Let’s talk about the Oscars shall we? Of course I watched the show this year to see Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing the song, “Shallow” from the movie “A Star is Born.” What a steamy performance.
I had to put the air conditioner on high to cool down my TV screen, it was throwing off some major heat and this was in February mind you.
Following the Oscars I read and heard from several trusted sources (yeah right) that there’s speculation that Stephanie (Gaga) and Bradley are in love, but here’s my take on it.
No, I don’t think Gaga and Bradley are in love, I think it was a well-crafted and orchestrated performance. After all, they are actors right? They wanted us to feel something from their performance and we did. Isn’t that what we strive for as voice over actors?
We get a script from a marketing firm with a bunch of sentences written about a pillow, jam, or truck, and it’s our job to read between the lines and figure out what the writer is really trying to say.
We want to bring those words to life. We look for those keywords to emphasize the message we’re trying to get across – whether it’s the bigger burger or the smooth taste of yogurt.
Who are we talking to? Who am I? How do we want our audience to feel? What is it we’re really selling?
Are we selling yogurt because it’s a diet food and good for you or are we selling a yummy low calorie, smooth, decadent, rich and creamy tasting healthy treat, that you get to eat any time you want.
Are we selling a ring or are we selling that special moment, that lasting memory that we’re making with the person who gave us that ring? It really changes the way we look at a script. It’s a miniature story.
Since I am a voice over actor, another thing I paid great attention to while watching the Oscars was the voice that was doing all the announcing of the nominees and presenters.
Yes, there is a real live person sitting in a tiny back room behind the curtain, in a production trailer behind the theater, or possibly in a closet somewhere.
A woman sitting with a notebook, microphone, and monitor waiting to announce the names of all the participants in real time.
A bit stressful I would think, but for this woman – no worries. She handles the pressure with ease.
I did some research and found that Randy Thomas is the voice of the Oscars.
Randy started out as a DJ in Detroit and was on the radio for over 20 years. In 1993 she was the first woman in history invited to audition for the Oscars.
Not only did she get the job that year but she’s been the announcer for 10 years. That one job changed the course of her life.
She is now the voice of just about everything. She’s the live voice of Entertainment Tonight, Nightline, The Emmys, The Tony Awards, and too many others to mention.
Randy teaches voice over classes, she’s written a book on VO, she hosts a podcast with her husband, and she is in demand for voice over work in just about every category. Let’s face it, she is at the top of the ladder in the voice over industry and she inspires me.
While watching the Oscars, I found myself listening closely to the way Randy announced each name.
She had such a warm silky, sexy tone with just the right attitude that made each person coming up to the podium feel like they were special. She has one of those voices that is just pleasing to the ear.
Don’t you wonder why and how she got picked for this job? Yup, me too.
Does she have an amazing agent who pitched her to the Oscar committee? Who are those people that chose her? How many auditions did they listen to before choosing her?
Why did they choose her. I would like to know how much she got paid, wouldn’t you? After all, a gazillion people heard her that night. Shouldn’t she get paid big bucks? I hope she made a bundle. She’s worth it.
The other things I thought about while listening to her were: Does she get to practice all those weird names beforehand? What if she mispronounces one of them or comes in wrong?
What if she gets a horker in her throat and chokes? Do they have any rehearsals or does she have to do a cold read?
I know she said that being a DJ really helped her because she was so used to talking to an audience on the radio that she felt very comfortable in a live announcer application for the Oscars.
I’m sure the committee who hired her took that into consideration, too.
Preparing for the Oscars
Randy was asked how she prepares for the Oscar show and she said that she does all that she can to stay healthy.
She said she eats well most of the time but about a month before the Oscar show she tries to eat exceptionally well, meditate, do a little yoga, stay away from foods that create phlegm, remove acid forming foods like oranges, hydrate and avoid sugar.
Sugar weakens our immune systems and when we’re under stress and pressure we’re more likely to get sick. I know that’s true for me.
When I’m anxious or under stress I crave sugar. I used to eat sweets when that craving called and sure enough I would get a cold, usually within a day or so of eating that big piece of chocolate cake.
If I’m going to blow my healthy diet, it might as well be with a hunk of cake. I’m much more in control these days and I haven’t had a cold in a long time and feeling better than ever. I’ve been a vegetarian and health foodie for most of my life but once in a while I’ve just got to have some carbs or dessert.
In wrapping up this first blog, I found an interview with Randy Thomas on the TOMGIRL show.
I thought you might like to watch it for yourself and learn a bit about the voice behind the Oscars. I found it fun, interesting and helpful.
There are so many genres these days for voice actors to get into: medical narration, e-learning, web video narration, podcasts, commercials, radio etc. but I hadn’t really thought that much about the live announcer application.
If you look around in your own community you will see that there are opportunities to speak live.
- concerts etc.
It might be a nice diversion from hanging out in that little booth or closet day after day.
We all need to get out from behind those computers, phones, and dark tiny spaces to see some real live people for a change. Who knows, maybe when Randy gets tired of announcing the Oscars, or the Tony’s, or Nightline, or the Emmy’s one of us may step in and take her place.
I wouldn’t count on it happening anytime soon but you just never know. Keep on keepin’ on no matter where you are in your career.