If something starts out badly, chances are it is not going to get much better. In the case of a movie, we keep hoping it will get better, because we just spent a whole bunch of money to see it, plus the popcorn and beverage.

You can do your research, but talent can be very subjective, so something someone else says is great, may not be great to your ears and eyes. Now, testimonials can’t hurt. And referrals are usually helpful, especially if you trust the person giving you the referral.

So, tonight I decided to do an On Demand movie – checked out the new releases and popped over to Rotten Tomatoes to see what they said about the movie before pushing the BUY button.

93% positive! Wow, boy was I looking foward to seeing this movie, despite the fact that it had an actor in it that I have never thought was a strong actor.

Ironically it started with a voiceover – a bad voiceover – both actors were simply reading their scripts. It really was pretty bad and I started to wonder how this movie – which was starting off pretty badly –  had gotten such a positive response.

Then, as this “eyes and eye brows” actor cavorted with the writers and artists of the 1920’s in the beautiful city of Paris, I began to see why. The idea of being in Paris in another time with the people our historians have told us are the best is a truly romantic escapist idea. Who wouldn’t want to party with Scott and Zelda, drink with Papa and be painted by Dali. I could barely get through the whole movie, but I did – primarily because I wanted to hear the names of the next famous writer/artist/bon vivant his path happened to cross.

But 93% on the Tomatometer? Could it be that people felt smarter? After all, they spent an hour and a half congratulating themselves on knowing the names of most of the names mentioned in the film. Those Art History classes really paid off!

I guess I’m just venting a little bit, not because I spent a bunch of money (I didn’t – it was one of my free On Demand movies this month), but because I wasted that hour and a half, and I was disappointed that so many people actually thought this was a good movie!

How does this apply to voiceover? Well, for one thing, when I audition for something, the first few seconds are critical. If it starts off badly, the producer is going to jump right past me and on to the next clip. They are not going to spend an hour and a half hoping my performance is going to get better.

On the other hand, this is a subjective business and what is wonderful to one person, is not so wonderful to another. We can only use our critical self-evaluation skills to try to make sure that what we submit for consideration starts out strong and stays that way – we want to be in the 93%. That doesn’t mean we’ll book the job, but it does mean that we’re in mix.