How any commute helps sense of urgency in copy reading

Posted on July 18, 2012 by



The Voice123 staff has listened to over 3 million auditions and screened 100,000 uploaded demos in the past 5 years. One would think that the ears will become wooden after all that time, but during this time period we have come to learn “what gets work” and “what does not”. Is it arrogant to say such a thing in a subjective industry? I do not know, but the staff has earned some ‘street-cred’ to make the next comment.

One of the main factors that even the very best voice talent may not work has to do with “loss of sense of urgency” when copy reading. Why does it happen?

To put it in simple terms: There is more urgency to perform when standing in front of an agent, casting director, or client at an ad agency than auditioning from home. The urgency is created by the simple concerns surrounding how we think before we must perform in front of an another person:

  • How do I sound, and who are these people I am going up against?
  • Who am I talking to, and how will this further my career?
  • Do I look ok?
  • Am I on time?
  • Do I have the right address?

When you audition from home, you do not have this urgency. You can wake up when you want, you hopefully know your own address, pajamas may be fine for auditioning, and you only really know your competition due to what the website shows or social media. It requires no physical effort and nothing to worry about…because everything is right there for you. How can you get a sense of urgency before auditioning?

  • Add a commute to your day. Any commute.
  • Make a plan to walk to any place, anywhere, each day, even if a coffee shop.
  • Plan some sort of activity that requires you leave your home for a brief period, before you must rush back home and audition.

If this sounds like a bit of a head game, you are correct. The problem we see with working online…the one bit of feedback a client will NEVER say to a voice artist online is, “You sounded bored.” Maybe because it can come across as insulting, especially when you believe you are doing your very best, or you have years of experience in your pocket. What you have to also consider is that your professionally made demo, which serves as your online 24/7 spokesperson, may have been made with a sense of urgency out of excitement, but your auditions do not live up to that urgency. In fact, if you are not careful, you may become too comfortable auditioning from home with the belief that all it requires is reading scripts, and editing. But those clients hiring you are working in offices, and your urgency may not match theirs. They may be in the mood to work, and you may be shaking off the morning cob webs (not warmed up).

I have noticed over the years that “worrying about your future” gets tied into “depression”, but studies show in the last year that worrying can actually be good for you. Makes sense…If you stopped worrying, how much would you care about your own career, health and financial situation?

How does this all help copy reading? Being warmed up, and connected to a sense of urgency, will come out in the way you speak. As far as I know, all scripts require a sense of urgency…even when the script requires you “sound bored”.

What type of things do you do to keep that sense of urgency in your copy reading?

6 Responses “How any commute helps sense of urgency in copy reading” →
  1. Very interesting post, Steven! I’ll have to keep that in mind for my next audition. Funny, I usually think of doing the opposite – when I’m rushing back upstairs (after getting my glass of water or making sure all is quiet) i

  2. I usually find I need to take a few breaths to bring down my “rushing around” energy.

  3. Mimi Weisbond

    July 19, 2012

    Hi Steven.– I think this was your most helpful post yet. I’d never thought ‘comfort” could read as ‘bored’, but stuff comes across. Like the diff between standing and sitting, smiling and not. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for providing some real insight into a serious part of our business that can truly be of benefit to even those (especially those) of us who have been at this game for quite some time.

    I’ve actually done fairly well booking auditions that my agents send to me that need to be turned around ASAP, as well as some auditions I’ve done when on vacation, with eyes glaring upon me to “get my show on the road”.

    The one big caveat is to make sure you spend sufficient time studying your script so that you know who you are, who you’re speaking to and why.

  5. Good article and point well taken. Thanks for reminding us of the benefits of having “a little case of nerves…”

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