At the speed of sound

Focus. Speed. I am speed.

Focus. Speed. I am speed.

“Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers. I eat losers for breakfast. Breakfast? Maybe I should have had breakfast? Brekkie could be good for me. No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Lightning.” McQueen, Cars (2006)

Have I just landed my first role as a character voice in a major animated feature film? “Yes!”, would be a great answer, but alas to do that I would at least have had to auditioned first. Maybe this will be news to break later.

The opening lines of the first Cars movie are certainly motivational, but as the story unfolds we are reminded of the importance of putting our focus in the right place. Ironically, for me the most beautiful scenes in this feature are those where McQueen and Sally are just cruising out in the country, and Sally explains how she fell in love. That and where McQueen becomes a winner by not winning – sorry, no spoiler alert… watch the film anyway!

While some may find anthropomorphic vehicles too much to handle, our ability to suspend disbelief is phenomenal. Perhaps this is what enables us to achieve the impossible, to dare to chase our dreams. The characters we voice, whatever the voice over genre, require that the listener believes the “expert”, the “adviser”, “friend”, talking dog, or whatever. Ours is a business of suspending disbelief in our audience.

Is it so difficult, then, to use this to positive effect in our lives, too? There are several anecdotes of people who dared to challenge others telling them “You can’t do that!”, or even their own inner voices saying the same. Many have pressed on to find personal success and accomplishment by saying “the impossible is nothing”, and let’s “just do it!” (please note these comments are not intended to infringe copyright laws…).

Alerted by a BBC News article, Bloodhound supersonic car’s lift problem fixed, I was delighted to see that the mission statement of this project is not simply to travel very fast, but two-fold:

  • To confront and overcome the impossible using science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • To motivate the next generation to deal with global 21st century challenges

Of course, the primary focus is to break the land speed record with a target of 1000mph, but if you take a look at the project it is clear that there is a key focus on motivating the educational aspirations of  today’s students. One can imagine that once this speed barrier is broken a new project to go even faster will be born, so historically this is perhaps just another step along the road.

The Bloodhound supersonic car

The Bloodhound supersonic car



I am speed.

A slight change of focus may change one’s perspective immeasurably. To return to Cars, there is an interesting commentary on how experience can redirect one’s ability to be successful. It could be argued that McQueen is so focused on winning that he (yes, I suspend my disbelief!) cannot succeed. The retiring champion (“The King” Strip Weathers) exemplifies the rookie’s ability, and explains his failure: “Son, you have more talent in one lug nut than most of us do in our entire bodies… but you’re dumb… racing is not a one man show”. We need to work as a team.

In fact there are so many different aspects to this that one could write a book rather than a blog post, so I will refrain here, and encourage you to watch the film again, and discover them for yourself.

Where is my focus?

This is a tricky question, and I fully take on board recommendations by voice talent such as Bob Bergen to be specific in setting goals. Right now, however, my focus is to develop my voice over horizons and explore the possibilities. In the short term this is to learn as much as possible from others at the VOICE2010 conference, in LA at the beginning of June. Of course my day to day focus has been on the giving the best performance for the corporate productions which is my staple here in Turkey. But as new opportunities arise – an increasing number of advertisements and documentaries – I realise that while setting goals or focus I need to explore my potential. This is an exciting journey as I cannot imagine where it will take me.

I believe that when we look for opportunity it will find us.

I believe that rather than focusing on the excuses, we should focus on creative solutions.

I believe that in connecting with others we create a synergy that is mutually beneficial.

I believe that in giving (investing) encouragement and support that we receive far more in return.

The Bloodhound challenge is not just about one individual going ridiculously fast. The success of this project will not solely be counted on the speedometer. It will create a shock wave (literally and metaphorically) sending a message that pushing the boundaries of our potential is a worthwhile activity.

Readers of this blog will know that my dream to push my boundaries at VOICE2010 is one which is important to me. The financial burden of travelling from Istanbul, Turkey to Los Angeles, USA is such that I initially believed this trip would be impossible. That was when I realised that many efforts are made possible with sponsorship. I was amused to see that the Bloodhound challenge and I share this vision, that through encouraging a large number of sponsors to give a little that much can be achieved. Here’s their invitation to help make the speed record a reality:

Part of me feels ashamed to keep pushing this issue when many others also have financial issues to resolve, but please bear with me … I am extremely grateful to the many individuals who have already provided me with sponsorship. So far I have managed to raise an incredible $350, however my target is still a long way off. There have been some incredibly generous contributions, for which I am thankful, but many of these donations have been for my suggested $10

If you feel able to invest the cost of a couple of cups of coffee, and help me achieve my dream, I would be forever grateful. Although I can’t equal Bloodhound’s offer to carry your name at the speed of sound, you will have invested in the development of my sound, and I will endeavour to “pay back” in the future.

For more information, please visit my VOICE2010 sponsorship page, or use the PayPal button below.


Please also feel free to share this blog post with others who might be willing to help.

If you are planning to come to VOICE2010 I look forward to meeting you there. Our focus on community and professional development is inspiring, and I am proud to be part of this gathering. We are fortunate on this blog to have interviews with the Executive Producers of VOICE… you can find James Alburger’s podcast interview here, and keep an ear out for Penny Abshire’s which will be available early next week.

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