It’s no secret I’m a Nashville Predators fan. It started when I landed the narrator role for Beneath The Ice, something I managed to do against some big names, especially for Nashville. Charlie Daniels was considered and I believe Vince Gill read for the part too.
They picked me. How could I not love them?
Turns out I boarded the right train with the right team at the right time. Almost 3 years later, Beneath The Ice has wrapped season 3, generating groundbreaking digital media numbers for the team along with an Emmy nomination. And the Preds (like we true fans call them) have gone from missing the playoffs to one win away from the team’s first ever conference championship (that game is tonight – NO CALLS PLEASE). It’s taken a while, but the hockey world now understands that Nashville is For Real.
There’s been just one sour note and it came from the Predators anthem singer. All the lurid details are elsewhere and it’s really an overblown nontroversy generated by media desperate to write a story about a note of discord in a team and fanbase – and by now a city – all singing in the key of P. In a nutshell, the anthem singer was hurt because he was shoved aside for Nashville mega-stars, revealed on the ice at Preds’ playoff games. I’m not sure if he went to the press or they came to him, but he went on the record with some regrettable statements, including his thinking about whether he wanted to continue his relationship with the team.
He got pasted. Lambasted. Ridiculed. Roasted on the internet in all its glorious forms, vilified on radio shows, creamed in newspaper columns, and scorned in idle chatter at bars (when praising the glory of the Predators would tire after 3 hours). And, on one hand, he had it coming. He didn’t deserve the entire avalanche of shit that rolled his way but the media does not mete out disapproval subtly.
On the other, I understood where he was coming from. Not his talking to reporters – I haven’t seen a move that bad since a U-Haul got blown sideways and speared by a semi hauling hog waste – but what it feels like when you’ve put your best into a gig – show after show, even when it sucked – and then when the big spotlight finally swings around, somebody else has your spot.
I’ve been there several times and it can be horrible. Most recently, I cut a promo for a Hip Outdoor Sports Network for a show backed by Huge But Trying To Be Hip car manufacturer. After completing a couple rounds of revisions and even being paid in full, the promo had yet to be released. 2 weeks behind schedule, it landed. The soundtrack, minimalist but inspiring, rolled for 30 some seconds as stunning shots from the adventure were cut together. It was sweeping and poetic; you could even call it anthemic.
Then the voiceover started. It was somebody else.
I had no right to complain – I had been compensated in full for my work and they were under no obligation to use any of what I sent. But it hurt like hell.
More than that: It was a gut punch that started recurring cascades of negative thoughts, cutting the legs out from my confident, straight ahead reads that were bringing in work. There was a fresh set of reasons to be wracked with self doubt, which never needed much of an excuse in the first place. I was convinced I had finally been exposed as a fraud. Maybe I got lucky and managed to fool them into hiring me but I couldn’t fool them far enough down the line to make it stick. Probably as close as I’ll get. I might as well stop trying for cool jobs like that one. For a while, even that car manufacturer’s models were rolling YOU SUCK reminders.
Rampant self-criticism is a horrible habit.
I hope the anthem singer isn’t seeing failure in every jersey, which would be quite a bummer in Nashville right now, but that’s sometimes part of the getting dumped experience. It doesn’t matter what his contract says – right now, this guy feels done wronger than all but the done wrongest blues singers.
With a full time career-type job, he won’t miss any mortgage payments if he parts ways with the team. I, on the other hand, had to learn the hard way that alienating producers was not one of the 7 things successful voiceover artists do every day. In my example, that meant putting on the professional hat – the one with the vaguely cheerful but distant marketing speak – and emailing the producer to say thanks, I understand, wish I could have made the client happy, call me anytime for a demo. I haven’t heard back and maybe never will, but I took an active step towards being remembered as the guy who had a fun, easy session (which we did) but the client didn’t like, as opposed to that weirdo that went to meltdown mode after the pain-in-the-ass client insisted it be recast.
Even with the pro hat on, it sucked to write the email but that’s why it’s called ‘work’.
Maybe it’s my repeated runs through the mill; maybe it’s the recent changes with me, but I think I would have an easier time with that situation today. Getting emotions and ego separated from business now can happen much quicker, almost without effort sometimes. Other times it takes more work but knowing where I’m headed helps.
Tonight, another mega-star will sing the Anthem and the Preds will take the ice and hopefully win their first ever conference championship. The anthem guy is already out of the headlines, the OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS slot now occupied by a cheesy playoff theme/dance called “The Fangarang”. It’s being called stupid, corny, embarrassing – which means it is just like 90% of every playoff theme ever recorded.
Between hockey games, I’ve been staying busy. I wrapped an over-the-top narration today for what looks like a hilarious competition/reality spoof and I’m excited to see it. When it drops, maybe there will be another voice on it. I’ll worry about it then – right now it’s hockey time.