Nearly 4 years ago, I had the opportunity to take voiceover classes from the most excellent and extremely talented Richard Horovitz. If you don’t know who he is, Google him or scroll through his massive IMDB profile. He’s the voice of Invader Zim, and Billy of “The Adventures of Billy and Mandy,” and so, so, so much more.
In addition to putting us through our paces as actors, and pushing us to find what is real and natural about characters who might not even be human, he took us through a very unique (for a voice acting class) exercise. It was called a “Determination List.” Think of it as your long term goals on steroids. A very extensive list, with Goals, Tasks and Subtasks, and due dates for all of them, of everything you’ve ever dreamed of accomplishing in a certain period of time. My list covered 5 years and is 3 pages long. To give you an idea of how my brain works, it’s also divided into sections: CREATE, ELIMINATE, PARTICIPATE – on making art and business, getting rid of what no longer serves my work and life, and being a better friend to myself, and my community.
For a long time, that list was on a bulletin board near my desk. Eventually, it ended up in a file folder, all but forgotten. But not really. Because even as it sat in that folder, I was still working at the items on that list, slowly and steadily. And thanks to a Sunday spent clearing out closets and old files, I rediscovered that list. To my surprise and delight, I realized I’ve accomplished nearly everything on that list. There are still some items to tick off, but I’ve been making systematic work at doing so.
I’m looking forward to ticking off all the items on that list, once and for all. But for now, I’m grateful to have rediscovered it, and for teachers who push you to not only voice your dreams, but to plan for how to make those dreams come true in real, actionable ways.
Who are your favorite teachers, and what lessons have lingered with you, long after the classes have ended?