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Communicating Messages With Talent And Grace

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

December 23, 2011

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Students reading a scriptHas voice acting become more about you and less about your audience?

What happens when we place more significance on ourselves and how we perform than on the message and the people it is intended for?

A number of voice over folks chimed in on this and I hope you enjoy it!

Hear more in today's VOX Daily.

Humility Lost

A couple days ago I heard a show on the radio that centered on humility and being of service to others. This post is inspired by what I heard.

The gist of the message was that when more emphasis is placed on our gifts and ability to shine rather than on why we are called to be of service in the first place, the doing becomes more about the superiority of our gifts than the purpose which, as you can imagine, often yields detrimental results.

Side Effects

When your gift becomes primary and its purpose secondary, your heart can become calloused and hard. Once this takes effect, your expressions are not as pure as they once were. This isn't healthy by any stretch of the imagination and can stir negative thoughts in your heart, comparing your gift to that of someone else or worse, being critical of someone else who is using their gift in a healthy way but may not be hitting all the notes so to speak.

For a lot of people, this comes on slowly, and without intending to do so, a wall is built up and your heart hardens. After a certain point, yours is the only voice that can be heard.

Priorities

This is why we must be sure to put first things first.

When hired to do a job, put that audience first and shape the message in a way that will best reach them. Who cares if you have the most resonant voice on the planet? That is only one of many factors as to why you were hired. As Don LaFontaine used to put it, and I'm paraphrasing here, as voice artist, you are working in the service of the words and your voice is simply the vehicle being used to communicate them.

Around The Water Cooler

After putting a question out to my Facebook friends on this topic, I began to receive answers that you may find interesting to consider. These answers support what Don LaFontaine had said many years ago at VOICE 2007.

My question was, "Has voice acting become more about you and less about your audience? What happens when more significance is placed on your gift to act than on the audience and the message itself?"

The following came in within minutes.

"To sell the product, one always has to cater to the audience." - Bill Hollis

"The true 'gift to act' is not acting...it is being, thus it is never about just you...but becoming and being that which the text calls for, the client dreams of and the actor is able to allow happen naturally - that is what the message has to be about." - Rob Kirby

"The audience is whom you're hired to reach. Some clients don't know what they are looking for in a read or to set in their mind on how they want to approach their copy. Being a good voice actor requires delivering the copy in such a way the audience can connect." - Robin Wolf

"The message is of paramount importance! Your 'gift' is to convey the message--unspoiled by your opinion, enhanced by your interpretation and made unforgettable through your connection with the audience." - Herb Merriweather

"That's a very dangerous slope...the message is the thing." - Markham Anderson

"Whether it's in the classroom, or behind the mic, I always practice a lesson presentation or rehearse a script by first visualizing the person I'm hired to reach (or teach!) and ask myself "what sort of learner am I teaching to?" Who the audience is, and the message I'm hired to deliver, that's what it's all about!" - Dan Deslaurier

Any Thoughts?

I'm interested to hear your take on this! How do you see your role as voice artist in relation to the script?

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Josef Philipp

Related Topics: hired, radio, reading, SAG


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