Putting the $%*@ in You Recipe – The Value of a Curse Word
– any kind of script
– home studio
– talent who can self direct
– creative imagination
Once you have these ingredients perfectly blended add a curse word or two!
Yes you read right: I am encouraging you to curse. For many people curse words are terrible. They are derogatory, rude, and vulgar—especially on a female. I have to admit to you that I am someone who swears, but I’ve never found swears to be awful, only the intention behind them. In fact these nasty little words have helped my career. Don’t get me wrong, I agree it can be very unattractive to hear people cursing, especially when they have negative intentions, but I would like to take this opportunity to prove to you that a curse word is only as bad as its intention.
Swears or curse words are used in different contexts daily. If you are a very wholesome, church going personality, you may hate these powerful little words, but even if you don’t use swear words, you probably still curse. So no matter how you curse, I want to show you how you can use this to your advantage.
I’m not the only coach who practices this method, because it’s very successful, but it seems that when many of us curse, we enjoy it. We are extremely passionate about the word/words we are using so there is a ton of emotion that is quickly tapped into whenever you need it.
One thing that is missing for a lot of talent is energy and passion in their read. Of course there are many things to factor in for good energy and passion, but if you are finding that you are struggling to bring out an emotion or energy, try swearing right before or right after your line. So let’s say the line is a commercial, “It’s on sale for $599”. Add a curse word in front of it, (BUT MEAN IT WHEN YOU SAY IT) “Holy Crap….It’s on sale for $599.” If used effectively this will give much more passion to the sale price and in turn make it sound much more organic. You have to be careful when using this method. Much like using a lead in line to get you into the scene, you have to leave a slight gap between the curse word and the actual line of dialogue so that you can edit out the swear, so you really have to know how to use this effectively. I dare you to try it! Voice something without the curse word, then add the curse word and see if it changes. Again if done properly with tons of feeling, it should make a significant impact on the realism of the read.
One time I had an audition for ‘Pirates of the Carribbean’ Video game at home. My daughters were in town visiting so I asked them to come in and listen in and give me feedback or egg me on sort of thing. And of course they did! When they were making fun, they ended up making fun of me and it bled over one of my lines, so in character I said, “Are you talking over my %&^(*& (insert F word here) lines?” It was really funny. In fact it was so funny I decided to BEEP out the swear word and add it as an outtake to my audition (another great trick if you know what you’re doing). Wouldn’t you know I landed the job. So that little swear helped me stand out.
Try replacing words in the script with swears or curse words, then try and read it again with the proper word, hitting the same intention as you do when it’s a curse word. You would be amazed at what a universal language curse words are. So even if you don’t swear, you can still use other words that give you the same idea. In fact if you don’t swear and you are clever like, “MotherFather” instead of the, “MotherF___er”, you might be able to keep the curse word as part of the script. An adlib that your character might say, etc. You might even get extra money for the extra words.
Of course you have to be very careful here as many people are very offended by curse words, and may be turned off of you if you are using them in your files. So use your best judgment. Have some fun, and try it out.
Let me know your results. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at anytime
I look forward to hearing from you
Until Next ‘Frickin’ Time Everyone
All my best
VO Chef Deb (Aka Deb Munro)