Thursday, May 17, 2012

Anatomy of a VO Job

A versatile working actor’s schedule can change at the drop of a hat. Take yesterday.

I’d already given my availability Wednesday and Thursday for a job (that might be print, VO and/or on-camera), so they had first dibs. Late afternoon Monday, I got a check avail/put times on hold for a different VO that would record early Wednesday morning.  (I hadn't even auditioned for it, which means they probably chose me from my demos.) 

I contacted the first opportunity, but they still weren’t sure about scheduling. So I tried to buy time with the second.

Then Monday at 11:59pm, I got an email about a TV commercial audition Wednesday at 1:15, which I'd be able to make if I got the second job assuming my session was early enough, but might not be able to make if I got the first job.

Late Tuesday morning, the second said if they didn’t hear within an hour, they’d have to go with another talent. Fortunately the first got back to me in the nick of time, saying they didn’t need me Wednesday, but would later in the week. I contacted the second and within an hour was booked.

Whew. This time it looked like I’d get both gigs. Sometimes when more than one client checks availability, I end up with neither...because of scheduling issues or because the client (which could be one person or several) is considering a few talents and goes a different direction.

The script arrived around 5pm Tuesday. I found out that I and a male VO I’ve worked with before were to play multiple roles.  We were advised to review them all. I do a lot of straight, serious narration, so this was an opportunity to stretch my comedic character wings and do several within one project.  

Often I record alone, even if my character is having a conversation with another. The guy’s session was first, so we assumed we’d pass like ships in the night. But when I arrived, they had him stay so we could record some dialogue and other bits together.  I also sang a short, funny song with the client.

I enjoy all VO jobs. But it’s more fun to interact with other talent, and I think it’s easier to react and results in better timing for the actors and the engineers.  It's also easier for  to have different reactions on the second take, because you can respond in real time to the other person/people instead of making up something in your head.
Since we both recorded some of the roles, I’m really looking forward to hearing the final version, fully produced with sound effects and music.

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