Back in the ’90s, we often had to run from one studio to another at opposite ends of the city to get to our next session -quite a feat when you had more than three recording sessions in one day. Happy times! Once, on a morning call, I met a fellow voiceover known for his arrogance and deliberate tardiness. The producer, a nice and very talented man who could, on occasion, be over-zealous in his attention to detail, took his time to decide what he wanted for his commercial. Nevertheless, in the end we were all satisfied. And I ran, like everyone else, to the next session. I just managed to arrive there on time.
The producer for the second session was a brilliant woman who projected great competence whenever she conducted a recording. She was already in the control room, ready to go…but we had to wait for another artist yet to arrive, so she apologized several times to the engineer and I for this delay.
Finally, more than an hour later, the second artist casually sauntered into the studio. Oh, surprise – it was the same artist with whom I had recorded the early morning session! He didn’t notice that I was already there, and on greeting the producer, he began to excuse his delay by bitching about the session we had done together a couple of hours earlier. He complained bitterly that the producer for that session had no idea what he was doing.
The expression on the second producer’s face changed as she listened to these allegations. A tense silence ensued. She settled down on her chair, leant her elbows on the desk, and directed her gaze towards the booth, where I was, to exchange a glance with me. Then, in a dry tone, she replied: “I can see why yesterday when my husband and I were preparing our recordings for today, he warned me not to call you for this project because you had to record for him too.” At that moment, the artist finally realised that I was already there, cringing in embarrassment on his behalf. The magnitude of his screw-up then dawned on him. The producer he had just bitched about was the husband of the producer he had just forced to wait so long! Crash… Bang… Boom…!
The people who hire you as a voice talent, be it directors, producers or creatives, place their trust in you, but they don’t always know what they want in advance. Nor do they have to. They hire you because you are a professional with sufficient talent to interpret what they seek for their project. Yes, it can be frustrating to be in a studio sometimes with ten people who have come to supervise the recording, but contradict each other’s direction and seem only concerned with their laptop and the WIFI password. But they are still your clients, and you are the expert who has to show that they’re not paying you for the 30 seconds that the commercial you are recording lasts for, but for your years of experience and your professional attitude instead.
When someone approaches me to offer their services while criticizing someone else, they are automatically disqualifying themselves. Do not speak ill of anyone. Don’t knock the work of others in front of anyone. Be on time. Let your work speak for you!
Your behaviour with a client can determine whether they’ll consider you for their next project or recommend you to other clients. When someone approaches me to offer their services while criticizing someone else, they are automatically disqualifying themselves. Do not speak ill of anyone. Don’t knock the work of others in front of anyone. Be on time. Let your work speak for you!
By the way, the two producers are still married, and I still record for both of them more than 20 years after that infamous incident. Every time we meet, they laugh when they remember that artist and his embarrassing act of professional suicide.
By: Raul Aldana
Voiceover Artist, Director and Casting Director