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  • Writer's pictureMason Stewart

Trees, Video Games, and more!

Hello neighbors. I hope everybody has had a fantastic week and I think we need to start this blog and this podcast intro the blog intro. Wherever you read this, we need to start this. Suddenly by saying thank you. I know many of my family and friends have either watched the blog, read the blog or listened to the podcast and in whichever form you listen to, I really appreciate each and every one of you and your support.

So, thank you so much. Um, we're trying out a little. Of a new lighting system, a new lighting setup right now. Um, I know a couple people told me last week that they want a little bit more lighting, so you can see my face a little bit better. I hope that this turns out, uh, the way that you guy’s hope, and it looks a little bit better. Hopefully it's not like making my head look too bright or anything, got to get that figured out in the future and we definitely will.

As to our first topic right now. Um, and my phone buzzed. Sorry about that. Oh, I'm such a professional over here and got my notes up and forgot to set myself on silent. It happens. All right. But jumping forward, you guys can notice if you're watching the vlog or if you happen to read the blog, um, I'll post a picture there as well, but I did get a haircut, um, just a few hours ago, actually.

Um, the, cut it a little bit shorter than I think I was hoping. I think we’re; we're making progress. I used to like, like a really big part on one side. Now we're kind of going for like more of like a messy, messy look. In this light it doesn’t really do it justice looking up, but, um, so yeah, got a haircut.

It was all good. And that led me to thinking, you know, um, I'm trying to find something. Ways to incorporate my daily life and everything. And haircut is definitely something that I think that we can relate to. I relayed my idea of the haircut that I wanted to the hairstylist, and then it was up to them to kind of create that vision right now.

I can do the same thing with voiceover a whole lot, and I'm sure a lot of us do that, with occupations and different things like that from all of our careers, jobs, activities outside of that, you know, social causes, church callings, whatever it may be. We get a lot of information, um, and we are then responsible to take it and put it into action or make it happen.

And hopefully securing that vision of whoever it was that decided that for us, sometimes it doesn't always turn out like my hair. Maybe wanted it a little bit longer, but the good news is that the hair is going to grow back. And other times things may not work out as we see fit. In voiceover, a lot of times you're given a set of notes and the notes are very vague, right?

We want the voice to be friendly. We want it to be personable. We want it to be conversational, different things like. Well, anybody can sound that way. And so, it really just depends on how the voice actor me in this case would be interpreting that. And then when it gets to the client, they might not like the way that I interpreted that particular audition doesn't mean that I'm a bad voice actor.

It doesn't mean that we mess up at jobs and that we're horrible and terrible. What it really means is that it's an opportunity to learn, especially if we get feedback, if not, we can understand that, Hey, something. Things just don't work out and that's just the way it goes. Unfortunately, another interesting thing that happened is, dealing with some watering of a tree that we just got.

So, I'll post a picture on the vlog and on the blog for this as well. But our HOA in our neighborhood required everybody to go out and buy it to. So, my wife and I went out and we bought ourselves a little baby blue spruce. It's really small right now. It will grow, but it's a baby, so it's not going to be like particularly huge. Anyways with the way that Utah weather is and all that comes with that we actually had some freezing temperatures the other night and we had a bunch of other stuff. And so typically you don't turn your sprinkler system on until like mid to late May, so we're having to do manual watering for this tree. So, I work from home, and on my lunch break this past week, I went ahead and I started watering the tree, made my lunch, did all of that, and then went downstairs and started work again, got off my lunch break, started to work. I, did some voiceover auditions after work and everything. So, we're talking about for the three to four hours later, I am getting ready to go somewhere. Where was I going? I don't remember where I was going, but I was getting ready to go somewhere and. I pull out of the, of our garage and I turn and look and I see some water on the sidewalk and I'm like, that's a really weird, I'm going to go and take a look at that. So, I get out of the car and I go over and I realized that the water had been running for the entire, like three hours. It had filled it up. And obviously overwatered that tree a little bit too much. So I'm going to give it some time to soak all of that up and dry that way, we're not feeding it too much.

