Figuring Out Your Characters From Their Menus And Choices
Photo by Fancycrave.com from Pexels
Hey there, hero!
I had a great opportunity today to put to use the idea of personal menus and top choices that we had looked at in a previous video.
And I was able to apply that to really exploring a dark character I had to create for an on-camera audition class I’m taking.
And I realized that we can use it not only for on-camera (and not only for very complex characters), but for VO and stage as well – and for characters that are short and sweet.
There’s also a fun quiz for you in this video.
Hope this helps!
Links to all episodes
One Step At A Time
Five Ways To Have An Excellent Coffee Date With Me
Five Ways To Have A Crappy Coffee Date With Me
Taking Advantage Of The Wisdom Of The Tribe
How To Be A World Class Complainer
The False Nobility Of The Struggle
Watch Out – The Rules Are Going To Change
“Show Me The Secret, Daddy!”
Coaching vs Consulting vs Facilitating
The Perils of Live Performance And Why Jeremy Kappell Should Not Have Been Fired
Let’s Welcome To The Stage…Failure!
Don’t Confuse Price With Value
Whiteboards In The Hallways
Go Wake Up Your Luck
Playing and Planning
The Two Things Most Talent Try to Accomplish Way Too Soon
10,000 Hours To Become Good At Something? Not Really.
The Curse of Knowledge
The Trick Charlie Munger Uses To Make Better Decisions
Everyone’s A Customer, Not Just Your Customers
“What do you mean, you’re a ‘process guy’?”
Pay Attention To Your Storytelling, Not Removing Your Breaths
How To Conquer FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
The Problem In Every Commercial Script
The Job In Every Commercial Script
The Secret In Every Commercial Script
How To Pick Your Stage Name
Voice Over Is REALLY Hard. Until It Isn’t.
Helping Make Resolutions Stick
ACX Jobs: They’re ALL SAG-AFTRA-Friendly
Non-Union? You Can Still Open An AFTRA H&R Account. What?
Who Says You Need To “Feel Like It?”
Are You Engaged?
Your Day Job Might Just Be Worth Keeping For A Bit Longer
Want To Learn Something Really Well? Teach It To Others
Don’t Confuse What Works With What You Like
The Lost Keys And The Microphone In My Elevator
My Insane Backup System Plus Two Helpful Tips
What Open Loops Are And Why They Work So Well
Two More Things For Which You Can Use Open Loops
Three Things Not To Say Or Do…When Trying To Learn Something New
Front Burner and Back Burner Project Management
How To Properly List The Accents and Dialects You Perform
My SAG-AFTRA Presentation On VO Demos (Part 1)
My SAG-AFTRA Presentation On VO Demos (Part 2)
A Simple, One-Word Decision-Making Question To Ask Yourself
How You Can Use The MVP Model As A Performer
How Lazy Can You Be?
Avoid The Struggle Porn
The Robocall Equivalent Of Unsubscribe
Saying Goodbye To A “Failure”
Making Your Links Irresistible
HTTPS Is Not Just For Banks – It’s For You
The Threat That Made Me Create a New Page For LAME
The Resource You Must Guard Most Carefully
How New Media Is Using The Oldest Ad Model Ever
“You Could Be Hit By A Bus!”
Killing Customers With Kindness
I Found Out What She Was Podcasting About
How I Answered Voices.com’s Inquiry
Turning Mountains Into Molehills
Motivation: Your Three Big Needs In A Cool Little Package
Go Ahead. Multitask. But Try It Like This.
The Prodigy Game Doesn’t Deserve This Treatment
I Don’t Want To Go Blind
What Fair Markets Are, And Why Voices.com Isn’t One
Trevor’s Three A’s From Apple On Killing Customers With Kindness
Getting Ready vs. Getting Started
You’ll Never Believe Who Got Rejected By Harvard
There Is No Failure, Only Feedback
Who Is Your Most Dangerous Adversary?
73 Videos In, My First Hater Appears
If You’re The Smartest Person In The Room, Do This ASAP
Your Glasses And Crucial Laptop Positioning Info
One More Insanely Over-engineered Piece Of Gear: My UPS
The Crazy Backward Way IKEA Prices Their Stuff
Voices.com Complained To YouTube That I Violated Their Privacy
The Gig Economy: RIP?
For Your Health: Not Perfect. Just Better.
Celebrate Your Isolation!
