My local community theatre, The Wharf, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown. Like arts and music venues across the country, the future is uncertain, and for now box-office income has halted completely.
The Wharf launched a JustGiving campaign, and knowing there must be an archive of photographs, I offered to create a video-montage to show off their best work and promote the campaign across social media. It was great fun to go through the photos of a huge range of different shows - and really hard to pick out some key ones for this video. I favoured 'action shots' over posed photos, and those that packed an emotional punch (fortunately, there have been some talented photographers involved over the years).
Using the campaign press-release, I wrote a voiceover script to highlight the need to raise funds, and to encourage people to give generously. It felt special to lend my voice to a local campaign that I really believe in, and I think that passion comes across.
Creating and voicing this has been a lockdown-highlight for me, and so far the JustGiving campaign has raised over £9,000.
Our world has flipped 360. It's only shocking that we didn't really realise it was coming. While my family in Italy were already in isolation and sending us 'le regole' of the Italian authorities, we were weirdly nonchalant about the whole thing, in hindsight.
Like illness and accidents, we can only imagine it happening to someone else. Or maybe it's simply inconceivable that life could actually grind to a halt. But now it has. I live in the centre of Devizes, a pretty market town in Wiltshire, and over the last week the dog & child have used the market square car park as a playground. It's empty. Almost every shop closed. Pubs dark, their Mother's day and Easter-lunch signage now looking incongruous and sad.
However I feel I'm one of the lucky ones. All the things that, for me, have been a challenge in voiceovers: the lone-working, isolation, communicating via the web for everything... are now its great plusses. How strange! With professional studios closed, home studios are suddenly in demand, and enquiries increasing.
I've even had agents knock on MY door! These really are strange times...
I'm counting my blessings as I record phone greetings that inform clients the offices are now closed. I'm grateful to play a part in social media videos sharing lockdown tips and Government advice. A genuine highlight has been joining some very big names in the industry for this:
You may not know their names but, from X-factor to Big Brother I think you'll know some of these voices! This has to be one of the most impressive examples of remote-working - recorded by Voice Actors in home studios across the UK, edited/animated remotely by different individuals, and brought together by the inspirational John Calvert of AirForce under #VoiceoversUnited and #keeptalking. Can you hear my phrase?
In these strangest of times, joining forces with others to produce something positive means so much. Many of us find ourselves doing things we never dreamed of right now, or re-shaping our working lives/businesses to enable life as we knew it to (sort of ) continue. I wish you luck, as well as good health, in the weeks and months ahead.
May we all get through this together - even though apart 🙏🏻