We’re Not in the Same Boat, But We Never Were….

A Lot of Ship Metaphors…

When I went to my very first voice over conference years ago, Bill DeWees’ VO Revolution, Anthony Gettig said something that apparently was a beloved FaffCon phrase “The rising tide lifts all the ships in the harbor.” I loved it when he said it. Times were really different than they are today. I was full of hope. I was out of my house and traveling. And my life in the voiceover world was just beginning. The idea of being part of the community, or tide, of ships, meant so much to me.

I guess I have always been a joiner. In high school I was in A LOT of clubs. In college I was involved in campus life too, and was a proud sister in Alpha Chi Omega. As a teacher I was very involved in student/teacher life. Now, in voice over, I regularly attend conferences both in VO and in fields that I do work like eLearning. So this idea of a rising tide lifting us all sounds great when things are good.

Dissecting it a little more….

I guess I happily took the lovely metaphor at face value. Even if one pictures any harbor and realizes that not all ships are the same, I never really thought about what that meant. Then last night my friend and former agent Liz Atherton posted this:


I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

Unknown author”

It really got my wheels turning. The tide might life all the boats but some of the boats need it more than others… hmmm. I read it to my family thinking we would have a lengthy discussion. We didn’t. But I guess what really touched me was that if we didn’t go into this pandemic equally, both in terms of what we “have” and how we cope, how can we expect to come through it the same?

But back to voiceover…

I have noticed from the start that there are a lot of differences that put those of us in VO into different boats:

  • We come into voice over from different backgrounds and with different levels of training. Some can afford lots of training. Some find clever ways of getting coaching regardless of their budget. Some find training unnecessary. There are a lot of different approaches.
  • Demos vary greatly. Some of us invest a lot to have them made by the best in the business. For others they either cannot afford this or they chose alternate approaches.  Some know of demo options and others are ignorant and simply chose what they can find.
  • Websites vary greatly from complex, multi page sites exhibiting lots of demos and samples of work to very simple scrolling pages with few samples and graphics.
  • Branding is another area where voice talents show a huge range. Some of is run our business like a business and put a lot of time and energy into branding, others do not emphasize this at all.
  • Social Media is a huge area of variability in voice over. Talents focus on different platforms and spend different amounts of time on each. It’s very, very personal and saying that it varies by generation or genre is an over simplification. It is complicated and talents’ choices are personal.

Reflecting on all of these categories that go into the “ship” that we maintain, Liz is right. We never started in the same boat. So as I ruminate on it, it is amazing that we have overlooked all of these differences and become such a strong community. It is those bonds that are holding us together now. I look forward to daily posts and messages from other voice actors. I think, in the final analysis, it does not matter that we are not in the same boat. It matters that we are all looking out for one another in good times and bad and that we have a good group of folks to toss each other a life preserver when we most needed.