Today’s post comes on the heels of a follow-up coaching session I recently had with Nancy Wolfson, with whom I’ve been working for about a year now. She asked me to send her some of the auditions that I’ve been doing on my own, to get an idea of how I’m self-directing, if I’m remembering and putting into play all of the lessons she’s taught me, etc. It was a hugely valuable session, and Nancy brought up a point that we should all be putting into practice: We are not just voice talent; we are also the sound engineers.
This point may seem obvious, but in this day and age of P2Ps (love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay — and I’m not getting into that debate here), the Internet and its very nature of instant gratification, it seems that everyone wants everything yesterday. It’s not enough to be good; you have to be fast and good. So in our rush to get auditions out the door with lightning speed in the hopes that we’ll be one of the first ones in and therefore have a shot at even being heard, we may too often neglect the extremely important “engineer” part of our job. (At least, I know I have.)
I’m not referring to the removal of pops, breaths and other potentially annoying sounds, which of course we all know we need to do, but rather to the listening with a critical ear aspect. I’m writing this as much for myself as others (and maybe even more so for me, so that by putting it down on a page, in black and white, it will become my new mantra, my new reality). Listen back to what you’ve recorded. Is it your best possible product? Did you hit all the right words, give a wink and a nod where necessary, convey the right emotion, did you honor the words, meaning and message of the script? Did you give it a little personality? Your personality? (And, in my case, did you do all this without having that annoying New Jersey accent that has a tendency to rear its ugly head from time to time popping up?)
Taking a few extra moments to really listen and critically hear what you’ve recorded — and re-recording it if necessary! — may make the difference between getting a callback and getting thrown straight into the “trash” bin. I’m going to make this my new and consistent practice, and see what kind of effect it has on my booking ratio. After all, I want to be proud of everything I put out there!