Please Stop Rushing To Perform

Photo by Maico Amorim on Unsplash

Hey there!

It happened again.

I was in a remote demo recording session with a client, when I noticed she’d click the record button in Audacity, and immediately begin her read.

This isn’t necessary, and it can be destructive to your performance. Here’s what I mean by that.

Hope this helps!

David

Responses

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  1. Funny you should mention this topic! In addition to learning not to start recording like a race horse, I’ve also found that many times I have to record the very first few minutes of a book at least a couple of times to get the rhythm and cadence and get my body and voice to relax into it for a more natural sound. Good advice!!

  2. David,

    Funny you should mention this. Unconsciously, I have always done what you recommend. I guess it just seemed to be the most natural thing to do. On thinking back, though, I believe the reason is that the practice may have come from my earliest experiences on the stage where I started living in the moment as a part of being ready to make my entrance or waiting for the curtain to go up. Like, my character has a life that’s going on before that and it just continues after that. Does this make sense to you?

  3. As a former broadcaster, I was programmed to do this because, of course, radio is a real-time medium. I used to record direct to carts a lot, too. I find I still do this (i.e., ‘keep it tight’) on phone calls, just from habit, no doubt.

    Now, I just remind myself that there’s no cost involved anymore, just as when taking digital pics, recording per se doesn’t incur any cost; you can just delete anything you don’t ultimately need. As an engineer/geek, I tend to watch costs, but here, it’s not helpful! Just turn the thing on, record when you’re ready/set, and extract the good stuff from the overall session. But I confess, old habits die hard!

  4. Hey David,
    Thanks for the video! And yes, I’ve discovered over the last few years that this IS a thing. I just didn’t realize it affected others. I don’t do much in the way of on-camera or commercial VO work, I mainly concentrate on audiobook narration, but yeah, what you’re describing is what I call righting my ship before I perform. When recording an audiobook, I’ll hit record, then take a couple deep breaths before I start talking. It allows me to, as you said, get back in to a neutral state and allow the authors words to talk through me (yeah, maybe that sounds weird). But by righting my ship, I’m enabled to not be me anymore, and be whatever it is I’m performing.

  5. This is something that I do.! I’ve been making a conscious effort, having watched an editing video you made to take time, take a few breaths, beats, whatever you want to call them, take a breath, set my mouth to the first word and then go. It comes out so much better! I don’t know where the sense of urgency comes from to “get ‘er dun”, but I’m learning! I once had a boss who was totally into doing things quickly which fed into my Type A personality… yeah, lets blame him – LOL – NOT, I’m taking responsibility and learning and moving forward. Thanks David!!

  6. I actually take time even in my pickups when I feel I need it. It may take an extra second or two in the editing but I find it makes the quality much better.

    Glad to know it’s in line with best practice.

  7. When I do auditions, especially for audiobooks I definitely read the audition through a few times before I begin recording. Another VO friend who does audiobooks said it takes her about 20 minutes of reading the book (when she’s doing an actual job) to get “lost” in it like David mentioned.

  8. This is the same overall idea that I tell my piano students.
    “Think and then play”: never, “Play and then think”!
    Therefore: “Think and then read”: never, “Read and then think”!
    It works so well for fine performances!

  9. I like what you said about your face not being in a good position to record if you start quickly. Great advice. Thanks for the video David.

  10. As a former broadcaster, I was programmed to do this because, of course, radio is a real time medium. Are used to record direct to cards a lot, too. I find I still do this (i.e., ‘keep it tight’), on phone calls, just from habit, no doubt.

    Now, I just remind myself that there is no cost involved anymore; just as when taking digital pics, recording per se doesn’t incur any cost; you can just delete anything you don’t ultimately need. As an engineer/geek, I tend to watch costs, but here, it’s not helpful! Just turn the thing on, record when you’re ready/set, and extract the good stuff from the overall session. But, I confess, old habits die hard!

  11. And as far as extra space at the end, while I am not a golfer, I have certainly come to appreciate the concept of follow-through. Finish the swing and come to a natural rest. You can hear it in your voice.