By Stephanie Ciccarelli
November 24, 2009
Have you ever thought of volunteering to make a difference in the lives of others?
Getting involved with a cause or helping with something dear to your heart can give you an amazing feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Now, imagine would could happen if you married your talent as a voice over artist with an impassioned voice to champion a cause.
How powerful and life-changing could that be?
Hear Joan Baker's story about how she is doing just that here in a very special article on VOX Daily.
Submitted by Joan Baker
You never know where your voice might take you and I'm not just talking about your speaking voice but the ideals you stand for.
I work with the Little Baby Face Foundation (www.littlebabyface.org) as a volunteer on the annual gala planning committee. The Little Baby Face Foundation is a group of dedicated surgeons from various backgrounds who combine their specialties to provide free medical services for children born with facial deformities.
They figured out that sending a team of doctors to an underdeveloped country was working because the on-site equipment was lacking and there was no opportunity for meaningful follow-up care. Instead, they fly children from all over the world to New York City where they can get the finest care and then be around for what are often multiple surgeries over time and extensive follow up care.
The gala planning committee is made up of some very, very special high-energy women. We all volunteer our time as well as well as whatever resources we can procure from our various professional fields.
As the co-owner of an ad agency, for example, my partner and I were able to write and produce short documentary highlighting the miraculous journey of Tyrell Davis, one of the children who was fortunate enough to receive full medical services from the Little Baby Face Foundation. Tyrell Davis not only had receive corrective facial surgery that would allow him to feel good about his general appearance, but he was given an ear where he had only a tag of skin and his hearing was restored.
It quickly becomes clear how devastating would be the future of these children without these extraordinary services. It's equally clear how much good these same kids can now do on the heels of having their own lives transformed in such extraordinary ways. And people take notice when they see what really goes on with these doctors.
The documentary (Causing the Miraculous - scroll down the awards links to view the documentary) even won a Telly Award, one of which we procured and presented to the 14-year-old Tyrell. The New York City Comptroller presented the award at the Little Baby Face Gala. Acting as a producer was a fulfilling experience but as a performer and voiceover actor I also got to lend my talent as the narrator for the film.
This year we did another film for the organization, plus I was asked to step up as the live auctioneer to help inspire dollars to help this incredible organization thrive. As is so often the case with acting and voiceover, I was handed a 10 page description of the auction items and asked to be ready in 12 hours. Mind you, I have a day job doing voiceovers and auditions, running an agency and managing a voiceover coaching practice. Sorting through 10 unexpected pages for a LIVE performance at a swanky New York City fundraiser was just a tad bit daunting. Thank goodness my husband is a superb writer and quickly edited the ten pages down to manageable script.
From a performer's point of view it turned out to be big fun.
What I learned is that auctioneering for a charity event is not the same as doing it for Christie's or Sotheby's where you have a captive audience with the single purpose of bidding. At a charity, you have to bring a lot of personality to get the sale. The same spirited spontaneity and high stakes self-expression you bring to voiceover work is required and then some. I'm the first to admit that I'm not from the land of the shy. So I grabbed the spotlight and did what I could for the cause. I'm happy to say that I raised $12,000 in just under 20 minutes.
The really great thing is that some of the kids were there to witness exactly how charity looks -- to see the spirit of giving in action. It's not surprising to me that many of the kids who undergo these various medical procedures, have it in their hearts to make giving part of the lives they wish to live. For all of us, one of the great opportunities of helping others in need is the immediate knowledge that we are living a life of consequence.
My book, Secrets of Voice-over Success (Expanded & Revised), which I humbly point out has been called "the most celebrated book in the voiceover industry," owes much of its success to the fact that the author royalties go to another great charity called the Alzheimer's Association. 21 highly talents and high profile voiceover actors contributed their stories in the spirit of giving.
If you have a story you'd like to share, please comment and let us celebrate your work with you!
Joan Baker and Stephanie Ciccarelli