Nancy Cartwright shares her observations from her trip New Zealand with the moral to think big.
All The World
Remember that song of the same title by Willie Nelson On the Road Again? I wonder if Willie wrote that song while he was touring some foreign country, lonely and longing for some good old-fashioned home comforts? I sure as heck am. Here I am, sitting in the business center of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand. I have been on the road in Australia and New Zealand for three weeks now touring my one-woman show, My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy.
The show was developed around my book of the same title but with the additional contributions of writers Rose Goss and Peter Kjenaas. The three of us collaborated on what developed into a very special aspect of my voice-career: A Live Stage Production Of The Behind-The-Scenes Of This Short, Blonde, Voice-Over Artist.
I have been traveling with my co-writer/director/friend and co-conspirator-of-causing-trouble-wherever-the-heck-we-go Rose Goss. The tour started at the beginning of May 2006. After a 14 1/2 hour flight from L.A. to Sydney, we didnt have much time to settle in. The PR machine was already up and rolling and we hit the ground running literally. The Simpsons is one of the most watched TV shows over here, so as you can imagine, I was asked to do the voice a lot. I just say, No way man, as Bart, and everybody wins.
After some intense non-stop days of radio and early morning television (it is amazing what a good make-up artist can do to a face at 6:00 in the morning), we were off for a quick trip over to Melbourne where I appeared on the most popular talk show in Australia, Rove Live.
On My Favorite People List
I have to tell you, Rove McManus is a hoot, and if youve never had the pleasure of seeing his show, you might drop in on his website and check him out there is no way to describe him. His personality sparkles, he makes his guests really shine and he gives them all the attention, while at the same time entertaining the audience with his own quick-wit and ability to poke fun at himself. This is just my opinion, but Rove sets the standard as a talk show host: he is interested rather than being interesting.
This was the second time I was asked to be a guest on Rove Live and hopefully it wont be my last I had a ball. It really boosted our ticket sales as well. Every day, in every city, people came up to me in airports, in restaurants, and even in elevators to say, I saw you on Rove! After such a warm reception, it made the fact that I had no sleep for nearly 48 hours worth it in the end!
Keeping It Fresh
The publicity was only just the beginning. For the next eight days we continued to pound the pavement, moving from one radio station to the next, doing interview after interview, often Id find myself repeating, repeating myself. (Sorry about that.) Oh well. I really try to keep my interviews fresh, but frankly, sometimes when youre on the road and lacking sufficient sleep, you just cant remember what you had for breakfast.
The challenge at this stage of my career (25 years later, but whos counting?) is How to make every question sound like it is the first time it is being asked? And let me tell you, there is a real skill to it! The idea is NOT to make the interviewer feel like an idiot. Believe you me, after having the done The Simpsons for over 17 years, I dont doubt for one second that the challenge is not only for me, but for whoever is doing the interviewing!
By the way, I promise a signed Bart Simpson t-shirt to whoever can come up with some inspired question that has never been asked of me before. And I admit, it actually occasionally happens. One time a journalist asked me, When you are making love, do you squeal in orgasmic euphoria as yourself or as Bart Simpson? All I had to say was security. (And you think Michael Jackson has problems!) That was a first! I of course, use that precious line in my one-woman-show.
The PR was pretty intense and reached not only throughout the entire country of Australia, but eventually across the water over into New Zealand where the last leg of my show would end. After Rove, we flew back to Sydney. Another week of trekking around to the various studios, and opening night in Sydney was a smash.
Oh Yeah, The Shows!
The State Theatre is one of Sydneys finest and, get this, the most haunted! There definitely were spirits still hangin there and methinks that most of them were frustrated artists who really would have rather had a lead role in some production on that beautiful stage, rather than being a ticket taker or a member of the chorus. At any rate, from that moment on, the buzz for the show started.
It was great fun, not just for the core demographic of The Simpsons (single men between the ages of 18-49) but for the whole family. I put in a disclaimer at the beginning of the show no critics! The only requirement for being in the audience was that you love The Simpsons. With all that in mind, it never ceased to amaze me that most of the people who attended the show were actually men between the ages of 18-49 pretty wild.
My Cover Is Blown
Honestly, one thing that I never expected was that my anonymous celebrity status would change. Well, coming to this neck of the woods sure proved me wrong. Everywhere I went people recognized me and called out my name, wanted my autograph, wanted a picture taken with me and really wanted to hear me do the voice. I must admit that I really have enjoyed it. I know that once I get back on that plane for home, that all this is fleeting. After all, how many celebrities go all the way to Australia to do a one-woman show? To be honest with you, what woman wouldnt want all this attention? This voice-over actor is finally "being seen as well as heard" and she loves it.
The Lands Down Under
Australia and New Zealand are gorgeous countries with warm and friendly people, which is a little more than I can say for the weather that is promised on the South Island of New Zealand where I am headed next with my kids. It is late May and winter over here is near. It is chilly, but not too chilly and rainy, but not too rainy. I think our timing is perfect.
I dont necessarily like being away from home for too long, but I am satisfied and happy I did this trip. It has been well worth it as I achieved another personal goal of doing my one-woman show on this side of the world. Now that I have achieved it, I can check it off my list and move on to other things.
The Moral To The Story?
At any rate, if you are planning on being successful at what you do, no matter what it is you decide to do, you should be sure to envision having the greatest success in your chosen field. Dont just decide to get a job, decide to win an Emmy. I did. Dont just decide to be a background voice, decide to be on the #1 animated show on television. I did. Dont just decide to make enough money to pay your bills or quit your day job, decide to make an abundance of money so your attention can move on to greater and more important areas. I did.
It is not about just dreaming. It is truly about making the decision, and thinking big!!!! Only you can decide what is best for you, so sit down right now, and make some decisions, who knows? It might change your life forever!
Nancy Cartwright is best known as the voice of spiky-headed Bart Simpson on The Simpsons. She has voiced dozens of cartoon characters in her career that has spanned more than 20 years. Currently, she can be heard as the voice of Rufus the Naked Mole Rat on Disneys Kim Possible and Chuckie on Rugrats and All Grown Up. To learn more about Nancys career, listen to her audio book My Life as a 10-year-old Boy.