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Directed vs Directing

I once helped someone renovate a bathroom. While I’ve got some skills in the plumbing department, I know my limits. When it came time to install the shower / tub unit, I was wise enough to reach out to a plumber. When he showed up, I let him take over. I wasn’t going to tell him what to do. I just did whatever he asked. Mostly, “fetch this,” and “fetch that.”

Far be it from me to ever tell a professional how to do his job, regardless of what I may or may not know, or think I may or may not know.

Directed (By The Client)

directing-voice-actorsWhen you’re working with producers and experienced clients, it’s not uncommon for them to provide voice over direction. This could come in any number of ways from simple written instructions in an email right through to fully directed recording sessions.

Working with a client who knows exactly what they want makes our job, as the voice talent, a lot easier.

When a client knows what they want and provide good, clear direction, we can nail the voice over right out of the gate. Life is good!

Directing (Of The Client)

On the flip side, sometimes, as the professional voice actor, it might be up to you to do the directing. Just like my experience with the bathroom reno, I know my limits. I’m not about to tell a plumber how to do his job. He’s the pro! Well, you’re the pro in your field.

I’ve had many experiences with clients who either a) don’t know what they want and are relying on me to help them figure it out or b) think they know what they want, but need to be respectfully guided (or, directed) in a different direction.

Bottom line, sometimes as the professional voice actor, you’re going to have to tell the client what they want. And you need to be comfortable and confident enough in your abilities to do this.

Sometimes as the professional voice actor, you’re going to have to tell the client what they want. Click to Tweet

To be clear, I’m not talking rudely or forcefully. This is not about making your client feel like an idiot. This is about using your skills as a professional to ensure your client gets the absolute best voice over for their project.

How You Do It

directors-chairThere are many different ways to accomplish this…

  1. Record one take their way and one take your way.
  2. Ask specific questions to help guide your client in a clear direction.
  3. Provide them an example of why you think a certain delivery might work for their project.
  4. Explain to them how you interpret their script.
  5. Simply offer to use your expertise to provide a quality recording.

Our end goal as voice actors should always be the same. Satisfied clients. As I always say, happy clients are repeat clients.

Whether they direct you or you direct them, as long as they get the recording the want and need, everybody wins!