Voice-acting tips from
"The Art of Voice Acting Workshop"
BOB JUMP ON AUDITIONS
Reprinted by permission from Bob Jump (www.jumpworldwide.com)
Bob Jump is a busy pro doing national level commercial voice-over. Bob is a contributor to my book, The Art of Voice Acting, second edition, and you can hear more of him at www.jumpworldwide.com. Like it or not, voice-over is part of show business, and as with other aspects of show-biz, there are certain parts of the business that can be quite frustrating. What follows is from an e-mail Bob sent to us that expresses his frustration with the way certain things work in this business.
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You're NOT rich? With those pipes??? Man, if I had those pipes, I'd be knocking on agents' doors coast to coast! I'm not joking. You may hear a couple things on the air that I'm currently voicing, and see my name on an audition roster or two, but I'm doing less than half of where I feel I should be. Of course, I'm probably the most impulsive and anxious person you've ever met, as well. This was supposed to be retirement for me when I left Studio Center. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am more driven than ever before. I love a good challenge and now I've got a good one before me. I've been approached by three different studios about coming on as a "consultant."
Flattering, of course. But as I've written each, and I will tell you the same "...if I'M having trouble marketing Bob Jump, what the hell good am I going to be to YOUR studio!" I think we all know, and believe, that the work is out there; it's just knowing WHO to call to get it. Example; A friend of mine, Mark Winston (www.markwinston.com) who is union, told me a few months ago that his focus was not the national work, but the regional work - like Ford, Chevy and such. The guy's talented and he certainly would do a great job for Ford. All of a sudden, this national Ford account comes out of the blue and they want ME. Mark, of course, was quick to ask, how in the hell did you do it? Simple. I knew the guy. I worked with him for about ten years as he went from agency to agency, finally stopping at J. Walter Thompson where he's remained for the last five years.
THAT'S how the good gigs are gotten. Now and then, we all get lucky on an audition. But, THAT's now and then.
Two more examples - One: I've seen massive auditions where they were looking for a guy with a breathy, scratchy voice, only to see it go to a female at the last minute. No lie. Example two: I won an audition out of about umteen people coming from as many as eight studios looking for a Jack Palance read, only to get into the studio and have them say to me, "...we're not going with the Palance thing, Bob. But, we figured you've got so many different voices, we knew we'd come up with something we all liked once we got into session!" Absolutely true. Martin Fletcher, Atlanta was the agency - and the product was Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken running coast to coast. Oh.....the voice they went with? The usual..."young, smart ass...in your face." Now, if YOU were one of those guys, who worked on his Jack Palance read and said to himself "...man, my Palance is great - I've got this gig, baby..." and then NOT get it, you begin to wonder why and, ultimately, end up questioning your abilities.
And it really, really sucks because it seems like it's just not fair! But, and this is a big sumo wrestler's butt, welcome to the voiceover business, buddy. Sorry this was so long, but it's nice to keep in touch with friends like you in the business. It's kinda like a little pat from your mom saying everything's just fine, honey. Ya just gotta roll with the punches, baby.
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There are a few important points to be made from Bob’s observations: One – you have got to absolutely, passionately, LOVE voice-over if you are going to get through the walls thrown in front of you. Two – as with most other things in life, it’s often not what you know but who you know – and being in the right place at the right time. The secret is knowing how to get yourself to the right place at the right time. And, Three – you’ve got to be able to deliver what the client is looking for – and many times they haven’t got a clue what they’re looking for. So how do you deal with that? Hone your performing skills so you have the versatility to be/do whatever the client needs – and get there quickly. If you’re not already taking classes in acting or improvisation, voice-over workshops, reading books on voice-over, or working on your craft in some way every day, there is no better time to start than right now.
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