If They Want Morgan-Jack-Joe-Vincent,
Maybe They're Really Searching For YOU
By Dave Courvoisier
Voice Actor & TV News Anchor
Honest-to-goodness wanted posting for a voice actor:
That post came from a Google Alert I set-up long ago for the keyword "narrator.Ē
Doesnít it just make you roll your eyes when you see the reference to a name actor like that? Lately, if itís not Morgan Freeman, then itís Mike Row, Tim Allen, Peter Coyote or Jeff Bridges.
But I donít see that Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci and Vincent Price sound AT ALL like each other.
THEY DON'T KNOW EITHER
So you know what this means? This means the director has no bloody idea what they want other than a certain genre.
I think that the adding of recognizable names (or sometimes a link to a YouTube video voice they like) into the specs means they feel they have to put something down.
Iím not disparaging well-meaning clients. But weíre on the receiving end of these directions, so we see it over and over Ö and clients have no idea of the mind-numbing similarity that often pops up in the specs.
WHAT TO DO?
Iím no VO coach, but Iíve listened to enough of them hear the following advice, so Iím passing it along:
Often, I think theyíre HOPING for something original thatíll knock their socks off regardless of the direction they gave.
DO IT DIFFERENT
Or, forget what the specs say, and just give Ďem the read only you can bring.
You know whatís the magic of THAT read? Youíre the only one who can offer it. It comes with your experience, your tone, your emotion, your understanding, your interpretation, your history, and your intention. And no one else has THAT.
Sure, the client might still give the job to the guy who sounds like Vincent Price, but he then again, he may LOVE your take.
FOCUS ON YOUR VOICE
And do you really want to be able to do a good Jeff Bridges? Or would you rather create YOUR brand, perfect YOUR voice, hone YOUR delivery?
I like Tim Allen, but Iím working hard on Dave - so that some day, some director will put in his specs:
Dave Courvoisier is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, writer, producer, voice actor, and the main weeknight news anchor on KLAS-TV, Channel 8, the Las Vegas CBS affiliate. He also writes Voice-Acting in Vegas, a daily blog of adventures and observations in a style thatís true to his friendly Midwestern farm roots.
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