I was asked to voice a bank commercial. I sent through a custom demo and it was approved by most of the team. (This was one of those setups with a committee of decision makers.)
Someone in the client team wasn’t convinced I was “the one” and requested a directed audition. The colleague hiring me told me there had been 100+ emails back and forth already about the project. This might have been a red flag, but I shrugged it off and agreed to the Skype audition.
The person directing the session was Simon. We got on Skype and Simon was giggly and effusive. “Look, I’m not a voice actor…” he began, then proceeded to give me a line reading. It wasn’t good. Another red flag moment.
Simon told me the client wanted a storytelling tone (the script wasn’t a story by any stretch of the imagination.) He also told me the client wanted it conversational. We gave it a go. Simon wasn’t happy. Next, he became obsessed with the idea of inflection. He wanted more of it. Inflect up on one line, down on the next, for variety. I politely suggested it might be best to let the inflection follow the meaning of the sentences, but Simon needed his inflections the way he needed them, so I went with it.
Then Simon’s boss joined the conversation. He wanted natural, conversational – inflection flew out the window. I could do that. But he also wanted me to sound like Sean Connery. (Red flag #3.) Ten takes later the session ended with Simon still unhappy on the inflection front and his boss no doubt deeply disappointed I wasn’t Sean Connery. Later that day I heard they’d decided to go with a male voice instead – someone with a “sharp, clear voice” like Sean Connery…
An acting teacher of mine used to say, “Rejection is protection.”