AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 4)

Hey there!

As a part of these One A Day videos that I’ve challenged myself with this year, I asked viewers to submit questions for a virtual AMA.

Because I got so many questions, I couldn’t answer them all in one episode. So this is the fourth AMA video in the series. In this video, I’m going to answer questions about commercial “conflicts”, directing yourself in a world of isolated auditioning, and what “having a radio voice” means.

And the answers are…

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Hope this helps!


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hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
we got more AMAs today this really
interesting to me the the varied types
of questions the questions themselves
what part of what my life is all about
and my relationship with my viewers and
my students in my clients these covers
just fascinating so let’s get right into
this is the fourth of a series where I
ask people to ask me anything and here
are some of the questions they asked
here are my answers ah David I’m not
currently a sag AFTRA member but was
years ago and vaguely recall a rule
stating voice actors cannot have more
than one commercial within the same
genre airing at the same time can you
expound on any such or similar rule and
explain if it would also apply to
non-union work as well so what you’re
talking about is conflicts and that’s
not a union rule the Union by design
wants you to have as much work as you
possibly can have they’re not concerned
about conflicts at all it’s a rule
within casting offices and advertisers
they want you to tell them if you have a
spot running like say you’re doing a
spot for McDonald’s the people the
Burger King want to know that and that’s
why on resumes you’ll see the phrase
conflicts available upon request rather
than a list of different different
commercials that have been done and it’s
the same for non-union it has no
different it’s no different between
Union and non-union work it’s not a
union rule it’s not a non-union rule
it’s a tradition and something that you
need to disclose to advertisers yeah I
watched somebody I was in a series a few
years ago that was sponsored solely by
Subway and I watched someone who was in
that series a lead in that series get
written out because he accepted a
mercial from McDonald’s and his agent
didn’t think that the the webseries we
were doing was gonna have any legs
turned out ahead but for five seasons it
was great and the McDonald’s spot ran
one cycle of 13 weeks so that’s it’s
called conflicts there’s no Union rule
on so great question thanks for asking
how do you David direct yourself when
doing a voiceover so that to me is one
of the like gold standard things that I
teach in VO to go go we have a class on
a whole class in the vo to go curriculum
very early on called mastering the art
of self direction and it’s a brilliant
question and it’s the same question I
asked myself I’m like wow so more often
than not I’m not going to and now almost
never go to a studio to do my audition
work where I get feedback maybe from a
casting director maybe from an engineer
who is tasked with a casting entity to
get a certain type of read now I’m just
sitting here in you know
Mikasa and I’m kind of by myself I’m
kind of isolated and I know that it’s
the same for you and so what I did was I
took a series of of methods that allow
you to analyze what you’re doing where
you are in the story what your role is
what the job is that you’re trying to
help the listener achieve and I have a
particular path when it’s all integrated
with learning how to voice commercials I
have a particularly specialized path
that deals with finding the secret in a
commercial in the copy revealing that
secret so that the listener can get
their job done because every piece of
copy that is written has a particular
purpose has a particular function either
they want to help you understand why
using their product or service is better
than using a competitor
or using their product to service is
better than not doing anything at all or
what could happen if you don’t use their
product or service and that’s just with
commercials with other categories to me
it boils down to storytelling when I
listen back to things and I rarely do
these days I have faith that I’m able to
do what I’m able to do and and do so
fairly consistently but when I do listen
back to stuff I listen the same way I
listen to my clients am i wrapped up in
my story not oh I wish I’d done that or
I wish I’d changed that or I wish I had
go in that direction so for me it’s
being subsumed by the story itself and
that’s true for any category of work
when you can accomplish that you’re well
on your way to being able to direct
yourself and to take you know sort of
make up for the fact that there’s no
casting entity or director or engineer
or producer there to say yeah can we get
a little bit more snappy with that you
know can you talk to a bigger room
things like that we give you all the
tools that you need to do that work in
that class called mastering the art of
self direction it’s very important and
it’s great question to ask um okay
one last one sure I wonder if you might
be able to elaborate David some on the
crossover from being trained as an
on-air talent to commercial voiceover oh
oh what a great what a great question
many years ago I would take vo boot
camps and classes and the first thing I
get asked is do you work in radio I
guess it’s something with Cadence’s or
so I’ve been told
well it’s actually with the placement of
the voice usually the the the depth the
deepness of the voice the pitch of the
voice and where it is in your mouth is
it further back as are you back here
when you’re talking are you doing the
radio thing where you’re kind of doing
the pukey thing or is it more naturally
up front also a little over enunciation
there’s a lot of things that we pick up
in terms of habits
we work in radio we hear people at least
when I was growing up I heard DJs that I
thought were just really the bee’s knees
and by doing that I just completely
became my grandfather by saying that
phrase thank you um but I wanted to be
you know John Lanigan the real Bob James
I wanted to be done IMS I wanted to be
Rick Dees these were all people you know
Dan Ingram um George Michael not the
singer George Michael but the DJ on WABC
in New York 77 WABC these were people
that had a particular style that was
genre specific it was radio specific and
sometimes you just have more resonance
in your voice and people assume that you
developed it because you were on the air
it’s it’s tough and part of my job again
when I’m working with my clients is to
stamp out some of that you know you
should celebrate however your voice
turned out you should celebrate however
it’s developed from a child to it to a
team to an adult and what the work that
you’ve done has done to develop that as
executives develop a particular type of
voice attorneys develop a particular
type of voice teachers develop you know
um what else
engineers I guess develop a different
kind of voice everybody has moms moms
develop in particular got david
everybody has these these things that
happen in their environment that lead
them down a certain path
with the development of their voice not
the least of which is the family they
grew up with I can tell pretty much
right away whether someone was an only
child because they take as much time as
they want with when they speak or
someone grew up in a large family where
getting a word in edgewise was tough and
you know there’s things about radio
having been in radio for a long time I
can recognize as well and that radio
voice can either be a blessing or a
curse I’m pretty sure that I got a lot
of work in ADR because I had
an announcer e voice and I could imitate
some of the prototypical announcer stuff
like promo announcers and DJs and sports
play-by-play guys and color commentators
so they probably recognize something in
your voice like that and was just
calling it out but when it happens in a
vo class it’s because the voice-over
teacher wants you to be more realistic
they want you to tell that story to not
rely on those DJ chops to have a great
voice but to actually connect with an
audience you know DJ’s don’t necessarily
do that they speak to talk show hosts
DJ’s they speak to a different audience
and and consultants and radio constantly
try to get them to stop doing that
but that that false tone is something
that is inherent in a lot of former
radio personalities me included until
you learn that just being you makes all
the difference in the world what a great
what a great question thank you so much
and I keep saying what a great question
because they almost all were there were
there were there were only one or two
questions that I thought is this a joke
and I’m still considering whether to
answer them so we’ll let you know I got
more I got more I got more hopefully
you’re not getting tired of this because
we got a lot more ask me anything this
was the fourth in a series and I’ll do
another one tomorrow and we’ll see how
far we can get maybe I can wrap it up
but you know I’m not gonna do it until
I’m done if you’d like to subscribe to
my youtube channel well go ahead and
click on my head there if there’s no
head there’s a subscribe button
somewhere below this video if you want
to see the latest episode that I’ve done
go ahead and click on the frame there
and YouTube will play it for you I’m
David H Lawrence the 17th I thank you so
much for watching and I will talk to you



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  1. Boy, you brought up some great memories today, talking about Dan Ingrahm and Imus. There were so many great jocks on the air in NY when I was growing up, including Jim Kerr, Ron Lundy, Carol Miller, et. al. Made me smile today. Thanks for that.