year since my leap – feeling like a real working voice artist.
In this line of business, you have to be constantly looking for the next gig. I also do fill-in work as a part-time news anchor. And believe it or not, I even do some light bookkeeping for a friend. (I’ve got mad skills, yo.) Also, thanks to another friend (Leah, you rock), I was recently hired as a writer (more from the “secret” project). The art of the hustle is real.
I’m laughing reading this all back to myself because it sounds like things have been all sugarplums and candy bars (not sure where that came from). It’s taken A LOT to get here. But it’s also really nice to acknowledge how far I’ve come. I think we all need to do this from time to time. Remind ourselves of the good stuff. The triumphs. Not just the struggles.
And Jaime? Her fixer-upper was initially a bit of a disaster. She endearingly called it her “money pit.” Her first contractor was a nightmare. But here’s just one shot of the amazing transformation (before/after):
Jaime says she’s feeling much more grounded since her move. The remodel was “a difficult but satisfying endeavor.” She’s also writing a screenplay that she’s really excited about. Plus, she even found a job that allows her to keep working on her acting career. She’s gotten a couple of pretty rad roles. She, too, had a “secret” job! (So many secrets, so little time.) But word is out now – she has a part in an upcoming Gerard Butler film, “Greenland.” She is proud to say she is “Woman on Plane.” I’m looking forward to the reviews: “Woman on plane steals scene.”
Jaime hit the nail on the head. In summary, our leaps have been DIFFICULT BUT SATISFYING. I think the most satisfying things in life are the ones that take some real work.
Did a net appear for us? I mean, in some ways. I found the vocal booth. She found a great contractor after the first one failed her. I really think we’ve been creating our own net. Cuz, guys, no one saves you. You save yourself – with your faith in yourself. Hard work. Tenacity. Friends – friends have been such a huge help. I can’t say that enough. And let’s not forget – a whole lotta wine.
If you’re thinking of taking a leap – what’s stopping you? My best advice is to take a deep breath, leap, and don’t look back. LIVE IN THE PRESENT. Worrying about the future will weigh you down like cement shoes in the ocean. You have to take each day, one by one. Minute by minute. Do the work. Be committed. The net will weave itself.
Julie Slater, aka THE LOTUS FLOWER, looooves music. Besides being a rabid fan and musician, you may recognize her voice. She’s a voiceover artist and audiobook narrator (www.julieslater.com). She’s DJ’d on top stations: 88.5 FM and 100.3 the Sound in LA and 92.3 K-Rock in NYC following Howard Stern.
When she’s not at concerts, you can usually find her meditating or in the kitchen. She has a slight obsession with deep, dark cabernets & small batch whiskey. Namaste!