Yay, the Ber season has officially kicked off today. Memes left and right on the advent of Christmas have surfaced on social media—with Jose Maria Chan’s smiling face as the subject of feasting. Oh, well—Pinoy humor is at it again.

Hubs and the kids took me again to the bus terminal for my workshop graduation skit rehearsal. Whew, I didn’t realize the eight weeks of my voice acting workshop in Makati is now over. In two weeks’ time we will be showcasing to all and sundry if indeed we had gained from the workshop that just zoomed past us like a ping of a bullet .

I had been entertaining the thought of skipping the graduation, but then again, why should I? I had paid for the event already and I have no valid reason to miss something that signifies my hurdling eight Saturdays of voice acting workshop. If I were to look back, I could say that this particular class, short though the time was, has enriched me in some ways.

For one, I had not had an inkling that at my age (oh, yah.. I feel past my prime already), I could still recapture the lost dream of my youth – that is, to be in the performing arts industry. While I do not entertain any illusion of being a professional voice talent out to make a living in the VO field, I feel that I have come full circle as a performer (and self-proclaimed actress) with my involvement in the Voiceworx workshop.

I initially signed for the class solely to improve my ability to do voice-over narrations for my son’s explainer videos that are commissioned to him. I initially did voiceovers for two projects, but I had always felt I was inadequate because I sounded so boring—to my own assessment, that is.

When Kuya informed me about this voice acting school from a friend’s referral who happened to be connected one way or another to Creativevoices Productions (the one that runs the workshop), I immediately got excited and started egging my hubs to let me in and be part of Batch 45. Initially, both my son and I signed up, but practicality prevailed, so I was left for the workshop by my lonesome. It was a wise decision, though, given the amount that would disappear from my hubs’ pocketbook like a puffing bubble on a hot summer day.

Day One of the workshop on the first Saturday of July was thrilling. I got to meet 13 other souls who were uber excited as well over what would await them for the next eight weeks. We were a varied mix—in terms of age and backgrounds. Only three –me, Vanni and Aris—are in our 40s. The rest can pass off to be my daughters— almost everyone born in the early and mid 90s when I was very much at the prime of my life. Why, even, Donna, our CDO lass whose voice could shrink any DJ to shame, and with the sprite and spunk of a promising actress, was born 21 years ago when I was already 25 years old. Uuugh… I can no longer catch up with their verve and sassiness.

The succeeding meetings were focused on voice characterization, voice narrations, acting and dubbing—with no less than high calibre mentors in the likes of Pocholo G., DJ Brian, Danny Ama and Papa Neil Tolentino. Each brought in a level of expertise brought about by decades of experience in their field.

My session with Big Brian was a bummer. In my excitement to showcase my voice-over narration skills, I forgot to research on the proper pronunciation of “Yosemite” pronouncing it to sound like a termite. Whew, I wished I had been more diligent and not be overly confident. Nonetheless, I was able to breeze through with the exercises despite having strained my vocal chords during the first few days of practice.
I converted our second room into my practice nook where I recorded voiceovers for radio and TV commercials as well as character voices which I myself invented. I didn’t know Hubs and the kids had been observing my queerness, and oh, boy, they had been laughing at me while I was dead serious stretching my vocal chords beyond their capacity.

Before I knew it, two months had passed. On our last day of workshop, we got to record in the studio using the script for Creativevoices Productions. So, that was how it felt to be in an actual and real VO recording studio. (And oh, I got the thrill when Jeff, who handled our recording, commended me for delivering my lines seamlessly. He said he would include my recording in their voice files. He also invited me to attend a Voice Masters League (VML) meeting which they conduct every now and then for their pool of talents.) I said yes, of course even if I had been on a spin lately because of our concerns in our publishing business. It does not help either that we don’t have househelp to lighten our workload in our nest.

Now we are wrapping up our final performance as a class for our culminating activity on the 15th of September (which happens to be my dear hubs’ birthday). We will showcase a fairy-tale dating game with me playing the role of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Our first practice this day was quite taxing because I had to keep shouting “Pugutan ng ulo yan!” (Off with their heads!).

Here’s hoping we will be able to bring out the best performers in us on D-day. But if we won’t, our sense of gratitude for all that transpired, for the friendships we gained, and for the learnings imbibed, will remain as fresh as a bubbling brook.

My Kaizen bucket does not sit idly.