Sunday, January 31, 2010

Once more, with feeling

I received a text message out of the blue on Saturday lunchtime from an engineer at a recording studio I'd never heard of before. Apparently, one of the American voice artists I know had recommended me. There was a short gig in the offing, doing a voiceover for a corporate promotional video.

However, they had to get me approved by the client first, so they were hassling me to provide voice samples (yes, of course, this was all supposed to be happening at no notice at all, and over the weekend). So.... I frittered away a chunk of my afternoon figuring out how the Recording accessory on my new computer works. (Isn't it amazing how Microsoft manages to make such a basic utility..... a) almost impossible to find; b) extremely non-intuitive to use [WHY can you not simply delete or discard unwanted recordings?? Oh no, you must save everything - as, e.g., 'Untitled 17' - before you can delete it!]; and c) completely different in appearance and operation every year or two??)

Once I'd e-mailed off some samples I got another text message back from the engineer. He thought my voice was "too soft". I'm not quite sure what he meant by that - my voice has been called many things, but rarely "soft". I suspect he meant that I was too understated, unemotional.

The remainder of his 'direction' was even more perplexing: "more high, strengthful, cheery, adventure, tough".

I asked him to send me a sample of what he meant - and the script he wanted me to read. It turns out that what he wanted was fulsome, gushing, near-hysterical. It's hard to get that passionate about annual production targets for a bus factory, but I did my best.

They were much happier with my new set of samples. Oh yes, that's the stuff!

But, belatedly, they remembered I wasn't American..... and the client had specified an American English voice.

I hate it when that happens! And it happens all the time......


The British Cowboy said...

I am not sure if you are aware that Once More, With Feeling is the title of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In fact an episode I watched last week.

stuart said...

I suspect your sample is undergoing final editing as we speak. Your voice will be echoing through the corridors of corporate China before the week's out.

Froog said...

Spooky coincidence, Cowboy!

Stuart, I took good care not to give them any samples substantial or coherent enough for them to use (without paying me).

I wasn't sounding too good, anyway. My voice is a bit ropey at the moment, in fact - a permanent frog in my throat from this nasty dusty, smoky Beijing air.

The British Cowboy said...

It's an episode that somewhat ruptures the Buffyverse. An all musical episode, lots of nods to the silliness of such a concept...