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Is your read honest?

Updated: Jan 13, 2022




Each of us has weaknesses. Things that we know deep down don’t quite feel right and can hold us back from becoming better people. It could be procrastination, shyness, perfectionism or maybe one of the other hundreds of things that us fallible humans can be afflicted with. And what is really strange is that even though we recognize these flaws and understand how they hold us back, somehow it is so bloody hard to change them. Even though we know it would help us become better people. Being a human can be a real pain in the arse sometimes!


And like everyone else, I am not immune to this. I have many faults. Ask my wife and she will tell you they are too numerous to mention! But I have one that really holds me back. One that affects almost all aspects of my life. One that I am working so, so hard to improve. Ever since I can remember, I have always been a people pleaser. I want people to like me. Nothing made me feel better than getting the approval of others. This made me like a chameleon in social situations. So much so, I even subconsciously adjusted my accent when talking with a group of people who were not from where I was from. Weird? Yes, I suppose to those who do not have this tendency, that could be incredibly weird!


But that sounds pretty harmless I hear some people say. And, I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, there could be much worse psychological issues that I could be afflicted with. And you would probably be right. But that is the amazing thing about the human psyche. Everyone has such a wildly different way of looking at the world. It is part of what makes this rollercoaster ride of life so unique for each person.


So why is seeking approval such a problem? In the creative world, especially any type of acting and voiceover, your choices should be made based solely on an honesty from inside. As soon as you bring in the thought of what would others think about your choices, that truth is starting to be diluted, if not lost completely. And bringing your honesty to a character is probably one of the most important things you can do. It’s what connects you with audience. There is something intangible and ethereal about watching someone perform from a truly personally honest place.


And that can really affect your voiceover auditions. When I first started in voiceover, too many times my mind asked, “what are they wanting”, “what will they think?”, “will they like it?”. And when you are trying to figure out the honesty of any script, even a corporate narration or eLearning project, those questions are completely and utterly irrelevant when making your choices. All that matters is what does the script mean to you? How do you feel about it? How can you bring an honesty to the words on that page? Because, let’s face it, everything about what we do in voiceover is subjective. How in the world are you going to figure out what the casting director or production company is actually looking for? It’s hard enough to figure out what you think the script is trying to say without the additional pressure of imagining if that matches what “they” actually want. In most cases, they don’t even know what they bloody want!


Now, you would think that because I know my issue, I can fix it. That my knowledge and experience has taught me that caring what others think about my performances and auditions is irrelevant. If I am happy with what I did, then that is all that matters. Jeez, I wish it was as easy as that. Don’t get me wrong, I have improved my mindset on this since recognizing it was a problem. But it is so damn hard. Human nature seems to conspire to keep it bubbling under the surface. Just when I think I have a handle on it…BOOM…it comes back and reminds me I don’t have life figured out just yet!


And that’s OK. I have come to terms with it. It is something that I work on everyday which gives me focus on what to do in each audition. I recently posted my mission statement for this year on Linked-in which has over 1,500 views and many comments. I read it every day before I start work. And it really helps me. Especially the line “I am willing to make sure my files contain a part of me”. It is a constant reminder that I need to give my honesty to every read. Not anybody else’s. And why would I want to get in somebody else’s head anyway. That sounds waaaaay too scary! Especially if its anything like mine.


Craig Williams is a British Voice Over Actor based in Houston, Texas.



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9 Comments


This is a great reminder about keeping ourselves and our reads authentic, Craig The last line gave me an LOL!

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Gary Mason
Gary Mason
Jan 12, 2022

Some very smart people have told me we don't audition to get the job. We audition because we love what we do...and odds are we aren't getting the job anyway (I think the average is 5% or below depending on experience). If I can just remember that I'm not going to get the job anyway, I can bring my real self to the audition. Without, as Bryan Cranston says "...being invested in some outcome we can't control". If I'm not getting the job anyway, and I am doing this for me...my stress level goes to almost zero...and Lo and Behold...I book more jobs. Go figure.


After all, how can we REALLY know what someone else is thinking? And how ca…

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Craig Williams
Craig Williams
Jan 12, 2022
Replying to

Such wise words Gary and I love that Bryan Cranston clip where he talks about this. Thanks for the comment.

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Josh Alexander
Josh Alexander
Jan 12, 2022

Ha! "Being a human can be a real pain in the arse sometimes!" Best line ever. Better make those bumper stickers quick, or people won't like you! (D'oh!). Great blog as usual, Craig. You have pleased me.


Sincerely,

People

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Craig Williams
Craig Williams
Jan 12, 2022
Replying to

I really trying hard to stop getting excited about the fact that I have pleased you. Thanks for reading Josh.

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“I am willing to make sure my files contain a part of me”


I LOVE that line!!


Your relatability in this post gave me a good chuckle - my wife also helps me recognize my flaws. ;)


There was a lot of things I relate to in what you wrote! I sleep easier at the end of the day if I am able to be true to myself and hence the world around me. May 2022 be a year of sincerity!

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Craig Williams
Craig Williams
Jan 12, 2022
Replying to

Thanks for taking the time to reply Michael. May 2022 indeed be the year of sincerity. I wish you a good one......sincerely!

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Colin McLean
Colin McLean
Jan 12, 2022

Thought-provoking and cogent, as ever, Craig.


"Those who matter, don't mind; and those who mind, don't matter". Simplistic, sure. But it's a powerful mnemonic. We just can't please everyone, let alone all the time.


Learning to trust our instincts (as voice actors, in particular) takes time but has increasingly brought me both less anxiety (what do THEY want?) and far more 'likes' and indeed bookings.


"To thine own self be true .." If in doubt, be like Polonius. Only no hiding behind the curtains, please.

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Craig Williams
Craig Williams
Jan 12, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Colin. And that is a very goon mnemonic. And yep, Polonius was a top geezer! Or should I say Shakespeare as he is the one who wrote it!

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