Picture courtesy Abbey Theatre. Production: The Shadow of a Gunman.
Being asked to send in a voice over test is a wondrous thing. By letting your ideological brain run amok for a moment, you can begin to dream-spend the money you will earn from that five-year voice over contract with the Irish Creamery Society. If the universe smiles at you, you may very soon be lavishing your friends with Medjool dates, Kurt Geiger loafers, and Central London property. And then there is the prospective fame... Farmers high-fiving you as you venture out for a stroll near your new country manor with Persephone, your 9-week-old Bedlington Terrier, staff at the ice cream parlour in the village sliding your money back at you with a 'we got ya this time' wink. Oh, the possibilities! But first there is the important task of recording the bloody thing.
Now, if you're reeeeally lucky (or smart and a bit well-off), you might have a little makeshift- or even proper- recording booth in your home. Mediumly-lucky smarties have some sort of fancy microphone at the very least. But for the rest of us, a voice over test request means that the time has come to climb into the nearest wardrobe. Yes, that's right. For all you novices out there, a wardrobe ain't half bad as fake recording booths go. True, it has its hidden dangers as one poor audio book narrator discovered in the hilarious Radio Drama episode of This American Life. But for the most part, it's a handy and well-behaved cupboard with a pretty nice acoustic and just enough room for a pillow, a script, and a smartphone. Oh, and you of course.
Cosy, and no fawns in sight.
Trouble is, I’m an extremely touring actor and occasionally I find myself in a hotel room that doesn't have a wardrobe. First of all, like HUH?!? and b) what's a girl to do..? I'll tell you what: BUILD A FORT! Remember when you were seven and you spent three days climbing around inside a series of tunnels made out of sofa cushions and old bed sheets? And remember when your mum told you to get out of there and make something of your pathetic little self? (No? Just me then?) Well, now you can build your most ambitious fort yet and call it work! Stick that in mother's pipe! (…Just mine then?)
Utterly justifiable fort-building is one of the many perks of this brilliant job. So don't delay, grasshopper. Drag that old mattress into a corner, grab as many soft furnishing accessories as you can find, and get to it. Think The Two Towers, think Grand Designs, think David Bowie's freaky castle in The Labyrinth. Once satisfied with your creation, pay the builders and settle in. Then simply press record and sell, sell, sell! And after you've nailed that Creameries voice over test, you can celebrate with some nostalgic and brand-positive cream buns. And the coolest bit of all is that you get to eat them IN A FORT!!!
Now all it needs is to unleash your inner child, and maybe a few blankets...
Written by Amy McAllister.