This one comes from awesome VO ladies Stacey Marques and Vanessa Richardson, who I had the pleasure of doing some Skype practice exercises with earlier. We were running through exercises from a class we’re taking with Pat Fraley called “Everything They Expect You To Know But No One Teaches,” which is awesome and full of so many amazing tips, I recommend it to everyone!
But I digress…
The three of us were going through some of the practice lines in an exercise where we were supposed to be working on developing a relationship with the listener. The premise is that you’re supposed to think of your audience, or listener, as your scene partner. And according to Pat, the most important thing about your partner is that they must like you. But sometimes we were getting stuck in a read, because we’d already made our choices about who we were, who our listener was, and what the scene was. But it just wasn’t working, or we couldn’t get it to a point where we were happy with it.
And then Stacey talked to us about a recent audition she’d done for a casting agency that had landed her a big TV spot (yaay Stacey!), and one of the things she did was give them six different takes, each COMPLETELY different in which she totally changed the personality, age, and situation of her character. That conversation (and recollection) seemed to spark her creative juices, as she started throwing out totally different contexts for us for the lines we were reading. And it worked.
Now, I’m not saying that each new concept was an instant success, but just that idea of all of a sudden TOTALLY changing the scenario got all of us out of the ruts we were in, and we really let loose and got creative and had fun with the lines, and I have to say we ended up laughing quite a bit and having a great time.
I know too often when I’m in the privacy of my own little booth, reading through audition after audition, I can tend to get stuck inside my own head, or stuck in a certain delivery. And then I wonder why I don’t book the gig. (?!)
Like so many awesome VO talents have been saying lately (Pat Fraley included, but I also read this on VoiceOver Extra), we need to treat the audition like it’s the actual JOB. Like here we are performing in front of the casting director, a producer, and the client, and really give it our all. Too often I have been guilty of just trying to jam my way through a whole slew of auditions, rather than really taking my time to THINK about the approach, the character, the moment before, who I’m talking to, where we are, etc. I know all of these elements to voiceover, I just need to REMEMBER TO APPLY THEM when I’m auditioning!
So many good lessons today…