Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Post-Class Thoughts

"It's Pretty Simple... just do it the way you hear it in your head."

Well, at least that got me to laugh a little bit as I walked the dog. Crisp and clear night sky between the showers. Just-past-full moon looking downward and the sparodic hissing of tires getting someone home reasonably late.

The dog didn't even look up at my observation and resultant chuckle. I didn't really expect her to, as she's 14 or so and quite deaf. So, the words and my chuckle just sort of hung there in the late night air, sounding quite simple following an evening of not quite bringing it.

I mean, it's all pretty simple stuff.

It's just the doing of it that seems to get complicated.

Maybe a part of the complication is the wanting. Wanting to do it well. The wanting gets in the way, makes you focus on articulating the tricky words and clever phrases. Wanting to do it Perfectly.

Doing it Perfectly removes it squarely from anything unique.

And the unique take is really the only thing that a voice actor can bring to the table.

It just felt pretty danged clumsy at the table tonight. Too safe. A bit timid. At one point, I really felt like something was trying to make itself known from within the first script, but didn't pay enough attention - just got back to the rhymes and words as they were written. Committed the cardinal sin of not just going outside and reading it aloud.

I mean, what the hell was up with that?

Which made that take sound like a bad first rehersal - y'know, getting most of the words, but missing the whole intent of the copy. Because the words never hit the air, it never opened up like it wanted to.

We all got to go back and read it again. But, if the first one was strangled, the second read sounded like a tired narration. A second take at the second read began to find some life, but it only stayed on the fairway because a helpful breeze gusted at the right time.

And it kind of felt like it continued that way all night.

There's a phrase in bike racing - "jour sans" - specifically "a day without" where you just have no gas for no reason. You've been training and worrying about all the things, but when it comes to crunch time, you just can't stay with the group.

As I read that, I'm hoping that's an overstatement. Haven't listened to the files yet, but can't really shake the feeling that it was an evening of Not My Best Work.

Didn't feel focused. Didn't feel centered. Never really felt relaxed.

At one point tonight - actually after we'd read the first script - when Sam P. talked about just letting the words drop. Just letting things flow, fall where they may.

Implicit in that was the idea of trust. Trusting that you've put in enough work to have some decent instincts. Trusting in the choice that you make and drilling into it deeper rather than stepping back. Because if you pull away from that trust, you end up trying to be a little safe, a little careful.

Which is not the way you ever hear it in your head.

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