How Your Character’s Menu Informs Your Performance Choices
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
In a recent video, I talked about the concept of every single human being making decisions on actions based on their individual personal menu, and how they always, without fail, go with the number one choice they have.
Even when that choice results in disaster.
Here’s how you can use that concept to help create and place your characters.
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 in a recent video I talked about
something that I learned just recently
just a few years ago about the human
condition and the fact that no matter
who you are and no matter how good you
are no matter how evil you are no matter
how knowledgeable you are no matter how
ignorant you are you have a personal
internal menu that you draw upon to make
choices about your actions and further
whatever’s on that menu whatever items
you can choose from on that menu you
always choose with you know you choose
what you consider to be the number-one
choice the best choice on that menu even
if you’re an evil creepy villain you
know and the number-one choice on the
menu is to destroy the universe well
that’s you know that’s your internal
and it got me thinking about the idea of
using that internal menu to help you
create and modify and place in space
your characters that you create both on
camera and in in in in the case that I
was thinking about on mic for voiceover
certainly there’s a part of acting that
talks about you know prior moments and
sense-memory and and you know emotional
recall and all kinds of actory phrases
that depending upon how you learned how
to act kind of point to the same thing
and that is kind of fitting into putting
your fingers in your character’s finger
slots and having your heart beat as your
character’s heart and seeing through
your character’s eyes and I think one of
the things that we often gloss over
because we don’t look at the script
closely enough or because we don’t think
it’s there it’s always there the words
always do the heavy lifting for you and
what I want to talk to you about in this
video is the idea of trying to determine
what your role your character in the
piece that you’re recording or that
you’re on camera is shooting what their
internal menu is and further what their
number-one choice is and this goes back
to what’s your motivation what are you
trying to achieve what are you trying to
stop the other character from getting or
help the other character get right if
you put it in terms of a menu if you put
it in terms of okay this person has this
kind of damage or has this kind of
background or has this kind of attitude
or has this kind of of framework this
kind of reference point what would be
their menu what would be the things that
they choose and sometimes it’s really
easy if you’re playing a villain if
you’re playing a bad guy well you know
that menu is very different from the
heroes menu it’s very different from the
victims menu and your number one choice
is always you know bringing danger and
destruction and and the most interesting
characters are the ones that are
conflicted about those things but even
with voiceover even the most mundane
commercial when you think about it in
the in the vast spectrum of characters
that you could create salesman number
if salesman number two’s whole role in
the commercial is to say
yeah and it’s selling really well or now
we got that color for you whatever it is
something to help move the story along
what’s their menu and then what’s the
number one thing on their menu in that
case it would probably be you know their
menu is they want to help the customer
out they want to help the customer do
whatever the job is that they’re trying
to do in the commercial paint the house
or repair the deck or buy a car or you
know get some cleanser or whatever it is
right and their number one choice is to
now you think yourself well that’s kind
of obvious but sometimes it isn’t
obvious sometimes when we tend to think
about I got to get the words right
I got to make sure I do this in 30
seconds am i approaching the microphone
properly am i addressing the mic
properly instead of the thing that you
should be focused on and that is what am
I trying to help get accomplished with
this what is my role in the greater
scheme of this particular script and you
always need to treat your script no
matter how sales it is no matter how
corporate it is no matter how political
it is no matter how dramatic or comedic
it is you have to treat that script with
respect and you have to dive in and
figure out what your character is all
about and I tend to think all the time
what are my characters choices what’s
the number one choice what’s the choice
that they would go to immediately not
what would I go to as a voice talent or
as an actor but what would they do what
what what’s their motive what’s their
and I think thinking about it in terms
of what’s their menu what are their
choices what’s the number-one choice
that will always help you identify their
motivation and always help you identify
what their part is in the universe of
that particular production so does this
help is there now something new that I
can give you I’m gonna do a whole video
coming up on what not to do when you sit
down with copy because I had to deal
with that just the other day but does it
give you something like a touchstone
like instead of this sort of amorphous
well what are their motivations how
about what’s their menu what are the
choices that they have what’s the number
one choice asking yourself that question
or those series of questions is that
helpful is that something that you might
try is that something that you might
that might lead you to a more natural
read a more natural and realistic read
that lets you you know really settle in
on what your characters trying to
accomplish I hope so let me know in the
comments below there’s comments space
below this video on vo to go go comm I’d
love to I’d love to have you leave me a
comment about this particular item cuz
it’s kind of you know performer II there
are people who watch these videos that
aren’t performers in like wow so let me
know let me know in the comment below
and and also if you’d like to join my
list I’d love to have you because I I
deliver things like this on a regular
basis I’m trying to help you make your
voiceover career super spectacular join
my list there’s a subscribe box
somewhere on the page just click on the
link and it’ll open up to a forum and
you can join my list and if you’d like
to see the latest episode that I’ve done
of these one-a-day videos just go ahead
and click that frame there and YouTube
will play it for you because that’s what
they do I’m David H Lawrence xvii
I appreciate you watching and I will
talk to you tomorrow.