But it really got me thinking as to what we do a lot in our lives. We tend to get focused in onto one thing in particular. Um, for me, I know this week it was in a negative sense and doesn't always necessarily have to be negative, but for myself, I know that this week it was really rough for me. And what kind of get into that a little bit later on in this blog, but I know that I was focusing a lot on the bad things that were happening in my life, right. The jobs that I'm not getting, the voiceover gigs that I'm not being shortlisted for. I'm not getting callbacks. I'm not getting a lot of auditions, all this different kind of stuff.

Now, like I said, it's been a really rough patch for voiceover. Um, I got, uh, got one gig, um, in February at the beginning of the year for an internal corporate animation, and that's under NDA right now, so I can't speak too much more about that. Um, but that was the first job I had had for voiceover in about a year.

And that's with taking coaching and that's with doing the things that people told me that I should be doing. And so, um, I've been feeling, you know, for lack of any better term, a little depressed about exactly, you know, where my voice over career is headed and different things like that. And just like the tree, over-watering that, that tended to seep into everything else that was going on in my life Right? Whether it was maybe being a little bit too short or, you know, short patience with, with something my wife and I were trying to do, or with, people on the internet as I played games, maybe being a little bit too upset about things, not going the way that I thought they should go, or, you know, just sitting in a pit of self-loathing and being very woe is me where I should have been focusing on all the good things that are happening.

And so it was a very important reminder for me to just take the time and make sure, you know, number one, that you're taking the water out of the tree when it needs to be taken out of, but in our own lives, like, are we letting that water focus too much into different stuff? And it really made me sit there and think, you know, I think I can be focusing a lot on these different places and seeing if they can have any effect, rather than focusing on the stuff that's not working. So that's definitely something that I want to pass along to each one of you, making sure that we are really just making sure that we're not focusing on all the negatives in life, because it's extremely easy. There's so much going on in this world right. We have wars, we've got rumors of wars. We've got, you know, battles. Um, the philosophies of men versus, you know, the philosophies of God, depending on where you fall on that spectrum, you have political ideals, you have social causes. There's so much pulling us in every direction. Good and bad that we need to make sure that we're only focusing on the right stuff.

On that note, um, quick recap of the week, cause that's something that I want to do. I want to be able to, you know, kind of use this as a journal as well. Like I mentioned before, so this week is pretty normal week. I can't say that there's too much that stood out, you know, didn't did my day job did auditions. I did find, uh, this online…. I'm going to call it like a connection center. So essentially you pay a small monthly fee and you're able to connect with different coaches in voiceover. I think I'm going to give that a shot. I'm kind of looking to, I've gotten the marketing coaching downside of stuff, and now I need to figure out how to find more additions, how to book more auditions, all that kind of stuff, so I'm going to be looking into that.

Besides that, um, I think the real, only thing of note for this week, was my wife was sick this week. So, I was able to, um, have the opportunity to take care of her throughout the week, make sure she was doing all right. And you know what, actually, I've got a question for listeners, for readers, for watchers, wherever you're watching this, make sure. Write down in the comments, make sure you comment on the video comment on the blog comment on the podcast. Um, if you can, uh, you can tweet me @MasonStewartVO as well, but I want to ask you guys a question.

If you're sick, like you're not feeling well, you have a cough, you don't have a fever or anything. Are you going to take medicine to get over that? Or are you just going to kind of wait it out and wait for the cough to go away on. The reason I ask is because my wife and I are two completely different people when it comes to this for myself. I am like, okay, I'm not feeling well. And you know, being a voiceover artist kind of helps along with this. Like if I have any throat, anything going on, I'm like, okay, we need to take care of it. We're going to drink some, we're going to drink some herbal teas and you know, we're going to drink some throat coat. We're going to take medicine. We're going to give myself some vocal rest where we're not going to use the voice for anything we're going to, we're just going to let it take care of it. Even if like my nose is stuffing, I'm like, hey, it's time to take allergy meds. We're going to take some nasal decongestant. Like I'm not going to have any of this. I don't want to deal with it at all. On the opposite side of the spectrum, my wife is very much like I'm alive, so I don't need to take any medicine. I don't feel like I'm dying. But the confusing thing is she then sits there and complains about. Like, oh, my nose is so stuffy. I hate my nose being stuffy you are. I wish this cough would just go away. And I, I lovingly asked her, I said, hey, have you taken any medicine yet? And she said, no, I haven't taken medicine. And so, I had to kind of like, you know, put my foot down a little bit and be like, why aren't you taking the medicine?

