I have my producer. He’s well recommended, and I really liked the samples on his Web site*. He’s a trip. Outsized personality but an astute listener. Obviously savvy about the business but patient with a newbie like me. Extroverts who are big to the nth degree sometimes drive me nuts because it takes all my energy just to properly digest everything they’re going on about without losing myself. It’s the rare extrovert-like-whoa who actually takes his own reins in hand and holds still so he can hear me. I appreciate that like you wouldn’t believe.
He handed me a stack of copy to try for the demo. I’m going through it, getting all the words in my mouth and trying out different voices to make the most of the pieces. It’s a little like trying out different herbs or spices on the same dish until I think the dish is sounding, uh, tasting its best. Staring at the copy leaves me feeling like I don’t know the first thing about voice work, hell, like I don’t know the first thing about acting.
The Internet is a big help here. I certainly won’t always get a chance to learn more about a product and how they’re typically being presented before I get in the booth (though, like absolutely nothing else, pursuing voice over has convinced me I must get a smart phone ASAP). But as long as I have the time to do some research, I’ll take it. And it’s putting me in an odd state of mind, listening to alternate spots for various departments stores, cosmetics products, etc. I know I can lay down work that’s solid enough to match the pros. But do I sound like what the people who hire the pros expect? If the potential client doesn’t think I sound like who they are, that’s the ball game.
I’ve managed to get past the “I hate the sound of my voice” part of listening to myself. I said that by way of apology in an early VO class and almost immediately regretted it. It’s taken a bit of work to not just bite my tongue to avoid saying it but to actually work with what I heard even if it was startlingly different from the sound inside my own skull and furthermore different from that of the actors whose company I had hoped to join. Ok, I don’t sound like the stars exactly. I don’t sound precisely like the lady on the Maybelline commercials. I sound like me and the things my voice can do are… fun.
I do like fun. <–Understatement of forever. The more I do VO, the more fun I get to have. There’s a lot of stress and pressure in my life to get this right. But I don’t tend to feel it when I’m actually working. Then I’m just doing what I do. I mean, I’m trying to impress my teachers. I’ll be trying to impress casting directors and agents. I’m trying to make sure I’m better than I was the last time. But the fun in voice acting lets me focus, leaving no room to fret about bills or debts or politics.
My only worries are getting the job done right. Am I ready to talk about myself like a pro? Fuck man, am I ready to do a demo? Yes. Well, maybe not. And also, sort of. I read somewhere “Amateurs do it until they don’t screw up, pros do it until they never do.” That means it’s all in doing it, working at it continuously. Not stopping because it seems good enough. It’s hard and it’s intimidating but the only antidote I can think of is to plow ahead, practice every day and fight for it.
The demo recording session is on Monday.
*More than a few producer sites I looked at were clean & tidy. And there’s a lot to be said for a site that’s easy to navigate and won’t make my eyes bleed. But producers have to show what they’re capable of. No samples on the site, no consideration. The producer I went with has a site that’s a bit of an eyesore. But I found the demo samples easily and loved them.