I GOT NUTHIN'!
Published January 21, 2015
“I got nuthin’,” I muttered to myself as I stood before the microphone in my booth staring at some copy that an anxious client was waiting for me to voice. I was looking for a button to reset myself!
I don’t know if it was the copy or if it was just my frame of mind, but the more I stared at the copy, the more I realized I had nothing to bring to the table. I couldn’t see anything to get excited about. I wasn’t even real sure what the spot was all about. I mean, I knew what they were selling, but honestly, I couldn’t even figure out why.
Ever been there? Of course you have. Most voice talents have.
See, most of us are at somewhat of a disadvantage. An agency has a creative team to write copy. They spend hours discussing, arguing, planning their approach. Even if it’s a one man agency, that writer will have spent some time with the client creating the ad. They play with the wording. They have a vision. They know what they want out of this…and out of you.
But you…you stand there in your dark little booth, not having been privy to the discussion of the intents and nuances of the copy. And somehow you have to make it come alive. You have to make it sparkle. You have to birth this baby with every dream the client has for it.
You’re sunk. Maybe that job is still open down at the post office. May you could paint houses. Maybe you could…
Wait! All is not lost. There are some things you could do to “reset” yourself. Try any or all of these. I promise you they will change your perspective!
1. Read it the way you know the client definitely does not want it read.
Seriously, try this! This is exactly what I do. I start recording and then read it like a pirate. Then read it like an international spy about to make a drop. Then read it like a mountain man. Hey, it’s my personal studio; I can do whatever I want.
2. Listen to some music that you think might work with the spot.
It’s amazing how once you have that aural stimuli you often get a fresh sense of direction. Sometimes, I’ll even record the read while listening to the music playing softly in my headphones, although usually I prefer to not work with headphones.
3. Spend some time on the internet researching the product and/or the market.
Sometimes, after researching and reading the comments about the product, and seeing what their customers think about them you’ll come away with a whole different perspective. However, if it’s a new product, you’ll have to be a little more creative. Go research the demographics or market that your client is trying to reach.
I’ve started doing this with local spots that I do. I hop on the internet and research the market and discover some things about it that I never knew. That changes my whole perspective of who I’m talking to and sometimes what I’m talking about!
4. Call your mom.
Why not? If you are fortunate enough to still have your mom, go call her…or your dad, or another family member. It’s a great way to ground yourself. You are, after all, one of the coolest, most creative people in the world to your parents.
My mom has Alzheimer’s. She’s doing great, but obviously her short term memory is gone. One day I called her 3 times. Each time she was so delighted to hear from me. It was like I hadn’t talked to her in months! Talk about a reset!
5. Get naked.
Now, before you get all high and mighty, think about it. Who’s gonna see you? Who cares? You’re standing there in a dark booth! It’s not immoral is it? I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal. But getting out of your comfort zone will do wonders for your delivery!
Even if it’s just for a few minutes, try it! You’ll have a sense of quirkiness that will bring some magic to your read.
By the way, your client doesn’t need to know you do these. This is just between us.
So there you have it. Five ways you can reset when you are at that mental brick wall that happens to us voice dogs once in awhile.
I’d love to know what you do to reset. Please share your thoughts!