By Stephanie Ciccarelli
December 21, 2010
When you prepare to narrate for a voice over project, do you ever stop to think of the premise of the story and its plot?
While character development is important, it is something altogether different to fully identify with the structure of a piece and understanding its premise and plot in relation to character(s) in a story.
In today's VOX Daily, we're going to explore ways you can study a script to create a more engaging and motivated read.
As professional storytellers who give spoken word performances, voice talent are usually more concerned with painting pictures, creating characters and adding nuance to a read and overlook some of the basic fundamentals of literary construction such as premise and plot.
Although it may seem beyond the call of duty to research aspects of a story or script, it is part of the discipline, and to most audiobook narrators, researching is second nature. Research can serve as a tool for greater discernment in addition to simple fact gathering that buttresses a read.
A premise is a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn. Some examples of premises are:
à¹ Good triumphs over evil
à¹ Love conquers death
à¹ Pride comes before the fall
à¹ Honesty is the best policy
à¹ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
While doing some of my own research online and via published works, I discovered that there are a number of traditional literary genres, including but not limited to:
Mythic: The triumph of God or gods; triumph of a hero because of an act of God.
Heroic: The hero is triumphant because of their own strength.
High Ironic: The hero triumphs because of a twist of fate.
Low Ironic: The hero fails because of a twist of fate.
Demonic: The hero is overcome by evil forces or uses evil to defeat evil forces.
Identifying the premise or takeaway message of a project will help you to better deliver on what the author's intent was and give your read a richer, more informed interpretation. This exercise is important regardless of project type or length of copy.
By focusing in on the premise, you'll also find that it's easier to get to where you need to go in terms of direction where plot is concerned.
In addition to having a premise all stories have a basic plot. A plot consists of the main events of a work that are devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.
A well devised plot is critical to telling a great story. Characters need a challenge or an obstacle to overcome and are often presented with this challenge at the beginning of the story.
These four basic plots include:
à¹ Man against man
à¹ Man against nature
à¹ Man against himself
à¹ Man against the supernatural or the sub-natural
When doing research on anything you read, consider what the plot is and if there are any sub-plots. If there are sub-plots, consider what their purpose is and if they strengthen or weaken the principal plot.
While there are other tools that you can use to more fully understand what you are reading and creating a vocal performance around, I thought we'd start with these two in efforts to spark interest in how identifying premise and plot can shape your reads and help your voice navigate a story and guide its characters.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
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