It was Nothing Like the Audition

As much as I love it, I’ll never understand this business. A job I recently booked, was nothing like the audition.

The audition was for a radio commercial. The specs asked for a male or female and they wanted a voice with friendly, good energy. My submission was very conversational, as though I were telling a friend over a cup of coffee about this wonderful product and where they could find it. A couple of weeks later, I was thrilled to discover that I booked the job.

I arrived at the studio and the client explained the premise of the radio campaign and my part in it. I was basically your standard announcer with an intro and an outro to the body of the commercial. The commercials had a sense of humor to them, but I was more of the “straight man”. Okay, no problem. We do a couple of takes and I start off with similar energy to the audition. Then, they start ramping up the energy. A little more… a little more… the next thing I know, my energy is so high, I’m clearly very excited about the product. If my audition was two friends over a cup of coffee, I was now shouting to a rally of spectators. The client explained that the body of the commercial has some fun, high energy and they want my voice to match so the transition isn’t a complete trainwreck. No problem, I do high energy very well! 🙂 In a short time, the client got the takes they wanted and I went on my way.

After the session was over, I thought about how different the actual recording was from the audition I submitted. The energy of my audition was so mellow compared to the excitement I conveyed in the recording. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just wondered what it was they heard in my audition that led them to choose me for the job. I have no idea, and I’m done trying to figure it out. I’m realizing that I can’t analyze a pattern or a formula to this. As I’ve stated in previous posts, casting is subjective. The client heard something they liked and they picked me. Once they have me in the recording booth, the client gets to direct me however they like. And I think the lesson for me here, is that I can’t get hung up on what the audition sounded like. I wasn’t booked to re-create the audition. The audition got me in the room. Now I need to earn my right to stay in the room by giving the client exactly what they are asking for in that moment. That means I need to remain flexible, open, and ready for anything.

It’s funny, I knew this before going into this recording session. It’s just been awhile since the lesson has been put in front of my face like this. It’s a good reminder. The recording session was a success and I look forward to recording updates for this client in the future. And when I do, I’ll be ready to give them high energy or low, to be the comedian or the straight man. Whichever direction the client wants to go, I’ll be happy to take them there!

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2 Responses to It was Nothing Like the Audition

  1. David Sigmon says:

    Cia, Thank you for the timely refresher of sound guidance.
    DS

  2. Tim Keenan says:

    Great advice, Cia. Thanks for the reminder!!

    We’ve long given up trying to figure out what the client’s expectations are until we do the actual VO session. We also try to warn VO folks before they come in to the studio that the project may be different than what we were initially told so don’t be thrown off. Nor should they “rehearse” scripts too much so you don’t get locked into a “mode” you’ll find hard to switch out of once you record.

    Tim Keenan, Creative Media Recording

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