And so now I've got like an, a little alarm that's keeping track of, you know, like when you're supposed to retake medicine and everything, making sure she's keeping up on that. So, she gets better. So, I don't get sick either. I had a little 24-hour bug, and man, I like pounded down medicine. I was drinking herbal teas and stuff. I was like, this thing is not going to get me. And I feel amazing now, but yeah, I'm curious, are you guys’ medicine takers? Are you guys just ride it out? Like what, what do you guys like to do better? I'm very curious to see where this falls on everything in the world of.

Things that I tend to enjoy outside of voiceover and outside of my life, uh, that we'll get talking about a little bit on this podcast. I'm from Utah as such. It's very exciting to know that the Utah Jazz, the NBA team that is based here in Salt Lake City has made it to the NBA playoffs. And I know for a fact, because I just finished getting the notification right before I started filming this and the jazz. The first game against the Dallas Mavericks. So, we're up1-0, in the series, hopefully we'll be able to make it a little bit farther. I haven't been following it too much this year, unfortunately, but definitely something that we are excited for here in Utah.

And it's very exciting on the side of the thing that I'm probably most passionate about outside of voiceover and outside of, you know, my church and all my other social stuff is e-sports and more importantly, video games as a whole. For myself, I mentioned this last week that I like them, but I think that is selling it a little bit short. Really, for me, I'm very much an introverted person doing, doing any of this kind of stuff. Right. The video. Anything like that. I see it as a means to an end, more than anything. I don't necessarily do it because I want to talk to people. I'm doing it. Um, you know, put myself out there and get my brand out there. Maybe have a conversation, but normally this is not a typical thing. I'm very much a home body. I work from home. I do voiceover work from home and my wife and I really don't go anywhere. Besides the get groceries, maybe get a haircut like I did. And that's like the extent of me going out and doing stuff.

And so because of that video games are a huge factor for me. I'm able to connect and play with friends, with siblings, I'm able to do all of, you know, I'm able to, you know, if I have a really hard day, I can go in and I can play a game to get out my frustrations or it can get a game that just relaxes me, helps me calm down. Video games are a very integral part of my life. And, um, it's just something that I would love to share with each and every single one of you. The big news this week, my favorite game of all time Overwatch had a lot of news and it was very interesting. Uh, how different this news was and you'll be like, oh, how different, how different could it be?

Well, it's, it's very interesting. The change. So, um, many of you know, that recently is it was, it was fairly big news because it was such a large acquisition, but Microsoft, yes. Windows word, all, all that Microsoft bought Activision and blizzard, and then split them apart before it was Activision blizzard. And so, they were kind of one, and now they're separated again. And it's been famously kind of known that Bobby Kotick, who was the CEO. I believe of Activision blizzard. I'm not, not a good dude, a lot, a lot of really bad stuff. Just, just not a guy. You would want living next door. Right? You don't want him to be your buddy next door. That's why you got me. Anyways, long story short, there are many accusations, many different things, and it come to find out that part of the reason Overwatch two was being delayed for so long and things weren't coming out was because there were certain restrictions being put on by, um, the higher ups at Activision blizzard on the development team of Overwatch, because they wanted to go in a different direction, um, than what, uh, the higher ups so wanted to do.

