5 Ways to Think Like A Creative … As A Voice Actor
Written by: Tony Pasquale
Being a voice talent, sometimes puts you on an island. You’re just sitting, waiting for that audition to get booked, or a client to sign off on you. It can get lonely, and when you’re alone; your mind wanders. This aimless separation can lead to bad reads, or no attachment to the project. We’ve all know how crucial it is to connect to the copy, be a person and act. So, how can you connect when you’re alone in your own world just waiting? For one thing, you can start to think like a creative.
I was a creative director for 15 years while still voicing projects. A huge advantage I had over others was the ability to understand the scope of projects. I could think like a producer, creative director, editor, client, etc…if you put yourself in the shoes of a creative team member it will give you great perspective on the overall project. Here are a few things I do to get me in that mindset:
- What is the deadline? And not just your deadline for the voice. What is the deadline for the entire project? Do you understand their milestones? Do you know what a milestone is? This can help you plan if pickups or script changes might be coming down the pipe. Then you’re available for your client when they need it! You look like a hero.
- Do you understand the technical specs? How is it going to be edited in post? Final Cut? Premier? After Effects? Microsoft Paint (is that still a thing)? Knowing how the editor is putting this together will help you deliver a better product. Ask questions and make sure they are happy with the delivered file.
- You’re part of a team. Don’t forget this! By the time they get to you, the creative team has had 76 script revisions, 5 arguments on the use of the word “that”, 214 cups of coffee, and over 467 hours of meetings. Be flexible if they want to try something or need a few variations for safety. They know their client best.
- Stay flexible. This one gets sticky. I know of voice acting talent that will nickel and dime clients to death with retakes, and pickups. Look, there is a time and place for it. Yes if there is a major rewrite or a ton of alternative endings, those should be paid. But make smart decisions if they come back to you for small changes. You don’t know the backstory on why they need it. If you can help make them look good in front of their client then they will come back to you. That will payoff a lot larger than just a small session fee to pickup the word “Today”.
- Ask good questions. This is a catchall. The best creative meetings I ever had were based around having good dialog and asking a lot of open ended questions. This helps get you in the right frame of mind for the copy and you might even learn something along the way. The best creatives are open minded, receptive to feedback, and able to adapt. You can’t do these things as a talent until you start asking your client good questions such as; Have you worked with this client (company) before? How many of these (insert project item) have you done? How did this project come to you?
Thinking like a creative person goes a long way to make you stand out from the crowd. My favorite clients foster a collaborative process that opens up new angles and options for any project. The key is to be flexible, adaptable, and quick to respond in order to maintain a good creative relationship with your clients.