Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Play To Your Strengths

There’s been a reoccurring theme that’s been playing through my head lately. Actually, it seems that it has been cropping up everywhere I turn from a narration I recently recorded, to a tele-seminar I attended, to other bits and pieces from all types of media. So, it’s finally gotten my attention. It has to do with playing to your strengths - focusing on the things you do really well or just who your are at this point in your life –what could be described in more folksy terms as “dancin’ with the one who brung ya”. In other words, identifying and then nurturing and capitalizing on the particular things that make you unique. In acting and voice over, we often try to be all things to all people – a daunting task and one that is difficult, if not impossible to achieve. A task that will only bring us frustration and often a sense of failure, because we’re just not going to be the right type, style, or size for every job. One size does not fit all. One style does not fit all. One voice type is not all there is….

In the old days, if you didn’t have the deep resonate perfectly articulated voice, you weren’t in the running for the majority of announcer jobs. Now, it’s shifted to the antithesis of that description. There are lots of requests for young and hip. If you’re neither, there’s really no point in wasting your time trying…..That isn’t to say that you actually HAVE to be young and hip. What I mean is if you don’t DO a credible young and hip, leave those auditions to someone else, and focus on who you are, naturally.

Do I mean that an actor or voice talent shouldn’t stretch themselves to go beyond their comfort zone…No. I think we need to try things to see where we can go, but as far as marketing ourselves, our demos, our “brands”……we’ve got to do some serious, objective soul searching to see where we feel the most comfortable. Because, if we feel best doing certain types of roles both on camera and off, then those are probably the ones we’re best suited for and we should do everything we can to hone those so that we’re the best we can be in that type of role, genre, etc.

Some of us might put off going down this road because we think we’ll wait until we can fit another mold better. For example, an actor not getting updated pictures until he/she loses weight, gets a new hair color, hairdo, or transplant(!), but what might we be missing out on by not promoting ourselves as we are at that time? What we are might be perfect for a role we haven’t imagined. We put off working on a new voice over demo thinking we’ll wait until we can make ourselves sound like someone else….. When who we are and what we sound like is perfect for someone casting and producing the perfect job for us.

Contrary to some who claim performers are insecure, as actors and voice over talent, we have to have a lot of self confidence to put ourselves out there. Second guessing ourselves sometimes goes with the territory but when taken to the extreme, can lead to inertia. We need to be OUR best for us and know where WE feel most comfortable and put ourselves out there with confidence and grace knowing that we are unique and perfect for that perfect role.

No comments: