It is important to make an audition script bend to your will, not the other way around.
Think of it this way. A lot of people, when given a script, make the mistake of thinking that they have to make it sound like what the ad agency wants it to sound like. But how can anybody ever really know what that voice sounds like inside that ad agent’s head? Oh sure, most commercial copy comes with voice specifications (specs) but these often offer little help, and should only be used as the most general of guidelines. As a matter of fact, one time I was auditioning for a commercial, and the spec said they wanted a Don Pardo sound-alike. Now I do a pretty spot-on Don Pardo. So I did exactly what they said, figuring I had a good chance of bagging that one. They came back and told me that I sounded too much like Don Pardo (maybe they were afraid of being sued) and they went in a completely different direction (I heard the commercial later on…it was voiced by a very energetic, lower-voiced woman!) Anyway, by trying to get into the head of the ad agent, you are getting too much into your own head, which is never a good thing just before going into the booth to record. Always remember that your ego, that nagging voice that never seems to shut up, is going to want to take over your audition. DON’T LET IT. From the get go, you can hear it saying and fretting, “Oh, they probably want it to sound this way,” or “It seems like they want a gruffer voice. Darn, that’s one I don’t do so well, but it doesn’t sound like they want my voice for this one so I’ll just have to give them something I’m not as confident about, but it’ll probably be closer to what they’re looking for even if I don’t do it as well so it’ll give me more of a chance of getting this job.” YUCK!!! Does that sound like you are having fun?
So what do you do? Stay with your own strengths. When you get a piece of copy, read it and say, “I want it to sound this way.” The specs be damned. You become the ad agency and the director. You become your own specifications for the piece. That’s the amount of confidence you need to have in this business. If you do it your way, you know it will be authentic and spontaneous, and that’s exactly what agencies and directors are looking for. Don’t paraphrase yourself. Be yourself. Oops, there’s another Davidism for you.
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