Most new voice talent don't realize their making a massive mistake when they are going for that conversational read style that on just about every spec sheet these days. What is it and what can you do about it?
You're probably making this massive mistake when you do the "Conversational" read. - 6:33
Hey guys, it's Gabby. Thanks for joining me on another episode of The Gift of Gab. Alright, today I want to talk about what it means to be casual and conversational. On mic, stick around, you don't want to miss this one.
The conversational delivery is asked for every single day in voiceover, every audition, every script, just about without fail, right? We want somebody who's conversational, we want someone casual, we want somebody real, we want someone believable, we want someone who's everyday. No announcers, no radio people, no one who sounds like a performer. My all-time favorite, we don't want anyone who sounds like a professional voice actor.
Let's unpack this, shall we? Here's the thing. I've noticed something, something that's really, really critically important. Many, many people have over-corrected this and they have interpreted casual and this piece of direction to mean the wrong thing. So, I want you to ask yourself a very, very important question: Are you misinterpreting casual and conversational to mean uncaring and/or boring? Hm. This is sort of happening a lot. A lot of voice actors are not booking because inside of their auditions, they are perceiving the casual and conversational means boredom. And they're approaching the audition with this sort of weird "I don't care" vibe. They're taking natural to mean, um, well, honestly, something I can't do right now. So at the time of this filming, I broke my ankle recently, so I can't stand up. But if I could, what I would do is I would illustrate this for you. I would show you people are taking it to mean this very laissez-faire hand in the pocket, um, "I don't care" sort of attitude. That's just kind of dull. That is not what it means.
Casual means acting and reacting normally. It doesn't mean listless. It's not, "Hey honey, how was your day?" Right? That's not how we greet our partner. That's not how you talk to your significant other. It's, "Hey hun, how was your day?" Right? From across the room, it's... You're at least feigning mild interest, okay? You know what I'm talking about. Don't act like you don't know. You know. And the longer you've been with somebody, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's the pleasantries and the day-to-day banter that we share every single day with our family, with our co-workers. Right? And it sure isn't mild, but that's just it. It's pleasant. It's nice. Is it earth-shattering? Absolutely not. Is it memorable? No, not really. It's so normal, it's rather forgettable. That's honestly one of its hallmarks. That is casual. That is the very thing that they're seeking. It's ironic, right? Because we think of ourselves, the performer, we want to be memorable. We want to do something that is going to be memorable. So, I think when we're told not to, that's where the over-correction comes in. Many of us think that, "Oh, then you must want this to be really dull and boring."
The other thing is if you come from either a broadcasting background or a theater background, that could be part of this too. The more of a ham you are, the more of a big performance you're used to, the harder this is gonna be for you because a toned-down performance, a very casual, normal performance, by its very definition, to you is potentially going to seem very boring. You have to get used to it. You have to embrace it, and you have to adjust. And that's going to take you a little bit of time because initially, you're going to be a little repelled by it. You're not going to like it very much. I would implore you to find its nuances, right? Find the subtleties within those performances that you can be proud of and see them for what they're worth because they are valuable, and there's plenty to admire in those performances, and there's plenty to be proud of there. So yeah, so remember, casual, not uncaring, unfeeling. Okay, thanks so much for watching, guys. I hope this helped, and as always, if you need my help, let me know. I'm around, I'm available. I'm currently laid up with a broken ankle, so let's do some classes. I'm all for it. Talk to you soon.