• Jeffrey N Baker - Voice Actor

I’M A TOOL

Yup! I’m a tool alright. Whoa, that’s being pretty mean to myself. Shame on you, self. Shame.

Ha!

No, I don’t actually mean it in that kind of way. What I mean is that I’ve always seen myself as a director’s conduit through which their vision is displayed. Which is a fancy way of saying… a tool. Like a pencil or a brush or chisel.

It's something I learned during High School theatre and into community theatre. While I may have my own artistic direction, it's the director that takes priority. They have the whole vision before them and it’s my job to trust them and adjust my performance to match their notes.

That time has proved to be one of the most valuable lessons for everything I've done within a team setting. At school, critiques weren't devastating to me. The teacher was my director and their notes were meant to help me be better. While my classmates crumbled, I flourished.

As an animator, it's my job to listen to the client (sometimes that client is my boss!) and provide them their vision. Even when I don't agree! It doesn't matter, it's their vision. So as their tool I move with their direction.


“I play within the copy...but if my take isn’t what the [director] wants, well then it’s wrong...” — Me


When working with my voice coach Marc Cashman, I can safely say it's my strongest asset. Every note is added and addressed in the next take. I easily adjust and pivot to provide exactly what he asks for. Yes, I play within the copy and add my artistic stamp, but if my take isn’t what the director/coach/teacher/boss wants, well then it's wrong and I need to adjust. There is no pushback or argument. Fold in the change to your performance. In the end, everyone will be happier for it.

Because you know what happens when a tool resists doing the job? It either breaks or gets tossed for one that works with the user.

Be a tool.

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