We had the good fortune of connecting with Nik Shriner and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nik, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Nowadays, I surf almost exclusively at night. I’m kidding, surfing sucks, don’t try it. My version of balance was either: never at all OR all at once. The bummer with that strategy was, whatever I chose, I hated it.

There I’d be on a week long bicycle adventure down highway 1, soaking wet and having the time of my life- all the while beating myself up for not being in LA getting more stage time. Insane. Although, it WAS pretty nutty biking through those November storms in the middle of nowhere, “Dang, helluva day for a bike ride ya’ll, gonna rain like hell tommara!”
VS. The figurative and literal sprint of racing to try and do EVERYTHING at once. I expertly bullied myself from inside my head; why I should have started sooner, stuuupid, then I’d be happier and richer by now. More insanity, different flavor.
Needless to say none of that worked too well and i was the last to find out.

As for balance now, I really do surf at night, after a full or lite day of putting one foot in front of the other. I make a point to pause between events and actually get connected to what i’m doing or about to do. I remember to cultivate a dose of gratitude and dig how lucky i am to simply be breathing. Then I focus on what it is that is happening. Actually happening or about to happen. There’s usually plenty, even on a quiet patio in Santa Monica.
By tuning into the reality frequency, all of a sudden, life itself is right there in front of me AND within me (in full technicolor). Then like clock work, the spirit of joy, generosity and boldness is there for the taking; guiding me, whether on a job or working on a jigsaw puzzle. Then i forget, and do it all over again. and again. and again.

When the thinking slips back to the ‘if onlys’ or the ‘why aren’t i like thems?’ and THEY DO, I press the pause button and look for the light around me. Find my breath. Or listen for the sound behind the sounds. It’ always there I just gotta listen for it.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Let’s just say I was not making a living from doing 6-minute comedy sets in the back of crusty cafes. Although I did get paid a number of excellent burritos, thanks Compás! And it help set me up for what I’ve been working at for the last, golly, 9 years!

I get to do voice work for whatever needs voices: whatever that tv show or movie needs, I’ll try it! Plus, wherever else you hear mouth sounds: commercials, anime dubs, cartoons, video games, narration, radio spots, industrials, promos, and even the voice of that talking tree in The OA. (My buddy is a big fan of that one)

Once i got a taste of voice over, I was hooked, although the first job was a weird one. I was hired to do the voice of dream boat, Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie, Prisoners. I have a big crush on Jake so I was thrilled to get to be him for 20 minutes. Apparently, it was cheaper and easier to just bring someone in to sound like him. Basically, I’m Jake Gyllenhaal on a budget, the 99 cent version.

From that big break (wink wink) it was slow going, bit by bit, getting other things here and there and just taking it one audition at a time. I really had to let go of “getting it right” or “having a career” and focus on enjoying the process. Even if that meant sweating buckets in my undies, alone in a hot closet, screaming for hours… AND THEN there was auditioning! That was a joke and also not a joke.

The turning point to doing it full time, and getting a window in the closet (wooo!), was gradual and also kinda all of a sudden. Instead of always thinking of what do “they” want or how to be better than someone else, I just started enjoying what I was doing. What a concept! Less of trying to figure out the puzzle of: X + Y = I get the job, and more of making MYSELF laugh (or at least not falling asleep when I listen back). Lo and behold, I got more jobs. Like the time I got to voice an animated party bird for Jack-in-the-Box commercials; I recorded that audition in bed, at a hotel on vacation, under the covers, with my buddy in his bed trying not laugh between takes!

Seems the more I let go, the easier it gets. I think that’s my lesson for the game of life, it’s the playing it, that makes it fun. Surrender to win!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oooh matey I love an excuse to skip out and play tour guide… Definitely enjoy the long drive up coast to Leo Carrillo for a surf and turn it into a nude beach, stopping by Lily’s for a brekkie burrito on the way home, but we gotta call it in or else!

Swing by and try to get my old employee discount at Cafe Gratitude, best almond milk and key lime pie ever. Hoof the Larchmont neighborhood and marvel at the size of the lots. LACMA before they blew it up. Or even better, put on some fake accents and visit the glory of the Getty.

Find some fancy estate sales up in the hills or Palisades and pretend to think about buying the place.

Grab a burger or banana bread at Bluey’s cafe, then make a giant pour over out of Conservatory for Coffee and Tea’s perfectly roasted beans. Once we’re jacked up, put the house guest to work, digging a new trench in the garden, while catching up with the tomatoes and eggplant.

Find a pick-up frisbee or volleyball game we can bike to. Or two nice trees to set up the slack-line between, maybe up at Wil Rogers state park, fantasizing over the old days of Hollywoodland.

We can take an adventure on the expo line and head downtown for more art, architecture and espresso. ooooh definitely tacos at Él Chapo on the SW corner of LaBrea and OIlympic (gotta call it in or else!) before collapsing on the fancy futon, cuddling with Nike the cat, watching episodes of genius Julia Pott’s Summer Camp Island where I keep mentioning how I was almost cast on the show. Big almost.

Or break out a jigsaw puzzle, pour some bio coffee, and trade off picking records and reading Hafiz poems to each other. Plus we gotta go visit my mom and the fam out in suburbia. Her cooking still is the best the west.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Gotta shout out my sweetie for being such a loving voice of sanity! Not only does Alexandra Michelle have magic powers, she’s really good at reminding me that I am OK, even when I’m not working.

Website: www.nikshriner.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikshriner/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nik-shriner-8a46ab22/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NikShriner

Facebook: facebook.com/nik.shriner

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/NikShriner1

Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0795406

Image Credits
Life is Strange (video game) Jack in the box

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