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The Jony Ive Approach To Auditions

Recently I read a book about Apple Design Guru Jony Ive (Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products). In it he discussed the process of submitting a new idea or design to Steve Jobs.

As anyone who is even slightly familiar with Steve Jobs knows, his personality was, shall we say, temperamental? If he didn’t like something, and he often didn’t like new ideas, he wasn’t afraid to tell you straight up.

“This is s+++,” was apparently one of his most often quoted responses.

Jony explained that the trick to presenting something to Steve and walking away with a positive result was to give him options. Generally, three.

Door Number 1, 2 or 3?

Jony Ive and Steve JobsThe first option would usually be the worst. In fact, in some instances the first option presented wasn’t even a real option at all. Just some random choice offered up in hopes of receiving the “this is s+++” response. You know, to try and get that out of the way.

Option number two would be more viable. Closer to what the final option would be. Something that would peak Steve’s interest, but still likely wasn’t enough to garner his approval.

Then there was option three. This was the option Jony (or the team) really wanted to pursue. The option they wanted Steve to give the go-ahead to. Their thought process was simple. By providing two less than stellar options, it helped to elevate the final option even further.

This trick seemed to work for Jony and his team. More than once.

Could it work for you too?

The Jony Ive Approach To Auditions

In many instances I have clients send me scripts with very specific directions for the type of read they’d like to hear on an audition.

But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s entirely open to interpretation. “Give us what you think,” they say to me.

In those instances, I’ve always employed the same technique that Jony Ive used on Steve Jobs.

I provide the client with two or three options. One or two that might work or the client might be intrigued by. Then one option that I feel is the best option.

Many times over the years, this strategy has worked out perfectly. The audition (or two) that might not be as good a fit often make the other choice stand out even more. Although, that said, a few times, much to my surprise, the client has gone for one of the options I would’ve never actually considered.

Next time you’re submitting an audition and not 100% sure on which direction take, try the Jony Ive approach. You never know, it might just lead to more bookings!

Thanks for sharing this post from Marc Scott's Voice Over Blog.