Before reading a script, we need to get inside the writer's head, connect with the logical and emotional elements, and motivate the listener to take action: place a call, visit a website, order on-line, walk inside a store, etc. We are not privy to client/writer meetings and discussions about why the message needs to be conveyed a certain way. It's our job to make that choice.
Typically, an actor approaches a script from the "I" position,
asking questions like: Who am I? What am I doing? How do I relate to the product? Writers come from a slightly different perspective. Their first priority is the client: How can I make our product or service the obvious choice for our target audience? What emotions do we want to tap into to get the desired result? What type personality or voice would best relate to our customers? For the two worlds to meet, writing elements must be acknowledged and appreciated by the actor.
Almost every piece of writing includes three main rhetorical elements: ethos, logos, and pathos.
* Ethos establishes who we are and why we have the authority
to represent our hero client's company.
* Logos is the logical information. The product is faster, more
convenient, better value, reliable, etc. It describes what the
product is and how it works.
* Pathos is the emotional link that connects the audience to the message. It conveys how a person feels when they use the
product: healthier, sexier, happier, more relaxed, rejuvenated,
uplifted, confident, etc.
These three writing elements need to be acknowledged and utilized in the read so that the listener hears the authority in the voice, the logic in the information, and the emotional benefits. Many voice actors spend unnecessary time wanting to rewrite copy because the logic doesn't make sense. That means the focus is wrongfully placed on logos rather than ethos. Our job is to bring life to the written words no matter how poorly written or confusing the information.
Excerpted from third edition of "There's Money Where Your Mouth Is," by Elaine Clark. To order your copy visit: Amazon.com
Writer, Producer, and Director, John Crane teaches how to analyze copy using Ethos, Logos and Pathos in Director's Perspective. Look for it in June 2012.