Everyone loves to hear the sound of their own voice, right?! Especially as a poor quality recording. No, just me? Oh wait, no I don’t! But I do appreciate the importance of it. I have recorded almost every one of my stand up sets, and in the beginning I could barely tolerate listening to myself. But the benefit of listening to yourself far outweighs the annoyance of it.
Recording myself has taught me a LOT that I might not have otherwise realized. I have met comedians that don’t ever record themselves and it seems to take them longer to improve. People who record themselves and listen to or watch those recordings can fix their mistakes and weak points, and also play up their strengths. You may think that you are going to take specific mental notes on yourself, but it’s probably the last thing on your mind when you’re up there performing.
I feel like I have grown significantly over the past year and a bit because I force myself upon myself (yup). I could go back and listen to the first few sets I ever did, but I won’t. EVER. I’ve learned which bits are too wordy, that I say “umm” WAY too much, that I could afford to pick up the pace, and that people like the term “rapey”. I can tell which parts get the most laughs (those are the jokes I keep doing), and which ones could use more.
I also recently video recorded a couple of my sets. Now, I really do not enjoy watching video of myself. Self-conscious! But I did learn from this too, not just about poor wardrobe choice. Believe it or not, there are some aspects of a performance that don’t come across in audio that do in video. Namely the visual aspect. There is really a lot more that can be gained from seeing your entire performance. How you interact with the audience, seeing your physicality and how it works with what you’re saying, and seeing what kind of energy you emanate.
Now that I do voiceover work too, it’s even more obvious why recording myself to practise is important. Did you know that just feeling happy sounds COMPLETELY different than speaking with a giant shit-eating grin on your face? It does! There are so many subtleties that you are capable of that you don’t even know about until you listen, see, and learn from your own self.
Everyone already knows that it takes a lot of guts to be a performer because people are always scrutinizing, but no one is the biggest and best judge of your own work than YOU because YOU have the know-how to use this judgment for your own good. So keep growing, you little tulip, you!
(NOTE: I just got home from doing a show at The Comedy Mix, and I forgot to hit record on my phone. Of course!)