Reading Between The Lines Part II

Reading Between The Lines Part II

Posted by John in Articles

Reading Between the Lines – Part 2

What Does Copy Really Mean?


Mix one part direction

One part Talent Choices

One final sripts

Add a ton of creativity and stereotypes

Mix together until you have it all figured out


When there are so many elements to reading copy, it’s hard to know what the director or client really wants.  Some are very good at describing and directing what they want, but most are not.  That is where our creativity and imagination come in.  It’s so important as a talent that you read between the lines.  So what does that really mean?

It is our job to decipher what the director or client wants, whether they are good at explaining it or not.  You have to be careful not to over-analyze the copy, but most importantly you have to understand everything that you are saying.  Not all copy is self explanatory and even a word as simple as “hi” can have a million different meanings.  You need to find out what is the logical definition of what you are saying.   So if the script says, “Hi”, you have to figure out what their hidden intention is.  Every word you say has a purpose.  Do you simply want to acknowledge someone?  Do you hate the person you are saying hi to?  Are you excited to see them?

The choices you make will change your read entirely, so it’s very important that you make the best choices you can based on the clients needs.  If you consider the reaction you are trying to get from the person your relaying  the copy to, this helps to find hidden intention.

Here is an example to help you understand better;


Giving the right gift is easy. Just follow these simple steps.  First, pick up a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.  
Now, the size ya choose depends on who it’s for. Say, your boss, a friend or a brother.

Line one – “Giving the right gift is easy” this one is self explanatory, if you have the right gift – it’s easy.  So the hidden intention here isn’t so hidden.  You need to bring this line to life and make it sound like when you do it right, its easy!  However in my head I’m thinking, “Don’t choose the wrong gift like you did last time, cause if you have the right gift, it’s easy”  So the word ‘right’ has some history behind it…as if I chose the wrong one last time.

Line two – “Just Follow These Simple Steps”  – again self explanatory.  It’s nice and simple to do.  So your hidden intention is that there is nothing to it.  Shrug your shoulders and make it sound simple.

Line Three – “First Pick up a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey”.  This seems self explanatory, but your hidden intention when you say the product name makes a huge difference.  The client would want you to have pride and confidence when saying the product.  In my head I am saying….”Before you do anything else, pick up a bottle of the COOLEST WHISKEY EVER”  However I don’t drink alcohol – so instead I might be talking about the coolest Smoothie ever.  No matter what I pick, I need to love it as much as the client does.

Line three – “Now, the size ya choose depends on who its for.  Say, your boss, a friend or a brother”  This one has a bit more to it.     Imagine saying this instead, “BUT…..the size you pick matters depending on who it’s for.    Then mimic that same feeling in the delivery.  So in your head you are saying – “But….the size you pick matters depending on who it’s for”  but what your voice says is, “now, the size ya choose depends on who it’s for”.  So the word “Now” has the same feeling the word “But” does.

I also like to use sex as my hidden intention – but we must be careful with this choice…but it usually gives a sense of intrique or sarcasm.  So an example on this same line would be “Now the size he is, will depend on can fit him”  I know that seems vulgur to some of you, but it will give a different sarcasm to the read if I think I’m talking about sex organs, instead of whiskey.  There will be hidden innuendo here that will give it some fun flavor and make it sound more intriguing.

Consider that EVERYTHING you read has hidden intention and your job is to bring that to life.  That’s one thing that keeps our auditions unique.  I am ALWAYS thinking about the hidden intention, not just the obvious one. This allows me to play with the copy and make it sound unique, and that I’m having a great time.

There is much more to it than that – but I hope that gives you some insight as to how to read between the lines.  What is the client REALLY trying to say.  Have some fun with it.  You can create ANY hidden intention you want.  You’ll be amazed at the unique reads that come out of you.  Just takes a bit of time, adlibbing and a ton of imagination.


Stay tuned for Part 3 – Blending it all together!


02 Jul 2015 No Comments

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