Compete and Release
I recently had one of the bigger auditions I’ve had in a little while. While the gig itself would have been fantastic in and of itself, the audition was more important because it was for one of the better known and more respected production houses in the business.
This was the first time I’d been asked to audition for them, and it was crucial to get the relationship off on a good foot.
I assumed I’d be up against god knows how many of the best male (and probably female, for all I knew) voice talent in the business. So, I started to get a little nervous.
The script was challenging, with dozens of different possible reads, multiple changes in pacing, a tagline, legal copy…it wasn’t everything but the kitchen sink, but it required a significant amount of range, nuance, and gear changes.
At one point that day, I was in the car and I had a little “come to Jesus” with myself. I acknowledged and accepted that I’d be competing against the best, and that’s what I wanted. So, given that, what was my goal?
I decided that my goal would be simple, and the same as every other audition and job: to give a performance representative of my best abilities as they are right now.
Hopefully, it would be good enough to get more auditions from this shop. But I had no control over that part.
After that, it was time to get to work. Break down and mark up the script. A few rote reads to wrap my mouth and brain around the phrasing and get a bead on pace. Then several more to begin to allow a character or two to emerge, and then a few more to really hone in.
After that, lay’em down, edit, clean up, send, and the toughest part…release.
Release means answering the question, “does this performance accomplish the goal” with a yes and mentally releasing it to whatever will be. In this case, “does this audition represent my best abilities, and is it good enough to get more auditions”?
The answers to those two questions were a solid “yes,” and a “time will tell.” Voiceovers, and the creative arts in general, are so subjective. What one hears as the definitive booking read, another hears as completely wrong for the gig. If I get caught up in, "did I book it?" I make myself crazy. The better question is, "Did I give it my all?"
A couple of days later, I got a note from the studio. They said the audition sounded great and that more are in my future.