A friend of mine is a senior marketing student. She and two of her classmates are putting together their final project, for which they decided to produce a series of 3 commercials for a fictitious new model of Jaguar. The copy they wrote contained a recurring spokesman, intended to be a take-off on the urbane British voice that usually pitches Jaguar. In this case, they wanted him to come off as something more like the Crocodile Hunter – whatever his name is – from TV. Although my friend had never seen me do any sort of British accent (for the record, I’ve done quite a few roles with such accents), she took a chance and asked me if I’d be willing to help out.
Let me tell you, this was fun! It was only voiceover, so there was no lighting or costumes to clutter up the fun. They encouraged me to improvise, and I guess I was feeling it tonight. The fact that the three women watching and recording me were constantly straining to keep from laughing out loud only served to inspire me to, well, try to make them laugh out loud!
A particularly gratifying moment came when one of them explained to me that they had written the copy with a certain interpretation in mind – only none of them could do it. She was amazed and delighted that I’d done exactly what she’d heard in her head while writing the piece, even though I hadn’t received any prior notes or direction. I returned the compliment, pointing out that what they were looking for was quite plain in the words they had written and all I had to do was go with that.
All in all, a fun and very ego-stroking night! Thanks, I needed that!
Oh yeah, one other thing – They asked me what they could pay me for my trouble. Truth be told, I was prepared to do it for nothing, but when they started talking like that, I decided to listen. They floated several ideas of what they could offer, but when they uttered the phrase, “restaurant gift certificate,” I felt a stirring deep within my soul (or perhaps it was my stomach). I told them that they could give me whatever amount they deemed appropriate in the form of a gift certificate from McCormick & Schmick’s. They seemed happy with that, and I can assure you that I am as well. Yeah baby!!!