Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Session

An example of a voice over script

You booked it. It's session time. You received the copy 24 hours before your session, and you've had time to carefully and thoughtfully revisit what you brought to your award-winning audition. You take the time to artfully mark your copy to capture every nuance you have in mind for the gig. Just kidding. It's two minutes before your ISDN box locks with your client and the script just came through. Oh wait, it's two minutes after your session started and you just got the copy and oh, look at that. It's a totally new script because its been revised 2,044 times. Being prepared for sessions can be challenging at times, but here are some things you can do to enjoy the process and keep your clients happy.

If you do get your script beforehand, look it over and run it down. Make sure you know how to pronounce everything. Yeah, especially the client's name. I keep a $5 stopwatch from Big 5 Sporting Goods on my desk, and I clock everything I read before I get on mic. I like to know if it's tight for time, or if I can breathe. I actually print all of my scripts for live sessions because changes are bound to happen during session, and I prefer to be old school: paper, pencil. I use a pencil because if they change their mind once, they'll possibly change it again and again. [Insert winky face here]. 

I always write the name of the producer I'm working with and the clients or creative team at the top of my script, so if I have a question I can address everyone by name. It's polite. If you don't get the copy beforehand, don't sweat it. You're a pro. You've got this. This is where your amazing cold reading skills come in handy. If you're not a good cold reader, start developing that skill, stat. It's one skill you will need. If you do need a minute to look things over, just coolly and calmly ask for a quick minute to scan it over. You'll get 27 seconds to check it out. Maybe 28. Another thing that I've found to be invaluable is following the lead of the people I'm working with.

Whether you're physically in a studio for the session, doing an ISDN or phone patch session, you can get a pretty good idea of how everyone's feeling in about five seconds. If you're getting the serious lets-get-down-to-business-vibe, it's probably not a good time to talk about the weather or about who got kicked off Survivor last night. Mirror your clients and producers. Be pleasant. Always say, yes. Yes, you'll do another take with a Southern Accent. Yes, you'll do it faster. Absolutely, you'll add more smile. Don't ever take direction personally. You're a piece of clay. Yes, you're Playdo. Let them sculpt you however they want. 

I can't forget to mention that we are not there to help suggest how to rewrite the script. If it's coming in eight seconds too long and you know a few words they can cut to make it come into time, let them decide that. We're the voice talent. I've seen a lot of talent try to be helpful by doing this, and it just annoys the writer client producer. Think it all you want. Just keep it to yourself. You'll thank me later. 

Okay, so you're there. You are the voice they've chosen for their project. How great is that? Be a good listener. Give them what they ask for. Be flexible. Be kind. Be patient. Be thankful. Because guess what, there's a pretty good chance if you're easy to work with and you do a good job, you just turned that customer into a client. And that's always my personal goal. 

No comments:

Post a Comment