Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm Me, Only Slightly More Reigned In

A couple of years ago I made a decision to change my lifestyle. I decided to eat right, exercise more, and do all the things we are always being told to do. For the most part, I've been very disciplined in this new lifestyle...with a few exceptions. I have two major weaknesses when it comes to food. The first is candy, the second is cheese. I LOVE cheese! I think every meal is better with a big old heaping helping of cheese on top! I don't discriminate between my cheeses, I love each and every one of them the same. The same goes for candy, I love candy! I have my entire life.

So, what to do? I don't want to change who I am, and I certainly don't want to deprive myself of the things I love (a sure fire way to fail at any new diet!). So, I eat fat free cheese and I do an extra set of leg lifts during pilates...I eat some Smarties and add 10 sit ups to my daily work out.

The point is, I allow myself to be me, only slightly more reigned in when needed.

Now, this is a blog about voice over- not diet and lifestyle. I share my eating habits with you to help illustrate a point. I spend a lot of time listening to my fellow voice actors. I visit sites like Video Voice Bank, I listen to the commercials between songs on the radio, I google voice actors and listen to their demos. I do this because I want to make sure I am up with the current trends, that my demos still compete with the best, that I can offer what the best can offer. However, I don't listen to my fellow voice actors so that I can be them.

Truth is, I like me. I like that people giggle when I answer the phone and tell me my voice makes them smile. I like being told I sound like a real life cartoon. I like when a new client's first question is, "how old are you?" I like being told I remind them of a happy young mom.

If you are a fan of American Idol like I am, you know that the one thing the judges look for each and every week is an artist who knows who they are. We've all heard Simon give the criticism that someone was too 'sound-a-like'. It's the same in voice over. You want to be the voice your client thinks of when a project presents itself that fits your sound. You don't want to be so many different things, that the client isn't sure where you best fit in...or worse, forgets who you are completely!

So, be you...only be willing to compromise. Sometimes a producer will hire you because he/she sees your voice going somewhere you haven't thought of yet. I like cheese, but I'm willing to eat fat free cheese. I like doing zany character voices, but I'm also more than happy to play it straight. I bring 100% of me to every session, but sometimes the client prefers me to be sugar free. :)

I am the only me in this world. You are the only you. Figure out what makes you unique...what you have to offer that no one else can. Then, be proud of all the great things that came together to give you your unique sound. Take that into each and every session...just be ready to reign it in when you need to.

3 comments:

Adam Fox said...

I love Cheese.. :) it makes the world go 'round

Adam

RODNEY STONER said...

Hey Kara,
I must tell you that my wife & I share your love for CHEESE. A great way to end a long day is with a bottle of great red wine, dark chocolate and cheese. Brie, gouda, chedder, swiss...and so on..and so on...
My wife is a personal fitness trainer and distance runner. I, on the other hand, don't enjoy "burning off" the cheese as much as she does. I enjoy EATING IT!
I thank you for the reminder about demo "focus" and making me really consider how "scattered" I can be as a voiceover artist. I LOVE IT ALL and want to DO IT ALL!! Animation, promos, radio imaging..etc...Not living in L.A any longer...but in Charlotte NC, I need to pull back a bit and "be the best I can be" in a smaller arena. I get so excited about my "various cheeses"..when I should be focusing on the best brie...:)
later girl..
Rodney Stoner
Charlotte NC

Greg Houser said...

Hey Kara,

This post goes to the adage that Marla Kirban once told me. It's not that a person isn't talented, but it's who they are as a person that gets them booked. In short, if you're comfortable enough with who you are, then those qualities and characteristics which make you uniquely you are going to be the same ones which get you booked.

The hard part for most people is to recognize who we are compared with who we want to be (basically to keep our observational bias from coloring things). I'm a big fan of Harrison Ford's "School of Playing Make-believe" when it comes to acting, but if there not a bit of your personality in the character, it just won't work, and it's obvious to the audience when that happens.

Take care,

-Greg

Voiceovers By Gregory Houser