5.01.2008

A fun labor

Happy May Day!

Earlier this week I was booked--sans audition--for a Blue Cross Blue Shield voice over gig. Nice! I stopped by Soundtrack Studios Boston this morning to record. When the copy was sent to me yesterday afternoon, I was surprised to discover it was the same copy I had read in some demos for the client about eight months ago! Having read the demos (and having felt quite confident in my read), I was kind of disappointed to not hear from them. After a couple months I figured, Oh well. They didn't like my read. That's that. It was a nice compliment to know they hadn't forgotten about me and that the campaign had just been on hold for a little while!

I read two 15 second radio spots today, targeting 18-24 year-olds. One was called "Concealer" and the other, "Pedicure". Both addressed the need for health insurance using a comedic tact. Voice over can be kind of an impersonal business and can really illustrate how time is money. The talent walks into the studio. Sometimes the client greets you, sometimes not. Immediately, the talent steps into the booth and dons the headphones while the engineer gets the mic and the levels set. And then it's down to business. When it says "Radio :15" at the top of the copy, they really mean, Read the spot in 15 seconds--no more, no fewer. My first few reads were 60-80 seconds fast, so I slowed down. It's hard to sound and act like a 19-year-old and talk slowly at the same time! One would think that time could be adjusted in post-production. But remember: they're already paying $185 an hour for studio time. An additional engineer to edit could cost that much or more. Plus, they're paying the talent. So, in essence, it is the talent's job to not only deliver the copy well and read in character, but also do it for the precise duration required. Furthermore, it's surreal to be encased in a soundproof booth, watching people's lips move and heads nod yes or no while discussing your work, but hearing nothing. It's like being an unintentional voyeur while trapped in a cage.

Pleasantly, today's gig went well. The client was friendly and the read was efficient--less than half an hour! Plus, I think the client got precisely the read they wanted.

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