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2023 Year in Review
I said last year that 2022 went by quick. Double that for 2023. Its like time is catching back up to how slow it had moved 2020 and 2021. 2023 also felt more turbulent than previously. The back half of the year in particular kept me underwater, it seems.
It started out pretty strong. I had a lot of momentum from 2022 and a lot of goals for 2023. In January, I took a quick trip out to California to meet some of my classmates from my online acting class. We were coming from all over, so it was pretty cool to meet in person. We went specifically to see a play our teacher was in and really passionate about.
It was so much fun! But I also saw the pictures from the event after and really hated how I looked within the group. I looked so fat and ugly compared to everyone else. Its not like I'm a schlubby, unkempt person. But I've got some weight and I'm pretty short. I dressed nicely, but it made me look my dad and I just really hated how I looked in the pictures.
This is the kind of thing that I didn't really think about much when I really only spent time with my family. My appearance (as in, my overall aesthetic; not like I didn't take care of myself) was really only a concern at work and there I chose business professional. Suits and stuff. But out in the world trying to really be myself I just didn't vibe with what I was giving off. The beard. The fit. And I've been unhappy with my weight for a long time.
So, anyway, that just kind of continued my personal journey into rediscovering myself. I started working on losing weight and experimenting more with my own personal "style" while still working on my voice acting career and being more social in general.
Hit some nice milestones earlier on in both counts. In my voice acting career, I signed with an agent so I've received pretty regular auditions, and real stuff too. Not just random fandubs you can find on a lot of internet casting sites. Its still non-union, but there's some stuff in here that if I can build up some regular bookings I can really start to look at making this my job instead of an expensive hobby.
I haven't booked anything through my agent yet, but they say this is pretty normal. I did get a couple of bookings on my own though. I got another indie film voice over. I played a caller into a radio station. Small bit. Hoping that comes out soon. The movie I did last year just finished full production so that should hopefully be available soon as well. I also booked a video game. This was more like making mouth noises than emoting a character, but it was a lot of fun and probably the project I'm looking forward to releasing the most.
I recorded a new demo too which I'm really proud of. I was hoping to leverage it more than I have, but I got the demo right as the back half of the year starting trending down for me.
I started seeing a therapist. I'd actually been looking for one for a while, but ran into a lot of challenges. Finally found one in the spring. Its not quite what I was hoping for. I was hoping for help overcoming some personal challenges, social anxiety, gain some confidence. Mostly its been me just complaining about stuff that has been happening. Its been validating but I don't know how much its really helping. I've made some personal discoveries, I guess, I may not have made before. But it some ways that's kind of made things worse, lol.
Like I've mentioned, though, really been hitting a long rough patch for the back half.
My job situation has gotten worse. I'm still at my same employer. Previously, they had been very "good guy" employer. Doing all the things that were right for the employees. I was proud to work for them for this reason. But they 180'd on working from home. They had been saying this was the new future and bragging about how other companies were forcing people back in the office, but we were embracing the future. Then all of the sudden they said back in the office 2-3 days a week.
The reasoning is clearly for incentives that they were going to lose if the didn't actually have people in the office, but they wouldn't come out and say that. They said we "asked for it" which was emphatically untrue. They lost a lot of goodwill. There were multiple rounds of layoffs. I didn't get laid off. Kind of wish I had! Instead, they removed my position as a manager and bumped me down to an "individual contributor." They say it was not due to any performance concerns. Just part of restructuring. I didn't lose any pay or anything. Just my title and responsibilities changed. I even have the same boss. But I don't really have a role right now. I'm being given random work that is meaningless. I constantly feel like I need to justify myself. The pressure is being put on me to figure out what my role should be and what I want to do with my career.
Its really messed with my head. Probably more than I'd like to admit. Everything's kind of fallen off as I constantly feel I'm behind or not doing what I should be doing. I'm ironically more tired at the end of a workday than if I had consistent, useful work. Mainly I just sit around and feel bad. I haven't been as diligent in my voice acting stuff as well. I should spend time taking more classes and networking and making connections, but I have no energy. I do the auditions my agent sends me, but I need to do more. I feel like I've lost a lot of momentum.
My acting class is continuing, but that hit a long stretch also that wasn't great. We spent a lot of time working on "impediments". We had physical and mental impediments. Its like disabilities and stuff. I get that as actors we may be called on to portray some of this stuff. Things are improving in that there's stronger pressure to cast someone who actually has that condition, but there's some you can't really cast a real person for. Like if they're violent or if its some kind of injury that happens during a film. If you have a character with no legs you cast someone with no legs, but if you have a character who loses a leg in the film you kind of need someone who has legs to do the before.
Anyway, this work wasn't fun or fulfilling. We didn't have specific coaches to teach us a specific disability or mental condition. We just picked one ourselves, researched ourselves, and then just played around with it. It was just this side of being offensive, IMO. That lasted for way too long. And then we did accents which is less potentially offensive, but again it was just up to us to pick an accent and research it ourselves. We didn't have a dialect coach or anything come in, so I don't know how beneficial it was.
I had zero energy due the various stresses doing on and with my lack of interest in the subject I ended up missing a lot. I don't feel great about it. We're back to doing scenes again and we're closing in on the end, so hopefully it'll pick up.
I've mentioned I'm trying to be more out in the world and social. I've got a group of real friends now that I met when I was going improv classes. Things were going pretty well. It seemed like we had a core group that was pretty close and getting closer. Like a month ago, though, one person of this core group expressed an opinion that was personally offensive to me. I and most of the rest of the group disagreed with this person's opinion. We tried to help her see why it was offensive, but she didn't want to budge. She seemed to approach the subject as just a matter of debate.
She was going to be hosting our holiday get together. I decided not to go since the matter in question was so personal to me and she showed know respect. She had actually included the subject in the party plans as, like, a game which was really disappointing. So I didn't want to go and be exposed to the subject again. I tried to not make it a big deal. I tried to minimize the "drama" of it all. I didn't tell anyone. But she noticed I wasn't participating in some of the pre-party stuff and asked and I confirmed I wasn't going. I was upfront that I would have preferred she respected me more and dropped the subject I said was offensive, even if she disagreed.
She made it into a whole thing. She dramatically quit our group chat and cancelled the party. She and her partner blew up my phone a bit. I said I didn't want to talk about it, but that I still considered us friends and we would surely hang out in the future. I just didn't want to go to the party.
She came back into the chat very dramatically. Made a point to call me out as not wanting to reconcile and making some backhanded comments about how she thought the group could handle disagreements and stuff. My wife asked her to keep my name out of her mouth (but much more nicely) and another member of the group tried to educate again why her opinion was so offensive and how she could be a better friend. This was too much for her, I guess, so she dramatically quit the chat again.
Its all drama and stupid and high school. Its stuff I haven't really dealt with interacting only with my family and people at work. I feel like I'm in the right and seems like the group has generally sided with me, which is validating, but the whole thing has really weighed on my. Along with the job stuff. Along with some other stuff I don't want to get into here.
Anyway, the calendar change is arbitrary, but I'm looking forward to hopefully having a better overall year. I'll be done with my acting class soon so maybe I can try to get into some local plays and stuff. Wouldn't have the time currently. I'm also looking for a new job. I don't know if there's anything that would necessarily be better. But maybe more fulfilling. If I can move to California, too, that would be nice. I know that would provide some struggles on its own, but I think we can make it work and it'd benefit my voice acting career.
Anyway, here's to 2024.