I have a secret that finally gets to leave Hushville. ‘member when I told you about my belly-flop into audio Geekdom and there being a reason for it, but then I got all sneaky and offered up The Weebit Proposition to distract you? Well, you now get to know the reason. While you’re reading this, think of Spiderman II and replace Toby McGuire with me in that scene where he’s walking all happy-dreamy in slo-mo to Burt Bacharach’s “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” Imagine that (interspersed with the I’m-so-excited-I’m-going-to-vomit feeling) is how I’ve felt for the past several weeks and you get the picture. Are you so excited to hear the secret now? It shall sound like beans spilling. And Burt Bacharach.
Now then, here we go: (cue can opener and piano) On the evening of Monday, September 26, 2005, Minneapolis celebrated its first annual Ameriprise Financial Ivey Awards. The awards ceremony was flashy and sponsory and wonderful and wonderfully short. One of the awards presenters was my pal Leah Cooper, Executive Director of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, the very same Fringe Festival for which I served as Voice of the Fringe in their first-ever foray into podcasting. She presented an award to Steve Hendrickson for his stellar performance in the title role of 10,000 Things’ Cyrano de Bergerac. Stay with me, this is pertinent.
At the after-party, Cooper tells me about the following mix-up and exceptionally kind compliment intended for this Leigha rather than that Leah, which went something like this:
Steve: Are you Leigha? Leah: Yes, I’m Leah. Steve: Leigha Fringe Festival Leigha? Leah: Yes, that’s me. Steve: Your voice. In those podcasts. Was incredible. Leah: Ohhhh, THAT Leigha. No, that’s not me. That’s The Other Leigha.*
*No offense taken by being called “The Other Leigha” - we call ourselves that because we're geeks and think it's cute - mix-ups between the two of us are old hat.
So anyway, I hear this from Cooper and want to squeal - it’s just so rewarding to still be getting shout-outs for my work on the Fringe podcasts. But I don’t squeal (I think). Instead, I become determined to track this guy down and thank him.
Turns out he’s ridiculously easy to find online. An e-mail conversation takes place, and two weeks later we’re meeting over coffee at his suggestion to discuss Lipservice, a talent guild to which he belongs.
I know Lipservice – Lipservice is an exclusive group of 30 of the best and brightest voice and on-camera talent in the Twin Cities, with a lot of them doing killer stage work to boot. Lipservice is union (AFTRA), and has the voice-over market in the Twin Cities cornered. Cornered. What I find out over coffee is that Lipservice was started in 1973, is artist-owned (cool!), and wants me to join their ranks. Wait, WHAT? Yes, Lipservice wants me to join their ranks. I just about passed out.
I can’t even begin to describe the absolute joy and honor and comfort I felt in learning more about Lipservice…it just feels like a perfect fit - this artist-owned concept is right up my alley, I love the easy access to mentors who have been doing this for years and years, and I love how flipping intelligent and talented and kind everyone is. And accessible! No more playing the Hey Agent, Remember Me? Game. Dude. DUDE.
There was another meeting with the Membership Committee, there were more e-mails. There was a vote amongst the Lipservice members, there was acceptance of my entry, there was a contract. There was signing of said contract on Thursday, and there was my first audition on Friday afternoon (with a mentor, even). I have another audition this upcoming Friday. I have to point out here that I've gotten the same number of auditions in the last week from Lipservice that I got from my other two agents combined over the past two months.
The Leigha Horton Happy Dance won’t even cut it this time – it’s serious sparkle-fairy-angel-floaty-ether-dance time. Watchout, these elf ears are comin'atcha!
So, go have a looksee – Lipservice Talent Guild is my new actory home.