Monday, October 18, 2010

The fast talker

I had an audition this morning -- my first in two weeks, but this is not about complaining about that -- and as soon as I finished the first take I called out direction to myself, which I'm often guilty of doing, trying to anticipate and head off the casting director.

And when I do it, I always say the same thing: "Slow it down, right?"

I've always been a fast talker. It used to be I talked so fast I slurred and stumbled right over my words, and when I'd give presentations I'd charge through them at warp speed.

Acting has helped me slow down and enunciate. And vocal exercises and warm-ups have helped ("red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather). But I still have to physically make myself slow down.

I think it comes from self-consciousness. One of my worst fears is to be a bore (contrary to how this blog usually goes), running on at the mouth while people squirm and look around the room for an escape. I'm constantly thinking as I'm speaking, "Is this going too long? Is this interesting? Are they bored? Should I wrap it up?"

I suppose erring toward the self-conscious is preferable to being oblivious. But sometimes I think that contributes to an impression of me as reserved, or even shy. Finding a balance is something I continually work on.

Oddly, of all the talkers from Seinfeld -- the high-talker, the low-taker, the close talker -- I don't think they ever had a fast-talker. Probably not as much comedy potential there. Yup, this is serious business ...

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