One of the Big Two reasons I’m over in the US right now is recording my new character demo reel with the exceptionally talented Scott Burns, which I just did yesterday. It was a blast, and I got everything I was hoping for out of the experience.

It’s almost two years to the day since I recorded my last demo with Scott, and I felt the difference in how comfortable I was, if nothing else. The recording booth is my temple, my workshop. I feel at home there, and come to it with a reverence and focus on the task at hand. Which is a nice evolution – it’s not so long ago that I was more nerves than anything else in someone else’s booth.

I’d forgotten what a wonderful luxury it is to have someone direct you, having a second ear listening to what’s going on, and steering you toward a result. Scott and I talked about how he was updating his own demo soon, and he mentioned he should probably get someone to work on it. And I completely agree – you need a fresh ear to fall in love with all of the qualities of your voice that make it fantastic that you’ve lost clarity on yourself over time.

It was also invaluable having someone else direct when jumping between nine different characters over an hour and a bit, to help position them uniquely in terms of sound and emotional content, so I could just focus on giving the best performance I could. At the same time, I can see the next steps in terms of improvement. I’m not satisfied by a long shot yet. I wish I’d had time to attend Crispin Freeman’s Character Types workshop before choosing the copy for the demo in particular, but it’s been a mad few months. And I feel more and more like I’m in the right place at the Melbourne Actor’s Lab – getting that honest emotional connection to a line is something I need to work on making more consistent. When it happens, it’s amazing. You feel like you can throw lightning with your hands. You’re alive.

Dont’ get me wrong though – I’m proud of the work I did, and I can’t wait to hear the finished result. Rest assured I’ll be putting it up everywhere.