The 'Aha!' Light Bulb Went On:
For This Job, I Was 'Authentic Me'
By Alan Sklar
Click below to enjoy the author's recording of this article ...
Last Veterans day I was blessed with a job for ESPN that one of the partners of my talent agency got me, a TV promo for the basketball game (North Carolina vs. Michigan State) played aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson parked in San Diego harbor.
I did my homework, uncovered what the writer was truly saying, aligning myself with him, "illuminating his intentions" (as Lee Strasberg often said).
It was a fun job and paid well.
HOMEWORK PAYS OFF
At the ISDN session, one of the ESPN producers said: "Alan, I love your voice. I could listen to you all day."
He was wrong. It was not my voice that arrested him. What got his attention was that my homework had paid off and my "artistic choices" ... regarding the narrator's character ... were "spot on."
It was really an acting job, not a VO. He was attracted to the character of the narrator.
COMPETE WITH YOURSELF
Martha Graham said, "Do not compete with other dancers or actors. You are to compete only with the self you are capable of becoming."
When I listened to the spot after it was produced and aired, an "aha!" light bulb went on.
Yes, I thought. Yes! For that job I had become the self I was capable of becoming. It was a moment of great joy. I thought: "That's the authentic me."
DON'T 'SELL' IT
One of my old voice teachers, Wendy Dillon, used to yell at me: "Don't sell it! Love it."
That's what I had done. I did zero selling.
I thought: "F'Petesake! Over 20 years in this business and I'm finally getting into focus on who I am, on what are the key and authentic values that I bring to the VO marketplace."
I think there's a helluva lot of money to be made when a performer sees that clearly. That's what I think. Whaddayou think?
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ABOUT ALAN ...
Alan Sklar has been a freelance voice actor for more than 20 years, voicing radio/TV commercials and VNRs - and narrating everything from audiobooks and documentaries to thousands of corporate and medical video projects. An award-winning narrator of more than 150 audiobooks - including A Civil Action and Black Hawk Down, he is also an on-camera and in-person spokesperson for major corporations.
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