“Be aware of your surroundings”…
My fathers mantra. I can still hear him say it. It was almost a daily occurrence now that i think about it. I am sure it’s because i was a moronic teenager with a mullet, rockin’ out to the latest scorpions album…believing that they rocked only with hurricane’s…but i digress.
i must have looked pretty strange to him…but he saw something in me, something that might be able to be aware of what’s going on around him…and not just whats going on inside of himself. i am glad he did…because he was right…well, sort of.
i am very much aware of my inner thoughts, but because of him, i am very much aware of what’s going on around me, or at least, i would testify to that under oath in a court of law.
for me, knowing what’s going on around me is tantamount to intelligence. the more you know, the more it shows you want to know, which (to me) is intelligence. the want, the need to know more.
it is why i am always impressed by a voice talent who is able to leap from one read to another. one who knows NOT to voice a disclaimer the same way as the rest of the commercial (it’s a very specific sound and speed), one who can overcome their own neurosis and scream when it’s needed, one who can do a warm, loving read without thinking it comes off as cheesy.
we work with a lot of voice talent here obviously and we only work with the best. i am always impressed by what our team understands about the script placed in front of them. if the script calls for a goofy read, then a goofy read it is! if it requires a manly voice to sound vulnerable, then mr. mann softsell to the rescue.
but this talent is not inherited. this talent is learned. you have to WANT to know how to do this. and you can always tell the people who are not aware of their surroundings. who haven’t learned how to voice a disclaimer, or who can’t do a softsell, because they only have one read…say, a hardsell…and it’s totally ROCKIN (with a hurricane)…but it’s that and only that.
for me, anyone can do any read…the only difference is the sound of the voice. so if you find yourself being asked to do a particular read, maybe ask yourself if you really know what it is to do this read.
it sounds ridiculous, not knowing how to do something you hear and see every day…but in my experience, this is prevalent in the majority of voice talent i have come across.
it’s an interesting phenomenon, as we all suffer from it in some degrees.
for me, it’s fashion. i see a 3/4 length t-shirt, and to me, it looks great! to my wife, it looks super-80’s…so i now know that i cannot see good fashion right in front of me. i realize now, i need her help. but for a long time, i thought i knew what worked. only till someone said something, did i know to ask for help.
if you can’t do something (and you have been made aware of it), the best thing to do is ask for help. everyone is willing to help…it’s a very human trait to want to give advice. and i must say, that advice is the one thing you can’t get enough of. first of all, it’s free…and even though you can probably only use about 10 percent of it, it’s still well worth the price.
if you are just starting out, and you get a script with a disclaimer in it…and you read it the same way as the rest of the commercial…please take my advice…you are reading it wrong. if you are reading a hardsell spot, and you DIDN’T have to get the producer to turn down the gain on your mic channel, you are reading it wrong.
There are certain ways to read certain scripts, things people expect…things people deserve…things an audience would describe as respect. know your product…know what and how to read a script. and if you don’t…ask…there will be a million people ready to answer your question, and you only need to use some of them…it’s a great deal.
i do understand though…it’s hard not to see things from your point of view only…i REALLY want to rock my office outfit like a hurricane at my next staff meeting…but my wife says i am making a mistake. due to her track record, i will heed her warnings and cover my 3/4 length sleeve with a sport jacket.
bottom line: if you are a seasoned pro, lend hand to someone who is just starting out, newbies are all around you, become aware of them…and help them become aware of their surroundings.