So, it was kind of like a battle between them both. So, a lot of the communication that we got over the past two years from, uh, the Overwatch dev team was very limited. They really only told you very PR answers for pretty much everything. Um, and it was very, very hard to get any information about anything.

And then the game they, we have had no updates for two years. So, it's been really. But recently because Microsoft is acquiring Activision blizzard, things have been changing. We've had a lot more communication and we've had a lot more direct communication. So, for the first time, in two years, they announced that, um, they announced him, went into depth about the newest ski row coming to Overwatch, and it will be an Overwatch 2.

Her name is sojourn. And the big, exciting news about Sojourn is that it is a black female character. Blizzard and especially Overwatch is a very inclusive community. They have a lot of representation of a lot of groups that don't see a lot. Excuse me that don't see a lot of representation.

So, they held a live stream with a journalist, a content creator, both who happened to be black females along with two of the devs, one, the lead artist and one, the other, the main hero designer. The lead artist happened to also be an African-American male. It was so cool to me because I don't have experience in this obviously. I don't have any experience with, you know, finding something that represents me, my culture, anything like that, but in video games in general, if you take a second and think about video games as a whole, there are not very many playable characters that are black and female.

Overwatch did a fantastic job of inclusion. They have a lot of like Latina and they have a lot of Asian female heroes as well, and they did a very good job of diversifying the Overwatch cast. Obviously, a black female was not in that original cast of for Overwatch1, but it is going to be center focus for Overwatch2.

And seeing the amount of joy. That the content creator and that journalist had during this announcement and talking about the vision that the dev team had for this black female, you know, more or less role model and black female character, they were overjoyed. And at the same time, if any of you have ever watched any big streams on Twitch or anything like that, you may kind of have an idea, the internet as a whole, is kind of this weird collective organism and people kind of get the same thoughts and a whole bunch of other stuff. But as, as these, as this content creator, as this journalist, and as the devs were talking about this new hero in the chat, it was so disheartening to see. That people were just saying, this doesn't matter. Like just get to the game, play and everything. And on one hand, as a player, I can completely understand we had been without any new, real content. In two years, it has been bone dry. And it's been a hard time playing Overwatch because it is unfortunately kind of the laughing stock of, uh, the competitive gaming world right now, because there's just no updates. It's just, it's, it's a dead game. It's not growing. It's not moving. And the fact that they could be so narrow minded to think that just because we're not getting any of that information at this moment, and that we're talking about how important it is to have that inclusion is beyond me.

And if this is something, um, that you maybe don't necessarily align with, it's completely fine. Cause I'm very understanding of all people, but to me, and the way I was raised and the what I believe is that the greatest God-given gift that we've been given is our agency, the ability to choose, right? Whatever that choice may be. Unfortunately, as in the case right now where other human beings decided that complaining about a game rather than being happy for those finally feeling inclusion in a space that they have not been included in for, for forever was their choice just to mock and to make fun of it was completely disheartening.

I just want to make sure I put a challenge out to each and every one of you, that's listening, reading, watching, however you, however you view this content, use your gift of agency, the ability to choose. Nobody's forcing you to do anything. Use that ability to simply do one thing. And that's the one thing that I truly believe every single human being on this world can relate to. It doesn't matter if you're religious, it doesn't matter if you're a voice actor. It doesn't matter if you're famous. It doesn't matter.

Nothing matters about this, except for this one thing. And it's very simple. It's be kind, right. You've all heard the phrase, treat others as you would like to be treated. And that's really what it boils down to. If I happened to see a video game character that was portraying a nerdy little white dude, that happened to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, I would think that was the coolest thing ever. Right?!? Think about it. If something was portraying, you know, something extremely closely related to you, how would you feel. And these women are finally seeing a strong black female in the game that they love in an industry that is oftentimes too cruel to females, and very sexist. All I can say is that we as a community, whether you play video games or not, especially if you play video games, we can do better, be more inclusive, stand up, when people are saying things that are completely out of line, shut them down. Don't let the minority and the hatred fuel everybody else. Find a way to bring joy through everything you do.

