Recently I was hired to voice as a young “cool and hip” 25 to 30 year old guy for an in-house video. I got the script along with the storyboard a few hours before the recording session. I then dutifully analyzed and practiced the script a few times. I was ready, willing, and feeling like a “cool and hip” 25 to 30 year old guy (in a 41 year old body 😉 )
The session proceeded as usual, ending with a satisfied client at its conclusion. Nice and smooth. Another day at the office. Except that the final read was almost 180 degrees different from what I had prepared.
The many shades of “cool”
You see, what I thought a “cool and hip” 25 to 30 year old guy was didn’t fit with what the director had thought a “cool and hip” 25 to 30 year old guy was.
And guess what? This is pretty normal.
As voice actors we do our best to prepare a script using the written directions as a guide. But once we get inside the booth, what we prepared might be anywhere from slightly different to vastly different from what the director wants.
We have to be flexible enough to throw away our preconceived image of the person we are portraying in order to fit the correct image that the director is guiding us toward.
The lesson for today
It’s always a good idea to prepare and analyze a script before a session, but don’t over-practice. Too much practice and preparation can often solidify a certain type of read in your head making it hard to go in a different direction when the director asks for it.
Oh, and when the director does ask for a change in your read, never ever say “but I was trying for more of a XYZ kinda read.” You’re not there to try to convince them to use your interpretation of the character, but to give them what they want — that’s what you’re getting paid to do.