Does anybody watch TV without the DVR running in the background any more? Either way, your homework assignment for tonight is to play back pay a prime-time or prime-time access program and pay special attention to the commercials.
Right. The thing that we all typically fast-forward THROUGH is the very thing I want you to examine with intense scrutiny.
You’ve heard of this? Oh!… You’ve DONE this?
Well…when was the last time you tried this little exercise? ‘Cause if you aren’t doing this at least once a month, you might be falling behind trends. Here are a couple of suggestions for your homework:
- listen to each ad at least 2-3 times
- ignore the gender of the talent (don’t dismiss it because of that)
- how would you do the spot? (same/diff)
- is the talent’s technique something you could approximate?
- give regional/national spots the same scrutiny
- be honest with yourself when the age/approach/ability of the talent is outside your wheelhouse
- pay special attention to timing, inflection, pacing, conversational?, and attitude.
Pick a commercial you can picture yourself doing, and transcribe it. Copy it down word-for-word. Now take that script to your studio and cut it yourself. Maybe you’ll want to try it exactly the way THAT talent did it first, just to put yourself in that space…then try it your own way in the second cut.
Why do all this?
The spot you see on TV (this works for radio too), is the audition that won the gig! She/he did SOMETHING right. That talent offered the client or producer something different from the other 99 auditions that came in — OR — that talent had the sound that the client was especially looking for. That talent booked it!
When you start to hear that sound on enough spots, then you know it’s a sound that may be gaining momentum in the culture THAT WEEK. Can you do that sound? Do you want to do that sound? Should you get some coaching to get that sound?
Well, don’t get too married to it, ’cause in a couple of months something else will come down the pike. For us guys, you know each of the following names have come up time and time again in audition directions: Morgan Freeman, Tim Allen, and Mike Rowe. And I wish I had thought of the delivery for the Hardees/Carl’s Junior spots (the absolute deadpan, uninterested delivery?). That is STILL around!
OK, now… get busy. I’ll expect your report by the end of the week. 😉