Using Peripheral Vision in VO – that is, in the wider sense
Dec 21 2016
In a recent article, we discussed how to enhance your script-reading ability by using peripheral vision. To review explicitly why it’s helpful: it enables you to see the big picture and avoid mistakes. By anticipating what’s next, seeing more of the line helps everything flow, thereby making you feel more comfortable.
Maybe that’s so obvious that it goes without saying. But the obvious things in life are sometimes the very things that benefit from fresh discussion. So, let’s enlarge our view still further, and (with a full sense of the irony) focus on the various other ways your voice-over performance and business can benefit from exercising peripheral vision.
We’ll segue here by addressing another aspect of performance …
Use peripheral vision not just to see what’s coming next in the copy, but also see what visual cues might exist in your acting environment. Are you working with a director on the other side of the glass? Intent on listening to you, they might seem to be ignoring you … but they might instead be smiling at you and directing while you speak — as does an orchestra conductor. A conductor doesn’t hum the tune or lead the musicians through every note (it’s the musicians’ job to already know the notes and play them with feeling). But a conductor will sometimes indicate a change of pace or subtle shift in mood, or confirm that things are going well. Similarly, the voice-over Director might indicate that you could use more smile, or they might play the role of the person you’re speaking to, or indicate that they like that little thing you just did.
How can you look at both them and the copy? Peripheral vision.
The same applies if you’re recording a double. You can learn and feel so much – that will come out in your voice and performance – by looking at the other actor. But to do that, AND read the script AND maintain proper consistent mic placement, you may need to employ some peripheral vision.
<>Now let’s think outside the box. Or rather, outside the booth, as you run your business and wend your way along your career path.
Focusing on attainable goals is paramount when planning any day, project or business. But it’s also important to exercise your peripheral vision. With blinders on, no business survives long.
Know what your competition is doing.
On the whole, the voice-over business is a friendly one. Compared with some other industries, most voice-over talent are not in direct competition with each other. Of course, many are. (For example, just consider the online casting universe.) But among fellow voice artists you personally encounter, many are not.
Each voice artist is in a relatively narrow niche, because there are simply so many genres, specialties, locales, script requirements, and levels of experience.
But as our industry, and clients’ industries, and the world in general change, so does the competition. Former wannabe’s gain experience approaching yours. Established talent add new capabilities. And everyone explores new ways of connecting with clients – with new representation and casting options. You should do the same.
Also stay in touch with what your indirect competitors are doing. Attend industry shows and meet-and-greets, take advantage of group learning opportunities, and talk it up with people you’ve met recently or long ago.
Also follow the VO industry here at EdgeStudio.com, including our blog articles, TalkTime!, our Monthly Audition Contest, Feedback Forum, and everything else. It will expand your perspective.
The better you know your competition, the more you’ll learn from them. And the better you can focus on being the distinctive talent that is you.
Keep an eye out for new genres, specialties, and markets.
Once upon a time, the industry wanted goldenthroats. While a sonorous, enchanting or highly unusual voice is, of course, still saleable, the focus for the past decade or two has been “real” voices. That may be the case for the rest of your career. But who can predict the future?
One thing is certain. Without doubt there will be changes in VO technology, client technology, client marketplaces, and other aspects of our society. That will mean changes in your own marketplace, as well as new specialties and technical capabilities you might offer. Or, perhaps, you will concentrate on upping your game by doing what you do already – only better.
In our business, vision can be extended in all dimensions.
Have a broad perspective on the world around you.
Not only will a broad perspective help you keep an eye out for new opportunities, it will help you with any number of reads. A well-rounded person is better prepared to relate to a wider range of clientele, and to understand a wider range of copy. And, as fun as the voice-over business can be, seeing the broad perspective makes the world as a whole more fun, too.
It’s obvious. Just look around.
How to use peripheral vision in reading voice-over copy
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