What do you do when you’ve got a good script with ambiguous creative direction?
Do you shoot from the hip or dig in a little deeper?
Getting an audition that is seriously lacking in direction can be seriously frustrating.
Not knowing what to do, you might simply take your best shot at it. But there are a few tried and true tricks to deciphering a script. The copy itself often has tell-tale signs into how the writer envisions the voice-over.
In today’s VOX Daily we are joined by guest blogger, Tommy Griffiths, a professional voice talent and voice-over coach, as he lends some words of wisdom on self-direction for those awkward moments when you encounter a vague script. Join us! It may just help you land that next audition.
The CLUELESS Audition: How to Nail an Audition with Little or No Direction
By Tommy Griffiths
So there’s a heavy load of cash on the line, you have a 95% Voice-match with an audition on Voices.com, and you need this gig.
But, you have no idea what the client wants you to sound like because there’s no direction provided other than: Sounds like: “Announcer.” And all you have to go by is this body of copy:
“Everywhere you look, there’s new technology. Your boss, your employees, maybe even your clients are as clueless as you are when it comes to the latest gadget or app. So, where do you go to get the most comprehensive, yet easiest to understand training for practical applications? Proto-Tech. We’re the folks who can boil down the most complex technological applications into plain-speak.”
They’re just words on a page. How can anyone possibly decipher the delivery that the client is listening for? Is this serious, or should you go with a lighter, more casual tenor? How would you even start the read?
When instructions or direction of a voice-over are sketchy or even non-existent, there is hope.
You merely need to play detective and dig through the copy for context clues that may give you a feel for the tone of the piece. Coupled with a few basic voice-over techniques, your audition will more than likely stand out among the artists who didn’t do their homework.
Truly study the copy and consider each word. Every word is important and deserves its due (that’s a whole ‘nother blog). A couple of words in the above copy stand out immediately and reveal a hint of what the writer really wants in the performance.
Words like “clueless” and “folks.” Pretty casual use of the English language, right? So you know you can lighten up a little when you’re delivering your lines.
From just those two words we’ve gleaned a fairly accurate feel for the attitude of the piece.
How do you start the delivery?
Easy! My mentor Chuck Blore preaches this rule to all of his talent. The first sentence of the voice-over is your purpose statement. Say it like you’re telling someone why you’re speaking in the first place. “Everywhere you look, there’s new technology.”
It’s like you’re standing in front of a class announcing the title of your book report. So there, with virtually no information given, you have a decent idea of how to approach this mystery voice-over.
Oh, here’s another tip: When you’re reading a list in the copy like, “Your boss, your employees, maybe even your clients” you’ll sound a whole lot more interesting if your inflection on each item is different.
Of course, the inflection should make sense – don’t just inflect to inflect – but vary your phrasing with each item. It seems obvious, but I swear I’ve coached dozens of students who didn’t get it.
Most clients are fairly specific about what kind of delivery they want from you in a voice-over. But for the occasional audition that leaves you scratching your headphones, taking a few extra minutes to sleuth out an educated approach can mean a few extra dollars in your pocket.
About Tommy Griffiths
Tommy Griffiths is a 30-year SAG-AFTRA voice over veteran, voice coach, demo producer and actor. He’s voiced thousands of projects including Chevy Camaro, Coca Cola, History Channel, Discovery Networks and recently a biographical introduction of President Bill Clinton at Harvard University.
Tommy lives near Washington, DC. with his wife Cheryl, son Justin, and his two dogs Truman and Teddy.
For information on voice coaching or demo production contact Tommy at: TommyGriffiths@verizon.net