Mr. Wonderful Is Actually More Wonderful Than I Thought
Let’s Finally Close The Digital Literacy Gender Gap
The Guaranteed Way To Completely Avoid Criticism
The Two Things People Judge About You Within Seconds
Are You Committed? Or Just…Interested?
Audible Retail Samples: Why They Suck And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter
How To Voice Copy That’s Set In Italics
Dyslexia, And The Palindromic Poem. The Wha?
Increase Your Chances Of Being Seen And Heard On Facebook
Jamie Has Some Thoughts About Fiverr
Is Simply Discouraging Distracted Driving Enough?
“Young People Are Just Smarter.”
The Real Purpose Of The “Can You Hear Me?” Phone Scam
Beware Of Overkill
Laying Down The Perfect Slate
An AMA Preview: The Word “Ethnic” – A Slur, Or An Essential Adjective?
10 Rules of Profitable Self Discipline from Napoleon Hill
AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 1)
AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 2)
AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 3)
AMA (Ask Me Anything): Here Are The Answers (Part 4)
AMA Answers Part 5 Plus A Medical Warning
Last AMA Answers (#6): Gear, Services and Success
A 7-Word Reminder: “Don’t correct people when it matters little.”
Do You Have A Plan? And Is It The Right One?
What’s Your Next Big Move? Are You Ready?
Build Your Future On Your Own Platform, Not Someone Else’s
I’m Leaving Facebook: Why Groups and FB Live No Longer Spark Joy
Time To Accept That I’ve Failed At Something – Happily
Crowdfunding Without The Internet: Pulitzer And The Statue Of Liberty
The Amazing Power Of Recognition And Badging
Might We Have A Possible Cause For Alzheimer’s?
Why Podcasting And Radio Are Out Of Whack
Value Enthusiasm, But Value Persistence More
Ten Ways To Make Money With Podcasts Besides Ads
One Quick Question To Find Out How Important Something Actually Is
The Workflow For Producing These Videos (So Far) Part 1
Why Not Wade? And…Why Not You?
Audiobook Narrators: How Paymasters Work, And The One I Recommend
Why Gen Z And Millennials’ Love For Audiobooks Is Crucial
American Idol: It’s All About Story, Not Just Singing
Less Beating Yourself Up, More Talking Yourself Up
Resist Oversharing. Instead, Start A Dialogue.
Vocal Care: It’s All About What Works For You
3 Biases You Should Be Aware Of
3 More Biases You Should Also Be Aware Of
Wow. People Really Grokked Biases. Let’s Tackle Fallacies.
Three More Fallacies You Need To Watch For
What’s Your Imprint?
Fallacy Follies, Volume 3
Two Last Big Creativity-Crippling Fallacies
Fail Sooner To Succeed Sooner
A New Lead Source For Performers: Voice Assistants And Smart Speakers
A Great Way To Handle Trolls and Haters
Quantity Does Not Usually Equal Quality
Is Facebook Truly A Monopoly? No More Than Microsoft Was.
Fear Of The Unknown, Or The Day Before My Surgery
A Strange Aspect To Performing That Should Be Cause For Protest, But Isn’t
Want To Grow? Don’t Go It Alone.
How Am I Doing? I’m Gobsmacked. That’s How Am I Doing.
Why I Give My Agents 10% Of Everything
Not Just Explainer Videos, But Video That Explain Things Spectacularly
Mental Floss To The Rescue: Skills You Can Pick Up On YouTube
What’s Better Than Willpower? Grit.
Regarding Apple’s App Store: Be Careful What You Wish For, Pepper
Of COURSE You Wonder What Porter’s Five Forces Are. Who Doesn’t?
Don’t Waste Your Time: Talk Shows Aren’t Meant To Be Fair
Sooner Or Later, I’m Really Going To Tick You Off
Just Because You Can Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Should
Wait, What? Audacity Records In The Background?!
Enjoy Your First Booking. Pay Close Attention To The Next Three.
Pattern Interruption And The Musicality Of Voice Over
Do You Still Have A Landline? Is It POTS? Wait, What’s POTS?
Increase Your VO Accuracy, And You’ll Increase Your VO Profits
Age Range Isn’t Really A Valid Metric For VO
What Is The Overton Window?
How To Stop Jealousy From Killing Your Progress
Even The Bible (And Game Of Thrones) Has One-Star Reviews
How Much Is Enough To Make Per Hour?
With Royalty Share Plus, ACX Makes Hybrid Stipends Official
Wait, Vices Can Be Good For Your Health?
