Jodi Gottlieb is one of my favorite people in the business. She is a fantastic director and teacher, as well as a super fun and spunky person. When directing in the booth, I love her specificity and her “keep it simple” perspective. I was blessed to meet her several years ago at a workshop when I was first entering the promo market and she really had an impact on my career. She made my promo demo, which still gets rave reviews!
RF: Can you define exactly what promo is from your point of view – its purpose and how the voice actor fits into the equation?
JG: Promo is a commercial for a TV show. Instead of asking the viewer to spend money, you’re asking the viewer to spend time. Since everyone likes a good story, it’s a tease for what comes next. The job of the VO actor is to point to the image on the screen. The VO is another layer of the storytelling.
RF: Are there any devices that writers use when creating scripts that actors should be aware of to do their job better?
JG: There are many devices. We use contrasting words (“in/out”, “up/down”, “day/night”, “dream/nightmare”, to name a few). We use pop culture references minimally but it helps to stay on top of the current buzzwords. We make turns in the copy (when you see the words “but,” “until,” “and,” etc., that indicates a change in tone). There are many others so the more you listen, the more it will feed your intuition and understanding of promo.
RF: How did you get into promo writing and producing?
JG: I was a commercial producer and had just started freelancing when I got a call from a friend of a friend at CBS. He needed someone to run a contest and he thought I would be perfect. The job was supposed to last 3 weeks. I ended up staying for 10 years.
RF: What’s a typical day on the job like for you? What does it entail?
JG: There’s no such thing as a typical day. Ideally, I can screen a show, write the copy and get creative and legal approvals and then start production. But air schedules change and then the whole day blows up.
RF: What’s your favorite part of your job?
JG: I think I like facing a blank document and seeing what comes out.
RF: What do you listen for in a performance? What makes it stand out?
JG: Sincerity and an understanding of the nuances in promo copy are only two important aspects in casting and directing. In order to stand out, talent has to be willing to let their personality come through while also honoring the rhythm and intention of the spot.
RF: Any advice to newcomers who want to become working voice talent, and specifically promo talent?
JG: Listen! Listen to what airs. Listen to what you’re doing. Listen! Find a good coach and keep studying. Take workshops. But most importantly, don’t try to mimic anyone else. Be yourself.
RF: Big thanks Jodi; wonderful advice and information!
You can follow Jodi online on Facebook (Jodi Gottlieb VO) and Twitter (@jodigottliebvo)
Jodi will be our guest for the VO Pro Series at Deyan Institute this coming Saturday August 9th from 10am-1pm. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about promo (or brush up on your skills!) now is the time!
Take advantage of this great price to work with a true veteran of the industry! Sign up now at https://deyaninstitute.com/vo-pro-series.html
About Rachel: Rachel Fulginiti is a voice actor, audiobook narrator and blogger represented by William Morris Endeavor in Los Angeles. She runs the VO Pro Series at Deyan Institute and can be found online at http://rachelfulginiti.com/
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