The title of this blog is a quote from my acting teacher, Stella Adler. Here’s how it applies to voice overs:
My training as an actor prepared me for the interpretive work that I do and teach in voice overs. Ms. Adler, in her formidable way, stressed the importance of making both a personal and imaginative choice when interpreting a script. It was never enough to just speak the words. Understanding the writer’s intentions and then making a definitive choice based on your own personal instincts and imagination was the real work that needed to get done. In my acting studies, we applied this to most of the great European and American playwrights. In later years, when I was fortunate enough to have broken into the voice over industry, I found I was able to apply the same thing to advertising copy as well as other genres like narration, certainly animation and video games – and even promos.
Your ability to make a choice as to how you are going to read the copy is literally the first step towards “owning” it. Where does that choice come from? Here’s an idea: If you have ever finished looking over a piece of copy and thought to yourself: “What if I read it as if I was about to float away and I just wanted to get these last few words in before I did…” It may sound a little ridiculous but jumping into that choice could take you somewhere with the read that would not have happened if you were to just read it in a conventional way.
Ms. Adler used to say – “Trust yourself. It’s in you.” I find myself saying these exact words to my own students over and over again. If that odd choice comes up in your head when you are about to record a voice over audition and you stop yourself thinking, “I can’t read it that way” – that’s when you should absolutely forge ahead and trust that choice and record that read the way you see it and feel it.
That’s where your talent lies.