Okay. That's enough on that rant and everything, but this Overwatch news is fantastic. So, we have a new hero. I'll put up, uh, some of the media kit pictures that they provide that blizzard provided for. So, her name is Sojourn, like I said, black female she's from Canada, Toronto specifically, I believe. She was like the leader of Overwatch. And if we're going into Overwatch lore, which I am a huge fan. She was, she was like one of the team captains of Overwatch. Actually, when Overwatch was disbanded, she was like one of the crucial people in the hearing. And then she retires, we don't know how she gets back into the Overwatch stuff yet. Apparently, there's a cinematic coming out about it. I'm very excited. Very very excited, but she has one of the more unique kits and Overwatch.

So she's going to be a DPS or a damage character. So, her whole kit is based around getting kills. First and foremost, the big thing to talk about is her weapon. Her weapon is a modified rail gun. Oh yes. We love rail guns here. So her primary fire is some projectile energy bolts, and as she hits those on enemies, it builds up charge. Once you get up to charge, you can right click on your mouse. And that will release a rail gunshot, just like any other rail gun in pretty much any other game. It very much reminds me of Quake and that rail gun in there.

She's got a slight ability where she'll be able to slide and then use that slide to jump very high in the air with her cybernetic abilities and, you know, get some high ground and do different stuff like that.

She's got a disruptor shot. It creates a small area of effect where, enemies will take damage in or are slowed down, giving her, you know, a little bit time to either finish off somebody, she hit with a rail gun or slowing them down so she can nail that rail gunshot again.

Her ultimate. Her cybernetics, continuously charge the rail gun. So, you're able to fire off shots without having to charge it for a shot. It's really, really quick, really, really fast. She looks like a very high ceiling hero. A lot of major plays can be made with it. So, I'm super excited to see where they take it.

It was really funny after they did this, live Q&A with the journalist and the content creator. Two more devs did a video, and talked about the process of building the hero out. They were very candid and were very much saying, you know, we've made mistakes in the past and we didn't want to do that here.

And so that's why we're waiting to release her. They did a really good job of communicating and blizzard keeps that. I think Overwatch2, is something to look out for.

In its hay day Overwatch was the bar for new games. It broke the mold of so many FPS stereotypes. In fact, I believe it was 2016. I believe that Overwatch won game of the year. You have to remember that Overwatch is the only FPS, (First person shooter) game to ever win game of the year.

If you look at Google trends, you pull up Overwatch. It was everywhere. It was humongous. Everybody was talking about Overwatch in one way or another. And I think if they pull it off correctly, Overwatch2 can do the exact same thing. So, I'm very excited to see where they go with this. All right. So as far as our week round up, uh, for myself and things that I'm into, that's pretty much it.

We went over my voiceover rough patch a little bit, like I talked about, I've got some new things in the work. Hopefully we'll be able to get some jobs are waiting to hear back from several agencies. Actually, I applied in March. It sometimes takes a couple of months, just because they get so many submissions. So hopefully going to hear back from a couple of agencies, maybe get signed. Um, so fingers crossed for that, you know?

In the meantime, I think really the message that I just want to leave, uh, for everybody and with everybody is just to be kind. I happen to be a Christian, right? I'm a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and our belief system, we believe and follow all the Christian traditions for the most part. One of those being Easter, Easter is coming up, tomorrow, from when I recorded this. So, um, when you're hearing it, it'll be this past Sunday, but it gives us a chance to think about the blessing that we have for a Savior in our lives. If you're religious then fantastic, you can think about that. If you're not. Then that's also fine. Make sure to find something that you can be grateful for that helps you going. That helps keep you going. I promise. Find something in your life that keeps you going. And remember to thank the universe, yourself, your God, whoever it might be, that you have that, because that is not something that a lot of people have.

And I challenge you each to find one person this week that you are going to be able to be kind to. That's it, just one person that can make all the difference. So, I'll leave that with you right now, neighbors. I hope to catch you next week. Thank you all.

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