I mean... it's just talking isn't it? ... and mine's a Guinness.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Audition... Moi?

People are always asking me about auditions. I don't do auditions… well, except when I do. OK, maybe that needs a couple of words of explanation...

Always with an eye on the main chance, Dick will shoot something over to me once in a while if it's really worthwhile or if he's trying to impress a new client. My general rule is that if it's not a healthy four-figure sum or a real door-opener, then don't bother me with it. Usually, phone calls from Dick are simple… "You're at Joe's tomorrow at two o'clock for a three minute medical."

Not auditioning! Shock! Horror! I hear you scream that I cannot be serious (you're channeling John McEnroe, aren't you?)
No auditions! You cannot be serious!
Believe me I am serious. I have bills to pay like everyone else, and I take it as a point of personal pride that they're paid on time. OK, I'm talking utilities, rent, and so on… let's not get too enthusiastic and start including bars bills here, OK? Someone told me I was really lucky not having to audition. I need to work as much as the next guy, and luck has nothing to do with not having to audition.

It's like that old golf story… "the more I practice, the luckier I get" … I've been practicing for years, and over those years, I've built up a healthy client base who know my capabilities and availability. I've even got Dick running my calendar for me. Well, for the afternoons anyway… he still needs to ask me about the mornings.

But… here's the contradiction. I use a P2P. I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry that you now know that I'm just a mere mortal and not the doyen you wanted me to be. Imagine me hanging my head in shame if it makes you feel any better.

So, why do I use a P2P? Well, it's not that I actually submit that much, I just like the constant stream of new copy. It's too easy to be selective about what I read sometimes, but this way I force myself to read random crap… and I use the word crap on purpose because most of it is! (I wear a black armband in memory of grammar.) Recording onerous copy that's completely removed from my usual stuff is a good workout for me… and once I've recorded it, it's just too tempting not to send it off.

It helps re-stock the drinks cabinet once in a while.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm a VO. I can tie shoelaces!

Sometimes, Dick treats me like an idiot. To be fair, sometime I treat Dick like a… well, no prizes for guessing what... because sometimes he is. Now, don't get me wrong, as an agent, he's done OK for me… and as a drinking buddy he's not too bad either… stands his corner and will do the right thing if I find myself in an awkward, …er, there seems to be a problem with your card, sir, moment.

The problem with Dick is that he's too diversified. Always got an eye on the main chance. He's got a nice little number going with the voice stuff, but still insists on dealing with a load of on-camera clients. I'm sure he makes a nice little profit from them, but get a few large belts of Jameson's down his neck, and he'll be complaining about how much hand-holding and ass-wiping they all need. That's when the problems start… he goes into this mother-hen mode and treats all his clients like they need to be told how to tie their shoes… and that's exactly how to get on the wrong side of a working VO!

You know what I'm talking about. As a working VO, you know how to run your business. You may not do your own taxes, but you certainly know how to. You're pretty adept at negotiating your own rates and setting up your tools… computer, mic, booth, whatever. The point is that you know how to deliver a finished product and you are perfectly capable of working solo and delivering the goods (OK, I know, I can't produce a full radio spot, but I'm allergic to anything called a "zinger" that doesn't come in a glass.)
The dog-lovers objected to the cat, so I'm trying to redress the balance because I'm a media whore.
Your average young screen actor nowadays has been taken around since he was five by some over-attentive stage mother who did everything for them…. probably hired some homeless dude to stand in line for them at the local Annie auditions. If they're any good, they stand in front of a camera, do their thing, and walk away. OK, I'm being very simplistic (and a lot of these guys can actually act rings around me), but the point is that they don't have to worry about all the crap... the lighting, the camera, the mic, the boom, processing, color correction, editing, and all that other good stuff that makes their performance a product. They can, and usually do, live in their little "artistic bubble". They don't have to deal with the real business and the nuts & bolts of the industry.

Most VOs do. They even tie their own shoelaces. Dick forgets this sometimes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Morning Rituals.

