“Less is more”

That’s the mantra that was drummed into my skull over the past four Thursday evenings in my Voicetrax narration workshop.

The problem, of course, is that I am by nature a “more is more” kind of guy.

I’m working on that, though, at least in terms of my narrative reads. I spent a couple of hours this morning focusing on documentary copy, and as I play back the recordings, I feel good about the work I did. I’m hearing more conversational flow, more consistency, and best of all, less internal struggling to maintain the appropriate pacing and inflection. My narrative acting is improving daily. And I’m happy about that.

Before class last Thursday, I had an excellent private lesson with Sirenetta. What I appreciate most about working with her is that she really challenges me, and I need that.

We worked through four scripts, the first two of which were industrial narrations — one in a more straightforward style, the other with a lighter tone that was closer to character work. I tried to apply everything I’d been learning in narration class, perhaps even going a bit too far in measuring my tone and pacing. Sirenetta had to keep pulling me back in a warmer, freer direction.

Man, this is hard work sometimes.

The third script was a commercial spot that I felt was right in my wheelhouse, with a character in whose skin I felt right at home — a neurotic dad. The description called for a Greg Kinnear type, so I tried to hear Little Miss Sunshine in my head as we worked the copy. I felt good about my read from the start, but it really opened up when Sirenetta suggested an alternative approach that brought more life to the piece.

That’s something I need to work on, because being literal-minded me, I too often go for the obvious interpretation. I have to practice thinking, “What would be a completely outside-the-box way of viewing this scenario?” And then, have the guts to go in that direction. That’s the added zing that will make my reads stand out from the masses.

The fourth script was a comic read that Sirenetta thought would be fun for me. In fact, it proved difficult for me to get my mind around. The description called for a character tone that I don’t feel that I do very well. Chuck, listening in the office, thought my take captured the essence, though.

I was feeling a bit frustrated at the end of the evening class. The center point of the evening was to rerecord the first piece of narration copy we had performed on the first night, and compare the quality of the two reads. In listening to my playbacks, I could hear how much progress I’d made in my narrative acting since week one, but I was also disappointed that I could still sense an undercurrent of lacking confidence and control. I muttered to myself, “I feel as if I understand this narration stuff less now than when I started.”

Clearly, narration is a genre that will continue to daunt me until I find my own circuitous pathway into it. I’m certain that time will come. When I spoke with Chuck on the phone Friday — I was booking my next private coaching session with Sirenetta — he assured me that I’m farther along the road than I think I am. That was comforting to hear.

“Less is more,” kid.

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

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