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The 'Throw Away' ... What Do You Imagine?
... And The New 'Normal People' Read ...
November 2, 2016

Note: The author treats us to brief blogs on voice acting (see link at the end of this article) - and we treat them as nuggets from the casting chair to remember. Here are three recent ones from Hugh ...

By Hugh Klitzke

Casting Director and Coach


The direction ‘throwing it away’ makes the read casual and relatable by:
  • Making the rhythm of the sound more loose and hence more conversational
  • Making the read faster without trying too hard or feeling rushed
  • Making the inflections in the read more interesting - again without feeling forced or affected.
This is what direction accomplishes. One specific phrase ("throw it away”) has multiple impacts upon the sound - all expressed in a single, relatable and playable idea.  

Now I have a question:  What if the direction given was merely "slower”?


What are the images you see in your head as you tell the story?  

Do you see families? Romantic couples? Maybe dreams being fulfilled?
Images of success?    

Or - do you see the nightclub? Do you hear Brubeck’s Take Five drifting subtle and sophisticated and cool in the background? Tables of men and women well dressed and ready to stay out late...  

Or - do you hear the car before you actually see it? And THERE it is! Kicking up dirt as a driver with a smile showing teeth makes a seemingly impossible turn across a desert playa?     

What is the subtext to your read?


Way back in June 2015, I boldly announced "Conversational Is Dead”.    

Quote: ‘The directions "conversational” and "not announcery” have been forever replaced by the word "real”!’  

And now I have been informed that the word replacing "real” - which replaced "conversational”, which replaced "not announcery” - is "normal”.   
"We are looking for a normal people read.”     

Normal. What do I think of that? I think normal people don’t do well in commercials. I think that copy is too well written to be inhabited without intention. (No, that’s not sarcasm.)  I think that regular people are remarkable in life and not usually interesting in the micro form of a 90-second web spot or a 15-second cut down. Especially when they’re being "normal.”

No, I think it’s the wrong word to use. I think that direction should show context. If you want the read to sound ‘wry’ or ‘quirky’ or ‘warm’ ...
  • Tell us who the announcer is in relation to the copy. 
  • Tell us how the voice is juxtaposed against the image.
  • Tell us how the voice functions in the spot where we narrate the story, where we provide context, what  our point of view is ...  
Normal? Not enough. But will we work with that idea? Of course we will.
Hugh P. Klitzke is studio manager and voice casting director for a leading bi-coastal talent agency, who has directed more than 85,000 auditions for all voice over genres. Based in New York City, he is also a coach specializing in teaching voice over for actors, and writes VO4TA, a twice-weekly blog with helpful voice acting tips.


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Comments (1)
Jim Conlan
11/2/2016 at 10:43 AM
Whatever the new "normal" might be, the need remains the same: "Please take our stiff, boring copy and make it sound like it's not a commercial." This would be easier if most voice talent had access to a director like you, Hugh. But they don't. They get a line or two of direction and the rest is up to them in their lonely home studio. And most of them have never ever heard of a "directed audition." Am I ranting? Somebody give me a pill!
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