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Confused By The Director's Direction?
Copy & Use This CHOICES Worksheet
 
By Xavier Paul
Voice Talent & Coach
 
Many times, the direction given to you by casting directors, producers and agents will be unclear, confusing and contradictory.
 
It is up to YOU to determine the correct approach quickly. The key is to make strong “choices."
 
A choice is any person, place or thing from your reality that makes you feel the way you need to feel in order to accomplish the “obligation” of the script (copy).
 
Obligations are the specific needs of the script.
 
WORKSHEET WILL HELP
 
The sample worksheet below is designed to streamline/organize that process. Complete it, then take it with you on auditions and jobs.
 
While looking over your script, go to the entries that are the closest to the needed obligation or direction you’ve been given.
 
Then read the script with that choice.
 
KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!
 
But do not under any circumstances share this with the person giving you the direction. They will not understand what you’re doing.
 
This is because the way we need to communicate with ourselves to give them what they want is different from what they feel we should be thinking.
 
1st COLUMN ...
 
In the first column of the worksheet are OBLIGATIONS.
 
For instance, the director might tell you, “We need this script to be done with lots of energy, really friendly” or “laid back cool jazzy.”
 
Sometimes obligations will be described as characters: “Male or Female, 30’s Caucasian.” In that case, you will need to read over the copy and determine the appropriate delivery.
 
2nd COLUMN ...
 
The second column includes examples of CHOICES.
 
In the sample worksheet, I’ve filled in the first few for you. Complete the list with the choices that are the most effective.
 
3rd COLUMN ...
 
The third column lists the CHOICE APPROACH.
 
This is what you use to create the desired delivery - how your voice will sound.
 
Choice approaches can vary from attitudes:
 
“Cocky” ... “Sexy” ... “Pissed” ...“Nonchalant” ... to a situation where you need to speak in a certain tone of voice for the message to get through.
 
For example: “Taxi! Hey Taxi! Hey!” requires a different tone of voice from, “No sugar, just milk thanks.”
 
Imagine what would happen if you switched the tone of voice. “NO SUGAR!!!! JUST MILK!!!!
 
THE WORKSHEET
 
You get the point. Now, here's the worksheet to copy and use for your next audition or job.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
OBLIGATIONS           CHOICE                  CHOICE APPROACH
 
Heartfelt                           Warm oatmeal             Like bedtime story
Newscaster sounding        CNN                            Like Katie Couric report
Young, hip                        Z100 Radio                  At the beach, having fun
Mature, motherly               Betty Buckley              Stern, matter of fact
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
ABOUT XAVIER ...
 
Xavier “X-Man” Paul is an internationally-known voice-over talent with extensive credits in all voice-over genres, as both a specialist and producer. Most recently, he is the new on-air promo announcer for the NBA, narrator for the History Channel’s UFO Files, performs characters for the Grand Theft Auto video game, is a new character in the animated series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and performs TV spots for clients including Merck, Gatorade, Burger King, Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs Cereal, Colt 45 Malt Liquor and Foot Locker. He is also a voice-over coach and provides full-scale audio and radio commercial voice-over production services.
 

 

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Comments (2)
reba
5/24/2010 at 8:06 PM
Short and concise, easy to understand and this chart is perfect for staying focused, finding the mood and setting of your read and nailing it!

Thanks for the information.
Joseph Andrade
3/25/2010 at 3:12 PM
X-Man,
What a great way of approaching copy. I was just in a session where two people were directing. I am pretty sure they were totally unaware that they were contradicting each other in terms of giving me feedback and direction, so this would have come in handy. I am definitely going to have to try this one. Thank you very much, and keep up the great work.
Joseph / jandradevox.com
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