Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Demo Day

Monday was the first actual, really-truly "Red Letter" day on my calendar. Back in early April, I'd had a private session with Samantha, and she felt that it was time to set a date to record my Commercial Demo. When I wrote down the scheduled session on the calendar, I actually rummaged around and found a nice bold red Sharpie, boxed the day in right and proper and put "DEMO SESSION" in big, block letters. (I even did the same on the month of May, as it fell on Monday, June 1st. Like I was going to forget it or something... I am such a geek.)

It deserved something, and a little graphic energy around the day did seem appropriate. But, thinking about that now, I can't recall ever doing that before.

Of course, the actual session was important, but there was a bit of work beforehand. She had me submit a significant number of scripts a couple weeks before the recording. This meant that I had to go through my files, and received some excellent scripts from fellow voice-actors and teachers, then analyze those things which seemed to best demonstrate my range in commercial copy and decide how each script fit into the scheme of things. As I mentioned earlier, it was a highly iterative process.

But, that work paid off, and we came up with a good number of diverse scripts. All I had to do was be brilliant...

Well... yes and no.

I mean, yes, I had to do them as well as I could.

On the other hand, it wasn't going to take some miraculous act of divine intervention for me to get them right. That sounds abruptly pompous, so let me explain slightly.

In most classes I've taken, scripts get chosen for various reasons. Sometimes, that reason is specifically to cause us to fail. When you have a dozen people at roughly the experience level, and all of them miss the same thing in the copy, I have to assume that we were supposed to miss it, so it could be pointed out clearly, so we would learn and recognize it in the future. Learning by failure.

The Demo Session on the other hand was nothing like that. I had my dozen scripts. We'd pulled out the parts we wanted to use. We had definite attitudes and situations which I was to portray. This was not a time in which anything was going to be a surprise or be designed to trip me up. It was time to show what I've learned.

I'd scheduled a Private Session with N. the Thursday before, where I read through three of the scripts we'd chosen for the Demo. He knew I had the recording session coming up, but hadn't been part of the script selection process. We were working on a couple of other things first. Then, I read through the scripts-for-demo set. After I read the first one, he said, "I know you have a demo session coming up, but if you haven't thought about using that script, you really ought to consider it." Talk about a confidence-builder...

I was also trying not to go through them too many times, as it was important to keep my reads fresh. I spent some time refining what my approach would be - all the good acting choices about what had just happened, who I was talking to, etc. But, I only read through them once or twice more before the session. Enough to know where I was going with them, but not enough to "overwork" anything.

Brought a bunch of other scripts along and warmed up on them beforehand. Right on time, Sam fetched me and we headed over to the main studio. Chuck ran the board and we dove right in.

And it was fun. I lost all sense of time - would've believed it if someone said it took 20 minutes or 5 hours. Even though I had to head into work for the afternoon, I was buzzing and happy all day. Even had trouble falling asleep that night.

Good, good stuff. Which, hopefully, I should be sharing with you soon...

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