One Simple Trick for Better Radio Spots

'Fusilli, You Crazy Bastard'

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
We just finished up another round of radio spots. Just like the last round, they were well-written, which made them pretty easy to produce. The difference between the two sets of spots was one morning here in Portland with a great voice coach (and talent), Tom Chantler from San Francisco.

I spent time with Tom working on my delivery but, for some reason, I constantly put my producer hat on. Though I'm confident in my work as a producer, Tom pointed out some things that took it all to a level I didn't even know existed. I asked a bunch of questions about how I could get the most out of talent. Some of the answers were just reaffirming what I already knew, but there were plenty of new things that I learned that paid real dividends in the studio.

One of the tricks I learned is called the "read in." This is where the talent says something completely out of left field to get the mind and voice ready to deliver the copy well. Tom pointed out a cartoon from The New Yorker that works really well. In it, a rigatoni is on the phone with his good buddy fusilli who (I can only assume) he hasn't talked to in awhile. He says "Fusilli, you crazy bastard! How are you?!" The cartoon is pretty much non-sensical (OK, maybe not for The New Yorker regulars), but it works when trying to get the talent to be energetic.

In our session, one of the talent was having a bit of a tough time articulating the spirit of the copy. She was being an "announcer" and we needed storytelling. So I plopped a picture of my 5 month old son in front of the talent. I told her to say hello to him like she would if he were in front of her -- then read the copy. Worked like a charm and she nailed it.

In the studio, I felt an energy that I hadn't felt in awhile. I waved my arms to makes points, I stood up and applauded when we got the "money take," there were more smiles and the feeling that we were doing exceptional work for the client.

In the throes of creation, we tend to forget what made us and makes us successful. For our shop, it's all about the love, fun and energy.

Sometimes, it takes a crazy bastard fusilli to remind us of that.

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