Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Both Sides of the Glass


We've all heard the phrase 'working from both sides of the glass'. For anyone not familiar with that phrase it describes (in relation to voice over) a person who works as a talent and an audio producer (the 'glass' being the wall that separates the talent and producer during a typical session).

I was so fortunate to have been trained many years ago as not just a voice actor, but also an audio producer. I spent several years producing radio shows- my job included producing liners, sweepers, features, commercials...you get the picture. I've always thought knowing both sides of the job helped me understand, as an actor, what the producer needed from me.

If you've ever read my blog before, you know I like to draw parallels between different parts of my life and voice acting. Recently, I had just such an occasion.

My photography instructor invited me to the studio this week to stand in as a live model for one of his other students who was learning about portraits. (I'm using the term 'model' lightly- I was really just a warm body) I jumped at the chance, because I always try and see the bigger picture. The way I figured it, I could listen to everything my instructor said to this other student and apply it to my own photography.

While I did learn a lot about the technical side of photography, what struck me was how important it was for the photographer and me, the talent, to be comfortable with one another. Here was a relationship in which we both wanted something from the other (both of us wanting the pictures to turn out well), and the best way to achieve this was to communicate clearly, and relax around one another. (The instructor pointed this fact out on more than one occasion!)

In voice over, we don't always get to see the people we are working with. We don't get to make eye contact and shake their hand. So, we have to find ways to communicate and relax while over the phone, over ISDN, or over e-mail. As voice talent, if we aren't relaxed- it will show in our voice, just like stress will show in our face during a photo shoot.

So, how to relax and get comfortable with a stranger you can't see? It's easy- It comes down to something as simple as having the confidence to be yourself. If you are confident in yourself, the producer will be confident as well. When you are both confident, you can then establish trust- trust that the other will do their job to the best of their ability. With trust and confidence, magic can happen!

Now back to that 'glass' I mentioned earlier. Knowing how the audio will ultimately be shaped, being able to respond to producer lingo in an educated manner, offering suggestions when the director is 'stuck'- all of these are examples of how having experience on both sides of the glass will make you a better voice talent.

Does this mean you have to be trained as a producer? No. But, taking an afternoon to go to a local studio to see how things are done will certainly help you as an actor! The more we understand about each aspect of the business, the more equipped we are to be wildly successful!


1 comment:

VoiceOverForYou said...

Great article, Kara...YES, going to a studio to see how things go is a perfect idea!