What A Lovely Thing To Discover: Praise From CourVO
I Figured Out What I Provide: The Onboarding Performers Don’t Get
You Don’t Need Permission To Care Or Contribute
It’s Not Just You. It’s The Superstars, Too.
Do You Sometimes Think Irrationally? Maybe. Here’s How To Stop It.
The Struggle Of Announcer-y Versus Non-Announcer-y Voice Over
How My VAs Support Me And My Team
What Exactly Is “The Cloud?”
The Often “Most Difficult” Concept I Teach
Please Unsubscribe From This List. But Don’t Do This One Destructive, Lazy Thing.
Don’t Mistake The Joy Of Knowing For The Joy Of Doing
Why Giving Yourself Some Simple Homework Can Be Life-Changing
One Weird Trick I Do That Makes My Note-Taking Superhuman
The Worst Thing About The Biggest Money-Making Entertainment Category
What Can We Grab From A Schedule This Strict?
Get Better At Executing Today’s Plan By Starting Last Night
How To Create Useful, Organized Audition File Names
Where To Find Related PDFs For Audiobooks on Audible
I’m Halfway Finished. What Have You Valued Most? What Can I Do Better?
Our Digital Attention Span Is Incredibly Brief
“Serves You Right!” She Actually Has No Idea How Right.
Create A Safe Environment For Self-Improvement
Why I Use One Single Channel For Crucial Communication
The Even Cheaper AT-2020 USB Plus Microphone?
Fred Willard (and Billy West) On Quickly Creating Authentic VO Characters
Leo Makes Your Searching Spectacular
On Asking For Things Performers Can’t Do
How To Battle The Urge of “Efficiency”
One More Best-Of-Breed Way To Brilliantly Complain
Changing Audacity’s Sampling Rate To 48,000 Hz
10 Words Of Encouragement When You’re Stuck
One More Best-Of-Breed Way To Brilliantly Complain
Why You Must Wear Headphones When Recording
Two Cases Where You Might Not Want To Simply “Follow Your Passion”
Having Fun With Headphone Volume
Please Stop Rushing To Perform
Something To Consider: Everyone’s Internal Menu
One Crazy Key To Creativity: Pure, Unadulterated Boredom
For The Sheer Joy Of It
The Most Commonly Consumed Media Is…!
What’s Dangerous For Us To Care About
Please, Clever Copywriters…Stop Using This Term
Wait, Wait…What? They Actually Listened?!
Why You Should Take The Same Classes Twice
How Your Character’s Menu Informs Your Performance Choices
What Shouldn’t Be Your Metric For VO Success
Someone Awesome Who’s Also Rising To A 365-Day Challenge
Union Or Not, Start With Union Rates
O. M. G. Look What Matt Zurbo Did!
So Where Will That Huge Facebook Fine End Up?
The Root Words of “Typecast”
Avoid That One Obvious “That Worked” Sound We Make
Why Union Members Can Audition For Non-Union Work
200 Auditions. 1 Booking. A Ghost. Really?
I Can’t Do One Thing I’m Asked To Do Every Single Day
One Of Your Secret Weapons: Agility
Do Networking Events Make You Anxious? Let’s Fix That.
The Difference Between Mansplaining and Advice?
Project X Is Just About Ready. I’m A Bit Giddy.
