Archive for June 2009

Magic Monday

June 22, 2009

I went on an audition today.

Already I can hear you asking, “How did it go?” If you mean from the perspective of booking the job, who knows? I’ve never been any good at judging these things.

So I’m learning to evaluate from a different POV: Did I do everything I went there to do?

To answer that question, we first have to know what I plan to do whenever I audition. Lucky for us, I have a list.

1. Did I enjoy myself? Totally. I live for booth time. Anytime I get to play with new copy, it’s a good day.

2. Did I achieve focus, and maintain it throughout the session? Sometimes this is a challenge for me, but it wasn’t today. Which was a good thing, since there were several other names on the call sheet ahead of mine, meaning that I had about 45 minutes for my attention to wander.

3. Did I complete my homework? Right down the line. I studied the copy and the specs carefully, and thought about both before I began rehearsing. I made a specific note that this was television copy, and prepared reads that were appropriate to that medium. I had a firm grasp on the scenario, and made clear choices about both my character and the person to whom I was speaking. (Actually, since I was reading two similar spots targeted to different audiences, I envisioned myself speaking to a different person for each spot. My friends Donna and Randy would be pleased to know how helpful they were, in absentia.) Most importantly — because this is the one that I most easily let slip — I knew precisely why I was saying the words, and what response I hoped to elicit from my audience.

4. Did I remember to breathe deeply and center myself before I started? Check.

5. Did I take my water bottle into the booth with me? Check.

6. Did I relax? For the most part, yes. I felt the initial adrenaline rush, but managed to rein it in.

7. Did I follow directions? This is rarely an issue for me — one of my strengths is listening to instructions and internalizing them quickly — and it wasn’t a negative today.

8. Did I trust my instincts? Yes, and I believe they were solid. Second-guessing myself rarely works to my benefit. Remember the FIST rule: First Impressions Sense Truth.

9. Did I have an attack of esprit l’escalier? Thankfully, no. The worst thing that can happen to an actor is to be thunderstruck on the drive home from the audition with the thought, “Why didn’t I do this?” I do wish that I had developed an approach to either spot that was completely out of the box, but I believe that the different styles I used for the two spots were sufficiently distinct that they demonstrated at least a bit of range.

10. Did I love myself afterward? I did, and do. I acted well today. Good Mic Guy.

Ultimately, the work is the work. Whether I book the job or don’t, I love the work.

I’m thrilled that I got to work — and play — today.

Who says I’ve got no class?

June 4, 2009

The incomparable Shirley, the office manager at Voicetrax, called this morning to review my course schedule for the upcoming term.

I managed to score most of the classes that I wanted to take. I’m on the wait list for one course that was rescheduled, but aside from that, I’ll stay pretty busy through early October.

Among the workshops in which I’ll be participating:

  • A pair of classes on character development. Since character work appears to be my unexpected strength, I might as well maximize my growth there.
  • A prototypes workshop. Fun stuff there — using successful VO professionals as models from whom to learn.
  • A class on exploring the vocal instrument. I can always benefit from more self-discovery.
  • Two classes on script analysis, because I need all the help I can get.
  • Another scuffle with my old nemesis, narration. I’ve been focusing my daily reads in this area, so this should be a much improved experience.
  • A weekend workshop on audition strategy. I’m really looking forward to that one. Can you ever really learn too much about how to book gigs?

Looks like a veritable cornucopia of skill- and knowledge-building opportunities. I can hardly wait for July to get started!

Carnegie Hall, and step on it

June 2, 2009

Last Saturday, my chorus — Voices in Harmony, northern California’s premier men’s a cappella chorus (thank you, Blatant Plug Department) — presented its annual spring concert. Yours truly had the honor of narrating the chorus segments of the show.

It occurs to me that if I was as comfortable behind the mic in the studio as I am before a live audience, my growth as a voice actor would develop far more dramatically.

Then again, if I’d been focusing on voice acting for more than 25 years — as I have been on public speaking — the same would hold true.

Yes, Mr. Gladwell, I know…

Ten thousand hours.

I’m working on it.


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