As an actor and voiceover you need to give yourself plenty of room to play. You need to allow yourself room to create and discover, often under great time constraints and the pressure to deliver your very best on the fly.
Here at Actors’ SOUND ADVICE, we refer to a specific technique as ‘Stretching the Canvas’.
I call it that simply because far too many talent make a habit out of ‘ramping up into their performance’ anticipating a longer runway than we are typically given to deliver your average performance, such as during an audition, where we‘re often only given a single take or two. And if we’re given the luxury as voice talent to audition in front of those most likely to hire us (which rarely happens anymore) the pressure to deliver can introvert us, rather than the other way around. So, by conditioning yourself to offer a broader playing field right off the bat (or ‘stretching the canvas’ wider than what might be appropriate, desirable performance) will allow you room to create, instead of ramping up into your delivery and, ultimately, offering a mere passable take. The point is you need to aim farther with the very first take, even if it’s not the end performance you’re hoping to achieve. Go further than you think or feel is appropriate with your initial reads.
Why? Because we create a certain muscle memory the first time we do anything, so giving ourselves the freedom to create and ‘go too far’ from the very start allows for room to fully animate even the most dry, unimaginative text.
We’d rather see you go too far and calibrate you back a bit if necessary, rather than having to come at you with a whip and a chair to get you to offer anything of real value, performance-wise. Granted we’re not referring to pitch, volume or speed, but rather go much farther with your point-of-view (POV)/attitude/emotion/expression, degree of interest and sense of ease or effortlessness. But those details are reserved for coaching.
Our goal as talent is to continually surprise our selves with each and every take, rather than attempting to simply craft only one, single, solitary delivery. (Which tends to exhibits a very limited imagination and tends to lock you into a repetitive delivery style.) Every true professional embraces this precept of mastering agility. It’s in part what defines us as creative, valuable artists: The ability to honestly explore and continually create with each take and right from the start.
Self-direction is a performance muscle that only develops and responds with continued application. That’s if you hope and intend to increase your skill and agility and want to ensure you’re a talent that can consistently be relied upon. To master it, talent need a routine that challenges their comfort zone, keeps them agile, and creative with every genre.
That’s where we come in… schedule a little coaching time and up your game!
Copyright © 2021 by Kate McClanaghan. All rights reserved.