By now, I’m sure you know the famous Banana Video. If not, pop on over. I’ll wait.
OK so by now I’m sure you know the famous Banana Video. Guess what? You’re going to listen to it four times! DON’T LEAVE – there’s a point. I promise.
Today’s the day you pick up on your own intrinsic gender biases.
Bring in the Women
Here’s the Banana Video voiced by talent Karin Allers:
Quickly, and without re-listening, jot down the first three adjectives that come to mind. Now, here’s the same video voiced by talent Kristin Lennox:
Three adjectives again, please. To my ears, Kristin and Karin have considerably different kinds of voices, along with different deliveries. So if you found yourself coming up with the same description, you now know what adjectives you associate with “typical female.” The ones that differ? That’s where your ability to detect nuance is coming in. Plus, those might be adjectives you’re willing to bestow on either gender.
Bring in the Men
This will be a little trickier, now that you know where the assignment’s going, but do the same with these two great male reads: First by Mike Laponis:
Don’t forget to jot down those three descriptive words! And now by Paul Kraimer:
Three more adjectives…and…pencils down.
I purposely chose these two because, to my ears, they both have a “guy next door” sound, and good comedic timing. But their reads sound pretty different.
Compare and contrast. Bonus points if you look back at Part 1 and identify where your adjectives and the top repeated gender specs overlap.
Don’t panic – this won’t be on the test. But being mindful of your own tendencies will be useful the next time you’re discussing specs with your producer.
Now, as I’ve said numerous times, what really matters is what your audience hears and thinks. So, grab a few of your favorite clients and have them listen and jot three.
For even more fun, or if you don’t want to reach out to clients, grab a smattering of folks outside your own demographic but preferably inside your customer demographic and do the same. The results will send you to the head of the class.
To round out our opening foray into gender when choosing a narrator (yep, it was a 3-step process just to get started) next time will be: Step 3 – Reach a little farther.
A big thank you to all the talent who have contributed to this series: