Most of my job is around one task. Produce great dialogue. Book the sessions, get the scripts together, make sure the money’s lined up, confirm with the talent, unchain the director, and engineer the session. Fine, easy, done it a bunch. What could go wrong? Recording VO is tough. There are usually 3 or 4 people in the studio, and everyone needs to know the role they’re in and how to play it best. The best advice I ever heard as an engineer is, “Be invisible.” I took it to heart, trying to stay out of the way, be as helpful as possible, and do my best to deliver a good result. Don’t get in the way of the director, and don’t chime in your thoughts unless asked. Best advice I’ve heard as a director is, “You should pay more, this shit is dark.” It was, and we do. Whether you’re the script supervisor, sitting in for the writers, or directing a new actor or a veteran, do your job, and do it well. It’ll be great, now do it for another 100 hours and maybe it’ll get better. That said… This is probably a good time to reiterate that I don’t tell stories from the studio. It’s a sacred space, people make themselves vulnerable, and they don’t need to worry you’re going to trash talk them at the bar. Well, it’s been quite a week. Things to never ever EVER do during a dialogue session as an actor:
- Deviate from the copy.
- After every take ask the director, “Like that?” Especially if it is in the same breath as the take, so I have to clean up that edge in RX.
- Burp into the mic, then wink at me.
- When the director asks if you’re feeling all right, this is code for, “Your voice sounds different from yesterday, and we are concerned.” It is not a good thing.
- Show up 15 minutes early the first day, 15 minutes late the second, and no call no show the third day thinking we were done, despite our confirming the day with you and your rep, and there being 8 pages on the schedule.
It’s been a week, and it’s only Tuesday. Photo is of Deb Perelman’s Carrot Graham Cake. One of the best things I’ve ever made.