This weekend was the 2019 Society of Voice Arts and Sciences awards ceremony. It was a glamorous event; with so many recognizable voices everywhere you looked and listened. A red carpet, paparazzi, black ties and evening gowns confirmed we were in Hollywood among the stars. But why do this at all? Really, with so much turmoil and divisiveness in the world right now, why bother with another self-indulgent, wasteful, and self-aggrandizing awards show.
Because in a time of mediocrity and half-truths we need to be reminded of what it means to be excellent.
Excellence is something that is easily pushed aside. It’s easy to think, “Just finish it”, or “It’s good enough” or “Steve from accounting has a nice voice, let him do it”. Everyone has said it at some time or another, (ok, maybe not that last one). I get it, it can take effort and energy to just get through the day.
But let’s take a moment to look at what mediocrity has gotten us.
• Fast food
• Gift cards
• Dial-up Internet
• “Locker talk”
• The mid-size SUV
In the voiceover industry, Fiverr has become the cult of mediocrity. Any client who needs a voice for a project can open Fiverr and find hundreds of desperate, untrained, and unprofessional voices that are ready to “give voiceover a try” on your project. And not to put too fine a point on it, but you get what you pay for. However, I digress.
We need the SOVAS awards to remind us of people like Vanessa Hauc who was the recipient of the Environmental Voice award, or Manuela Testolini who received the Muhammad Ali Voice of Humanity Honor. Mrs. Hauc and Testolini remind all of us what excellence looks like by using their talent, their passion, and their integrity to shine a light in the dark corners of humanity. They embody excellence in every fiber of their being.
Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime, Knight Rider, Eeyore, Predator…) received the Lifetime Achievement award, and Ving Rhames (well, it’s Ving Rhames) received the Icon award. These were the heavy hitter awards for the night. But the evening was sprinkled with 71 awards for excellence in VoiceOver. In everything from Demos to Audiobooks to Videogames.
Celebrating work of this caliber inspires new voice actors to work hard and to never settle for good enough. It reminds us of our value, of our potential, and that we can live “In a World” where excellence matters. I believe that celebrating excellence allows us to cushion ourselves against all of the daily stresses, and for actors, against all the rejection that we face every day. Celebrating excellence helps us to build resistance to mediocrity. And in this case, resistance is not futile.
Thank you Rudy Gaskins and Joan Baker for creating the SOVAS awards.
So, yes, let’s stand up and celebrate. Let us all remind ourselves to raise our voices for excellence.
© Rick MacIvor 2019 www.rickmacivor.com