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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:
We’re looking for a male narrator whose a Jack Nicholson/Joe Pesci/Vincent Price type for a low budget, unconventional horror film that’s currently in post production. The ideal candidate’s vocal presence should invoke intensity and suspense intertwined with crass and a sense of humor.
That post came from a Google Alert I set-up long ago for the keyword "narrator.”
Doesn’t it just make you roll your eyes when you see the reference to a name actor like that? Lately, if it’s not Morgan Freeman, then it’s Mike Row, Tim Allen, Peter Coyote or Jeff Bridges.
But I don’t see that Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci and Vincent Price sound AT ALL like each other.
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.
I’m not disparaging well-meaning clients. But we’re on the receiving end of these directions, so we see it over and over … and clients have no idea of the mind-numbing similarity that often pops up in the specs.
I’m no VO coach, but I’ve listened to enough of them hear the following advice, so I’m passing it along:
Read the specs. Give ‘em one read that way … then give ‘em another read that’s all YOU.
Often, I think they’re HOPING for something original that’ll knock their socks off regardless of the direction they gave.
Or, forget what the specs say, and just give ‘em the read only you can bring.
You know what’s the magic of THAT read? You’re 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.
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 I’m working hard on Dave - so that some day, some director will put in his specs:
"I need a Dave Courvoisier-type voice.”
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 that’s true to his friendly Midwestern farm roots.

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Comments (2)
Rowell Gormon
5/10/2013 at 1:25 AM
...thanks, Dave. i needed that. i've been getting wayyyyyyy too many of morgan's auditions lately.

(maybe they meant joe pesci doing an imitation of vincent price performing as jack nicholson?)
Artie Breyfogle
5/9/2013 at 12:36 PM
Hi Dave...

Truly enjoy your blogs...And this is a powerhouse one...

Say, when is that group meeting next time that you mentioned in your note to me a while back...

Luv to bond with some VO buds...


Art out
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