This is The Inside Voice-over video training blog and I’m Susan Berkley. This week I want to talk about a performance thing that might happen to you. I want to prepare you for those voice-over jobs when you are not alone in your home studio, but you’re actually working with somebody directing you. So this can be in somebody else’s studio or the client or a director can be over the phone or in your headphones. You’ll be listening to them, because I’m remembering a recent session I did for automatic dialogue replacement. So what it was is they had a scenario in a film and they didn’t like the voice of the actress, so they used my voice. It was a very short segment, maybe 10 seconds, 15 seconds total, and it had to do… I don’t remember the exact script, but it had to do with money.

So the line was something like, “So do you mean you don’t have the money?” Something like that. Pretty simple. Pretty straight ahead. Well, the director had me read it. It took a whole hour. He had me read it 100 times and he was throwing direction at me like, do it like you’re actually in the room. Do it like you have attitude, more attitude, less attitude. You’re angry, you’re suspicious, you’re nervous. It’s sundown. You just ate a big meal. I mean it went on and on and on, and because I was prepared and this kind of thing doesn’t phase me, I’ve been doing this for a long time, I was just rolling with the punches. And it wasn’t upsetting me. I was actually having fun because I was getting to act. But if you’re new, you are not going to be used to that because what happens with the newcomer is when the customer, when the client has you do it over and over and over again, a beginner can often think that they’re blowing it, that they’re doing something wrong.

And that’s not true. The director actually has a vision, something in their mind that they want to get and the way that directors and producers of audio and video do is they want to get lots and lots of options. And if they’ve got the time, if they’ve got the money to keep you on the line, they’re going to do it. And then they go back into the studio and they edit, they listen through, they’ve got patience, and they find the take that they want. So if somebody keeps giving you direction, you cannot lose your cool. Just hang in there.

A line that I often will use in a situation like that when I’m starting to feel frustrated is to say, “Hey, by the way, can you give me a line reading? Can you kind of demonstrate for me the way you hear it in your mind?” And they will. And then eventually they’ll be satisfied, but they’ll love you because you didn’t get flustered. You didn’t become annoyed with their creative vision. So that’s a tip for you this week, and I’m Susan Berkley. I’ll be back next week with more Inside Voice-over.