A Perfect Match
by Kate McClanaghan, www.voiceoverinfo.com
Here’s a little snack food for thought that you may not know about…
matching—The term used when you are trying to recreate the timbre, emotion, inflection, phrasing, volume and/or tempo of a delivery to make a change to the read or to correct a minor error in the initial read.
Also, if at a session the client preferred a specific take and simply wants to change a line or phrase they may have you ‘punch in’ the corrected line. This requires you ‘match’ the original delivery as close as possible.
Notably, many, many actors, both novice and ‘well established’ alike, often harbor the common misconception they are expected to deliver only one perfect read, and therefore attempt to ‘perfect’ a single delivery repeatedly, take after arduous take, almost as if they were trying to match a read.
The truth is there are only three circumstances in which only one specific delivery is required from you:
1. If you’re understudying a role on stage. In fact, according to Actors’ Equity, you are expected to recreate the original actor’s performance as closely as possible.
2. When you are in a professional touring company of a stage production (such as The Producers or Hairspray). These productions are very strictly choreographed in every way because a very specific product is being presented and the original show is the blueprint for the touring company, which is often followed to the letter. Additionally, these productions are often heavy ‘tech’ shows and straying from the program could increase the risk of injury to cast and crew.
3. And, when adding or correcting a line in a voiceover or film or TV production.
Other than that, matching is not the desired goal of a performance it’s only a tool and nothing more.
So, if until now you have always thought all that was required of you as a talent on a session was to match your initial take, again and again and again, then you have thought acting was simply ‘matching’.
Well, for what it’s worth you’re in good company. It’s an honest misconception.
Again, to clarify, at SOUND ADVICE our very unique approach forwards the idea that you’re always expected to deliver a limitless number of ‘perfect’ or at least appropriate reads.
For example: eight to ten takes of this one over here utilizing this direction, eight to ten of that one over there utilizing that direction and eight to ten of yet another delivery that’s maybe a hybrid of the two different directions—this is the norm, albeit the best kept secret in the industry.
Our job as talent is to give the director options within the context of what’s being asked of us, regardless the medium. So play. It’s your job. How many people do you know who can say that? In fact, the real objective of a skilled, professional talent in every medium is to deliver a variety of deliveries with every single take, all within the context of the scene, character and circumstance. That takes a great imagination and agility.
Mastering the art of delivering variety within the context of the piece takes courage and the willingness to truly risk.
That gives you an awful lot of rope to hang yourself with, which is why it can be a very scary notion at the onset. But continually building that agility and engaging your imagination fully is forever the requirement of an effective artist—in any medium.
So never underestimate the demands of the profession. They are always required of you in every medium. It simply takes intention on your part.