Again! Again!

Are your Voiceovers worthy of an Encore?

Monica Lewinsky receiving a standing ovation at TED, and looking right at Al Gore sitting next to me

Used by permission from jurvetson via Creative Commons

 

Children Who Are Aerial Are Best

Last week I wrote about launching my sons into the air in our backyard pool.  This is my favorite new rigorous exercise short of walking through a spiderweb and being chased by a bee.  My son, Brennan, loves being launched through the air, only to emerge, sputtering.  And while wiping his eyes free of chlorine and of course all the urine that escaped him as he was propelled 600’ up in the air (I have been exercising, remember), he will gleefully exclaim, “Again! Again!”

When I wrote "Again! Again!" a week ago, I knew I had an instant blog topic.  It was as if I was mining for water and I suddenly hit oil.  I know this because I am a generally oily individual, having Latin roots.  So I know oil when I see it.  Please note this down in the Joshua Alexander Fun Facts File: "#37: Very oily Latino who apparently feels the need to mine for water even though a faucet is readily available.”

And you should have suspected I would write about this topic next, because you, dear reader, are apparently just as astute as I am with these things.  Let me guess: you ALSO take Epsom salt baths with candles while listening to Kenny G, amiright???  Unless a vagrant has broken in and stolen all of your bath carpets and mats.  I know - I hate rug addicts too!

I will see myself out.

 

Taking My Bow

Lady Gaga, and 11 other reasons you should watch The Sound of Music tonight - ShinyShiny

I am going to revisit one of the most Oscar-winning performances of my entire life.

I once found a book of matches in our junk drawer when I was about 7, which as we all know is The Age of Deception.  And, against The Rules, I lit a match, purely out of curiosity.  Oh!  Also because of the burgeoning arsonist within me.  Realizing instantly that I had committed The Thing That Should Not Be Done, I put it out, and tried desperately to wave the smoke away.  In an instant, The Sentry was upon me.

I am talking about my mother.

You see, Mother Units are robot sentries who are always present, and come equipped with Smoke Detection and The Hand that Spanks.  There would be no escape this time; the smoke still lingered in the air as I saw her veer into view around the corner, nostrils flaring.  She raised her blaster and shot a laser fire hole clean through my guilty conscience, asking had I indeed lit a match???

I warmed up my vocal cords, did my plie, cleared my throat, and raised my arms outward in gallant theatricality and said:

“Well, you see Mom…stammer stammer…there must have been a matchstick on the ground...shuffle shuffle...near the matchbook that was...stammer stammer...perfectly aligned with the strike strip, and when I...shuffle shuffle...walked on it, it must have somehow clung to my shoe and...stammer stammer...lit itself as I walked across the matchbook.”

I am not kidding. That was my well-crafted spur-of-the-moment defense, and I would really like my Oscar now please, thank you. It is about 40 years overdue - but it's fine!  I promise I won't slap anyone on stage.  I then asked to be excused from the interrogation so that I might flee to the Island of Tristan Da Cunha and live there, forever free from robot sentries.  I am still here to this day, but am scheduled to return when politics become moral.

It was a performance, albeit a bad one, and I did not in fact receive an encore.  I received a spanking.  At least, I think I received a spanking.  I don't want to talk about it.

 

“Again! Again!”

bravo meme gif

When my son surfaces above the waterline in our pool, I get a swimming ovation.  My performance was more than satisfactory.  In fact, it was so exemplary that I have been asked to repeat it.  And, being the strong, loving father that I am who protects his children and would die for them, I prepare to hurl my son across the pool with a mighty love and thunder that would rival Thor‘s. And, in a few moments, Brennan will again resurface and demand that I re-engage this process for as long as there is life in me, sunshine over our pasture, and feistiness coursing through his arteries.  Which will be always.

It got me thinking, do my clients want me to do a repeat performance?  Have I ever received a standing ovation?  Am I worthy of an encore?

Sure, there are those directed sessions where you are called upon to repeat one word 87 times, and then the same word 326 more times “for safety.”  You know, because, silly me: I completely forgot to record the first 87 takes.  So, sure, let us do another 326 more for safety.  I don’t really have to be anywhere until 2056.

But that is not what I mean.

I love Thom Pinto’s coaching directive: “Give a damn.”  Three words.  It is quite a simple directive, really.  Actually care about what you are reading.  Give a damn!  Have you ever given SUCH a damn where the client wanted you to do it all over again, because it was Just. Too. Good?  I am talking just-too-good as in:

  • the hot-stone massage that you do not want to end
  • the bottom of a carton of sherbet ice cream that comes too soon
  • the last day of a tropical vacation
  • The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, which, thankfully, has SIX different endings to stave off the inevitable.

 

But, as with The Lord of the Rings, you can rewind (do people rewind anymore?) and play it all again.  Encore.  The performances; the soundtrack; the effects; the sweeping panoramas; the epic battles; the iconic lines – all of them are worthy of a standing ovation.  Of an encore.

“Again! Again!”

