back to school: the finale

Tonight was my last Commercial Voice-Over class. Sniffle.

In the past six weeks I have:

     – become comfortable reading into a microphone.

     – read perky and dead pan copy, and decided that I am definitely a perky reader!

     – caused my entire class to burst into laughter during a recording of me reading “natural reads.” Apparently my natural voice resembles that of a sista.

     – attempted to read copy with a gangsterish tone but ending up sounding like a drill Sargent.

     – recorded a MaxFactor lip gloss commercial at an actual recording studio.

     – wanted to punch myself in the face after trying to read industrial copy.

After all of these classes, listening to my teacher’s feedback, working on pontificating, embarrassing myself in front of the entire class, nothing could have prepared me for tonight’s final class.

The rumors were true.

Said local talent agent did appear.

The sight of Ms. Kathleen Ham from Donna Baldwin Talent Agency as I entered the classroom stopped me dead in my tracks. My heart started pumping faster, my palms began to sweat, and my stomach churned. I could have fallen over dead. Bit the dust. Croaked. Gone to the light.

What the heck am I doing here? I am not a professional Voice-Over person. I felt like I was waiting for my execution.

Luckily, I didn’t go first. Larry, who used to be a flight attendant for Delta took one for the team and went first. Thank you Larry.

Larry did his thing. No stutter, no heavy breathing, he was flawless. When he finished he took his seat. The whole class was on pins and needles waiting for Ms. Ham’s feedback. Was it going to be bolts of criticism or rays of praise?

The room was dead silent.

She finished writing on her extremely large yellow notepad and looked up. Blank facial expression across her face. She uttered, “Nice. Needs to be more raw, more conversational but I think you are heading in the right direction. Make sure to watch your register. Don’t get to high pitched. Keep it low and raw.”

I swear the entire class exhaled simultaneously after she spoke.

Maybe I won’t die today? Maybe I can get through my read without screwing up?

I was next.

Gulp.

I walked up to the microphone, stated my name and why I took the class, and then began to read. I don’t really remember reading my copy. It was truly an out of body experience. All I remember is finishing my read and then smiling. I went to take my seat and waited for what seemed like an eternity for my sentence feedback. After about a minute she said…

“Not bad. But, where is your confidence? I want to hear your voice. Be snooty. Be aggressive. I am sure in your industry you have to be raw. But overall you did a great job.”

Whewwww.

I lived.

All in all this class was fun and I learned a lot about myself. I definitely need to work on making my voice stronger. When I get nervous I tend to talk softly and mumble. It was great feedback.

If you have a Performing Arts Center in your community and they offer classes you should definitely sign up. I mean, what do you have to loose?