One of the tings… sorry, things (I've still got Jamaican stuck in my head) I hate about the mornings is the way different parts of me wake up at different times. First awake (and I understand that this is by no means a unique phenomenon), is the bladder. Now this is a little cruel because to make a successful trip to the bathroom requires at least some of the other body parts to have woken up as well. I've narrowed it down to touch. Head pounding & eyes screwed tightly shut, I can usually grope my way to the bathroom, do what's required, and make it back to bed unscathed... and since I put one of those snazzy paper-cup dispensers in the bathroom, I can make a half-hearted attempt at minor re-hydration as well.

My voice takes the longest. A few years ago, I'd be bright-eyed and ready to work with any engineer at the crack of dawn. Bear in mind that to the average recording engineer, that was 10am at the earliest, so we were golden. Then it slipped to 11am, and now anything that isn't decidedly "after lunch" is a little troublesome.

OK, I can be professional about this. Given enough notice… thirty-six hours should be fine… (forty-eight is probably better), I'll re-arrange the previous day so that I can be all things to all men. I'll even manage to smile sweetly and nod at the man from the agency… slap a little extra on the fee and I'll laugh at his jokes. No problems.

Makes perfect sense, eh?

Well… maybe one. In the morning, please don't give me a script that's less than 24pt. You see, I may be able to fool the voice, but the eyes have a mind of their own and I feel like such an idiot fumbling through my pockets for the forgotten dime-store reading glasses.

They say you should read the fine print... but sometimes it just ain't gonna happen!

Friday, October 5, 2012

I've got my job... you've got yours.

Consuela is threatening to quit. She says I make far too much mess for one guy. She's been all huffy since some other Consuela started to get a lot of traction on the internet. I checked it out… seriously, I don't know what her problem is, but she's all bent out of shape by some cartoon cliché. Bottom line is that she's stomping around ranting about negative stereotypes and giving me a hard time... as if it's my fault!

Anyway, I tried to explain that it's a simple process… I make a mess, and then I pay her to clean it up. People pay me to talk, I pay her to clean. It's a wonderful example of capitalism and the power of market forces.

She's sulking now. She pouts when she sulks… it's kinda cute.

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I give her all the empties. Nickel by nickel, she's amassing a small fortune. I think it actually paid for her mother's last visit…

Hidden assets.

So, in the cold light of day we all agreed that my Jamaican accent wasn't really going to carry anybody off on flights of fancy down to Montego Bay. Shame really, it was a pretty good gig. Turns out that Dick had put it out to a P2P as well, "Just for insurance" he said, "Gotta service the clients." he said. Probably got the voice for a hundred bucks.

These guys are going to kill me.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Red, Gold & Green

So Dick called... he said I owed him a drink for the shouty thing. I told him that I'd buy myself a drink and let him have ten percent of it.

Some people have no sense of humor.

So we're in the bar and he asks me how my Jamaican accent is coming along. He knows I've been trying some of the unusual ones, mainly as warm-ups. He says that it's a regular gig, every six months or so, but his usual guy has dropped off the face of the planet. Now, I've met this guy before, and to be honest, I didn't really think he was on the planet to start with. So anyway, not being someone who shies away from a challenge, I decided to put some serious effort in...

By the end of the evening, my Jamaican accent was absolutely perfect. I would have fooled Hemingway. They had the karaoke thing going and I did a marvelous version of I Shot The Sheriff...  brought the house down if I remember correctly.

Although, it should be said that Dick didn't seem impressed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shouty time.

So it's eight in the morning. The phone rings. "... blah... blah... they need it by ten... I'll send you the sides... check your email." Click. I love my agent. I just wish he'd give me some of whatever he takes in the morning. I mean... Jeez... he was out with me last night, and I feel like crap!

This is the internet... a shouting cat must be an epic win! 
It's a shouty thing. I hate shouty things. Especially in the morning. OK... shower, coffee, warm up a bit and look at the copy. Call him back... "Hey Dick!" (that isn't his name, but it just makes me feel so much better to call him that). "Double fee." He's not impressed, says the client won't go for it. I politely explain that this little excursion into over-exuberance will screw my voice for the rest of the day. I'll have to do some re-scheduling and make some calls. "If I do this, all I get to do for the rest of the day is edit... you may think that's a wonderful use of my time, but with this head... double fee."

It's getting on for nine, and he's backed into a corner. "I'll see what I can do..."

I love my agent.