Raw YouTube Captioning
hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and I just got back about five minutes
ago from an audition prep class for
on-camera I loved taking classes I
especially loved taking classes at
Howard fine with Marilyn McIntyre cuz
and I always learn stuff and I always am
able to draw on stuff and in this case I
was able to draw on something that we
had talked about in another video so one
of those videos that I’ve done during
the course of this year when we’re doing
these videos one a day was about how no
matter who you are no matter what your
attributes are you’re good you’re evil
you’re old you’re young you’re male
you’re female you’re one particular race
or another or religion whatever you have
a menu of items as you move through life
that you choose from in terms of your
actions based on where you are and
further your menu is different from
everybody else’s right depending upon
who you are and you always take the top
choice on the menu again no matter what
you know if you’re if you’ve been raised
a certain way and your environment is a
certain way you’re gonna choose the top
menu of your particular item and if
you’ve been raised with real you know
very different circumstances there’s
gonna be a different item at the top of
the menu so what was presented in this
class today and this was on self taping
and prep for going into studio front
camera but this is applicable to
voiceover as well as you sit there and
create your character no matter what
that character is and I’ll talk about
this I grabbed the video we shoot
samples in class I grab the video and in
this particular case we were given two
choices we had two monologues to choose
from to prepare for this particular
on-camera moment and in my case the only
one of the two videos that I could do
was this one that was actually created
for a female victim of an abuser but I
had to take it and make it my own and
what I’d love for you to do is watch
this and then afterwards in the comments
below this video tell me who you think I
am where I am
who I’m talking to and what my deal is
okay watch the video I look forward I
wish for those moments but they were few
and far between
I wanted whatever time and affection
you’d give me
no matter what it costs me I know that
wasn’t your first choice
but I was just happy to be somewhere on
the list so I let it happen
again and again and again
I tried to be casual I know you wanted
to keep me at arm’s length
you used me
and I let you because I really I cared
about you so much
I love you that’s what I’ve been trying
and that love is never wrong
even if it comes from the worst
circumstances whether it’s based on sex
or long conversations
or abuse okay creepy I know but where
was I who was I talking to more than one
person one person who were they what was
my situation well you know if you look
at the words if the words if you could
look at the words they were clearly
written for a woman to complain to her
abuser to to say to her abuser and to to
really you know call them on the fact
that even though they abused her she was
in love with them so I had to make it my
own in a completely different way and I
did I think but the thing is this action
this exercise you can use in voiceover
when you are deciding what your
character and their best option is the
good news is any writer any copyright or
any writer of a play or a screenplay
that you’d be in they already give you
what the choices are that they make so
you can work backwards and say okay this
helps me decide who this person is and
why that’s the choice that they make in
the script this isn’t just for creepy
evil villains it’s for you know salesman
number two with the car dealer who’s
like yeah well this weekend only we’ve
got a special deal with 0% down and 0%
financing why is that the first menu
item on the list or in an explainer
video why are they saying things the way
they’re saying things in a book in an in
the narration of a book you know you
have all these characters you’re playing
why is that the best choice they make
they have to make the top choice on the
menu list that’s just that’s just a
given right so it lets you work
backwards and really analyze your
characters so tell me if this helps you
tell me if this helps give you some
clues in terms of breaking down the
characters that you have to do either on
camera or on Mike or on stage or in
commercials or whatever comment below in
the box below this video I’d love to
know and I’d also love to know if you
sit there and you’re going
don’t know what you are talking about
menus items carrot what what let me know
I want to make sure because I want to
make sure this is useful for you so
we’re about two-thirds of the way
through the year and I’m I’m I’m getting
some ideas for things that I will not
only use on vo heroes calm but also on
other sites that I have and this is one
of them is kind of a key to one of them
so I’d love to know if you want to get
on my mailing list there’s a box below
it says get on the list we’d love to
have you in the meantime
I’m David H Lawrence the seventeenth
making the first choice is on my list
and I thank you so much for watching and
I will talk to you tomorrow.
I find it helpful, with just starting to “put my foot in the water” it gives me a place to start.
I think you are in the court room, on the stand. You are looking at the lawyer and then down at the lady who was your victim. Great job!
I’m getting that you’re talking to two people, your abuser and a counsellor or authority figure in a hospital room after being brought in to the hospital because you’ve been physically hurt.
I feel as though you were talking to more than one person. But your abuser is either in a casket or coma at hospital
My feeling is that you are in a couples therapy session with the therapist in front and your lover/abuser to your right. The fact that you are somewhat hesitant to use the word “sex” might be an indication that you are not actually comfortable discussing that aspect of your relationship – there could be a number of reasons for that. You are obviously still in love with this person, and are convinced that you need him or her. I would imagine the you are the one who has instigated the session.
For myself, I always start by discovering what the scene is about. What do I want, what must be done, and what is standing in my way, how do I overcome the obstacle. So I guess that is my “menu.” Good work, by the way…
You’re in a Court Room, playing to all in attendance, especially your victim.
I envisioned that you were at a crime scene talking to a policeman and the abuser that you had just murdered.
Looks like you were in a courtroom. You did something wrong. You were abused by someone and you used that as an excuse to do the deed (kill or hurt somebody). You were looking back and forth from the abuser to the lawyer. Your menu item would be validation. You are validating your actions because of the abuse and the deep connection you feel for the abuser.
I get the basic concept of the menu. I would probably have to practice it in order to get a better feel for it. I think you could be in a courtroom in the scene. Thanks for the video David.
I’m lost. You did a good job expressing the shame and emotion an abused woman would have for someone she thought cared, and later found out that her feelings weren’t shared. But other than that I am afraid I need to go to your links of classes and learn a lot more.