Sunday, April 13, 2008

Can I Take Five?

This past Friday morning I had an on-camera session, filming a series of web videos. I was fortunate to work with one of my new favorite production companies, as well as a terrific client and ad agency.

The beautiful and talented make-up artist on set had to actually pin me into my brown wool suit as it was about one size too large. So, there were large clips and invisible tape running all along my spine and across my collar bone. From the front, everything was clean and crisp...from the back, I looked like a giant science experiment!

Because of the time spent locking me into my mark, I didn't want to move around very much- lest I pop any pins or have pieces of my hair fall out of place.

The first hour moved along smoothly. I had a total of ten sections to record via teleprompter (which I was told was the smallest teleprompter in existence, a fact I can attest to!). With only 3 sections left, I started feeling slightly dizzy.

Because of the massive studio lights (the largest I had ever seen) and my dark wool suit (which felt more like a corset than a suit), I was sweating profusely. The beautiful and talented make-up artist was having to 'blot' me between every take. I was slowly beginning to dehydrate, and was in desperate need of some sugar (having filmed through lunch).

But, I wanted to keep going. I didn't want to risk messing up all the pins along my spine, and I wanted to get us back on schedule (the previous production had run long, and I was hoping to help everyone out). So I continued to push through.

With only two sections left to go, I started getting that 'sinking' I might actually pass out. The director was watching me closely and asked if I would like to take a break.

No, no- I'm fine, I said. Then I had a flashback to some reality show I had seen one time (I can't remember which one- something to do with modeling). One of the girls was succumbing to hypothermia but continued with the shoot. In the end, her photos suffered because of it.

So, I re-thought my answer and asked if I could take a few minutes to sit down out of the lights. Of course, it was no problem and the client took those five minutes to discuss some changes to the script.

In the end, the break worked out for everyone. My pins stayed in place. I felt much better, and the client was able to make the necessary changes. The production ended right on time.

Driving home afterward, I thought about why I was so afraid to take a break. What did I have to prove? What if I had passed out...that would have delayed production much longer than my tiny break did! Knowing my limits came across as much more professional than giving a sub-par performance.

It is impossible to give your best if you are running on empty. You suffer, the production staff suffers, and ultimately the client and the product suffer.

From now on, I will never be afraid to take five and recharge. Whether it's a long voice over session or an on camera session, walking away for a minute can help the mind and body refocus. In the end, everyone wins!


Brian said... are exactly right, Kara. I have a video editor friend who will get up and "walk away" for bit...he will event take a 15 minute walk or something just to clear his head and come back with "fresher eyes".

Good stuff!

Brian In Charlotte

Kara Edwards said...


Breaks when editing are a must- I get computer fatigue! Thank you for your comment!


Bob S said...


What an excellent insight you've gained from this experience. I do lots of very long voiceover sessions and often want to push myself to keep going; but like you I've had to realize that taking a few minutes break here and there actually makes the whole project work better.

Thank you for the good thoughts.

Be well,

James Lorenz said...

No one takes people into the real life world of VO like you Kara.

Great post!

Kara Edwards said...


I thought of you as I was writing this. You have some of the longest voice over sessions of anyone I know...and you do them after a full day at work! You are my voice over stamina hero, so it is nice to know you take breaks as well :) Thank you for your comment!


Kara Edwards said...


You absolutely made my day. Thank you.