As others hear us

Quoth the legendary Scottish poet Robbie Burns:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion…

To which I can only add: Word.

In the midst of delving into business and marketing planning today, I took a couple of hours to listen to a slew of demos on Voicebank. I pull up one or two random demos almost every day, just to learn from what the “big boys” (and “big girls,” too… though I’ve noticed that some of them don’t care to be called such) are doing. But today I had a specific aim.

I have an opportunity to be coached by someone from a big-time talent agency next month. (Sweet!) So, I wanted to check out some of that agency’s clients, to see how my sound and style compare to the talent already on their roster.

Now, I have a discerning ear. I can listen to other voice actors and note qualities that I like, and things I don’t enjoy as much. I can identify types: “He’s a good announcer type”; “she’s an authoritative narrator”; “he’s got a nice real-guy character.” I can even pick up things where I think, “I’d make a different acting choice there… perhaps even a better choice.”

But I totally suck at trying to hear myself the way other people do.

I know the kind of character I believe that my voice has. I know the kind of material at which I believe I’m strongest, as well as the sorts of reads that I don’t believe I deliver as strongly.

Those, however, are only my perceptions. I know they differ from those of others. It happens all the time in classes and coaching sessions — a director hears things, both positive and negative, in my performance, that I can’t hear. I’ll ask myself, Why did they like that read better than I did? Or, conversely, Why didn’t they think that rocked as much as I did?

I can hear and internalize their commentary, of course. But I sure wish that I could step entirely outside myself, and hear myself with their ears, completely divorced from my own processing.

As Burns noted, it would take a Power beyond myself to grant such an ability.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if it did?

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

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