February 2016 Newsletter

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other comes from a strong won’t.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

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Do You Have An Approach?

What do you do when you first approach a script? Think about it. What’s going through your head? Are you thinking, “How should I say this?” Or, “I have no idea what they want from me. I wish I had some direction.” Do you find yourself ramping up into your performance and trying to accommodate direction you never got in the first place, then settling on a delivery that only pleased your comfort zone? Well, you’re not alone.

Regardless of your experience level, most talent settle for ‘good enough’, especially when we’re trying to turnaround 5 or more auditions a day from their home recording set ups. No wonder the failure rate is so steep for voiceovers. To add to this, it’s very likely you attacked every audition with the exact same cadence, tempo, volume, and possibly even the same inflection, whether it was appropriate or not–mostly out of habit more than anything else. The problem with this approach is it’s no approach at all.

Proper technique training develops performance agility, expression, and, among other things, challenges your imagination. It does if you’ve coached with us, that is. Much like circuit training fine tunes your physical acuity with continued use, technique training conditions your performance muscle. You can’t expect to run a marathon if you don’t train. And, if you consider what your conditioning has been up till the present, coaching adds value to who you are and instills stamina to go the distance in your career. This is why every skill level benefits from proper coaching.

It’s always a challenge to bite the bullet and commit to training, and not just from the onset of your career. All talent need a couple of good coaching sessions once or twice a year after you’ve been given an approach that allows you to consistently discover the very best performance options and adapt to direction when it is offered.

Granted it’s commonly considered there’s no single approach more effective than another. However, that line of thinking tends to leave far too many talent without any effective approach whatsoever.

‘Winging it’ isn’t professional because it’s unreliable, and could explain why there are so many one-hit wonders in this profession. You need training.

Every reputable agent, producer, and director wants to be reassured you’ve been well trained as a talent. Natural ability is never enough. Without an effective approach, the adage ‘vision without execution is hallucination’ applies. Technique gives you a process that might not be immediately intuitive, but will achieve improved results in your performance when applied with some routine. It takes practice!

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The fact remains that in nearly every performance scenario, you’re expected to offer options, rather than a single, solitary take. But, left to your own devices, if you inadvertently condition yourself to only deliver one performance option, then you will limit your delivery options and only be capable of one delivery. What makes you valuable as a talent, above all else is the simple fact that you’re capable of a limitless number of remarkable deliveries. Make it your mission at the onset of every audition and every session to discover just a few of them. It’s what you’re paid to deliver. No one is interested in hiring a robot. You’re paid to have a pulse.

Our goal, when we coach, is to man you with exceptional techniques and tools that will condition you to deliver your best while developing your ability to self-direct. Mastering these techniques will make you indispensable to the every production you’re involved in, regardless of the medium.

The 5 most common performance mistakes voice talent make:

  • Didn’t read -or- ignored the specs (directions)
  • Poor mic technique (i.e. off mic, too quiet, too loud, etc.)
  • Not conversational
  • Lacks originality and personality (dull, robotic delivery)
  • Sounds rushed

Need help with any or all of these issues? Give us a call to schedule a couple of game changing coaching sessions! Click here: http://voiceoverinfo.com/vo-training/#b
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Establishing Your Brand Identity

With all the advances and availability of technology today, budding graphic designers are turning up on every corner. Or are they?

I know what you’re thinking, “How hard could it be?” Then again, most people think they have great taste, are wonderful drivers, and have a terrific sense of humor. Yet, statistics prove otherwise.

The primary function of a graphic artist is to create a versatile, memorable logo, known as an identity. The object is to make your name known and memorable and further your professional brand. Continued promotion of your logo is how you entice potential clients to listen to your demos.

Incorporating engaging font(s) laid out in a clever design with a progressive color story communicates your value to executive assistants, advertising creatives, producers, and directors well before we ever hear your demos. Your logo defines your taste level and aesthetics. Without proper ‘packaging’ in the form of an effective logo (identity), all your best efforts to create outstanding demos might very well fall on deaf ears. Think about it. Would you purchase anything with a dull, lackluster package? Doubtful.

Your graphics should look as good as your demos sound. It’s one thing to say it, and another thing entirely to do it.

Most voice talent think their graphic should appeal solely to them, and ultimately overlook who they’re promoting themselves to as a voice talent. Your graphics need to communicate most with the producer, casting and/or talent agent’s assistant. They often have an extensive art or advertising background, are between 19 and 33 years old, highly opinionated aesthetically speaking. Instead, most talent simply please themselves, follow out dated cliché graphic options, and seldom have the benefit of distance to objectively art direct their own graphics.

To add to this, far too many voice talent have a cheap attack when it comes to their graphics, thinking they can have someone they know handle their graphics for nothing or next to nothing. The problem with having a friend or relative design your graphics may have nothing to do with whether or not they have great taste and a keen eye for style and color, but their technical skills may be limited. Therefore converting your graphic into multiple formats may be beyond his skills, which is imperative to insure your graphic works online, in a postcard, and on a business card, for example. One-size does not fit all when you’re employing multiple vendors to complete your promotional materials and hope to have a consistent final product.

Moral: there’s NO FREE LUNCH! If a friend or relative tells you they’d “be happy to design your artwork” for nothing or for a deal, take my word for it, it’s going to take a very long time to complete. From my experience, you’ll likely add six to eight months onto the entire project because everyone’s got bills to pay, and frankly, paying jobs will get done first for just that very reason. Besides, God forbid you want to make changes or modifications to the initial design that was done for you gratis. Your friend, or cousin, or brother-in-law figured he could simply throw a microphone or a mouth over your name and call it a day.

Concentrate on your logo making your name known in a progressive, appropriate way. Your identity (logo) should look like how you sound. Fonts can speak volumes to mood, age range, demeanor, and humor… without being so literal as to say, “I’m conversational, yet professional and approachable.”  It’s way too obvious. Fine for Pay-to-play sites, but it stops there. They need the algorithm key words. Your logo should convey, not actually say it. Bad graphics can bury a perfectly wonderful voice talent.

So, how do you art direct the graphics? Keep it to a minimum. Looking over the graphic artists past work. Determine whether you identify with the mood or style presented in any of these other logos. Let the graphic artist know what fonts, colors, shapes and layout in his past work you identify with most. If you found one or two visual images or fonts that appeal to you, mention it or email a link of these to your graphic artist. (Not 5, not 15 examples—just a couple. That’s all.)

Like most things in life, if you want something done right, leave it to the professionals. Hire a proper graphic artist. If we produce your demos at SOUND ADVICE, we have a couple skillful recommendations we recommend who know the drill.

Copyright © 2016 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.