Voice Over Education Blog

August 2016

Enter and follow our Monthly Audition Contest. It’s smart!


EdgeStudio.com’s Script Recording Contest is going monthly, so now it’s easy for everyone to fit it into their schedule! Accordingly, we’ve also changed its name, to the Monthly Audition Contest.

On each month’s first Monday, we publish a short script. [This week, it starts on Tuesday, due to Labor Day. - Editor] You record it and upload your recording. The next month, we’ll announce the winners, explain why they won (including you, maybe), tell why others didn’t, and give Tips on how to improve your reads in the future.

We’ve held this friendly competition for years, and it has proven to be a valuable resource for novices and working pros alike. In fact, as David Goldberg noted in a similar, one-time contest in 2014, many of the mistakes made by newcomers are also unwittingly made by working pros. Better to learn from those mistakes here, than by losing real auditions, right?

(See current contest for up-to-date details and contest rules.)

Actually, there are lots of reasons to enter.

Splat Fact: Jack Riley was very funny and a very nice guy.


You may know Jack Riley’s voice as the father Stu Pickles on Rugrats and All Grown Up! Or his face as the sour patient Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show (the 70s one, although Riley also appeared on the later one), or from countless other TV shows, films and commercials. Jack passed away last week, of pneumonia at the age of 80. For decades, his voice was so much a part of the entertainment world; the air will sound a little different without him.

Riley’s career started in Cleveland radio. Well, no, really he started by being drafted into the army, where he toured military bases in comedy shows worldwide. It was after getting out of the army that he became one of the many popular air personalities and funny people that Cleveland radio turned out in those days. (Among them: Alan Freed, Tim Conway, Dick Orkin, and Jim Runyon. Don Imus also passed through.) He and his comedy partner Jeff Baxter peppered their show with sketches and voiced a variety of unusual characters.

When Tim Conway moved to Hollywood, Riley followed in 1965, on the promise that Conway would find him work writing comedy sketches. Soon Riley was finding his own work as an actor, plenty of it, including a semi-regular role on the short-lived sitcom Occasional Wife, and he often appeared on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, sometimes as Lyndon Johnson.

He appeared in 49 episodes of The Bob Newhart Show. Making psychology patients the subject of humor could have been awkward or offensive. But thanks to the direction and the actors’ skill, quirks, and (in the Carlin character’s case), dry, disarming manner, we could laugh without guilt. (Nevertheless, real psychologists of the day noted something wrong with that show: Nobody ever got cured.)

Indeed, Carlin went on to reprise the Carlin character, or someone like him, in the later Newhart show, on St. Elsewhere, and other programs.

Splat Fact: Jack Riley was very funny and a very nice guy.


You may know Jack Riley’s voice as the father Stu Pickles on Rugrats and All Grown Up! Or his face as the sour patient Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show (the 70s one, although Riley also appeared on the later one), or from countless other TV shows, films and commercials. Jack passed away last week, of pneumonia at the age of 80. For decades, his voice was so much a part of the entertainment world; the air will sound a little different without him.

Riley’s career started in Cleveland radio. Well, no, really he started by being drafted into the army, where he toured military bases in comedy shows worldwide. It was after getting out of the army that he became one of the many popular air personalities and funny people that Cleveland radio turned out in those days. (Among them: Alan Freed, Tim Conway, Dick Orkin, and Jim Runyon. Don Imus also passed through.) He and his comedy partner Jeff Baxter peppered their show with sketches and voiced a variety of unusual characters.

When Tim Conway moved to Hollywood, Riley followed in 1965, on the promise that Conway would find him work writing comedy sketches. Soon Riley was finding his own work as an actor, plenty of it, including a semi-regular role on the short-lived sitcom Occasional Wife, and he often appeared on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, sometimes as Lyndon Johnson.

He appeared in 49 episodes of The Bob Newhart Show. Making psychology patients the subject of humor could have been awkward or offensive. But thanks to the direction and the actors’ skill, quirks, and (in the Carlin character’s case), dry, disarming manner, we could laugh without guilt. (Nevertheless, real psychologists of the day noted something wrong with that show: Nobody ever got cured.)

Indeed, Carlin went on to reprise the Carlin character, or someone like him, in the later Newhart show, on St. Elsewhere, and other programs.

“Voice Messages”: Film-in-progress has interesting voice


Every voice, trained or not, is powerful. The voice has been said to be humankind’s most effective tool. Six-time Emmy™ Award winner Martin Zied is making a film about it.

Fascinated by the emotional power and beauty of the human voice since childhood, Zied has worked with a wide range of voices in his career, both as a singer in various choral genres, and as a producer, director and writer. For his film he has interviewed vocal stars and authorities ranging from Linda Ronstadt to otolaryngologist Robert Sataloff. He is currently filming further material, hopefully for release in summer 2017. And let us add – above the fold – that he welcomes financial contributors to the cause.

Zied became enamored of the human voice when, as a third grader, he heard a sixth-grader sing in a school production and was literally moved to tears. Embarrassed at the time, he later realized that it was the sweetness of that tenor voice itself that had had such effect. Most people rarely think about voices (if at all), but from that point, Zied was hooked on voices.

His documentary has a broad field of focus, spanning aspects of singing, speaking, science, sociology and history in examining the human voice’s power and beauty.

“It’s about all the ways in which we use our voice,” says Zied. “We use it to soothe our children, we use it when we’re angry, we use when we would like to be seductive, we use it to sing and entertain. The film also covers the sociology and biology of the voice and how it ages. So there’s a lot of information about why your voice might sound old (so to speak), and ways in which you may be able to maintain a healthy voice throughout your entire life.”

Yet, sometimes even the best and most of care, a voice can falter. Readers may be aware that Linda Ronstadt has lost her singing voice to Parkinson’s Disease. Zied says that eventually she will lose even her ability to speak.

“Voice Messages”: Film-in-progress has interesting voice


Every voice, trained or not, is powerful. The voice has been said to be humankind’s most effective tool. Six-time Emmy™ Award winner Martin Zied is making a film about it.

Fascinated by the emotional power and beauty of the human voice since childhood, Zied has worked with a wide range of voices in his career, both as a singer in various choral genres, and as a producer, director and writer. For his film he has interviewed vocal stars and authorities ranging from Linda Ronstadt to otolaryngologist Robert Sataloff. He is currently filming further material, hopefully for release in summer 2017. And let us add – above the fold – that he welcomes financial contributors to the cause.

Zied became enamored of the human voice when, as a third grader, he heard a sixth-grader sing in a school production and was literally moved to tears. Embarrassed at the time, he later realized that it was the sweetness of that tenor voice itself that had had such effect. Most people rarely think about voices (if at all), but from that point, Zied was hooked on voices.

His documentary has a broad field of focus, spanning aspects of singing, speaking, science, sociology and history in examining the human voice’s power and beauty.

“It’s about all the ways in which we use our voice,” says Zied. “We use it to soothe our children, we use it when we’re angry, we use when we would like to be seductive, we use it to sing and entertain. The film also covers the sociology and biology of the voice and how it ages. So there’s a lot of information about why your voice might sound old (so to speak), and ways in which you may be able to maintain a healthy voice throughout your entire life.”

Yet, sometimes even the best and most of care, a voice can falter. Readers may be aware that Linda Ronstadt has lost her singing voice to Parkinson’s Disease. Zied says that eventually she will lose even her ability to speak.

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