Now that several more days have passed, I want to offer some further thoughts about the second day of this year’s Summit. The seminar with Pat Fraley was completely original, with virtually no overlap with the presentation from last year. Both the 2004 and the 2005 Summits are available through Dan O’Day’s online catalog. It took up the entire morning on Saturday.
Now, to the substance. One of my key observations is that it’s amazing how great minds parallel one another. For example, Pat talked about 3 key questions to use when examining copy. Those questions are:
To flesh out those questions: (Much of the following is paraphrased and or quoted from Pat Fraley’s notebook handed out at the Summit.)
The first question is “What’s the story?” Pat said all other analysis of copy depends on clarifying the story. If we’re not clear about what the story is, we cannot clarify the story with any other skills. Nor can we make any performance choices.
The second question is “Who are the characters?” Who am I playing? Who are the other characters? Or, who am I speaking with or to? Background clues are sometimes included in notes with the copy and others are included in the copy itself.
The third question is “Where does the story take place?” In other words, what’s the scene or what’s the geography? The scene guides us toward a specific way of delivering lines.
Now, take a moment to look at this previous post and notice the remarkable convergence between Dick Orkin’s three questions and Pat Fraley’s three questions. (When you’re done reading that post, click the back button on your browser and continue from here.)
One comment made by Pat Fraley that I think is extremely important: warm and friendly is dead! Why so important? Because “warm and friendly” is my “default” read and I’ll bet maybe yours too. Or, if you’re a woman, “warm and sexy” which he didn’t say, but I suggest is just as dead. So, if you want to keep your voice-over career alive and moving forward, then it’s time to push yourself (myself!) out of the comfort zone and into something more intentional.
By the way, why is “warm and friendly” dead? Because, while at one time that sound meant “sincere” or “trust-worthy”, today it means “fake” and “insincere.” Really.