The Compassionate Voice
Taking Voiceover Direction not Giving Attitude
by Leesha on February 28th, 2017

It’s all about being easy to work with in business. Good communication is a part of every successful voiceover (VO) business. Successful voice actors know the importance of clear communication. Knowing how to take and apply VO directions will lead to satisfied, repeat clients.

Start with an open attitude. Taking direction starts with thinking well of the staff developing the voiceover project. Often these folks are developing the scripts and studying the thinking behind the project. If you think of them as the experts for the subject project, you’ll tend to accept directions with a receptive attitude.

Don’t judge the direction.  You might want to steer clear of giving feedback unless you are asked. If you have to give VO feedback, use language that suggests an idea not demanding a change or demeaning the writing.  Use discretion in giving any unsolicited comments or advice; less is more.

Agree to disagree (in silence). Our society encourages us to hold ground regarding expressing our points or views. But unless you are the producer of a VO project, this hard-line thinking can make you appear hard to work with it or can lead to an early release because you just lost your current VO job.

Repeat the direction in your mind. If needed, repeat given direction out loud just as you think you’ve heard it. You can only apply what you understand. If you are unclear, don’t hesitate to parrot the direction back. There’s no shame in noting the direction to make sure you’ve got it right.  

If you make a mistake, don’t sweat it. Listen again and go forward. An open and receptive demeanor invites camaraderie and can make you the go-to person for your clients. People consistently work with people they like.

Keep happy thoughts and move on. Don’t use your time later to badmouth the VO producers or directors. Complaining will build a mental barrier to future directions. As with the first point, your attitude sets the tone for your thinking.

Voice Actor and Coach Terry Daniel writes in Listen: Pay Attention To Directors' Instructions... Or They'll Stop Paying Attention To You (9/15/15) “Focus on finding effective ways to please your customers. Make sure they are able to come directly to you to get exactly what they need without any headaches, complications or exceptions.”

Whether you’re being directed in your VO booth or a professional studio, taking direction will lead to win-wins.

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