When you hear an ad on the radio, do you change the station, or do you listen and evaluate?
- Believable or fake?
- Interesting use of technique?
- The talent’s voice quality, emotional choice, use or pitch?
- Unusual accent or character?
If you listen actively, and – even better – if you then imitate what you heard to observe how the sounds come out of your instrument – then you probably have the voice-over bug, and you’ve got it bad – and that’s a good thing, if you want to succeed. The quality that keeps us learning, keeps us going, is fascination. Sure, it takes more than that. The wonderful Maxine Dunn just summed up a lot of the qualities you need to succeed in this issue of her Creative Biz newsletter – beautifully done, so I won’t try to recreate all the qualities she mentions, like commitment, optimism, tenacity, focus (definitely sign up for her newsletter, by the way – she is awesome!) But I will add this quality to the list: fascination. It’s a great quality to have in life, in general. Instead of judgment, try fascination. Instead of “that’s too hard!” or “that’s just stupid”, what if we asked:
- “I wonder how that works?”
- “I wonder why/how he/she did that?”
- “Isn’t that interesting? I’d like to know more”
Okay, so at a party you’ll make a lot more friends by asking sincere questions about others than by bragging “me, me, I, me.” But this is a voiceover blog – so – huh? So here’s what I’m talking about:
Be fascinated by the script you’ve been given. No script is boring when the listener needs the information – from a medical disclaimer to the information on choosing your insurance plan. Never judge the script – be interested in understanding and conveying the information. Be fascinated about your listener. Why does he/she need this info? Your read should be about the conversation with the listener, whose reactions are -btw – constantly evolving. When you focus on your listener, there is less room for self consciousness or nerves. (Works at that party, too). All we need is enough self-awareness (different from self-consciousness) to do our job well, and much of that technique should be ingrained via practice. Use fascination when listening to other voice talents at work. Everyone is unique, and we each use our strengths differently. By appreciating the talent and skills of others – and exploring how they might have engaged us – we grow as artists, without becoming carbon copies. One voice talent’s techniques translate differently through another’s instrument. That’s how we coach and teach each other, and all still book work. So watch that webinar, attend that conference call, go to that networking event, subscribe to other talents on you-tube, appreciate that Audie-winners’s performance. Jealousy will get you nowhere. Admiration – and fascination – will always propel you. Be fascinated – and enthusiastic – about the business side of voiceover. Sure, in a perfect world, we’d be in the “artists in the booth” all the time, and leave the marketing, accounting, editing and organizing to others. Good luck with that. The truth is, we wear many hats these days,as does any small business owner. To run our business well, we must be fascinated by those hats – at least enough to decide how/where to delegate some tasks. Marketing and sales? Really interesting! Accounting? Well – I’m trying. But I know enough to admire those who truly understand a balance statement. No one is adept at everything – we all have our gifts – but if we are interested enough, we can learn the basics – and how to delegate the rest. Tom Dheere is a great source for learning how to do this. Be fascinated by our Voice Over industry partners. Agents, editors, producers, directors, bloggers, accountants, web designers – each use their unique gifts to help us do what we do best. Potential clients are fascinating, too. Be interested in the work they do, and reaching out to potential client becomes fun instead of scary. (That’s why in World Voices, the voice-over industry organization, we invite industry partners to join – we are all supporting each other in this business) You get the idea. Replace Fear – with Fascination. Watch what happens!