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VO4TA: Casting is not direction

Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at

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HPK VO Rule No. 33:  Casting is not direction.


When I invite classes to bring their own copy to read for critique, I always specify that they need to bring some kind of direction with it as well.


Frequently, they will have on the page something like this:   


DIRECTION - Female 25 to 35.  


That is not direction.  It is casting.  


That sentence does not say at all “how” the read is done.  All it speaks of is the “who” the producer of the spot (let’s say) wants to hear reading the spot; not the way the spot is to be read.   


“Warm and relatable with confidence and experience. Excited but not over the top.”  That is a description of the way the voice should sound.  


“African American male: 30 to 40” is not a direction.  


“African American male 30 to 40.  Intelligent and friendly.  Concerned with his retirement options and wants to learn more” is a direction.  


Actually it’s even more than that.  It’s spec.  

“Spec” (short for specifications or specifics) is the combination of casting and direction.  It is a description of WHO the actor is and HOW the producer wants the spot read.


“Who” and then “How.”  Essential, but very different.  




If you liked this post take a look at:

Decide who you are talking to

Direction No. 1

Imitation, Emulation, Innovation



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This is a personal weblog.  The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own and are not those of any of my employers.




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