Hi! My name is Jessica Mathison and I’m a voice actor.
Weird. Seems like the way I would introduce myself at some 12-step group. Well, perhaps it’s fitting because about six months ago, I did something crazy, something wacky, something that would fit perfectly into a midlife crisis playbook! I sold my property and, with the proceeds of the sale, bought my new home. Doesn’t sound that crazy, you say? What if I told you my new home is a 36-foot fifth wheel with no permanent address? It’s ok. You can call me crazy. I have. There is, however, method to my madness!
Let’s start with a little more about me…
I am a forty-three-year-old mother of two. My son, Taft, is 25 and my daughter, Aria, is 19. Both kiddos have ventured out on their own, so I am also an empty nester! For the last nine years, I was the owner of a property and business called Idleyld Lodge (go ahead, see if you can pronounce it…the telemarketers never can). The business started out as my way to turn my part-time side hustle as an event planner into a full-time business venture. I figured if folks were having an event, like, say a wedding, they might need a place to hold said wedding, get ready and maybe lodge some of their out-of-town guests. I could just tell clients about my incredible event planning and coordination services, provide them with a reasonable quote and voila!
Bless my heart. I, with all my years of experience and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration was flat wrong. So, I pivoted. I studied the community and surveyed anyone who allowed me to interrog…er…ask them some questions. Over the years, my business was many things – a bed & breakfast, a restaurant, a caterer, a food truck, an event center, a concessionaire, an escape room and demolition room location. Many of these things were running simultaneously and some replaced other ventures that no longer profited. All of these business models had one thin g in common – seasonality. After three consecutive summers of forest fires less than a mile from my property, all the cancelled bookings that came along with them and a drained savings account, I had to figure out something to do in the off-season to rebuild that cushion.
A serendipitous conversation with my son about the “awesome audiobook” he was listening to got me to thinking, “Hey, I love to read! I love to listen to audiobooks! I am very good at reading aloud! I can become an audiobook narrator!” This was quickly followed by, “Oh crap, I forgot Taft was talking. Is this a good time to shake my head and nod in acknowledgement. Doh! Nope. I’m busted! He just asked me a question and I have no idea what he just said!” But, I digress.
I began to scour the interwebs to find out how I could make this daydream a reality. I found a free online course, devoured it, set up an ACX profile and became (ta-da!) an audiobook narrator. Several scam books, a few legit non-fiction books and one fantasy fiction book later, I realized that I had a lot to learn. And, also, I needed to figure out how to make more of the talking noises in other voices, to speak using other accents. Another scouring of the interwebs lead me to Gravy for the Brain, where my eyes were opened to the magical world of voiceover. I was hooked! I had finally, after 40 years, figured out what I wanted to be when I growed up!
And then, the dreaded COVID shut the world down and my business along with it.
You know what? I’m not even mad about it. Well, ok, full disclosure, I was a little mad about it at first, but that COVID closure gave me a good, hard shove into voiceover – the work that rarely feels like a job, where it’s cool to be different and my silly, nerdy, goofy and fairly shy self can be out there for everyone to see…er…hear and I get paid for it. How cool is that?!
So, where does this fifth wheel come into play? Glad you asked! You did ask, right?
When my property was on the market, I looked at my buying and renting options. They were bleak. Rental waiting lists in my area are years long – not weeks, not months, not even a year – years, plural. The prices of homes took a significant upturn and small, less than a thousand square feet, fixer-uppers were in the $250,000-$275,000 range. No Thanks. With my kiddos in their own homes, my Mama now my guardian angel, and no other family here, I am not tied to the area I’ve been living in. That’s when I had the bright idea to buy a truck and a fifth-wheel and become a full-time RVer! Why not?! My home will be wherever my little heart desires or wherever a killer voiceover opportunity arises!
Many people in voiceover travel and it’s always a bit of a struggle to find that quiet spot, to get that good internet connection, to work on the road. And this, among other things, is why I think you might like to follow me on my journey as a full-time voice actor and RVer. Who knows, perhaps, I can uncover and share some great little gems of knowledge. If nothing else, I’m sure I can entertain you as you laugh at my pain, mishaps, and follies and I will be laughing right along with you!