Being Gracious

Not to worry, I have no intention of explaining graciousness. If you don’t know now, you probably won’t ever get it. Like always, some of you are already saying, “What in the name of hell has graciousness got to do with voiceover?”

Well, when it comes to reading for this director, graciousness is what I expect. If you come in to audition or perform for the Kalmensons you are expected to play according to our ground rules. Succinctly stated, being a celebrity or a “wanna be” has nothing to do with our team treating you as anything less than our guest. We’re not going to behave like we’re doing you a favor bringing you in to audition. As a matter of fact, almost all talented and successful actors and actresses practice the Golden Rule. Here are three folks you might recognize. All are at the top of their respective games, and all three are really a societal treasure for all of us who’ve had the pleasure of being their working colleagues.

Jane Lynch
Tall, slim, and gracious. Always early, she comes in, finds the script she will be reading, and quietly complies with whatever may be asked of her. Working with and for Jane is always a learning experience. She was a star before she became a star. When Jane asks you how you’re feeling, she is interested in the answer.

Sarah Chalke

What a delight!! I’ve only directed her once. But in that one experience we worked as if we had done so dozens of times before. I was fortunate enough to get the assignment to direct Sarah performing the role of narrator on a TV mini-series (Maneater) she was also starring in. Of course she was punctual, and as we exchanged our initial salutations it became an instant comfort zone for each of us. A marvelous actress, doing her best to create a working comfort zone for her director.

The star of a feature film or TV mini-series can usually dictate who will be added to the team. Though this wasn’t the case with me, our working relationship made me feel as though I had been Sarah’s first choice. Graciousness personified.

Hector Elizondo

Hector is a star that exemplifies what it means to carry yourself as a working actor. As an example of what I’m getting at, I’d like to take you into an acting class being helmed by the noted actor John Houseman, at the University of Southern California. It was John’s practice to oftentimes get in the face of a student when they responded less than professionally to one of his questions.

“What in the world are you attempting?” he asked in a rather demeaning fashion. “I’m taking a Hector Elizondo approach,” the student replied. “You are dreaming,” replied the great Houseman. “Mr. Elizondo is a gracious gentleman. He’s the genuine article who travels and purports himself as just a journeyman actor.”

I was darn near giddy when I found out I was to direct Hector. At our first meeting of many to take place, I instantly discovered what John Houseman was talking about. Here was a living acting icon, asking da harv what I would like him to do.

If you happen to run into Jane, Sarah, or Hector during your acting travels, and they ask you how you’re feeling; they will be listening to your answer…

Closely, or from a distance
Like, love, or disapprove my tone if you will
Be in agreement, or tune out my theories
Be moved into a mirthful state
Dissolve passionless from my efforts to create
Your choice in listening to me be only yours

I well may be a deceiver
Not nurturing any human’s bigoted ways
Not helping, or encouraging to cipher
Who I am, or what regions were the origin of my start

For when you are in my listening mode
I, have found your ear
Perhaps betrayed by what you hear
I am a voice bearing no skin color with my sound
My frame is both short and tall
My gender reflects all
And age becomes ageless as my messages abound
I grow stronger as experience allows
No human being, or will exerted may govern who I become

I am free from those who may choose by my color
I am race less, in all I profess or say
I am a voice actor, among many

The world would be a better place, were they bound to do it my way.
Our Voice Actor by da harv


  1. Graciousness always works, is always right and could only ever help any situation. Thank you for the reminder!

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