Published February 21, 2011
It’s something every one of my clients expects. But what does it mean?
This is a new age in the voiceover industry.
It used to be that some “talents” could just record a voice job and whatever they thought was acceptable was. After all, the talent was the “professional.” But times have changed.
Today, a voice talent is not a star. Not even close. Even though numerous celebrity voices are used for voice projects, the average viewer or listener hasn’t a clue who the voice is, nor does he/she care.
We giggle today at the clips that have floated around about Orson Welles going off on an engineer, or William Shatner belittling a producer. However, today that sort of behavior would lose them business.
Being a professional carries a different distinction today than it did a few years ago. Merriam Webster defines professionalism as the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a professional person.
So, what conduct, aims, or qualities?
Well, certainly that could be argued ad nauseam, but at the foundation of professionalism is a dedication to the success of a project. Think about that. Today’s successful voice talent invests himself/herself in the success of a project! As a client, producer or engineer, couldn’t you use someone like that in your corner?
That’s why we agonize over the interpretation of a line. It’s why we obsess over voice character. It’s why we become anal about a phrase, or even a word. It’s why we even rehearse before the session starts.
Professionalism isn’t about commanding more money. It’s about demanding perfection…from ourselves.
I get great satisfaction from a client/producer saying, “That’s exactly what I had in mind.” And frankly, I also love, “Well, that’s not what I heard in my head, but I like that. Let’s go with it!”
One of my greatest privileges is discussing a project with a client, writer, and/or producer to come up with the perfect wording or attitude for a voice project. Voice talents bleed for that opportunity. We want to see our clients succeed beyond expectation. And our work ethic represents that.
I had a session today with a client that I’ve had for several years. At the beginning of the session he told me he was looking for a straight, authoritative, announcer with some energy. I gave him my first read, and he nodded his head and said that’s it.
Then he wanted one, just a little slower. Again, he nodded and said it was what he wanted. Then he said, “I don’t know what else to try. Give me a read as if I hadn’t given you any direction.”
I said, “Well, based on the content and the intent of the copy, I’d like to try something with a little more smile and a little more sell.”
He said, “Go for it.”
I gave him my read. At the end he sat back, shook his head, and with a slight smile said, “That’s what I want, and I didn’t even know it.”
Professionalism. It’s a passion to see your client succeed.