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Hollywood Career Coach Gives Advice to AI Victim, Reality TV Producer

Hollywood Career Coach Gives Advice to AI Victim, Reality TV Producer

The Unintended Role: An Actor Faces Their AI Doppelgänger

Dear Remy,

As an actor whose voice has apparently been hijacked by the specter of artificial intelligence, I find myself in a perplexing, and frankly infuriating, scenario. Picture this: a bustling tech unveiling, all eyes and ears tuned to the debut of the latest AI marvel — only for me to hear what sounds suspiciously like my own voice echoing back! It’s like attending a party you weren’t invited to, only to find out your clone is the surprise guest of honor.

You see, Remy, I always believed that my voice was uniquely mine. I can still remember the first time I received a comment on it: At my middle school drama classes, my teacher described it as “mellifluous.”  I was 10 and had to ask them what the word meant. But when they did, I was overjoyed. Since then, I have taken great pride in my instrument and see it as a resinous jewel in my acting toolbelt. Whether it’s been required to provide velvety whispers for a tense thriller or robust belly laughs for a knockabout comedy, it has never let me down.

But now, thanks to the wonders of technology (and the villainous moguls behind it), I have found myself living in my very own sci-fi picture. It’s dystopian to hear your own voice used by an AI, especially when it’s flirting outrageously with tech bros/legions of Silicon Valley nerds at a product unveiling.

I am in existential crisis. If an AI can mimic my emotional range from jovial to melancholic to hungover, what’s left for us mere mortals? I always thought that if I did see the robots take over in my lifetime, it would be to do our grunt work. Meanwhile, us humans could get on with crafting great art in our utopian, 100 percent self-sustaining homes. I never foresaw the opposite coming true. I don’t think I could go back to waiting tables now, Remy, especially not in a world where the customers might say: “Hey, you sound just like my smart fridge!”

I jest, of course, but the issue remains — a chilling reminder of the fine line between technological advancement and personal invasion. In this brave new world, one thing’s clear: The need for safeguards in the age of digital mimicry is more pressing than ever. Until then, I’ll be here, tuning my vocal cords, ready to reclaim my voice from the clutches of code.

Dear Echoed Star,

First off, let me just say, your letter struck a chord — or should I say, a vocal note? It’s unsettling to discover that your signature voice might have been co-opted by tech. However, this could be your cue for an unexpected role: the advocate.  

Illustration by Russ Tudor

While ethics and personal rights around AI are still largely uncharted, your unique position could help highlight the clear need for regulation. Why not use this experience to raise awareness? You’ve got the platform and the perfect script: Your own story. Consider hosting talks, writing op-eds or leading protests.

You say you can’t face going back to wait tables, and I don’t blame you. But there are actors out there in diners across America looking for their break — you can help them by ensuring there is an industry left for them to join that isn’t populated by rogue bots and auto-generated content. They don’t have the visibility to fight this. You do.

While exploring these options, it might be wise to consult with legal professionals who specialize in intellectual property and digital rights. They can help you understand if the law offers any old-fashioned protections in this modern dilemma. 

You might even seek a dialogue with the tech companies (just be careful there are no recording devices in the room). Push them to honest reflection on their actions. Do they really want to live in a world where we have all been replaced? Paint the CEO a picture: his company, being run by an avatar in an eerily familiar Armani suit….

Meanwhile, continue to court diverse roles that challenge you and display your full range, proving there’s much more to your craft than a familiar tone.

This could be your most influential part yet. Let your voice — both literal and metaphorical — resonate louder than ever.

Reality Bites: A Producer’s Crisis Of Authenticity 

Dear Remy,

I am an executive producer in reality TV. I’ve always loved it — until now. In 2024, the stars of reality shows behave like they are A-listers and expect the same treatment. 

I’ll level with you Remy. Reality TV was my calling because it meant I never had to deal with celebrities. While my pals working on late night chat shows or glossy premium drama were negotiating green M&Ms for divas, I was happily wrangling charismatic realtors and enthusiastic ladies who lunch. These were folks who wrote me heartfelt thank you cards in glitter pen and might even treat me to a slice of their award-winning pumpkin pie as they hopped onto their carpools back to normalcy.

Now, thanks to social media, everyone is a celebrity. Gone are the days when the casts of my shows were wide-eyed, middle-class characters who took pride in their meticulously maintained lawns and Pinterest-perfect casseroles. 

I hail from a quaint little town brimming with salt-of-the-earth people, who inspired me to craft shows that celebrated their charming, often overlooked, splendors. Yet, here I am wondering: Do I adapt to this new world of manufactured authenticity, or is it time to trade in my reality producer’s hat for something a jot more real?

Dear Reality-Check,

Ah, the eternal quest for authenticity in the land where kale smoothies are considered a personality trait. You, my friend, are grappling with a classic Hollywood dilemma: The evolution of the “real” in reality TV. It’s like trying to find a Hollywood exec who’ll admit they haven’t seen The Godfather.

It may not be as simple now that anyone with a ring light can become “famous,” but the industry evolves and good producers must evolve with it.

Could it be that there is part of you subconsciously trying to escape the small-town America that you grew up in? It sounds like the aspirational characters you’ve been casting may not be quite real enough.

After all, the producers of Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men each offer a unique glimpse into the tough and often overlooked lives of their real-world casts. It can be done.

Why not dive deeper into the heartlands of America, and cast your line in the forgotten ponds of small-town diners, county fairs and local volunteer brigades? Have you considered casting amongst Appalachian communities, sustainable living communities or urban explorers?

Trust me. When you find them, it’ll be as rewarding as finding a health bar in a soccer mom’s fridge.

See Also

Honey, I Became A Cartoon: Navigating Marriage After Voice-Acting

Dear Remy,

I voiced a cute animal character in an upcoming animated picture. Now that my wife has seen the film, it has dampened her attraction to me.

I love kids’ movies and was psyched to diversify my career. However, my wife says she can’t separate me from the saccharine, sexless critter I played onscreen. Although my role was four-legged and pixelated, she says it is all she can see when she looks at me.

What I saw as a great opportunity to play around with voice work and explore the higher range of my register, has left my wife feeling I’m no longer the “real-life action hero” she married. I’ve tried deepening my speaking voice when I’m around her now, but she knows I’m over-correcting.

Any advice on getting the spark back in my marriage? 

Dear Voice of Adorableness,

Who knew that bringing joy to children could lead to such domestic discord? 

The first step is to have an open conversation with your wife about her feelings. Understanding that characters are a performance and not a reflection of your personal identity might help her differentiate between you and your role. I would always advise actors not to get “lost” in their parts, and this just goes to show that the people around them also need to avoid making the same mistake!

Show your wife different sides of your personality through your actions. Think less “cute and cuddly” and more “dangerous and dashing.” Chop some wood. Whittle a fishing spear. Live for a few days in the wilderness.

Share with your wife your plans for future roles that showcase different aspects of your personality and talent. Perhaps reassure your wife that your next role will be different again. Does she want to see you as a spy, a warrior or a criminal mastermind?  

Re-introducing yourselves to each other, away from work and routine, can rekindle intimacy. Plan a trip, or engage in activities that both of you find exciting and that remind you of your initial attraction to each other. 

If all else fails, you might need to remind her that acting isn’t reality. After all, if every actor’s spouse thought they were truly like their characters, Andy Serkis would be perennially single.

Remy Blumenfeld is a veteran TV producer and founder of Vitality Guru, which offers business and career coaching to high performers in media. Send queries to: guru@vitality.guru.

Questions edited by Sarah Mills.

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