My wife is pursuing a Masters degree in Music Education, and it’s interesting to see how her view of certain types of music is affected by the things she’s picking up in her classes. While driving home after her last class yesterday, she was listening to a strong orchestral-choral track from an album full of music composed specifically for film trailers. She later told me that in comparing that piece to similarly-styled pieces by classical composers, a description came to mind that seemed to capture her feelings about the more modern piece in the most succinct way possible:
The music sounds big and powerful, and when married to the quick-cutting, fast-paced visuals of a dramatic film trailer, it creates the impression of grandeur. However, when separated from the picture and analyzed it on its own, its lack of true substance becomes clear.
As you can imagine, epic fluff isn’t isolated to the realm of music. From food to entertainment to physical enhancements, we’re frequently sold a bill of goods that may have body, but most certainly does not have soul. The sad thing is that despite the lack of true substance, we often return for more.
Can I recognize epic fluff in the things, people, and situations that I encounter each day? I’d like to think so, and in many situations I feel like I do pretty well. However, I fear that there are plenty of times when I decide that I’m happy to accept epic fluff in favor of something with more soul. I choose cheese fries over salad, a mindless action flick over a thought-provoking drama, or web-surfing over working toward my goals.
So how does one work to avoid epic fluff? I believe that it starts with a conscious decision: a decision to forget the fluff and search for soul. It sounds easy in theory, but you may already know that it’s a lot harder in practice. It’s way too easy to fall for the fluff, partly because we’ve fallen for fluff so many times before, and partly because the fluff is often packaged more prettily than its soulful counterpart. How is the pattern broken? My gut says that it’s broken by implementing another easy-in-theory-but-difficult-in-practice principle: choosing to think more carefully before we act. It could simply be a matter of asking the question, “Is this epic fluff?” If the answer is yes, it would be wise to avoid it.
So what on earth does this have to do with voiceover? Plenty, but I’ll let you ponder the application on your own. If you have thoughts on this subject, I’d love to hear them.