It's not JUST about technique: A Unique Voiceover Strategy

I’d like to talk about The Artist’s Way – the book that changed my life.  This book is completely relevant to the work that you are pursuing: trying to be the best (voice over) artist you can be.   And yes, this book will also better your life beyond just improving your voice over performances.  The Artist’s Way, written by Julia Cameron, is peppered with inspiring quotes by the likes of Emerson:  “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us,” and Rumi:  “Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about….(just) say YES quickly….!”           But to reduce the book to a grouping of cliché inspiring quotes is to do it an injustice.  These quotes are a mere decoration on the sides of the pages.  The real meat of the book is a 12-week layout of homework assignments and activities to engage in.  We are inspired to sign-on to this commitment by nothing less than sheer conviction after only reading a few introductory pages on what it means to be an artist of any kind, and how easy it is to achieve this if we: stop listening to our inner critic, turn off the TV, and start living outside our comfort zones a bit more (which is actually more fun than scary).  Cameron even seduces us into daily activites such as “morning pages” and also weekly “artist’s dates.”  The former asks us to write 3 pages of text each morning when our brains are clean and fresh  - to write with abandon, knowing you will show it to no one.  This writing exercise is meant to instill in us a form of expression that is free from censorship or criticism, one that can easily translate to things way beyond the medium of writing, such as….painting, acting, voice over work!  I often hear students “thinking” too much when they are reading a script.  They are thinking they didn’t put the right amount of inflection on a word or the right amount of pause between sentences.  This is the kind of stuff that the Artist’s Way means to squash.  And does.  How did the Artist’s Way affect me, a casting director/voiceover coach and creative-without-a-cause civilian?  Oh such fun and random ways.  I cleaned out all the black clothing in my closet.  I thought, I can do better.  I discovered I actually have a ‘style’ in home décor (Victorian modern earthy?!) and stopped taking in people’s furniture discards and started trolling the flea markets for new treasures that suited the new me.  I started making jewelry.  I had more fun with directing actors (even resorting to using astrology once in a while, “read it again, but with a bit more Aquarian lightness, ok?    ----“what?”  ).  I developed a strange and exciting deeper connection to plant life.  I started homing in on “coincidences” and seeing them for what they could have been – manifestations of my deepest desires and newfound outward expression of them.  I could go on and on, but what would be more fun is hearing what this book does for you.  I invite any and all responses.  Happy reading.  Get ready for your world to turn upside-down in the best way you can imagine!

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Comment by Sue Gilad on April 19, 2012 at 10:56pm

I loved the Artist's Way. What we do as performers is so much bigger than "performing." Thanks for this generous post. This is inspiring me to crack open the book and start The Artist's Way again.

Comment by Lesley Bailey at Voiceover Gurus on April 19, 2012 at 3:20pm

Yes it is a big time sucker, but so worth it.  It didn't recharge my batteries, it gave me a whole different set and style of them.  Like most coaches, i get caught up in technique-training, but this book is a refreshing break from that.  It affected my coaching, which certainly became more out-of-the-box, but more importantly it affected me as a general creative being.  I hope you go for it!

Comment by J. Christopher Dunn on April 19, 2012 at 11:54am

You mean there are other books for VO peeps besides how to speak into a mic? No way! :)

Thanks for the suggestion to experience "The Artist’s Way." It looks like the book is a huge time investment, and I would be interested to lean how it impacted your VO business. It sounds like you got a good mental cleansing and are looking at yourself and the space around in a more simplistic and appreciated way. Cool!

Comment by Lesley Bailey at Voiceover Gurus on April 18, 2012 at 5:15pm

You're welcome Jill.  Good luck and please let me know what you think!

Comment by Jill Tarnoff on April 18, 2012 at 2:33pm

This sounds interesting and exciting.  I'm going to check out that book.  Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Lesley Bailey at Voiceover Gurus on April 18, 2012 at 2:14pm

Thanks Lesley. (i don't think i have met another Lesl(ey)!  The book is actually a lot of work, in addition to being life-changing and fun, but voice over training can be all those things too....!

Comment by Lesley Lyon on April 18, 2012 at 2:09pm

Sounds like a good book! I looks like you enjoyed it! Thank you for posting.

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