Breaking Out to Break Through
By Rudy Gaskins
June 4th, 2021
If you’re an airplane pilot, or a heart surgeon, following strict procedure is exactly what you need to do your job and safeguard lives. No matter what your profession, establishing structure through good habits, routines, and rituals is essential to success. But what happens when that structure becomes constricting when your routines become rote? If voice acting is your life’s work, routine can feel like handcuffs on your imagination. Disrupting routine and letting the imagination run wild is essential to doing your best work. Yet, voice actors unwittingly allow themselves to fall into a routine.
It often starts in the recording booth. Like an airplane pilot in their cockpit, the voice actor’s booth becomes a static place where they check all the boxes, take off, and land. They sit or stand the same way for every project. The booth is where they receive and rehearse scripts, record and edit auditions, train and coach, talk with friends, and even seek refuge from everything else going on at home.” While it can be initially thrilling to have a “room of one’s own” dedicated to furthering their craft, too much isolation and stasis can become a toxic recipe for dulling the creative senses. The scary part is that you don’t even know it’s happening. Here are a few tips to help you shake things up.
- Get out of the vocal booth. Recognize that the purpose of your vocal booth is to record high-quality sound. That’s pretty much it. It is not an ideal rehearsal space. Shake things up by finding other spaces that are more conducive to rehearsing, and freeing yourself to think differently about the project – outdoors, indoors, anywhere but the booth.
- A performance evolves when you engage your body. Walk around as you rehearse the script. Allow your body movement to express the words and ideas. Reach, stretch, jump, and roll around. Feel the sun or the rain on your body as you rehearse. Avoid whatever seems reasonable and be unreasonable. You can do anything!
- Try things on. Whatever strikes you as an automatic “not for me” or ”I never do it that way,” try it on for size. You can always put it back on the rack, but try it on with an open mind and see how things look from a different point of view.
- Keep up this practice until you’re surprised and delighted by your own inner inspiration. Then, find new ways to keep it evolving.