Guest Blog – Karen Souer: “The Unexpected Benefits of Backwards”

Guest Blog – Karen Souer: “The Unexpected Benefits of Backwards”

The Unexpected Benefits of Backwards

By: Karen Souer

From: The Karen Souer Blog

So I had to write you guys today because I had a bit of a surprise, and I learned something new. And it really seemed to me to be something to share. I’m a big believer in the importance of staying open to learning all your life. It’s very easy to feel like you’re “done” with learning when you get good and familiar with something, but if there’s one thing true in the world is that it’s always changing. It’s even a topical lesson, as our current pandemic crisis has caused many people in our industry to have to learn new things and adapt to new routines. Adaptation is what has made humanity able to survive and thrive in a lot of diverse circumstances.

So I think we all know that retakes are a part of voiceover. And in many cases, the more complicated the script, the more retakes there are. I’ve been an editor, proofer and virtual assistant for more than ten years now, and I’ve learned a great many lessons on both the personal and professional levels from the work that I do. But I always would start at the beginning and edit my way through, and occasionally get a little frustrated that I didn’t know where the end of the retakes were. I’d heard various people mention editing backwards, but I didn’t really understand what they meant and didn’t think much of it. Since I usually heard something about preserving times along with it, I assumed it had something to do with another DAW than the one I use. So one of the projects I’m working on right now is a long book about medical stuff and there are quite a few polysyllables. I was feeling frustrated a bit–please don’t hear me saying I was frustrated at my client. Having to adjust words is very understandable!–I decided to try and go to the end and clip a long gap I saw, and then saw a retake click. Before I knew it, I had started working backward, and quickly saw what people had meant about the benefits! It was a facepalm kind of moment, to say the least.

And this is why I say it’s so vital to stay open and flexible. Yes there are standards and practices that should be adhered to in voiceover. Believe me, I have seen way too many people decide that they can scoff at the advice of industry pros and do their own thing, because “haters” or whatever they want to call it. But no matter who you are and what kind of life you’ve have, all you can see in the world is all you can see. Everyone’s perspectives have some kind of limitations, and the greatest gift, in my opinion, that you can give someone is a thoughtful, well balanced perspective. And moreover, staying open to the lessons you can learn on your own can bring pleasant surprises if you pay attention to the world around you. I hope my sharing of a silly mistake on my part can help you see or consider the power of perspective, and how much in the world that we all still can learn every day.


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