A grain of truth
Don’t you love it when a good idea just comes together? Everyone working on it fires on all cylinders and you end up with an awesome production that is relatable and real – delivers ‘truth’ – and goes straight to the demo reel.
Looking back on times where that has happened with me, I’ve found that a big part of achieving that involves trusting the people you collaborate with, knowing when to let go of an idea and opening yourself to other interpretations.
I’ve worked both as a voice artist and a producer. Years ago, in a job where I had a production role, one of the first (and best) writers I’ve worked with had a chat with me to establish the basis of our co-working relationship. He recounted how he’d seen a Hollywood writer accepting an award and that in the speech they thanked their producer. The Hollywood writer said a good producer faithfully passes on the vision of the writer, and, although few writers would ever admit it, they sometimes even make it better.
The mutual respect between that radio writer and I from then on really helped me grow as a producer.
Like the producer improving the writer’s vision, the voice talent can add another dimension.
I was blown away recently working with a comedian who was doing a piece that needed to be read really well to have impact. After a few takes, we weren’t quite happy with the last line of the segment. The ‘truth’ of the script was eluding us. I had an idea of how I thought it should go but just asked him to try his own thing… and he gave me a read that made me sit back and go ‘wow!’ I’m glad I kept mum, and the production got a great response.
The older I get and the more patient I get as a producer/director, I’m finding that if I first trust the VO to give me their own spin, I often get something far better than if I had worked through the script with them and told them which inflections to put where. This respect has even driven me to go to acting classes to expand what I as a voice artist can deliver to other producers and writers.
Anyone you work with can really surprise you, if you let them.
Of course, these days, collaborators aren’t all necessarily in the same place. Writers and producers often aren’t in the same building any more. Now you have a new stable of experienced voices a mouse click away. In this era of frequently relying on people working remotely, do you think the quest for ‘truth’ is getting easier or harder?
Andy Maher has over 15 years experience in both voiceover and radio production and can be booked for radio voiceover through www.voicestoday.com.au
Part of Andy’s home studio