Working Against My Own Sensibilities

I’m not a fan of horror. Really, I’m not a fan of gore. It’s amazing how many things I’ve walked out on because the gore level got to be too much for me.

There’s a funny story from my college days about the great debate over whether or not I could handle Independence Day. My friends (who were pretty good at sorting out what I could and couldn’t handle) literally debated for days over whether or not I should be warned away from it before they finally decided I could handle it. It was over a year before I finally saw it, and could’t for the life of me figure out what the problem was until I got to the alien dissection. If you’re familiar with the movie, you know that’s not a terribly gory scene, and yet I walk out on it every single time I watch the movie because I can’t handle it.

Even stranger, two of my favorite manga/anime are Descendants of Darkness and  Death Note. There’s absolutely no question both are gruesome, and yet I sit and listen to them with some regularity. I’d love to say that’s probably how I survive the gore in both stories, but I made it all the way through both manga (such as Descendants of Darkness is). So… Yeah… I can’t explain it.

I point this out because I’m in the process of announcing my newest audio drama project and trying to find the right wording to warn people about what they’re walking into. Despite having done other audio dramas with similar concerns regarding gore, this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to warn people. And I’m having to think about it in terms of, “How would I want to be warned that I might not be able to sit all the way through this?”

A project I willingly auditioned for and worked on…and I’m trying to write my own trigger warning.

Because it’s compelling audio fare, horror is a popular genre for audio dramas. It makes sense from a purely academic standpoint. The tension. The ability to cheese it up or dial it back as necessary for the show. There’s just so much you can do to really create the right mood and pacing. But it also means that if I want to continue working in audio dramas (which I enjoy), I have to suck up a bit of my inherent unwillingness to set foot near horror and gore and just try to not involve my very vivid imagination in what I’m doing. (I fail at that regularly…)

It’s an interesting push-and-pull. One that I have the hang of on the voice acting side, even as I fight to not run out of the room. And when it’s clear from the audition notes that the show is probably going to be way too much for me, I usually avoid the audition altogether, just to make my life easier.

But it’s funny to think about in the grand scheme of things.

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