No matter what we do in life we need to know if what we are doing is hitting the mark. This takes the ability to know what DOES hit the mark and then comparing it to what we are doing.
Self-Evaluation techniques are something that I have been teaching to introductory voiceover students in the class I have been teaching at San Diego City College since 1999. Prior to that I did a private seminar with the same focus. I also share the self-evaluation mantra with my peers at conferences and in social media.
As voice talent, much of what we do these days is in a vacuum and we need to apply these skills to not only our auditions in order land work, but in many cases to the job itself as so much of it is self-directed.
This takes knowing when something is good and when something is not-as-good.
How do you do that? Well, for voice talent, it starts with listening. Listening to anything and everything that is voiceover. “Then it takes understanding your own basic voice tone, age, quality, style, personality, etc. It takes the ability to think like a producer and a writer in order to understand the concept and what kind of approach could be right for a project. While we are not right for every project that comes across our path, we sometimes just don’t hit the mark when we audition.
As a writer of corporate communications, I get feedback along the way. I get to brainstorm with the client even before I start writing a single word. I get to provide a glimpse of what it is I am thinking by presenting an outline or treatment. So, by the time I start writing a script, I know I am on the right track. But I have also studied lots and lots of corporate scripts over the years – producing them, writing them, voicing them and acting on-camera in them.
However when I am doing creative writing, I don’t have that outside guidance. I find that sometimes I simply don’t know if it is any good. If it is hitting the mark. So, much like the admonition to voice actors to listen, listen, listen, I need to study more of the kind of writing that I am trying to do.
Right now, I am experimenting with plays. I perform in and see a lot of plays and have a full-length play that felt good and seems to be on the right track. It will be read aloud in May so that I can hear it outside my own head. But the short play I am working on I simply don’t know if it is really a play or not. It could be a scene in a longer play. It might not be anything but a word ramble.
So, using my own advice, I need to start reading short plays!
No matter what it is we do, there is a time to get out of our own heads and open our eyes (and ears) to what others are doing. Not to copy, but to understand what is good and what is not-as-good so that our aim is on target.
Happy listening, watching, reading, thinking, experiencing!