Here is the thing.  I assume you have been waiting for the thing, so here is the thing.  This is the thing: the root of an encore begins at the audition phase.  When I deliver a voiceover audition, I need to utterly believe in what I am reading.  Those lines need to come from my heart; my soul; my gut.  I want to make such an impression on them that they will have no other choice but to cast me.

Being cast is The Ultimate Encore.

In his book, The Voiceover Startup Guide, Chris Agos describes how voiceover coach Bill Lloyd once said, "auditioning is the job. If you get invited back to actually record, fine. That’s gravy. But auditioning is the job.”

We have to treat each audition as the paid job.  Unless you give a damn, your audition will not get you that encore, and you will never hear the sweet sound of “Again! Again!”

Unless of course you spend a sunny Saturday afternoon poolside at the Alexanders of course.  But that doesn’t pay much.

Learn this!  Ruminate on it!  Apply it!  And then go home and put on some candles and Kenny G.  I am telling you, it does wonders: you get to relax AND light matches…without even getting in trouble! Win-win.

Live from Tristan De Cunha

 

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Joshua Alexander
The Voices In My Head Blog
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22 thoughts on “Again! Again!”

  1. A great perspective. I had never thought of the job as being an encore, but it really is! Three other thoughts:
    > Thom Pinto’s admonition to “Give a damn’. Priceless.
    > Given your childhood track record, I feel you would be justified to add improv class to your coaching repertoire, and
    > I simply MUST see you do a plié the next time we meet. Looking forward to VOA next year with a whole new intensity!

  2. I would pay good money to see your hurl that kid that high…hahahahahahaha. Thanks for hte morning laughs again, Josh.

  3. So much fun, Josh. you …. are absolultely right!! I had never thought about the actual job being an encore but that makes sense. and you can’t get that unless you really do a sensational job with the audition, right? That helps me! I want that encore. Now please! 🙂 🙂

      1. So much fun, Josh. you …. are absolultely right!! I had never thought about the actual job being an encore but that makes sense. and you can’t get that unless you really do a sensational job with the audition, right? That helps me! I want that encore. Now please! 🙂 🙂

        there…did I do it right??

  4. This is soooo true. Someone told me once that the audition IS the job. It can sometimes be easy to forget this, but it’s so true. Auditioning IS the job. The job is the encore 🙂

  5. You want to see a child go aerial? My daughter does pole-vaulting. Just wait for those reckless teenage years, Josh, just wait….. (No serious injuries from pole-vaulting, but the thought of landing the wrong way scares the bejeebers out of me.)

    1. Hahaha! I can only imagine. Well, you might try limiting her to a 3″ aerial as opposed to the 600′ for Brennan? Studies show that the risk of impalement plummets. OOOH! Bad word to use – I mean…IS REDUCED!!!!

  6. Thanks for the perspective–agree 100% on the audition being the job. It should be so good they use it for the final product. Had a chuckle with the Latino mother–took me back to growing up in Maryland back in teh 70’s. Mine might have spanked me, then asked me to light her Salem Menthols with my new fire-starter skills. Cheers from Cancun!

    1. Haha! Hi Andy! I could take a boat across those great ponds called the Caribbean and South Atlantic, or try to launch my son across Brazil to say hi on his way over…but it would take some time to get him back. I’ll find another way.

      Thanks for the comment – gave me a great chuckle too. Cheers!

  7. Hahaha, I remember the thing about the sentry! That was so good! My niece is at that age now where she also wants to avoid trouble, but also wants to make what she wants come to her. No one is mad at her for manipulating, because she doesn’t get why it’s not a smart move, but kids are kids, LOL.

    Totally agree on the encore thing! If I think about it, I find that while I am convinced of what I’m reading and don’t really question it, my reads feel a bit shallow – have had that about my singing too – while techncially fine, it can feel very MIDI generated, stale, robotic. I think it might be the reason why I’m struggling to book even on the auditions I do get. Except of course when they request a green, welsh speaking, one legged woman, with two heads from the planet Nibiru, who carries a brief case at noon every day in November – then all I can do is decline, despite them thinking I’m a perfect match. We know I don’t carry a brief case – it’s a backpack… tisk-tisk, lol. Happens more than you think! hahaha. Seriously though, I’m as white as a sheet, and people often call me ma’m over the phone, why send a POC role my way?! lol.
    Anyway, answer is depth! 😀

    Glad you’re making progress!!
    Encore!

    1. ENCORE yourself, my friend! Haha! If I had a drink in my mouth, your comment would have made me spit it out, surely! (I know, I know, don’t call you Shirley.) Anyway – I want to take this moment, here and now, to compliment you on being the very best and most beautiful noon-only backpack-carrying Nibiruite I have EVER laid smitten eyes on. May I catcall, or would that be too forward?

  8. Good perspective as always, Josh! As many have already said, I hadn’t considered booking the job to be the encore before. Makes total sense, though. After all, the client must’ve liked the audition enough to call you back for more. Always love reading your blogs, my friend, so I guess the only appropriate response now is to say, “AGAIN, AGAIN!”

    1. OK you’ve talked me into it – I will be back AGAIN! AGAIN! next Monday with another blog! But only because you requested it! Now go on! Git! Book them jobs, son, ya hear?

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