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What Word Would You Stress
In This Simple Voice Over Tag?
March 14, 2014

By Hugh Klitzke
Casting Director and Coach

Here's a tag. I wrote it. It's not a very good one.  
Make your choice today.
In a recent class I was asked if there was a "secret formula."  A method to determine which word should be stressed in a particular sentence.  
  • Should it be on the active word "make"?
  • Or should it be pointing to the consumer on "your"?
  • Possibly the object in the sentence  "choice"?
  • Or an urgency by stressing the word "today"?
Now, there's no context to this tag, and context often reveals which option would be a better one.  

But all things being equal, whichever phrasing you think is the best one, and whichever read you can pull off most successfully - THAT is the read you should deliver in the audition.  

Because even if you're wrong, you will have executed with conviction and perspective. And that will always help you get the job.  

Remember, you audition to get in the room to do the work. Not to guess what an invisible "someone" listening to your audition wants.
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 (3)
Rick Lance
3/14/2014 at 10:56 AM
Hugh, your last line is an especially great one to always keep in mind...

"Remember, you audition to get in the room to do the work. Not to guess what an invisible "someone" listening to your audition wants." Thanks for the reminder!
Rebecca aka LoveThatRebecca
3/14/2014 at 9:57 AM
Nice. I have to say that this is intriguing on a many levels and will share on all...

First, since there is no context and it's a very short tag, I would hope that everyone would provide a few options in an audition. Play with it! Try different POVs to get some real different options and provide a few in the audition.

Second, this is in context with this article - is that everyone sees Hugh as the writer and from the production / casting side, so VO actors will try to be 'smart' and figure out the 'right' answer...It's a reflex action that can occur in the VO actor's mind, and all need to be conscious to beware of that reflex.

I agree - no right answer is possible except for the one the VO actor decides upon. And I will add - not 'one truth' but to play, enjoy the options and offer the ones you feel strongest with...
debbie grattan
3/14/2014 at 9:43 AM
Hugh - so simple and yet so profound. I think actors are often looking to please when auditioning for anything. And of course, casting folks just want to see who you are, and how that affects the character or words on the page. There is no "right" way to do anything. There are endless choices. We have to not get caught in the trap of looking for the "right" way, but in fact, just being who we are, and telling our truth. And even if they're not buying OUR truth that day, it's the best one we have to offer in the moment. Thanks!
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