There were only eight students in Marc Cashman’s Master Voiceover Class held in Portland, Oregon last week, and I was lucky to grab the last available slot! We met at MediaPDX, performing for each other from Marc’s collection of challenging scripts.
Whenever I get nervous I need my headphones to perform. But Marc wouldn’t let me. ‘No headphones, Vicki! They will only f**k you up!” (Mr. Cashman enjoys his expletives.) Believe me, I do not like headphones because I’m in love with my own voice. I got over that a long time ago! But I often depend on them to help me focus. My voice is not big and booming so I depend on headphones to give me a boost in volume, and I suppose, confidence. Other coaches have recommended ‘no headphones’ so I went for it and started tearing down that script.
It was great to have a professional director and copywriter like Marc available to dissect my read and give advice on how to lift the copy off the page. I could hear the big difference between my first take and my last take, and I listened to this process happen for my classmates. These were high-level scripts performed by experienced voice talents. What an absolutely invaluable tune-up for my ears!
Marc also talked to us about cadence in a script. All spoken words have cadence (as opposed to rhythm, which is a steady beat.) We all tend to have a ‘locked in’ cadence to our delivery. You’ve heard it in announcers and newscasters; no matter what they are reading it all has the same sound. The brain and the mouth line up and the cadence starts to roll. It is a wonderful challenge to try to break your own cadence and deliver the material in a way that is unexpected.
So I’ve been working on that in my auditions and gigs—surprising myself, going off beat, shaking things up a bit.
Thanks to Marc Cashman and all my talented voice actor classmates! More info on voiceover classes at http://www.cashmancommercials.com