A kick in the private

This morning, I headed down to Voicetrax in Sausalito for a private coaching session with Sirenetta Leoni. I enjoy the private sessions when I can schedule them — an hour of nonstop booth time, with a chance to experiment and get feedback one-on-one.

Sirenetta and I had never worked together before, so I was a bit apprehensive as I reviewed the four pieces of copy she had pulled for me in advance of the session. There was a beer commercial that called for a naturalistic,”real guy” read; a gasoline ad with a more narrative style; a spot for a fitness club that fell somewhere between the two; and a clip of character copy that might have come from an animated series episode or a video game.

By the time Sirenetta arrived, I had gone through each piece of copy, setting the circumstances I’d learned in my acting classes. I established my character’s persona and surroundings, and the events that had happened immediately before the first line of copy. Since I’ve been told that I need to focus on script analysis, I really concentrated on trying to understand each writer’s intent, and create scenarios for myself that would help me accurately interpret each message.

Once I stepped into the booth, I tried to let all of the process fall into place and just immerse myself in each read. That proved harder today than it usually is for me. Sirenetta was patient, though. I appreciated her analytical approach — her direction was clear and sensible. She praised my instincts and ability to take direction.

We worked the beer spot a couple of different ways — Sirenetta’s ideas, no surprise, turned out better than my own. The wording of the gasoline spot felt awkward to me, and it took me a couple of run-throughs to produce a clean read. The fitness spot went better, though I was disappointed when I heard the playback that more of the nuance I thought I’d put into my read didn’t come through over the mic. The character bit (as Lex Luthor, Superman’s archenemy) felt good. Once we had worked out the kinks, I was pleased with the finished cut, even though the character type isn’t my strong suit.

Lessons learned:

  • I still have some road to travel with script analysis. That will definitely be my emphasis in practice over the coming weeks.
  • Bigger is always better. What irked me most about today’s playbacks was the fact that the read I heard in my head didn’t fully escape my mouth.
  • My anal-retentiveness remains my nemesis. I have to get beyond my fear of getting the words out imperfectly, and just let things flow.

I had fun working with Sirenetta. I look forward to having another coaching session with her.

Next class: Introduction to Narration, Thursday nights in January. Sirenetta said that with my instincts, I should do well. We shall see.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Voice acting, Voiceover, Voicetrax

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