Edge Studio

Thursday February 22

ONE DAY SPECIAL

To further your learning, get a Performance Checkup with each hour Private Training Session you sign-up for.

Want to talk with us?
Call 888-321-3343.

Monthly Audition Contest!

Archived contests

Contest ending Monday, February 5

Contest Title:

No-Strings Shredding

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a radio commercial about a paper-shredding service. Please slate with your first name only, or your username.

Script:

There’s no catch -- just fill the bin, call, and we’ll rush to your home or business. Watch your documents shredded right at the curb. Our truck’s camera records the scene, for complete security.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Surfers shred. Guitarists shred. Some clients shred, too. This radio commercial is about a client like that – an emerging category of business service – a truck that comes to you, and they shred your confidential paperwork. Pretty cool, huh? So why did some people sound so bored? Here’s why some people didn’t win:

As we said, some people voiced the script as if they were bored. Others sounded not necessarily bored, but were too “matter of fact,” showing no emotion. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Suppose you had just invented this service. How would you explain it to a friend or potential customer? Or even to the investors on the TV show Shark Tank? With that thought, don’t read the script. Instead, become that person. And say their words, which just happen to be ... the script.

(By the way, if you’re not up on popular TV shows, and don’t know about Shark Tank, it’s a show where inventors pitch their product idea to a panel of potential investors. The point of the show is for the entrepreneur to convince someone on the panel to invest actual major money in their enterprise.)

Quite a few people were too high in energy. They sounded excited, even out of breath. But it wasn’t believable. They sounded more like an infomercial, or a parody of a motivational speaker. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In this case, too, the point is to sound real. This might be another time to think of the folks on Shark Tank. Those sharp investors know hype when they hear it. They obviously value enthusiasm, but what they look for are sound marketing ideas and management potential. As they grill the presenter, hype disappears and it boils down to some real talk. That’s what we’re listening for – real talk.

Some people simply read too quickly. That might be appropriate for some commercials, like the high-pressure car dealer spot, or a holiday sale. While those may not be the best example of demo material, those clients know the technique can work. They can measure results. But that type of commercial is usually for a known product. The radio listener knows what a car dealer is, or a sale price. But in this type of spot, you’re explaining a new type of service to a possibly skeptical listener. Take your time, be friendly and bring them along. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Remember that radio listeners aren’t tuned in for the commercials, and when the commercial break starts, they mentally (and sometimes literally) tune out. Your task is to draw them in, hold their attention and gain their trust. You can’t do that by just “reading at” them.

Many people read choppily. Some of them paused unnecessarily. Others read very rapidly, then paused longer than normal. Either way, it’s just not the way people naturally talk. Read with energy, but don’t rush. Remember, this is a commercial. It’s a one-to-one medium (as most voice-over genres are), and can be very personal. The star isn’t you. You’re not performing. Your talking to a friend or associate about your service. So there’s really no need for the “dramatic pause” or fake enthusiasm. Just talk, with real enthusiasm. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If, in your everyday speech, you habitually talk in rapid bursts, practice not doing that. Because one aspect of being a professional voice actor is the ability to take direction. And sooner or later (probably sooner), a director or client is going to ask you to smooth it out. ANOTHER EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Punctuation marks organize the content. Without them, the script would not only look confusing, but might have a different meaning. So it’s important to respect them. But pausing is only one of various ways to convey the punctuation mark. If you overdo the pausing, it can sound choppy and unnatural (especially with a longer script). So vary your approach to include other ways to convey the punctuation marks: One is to change the tone. Another is to change pitch. Yet another is to vary your emotion. These uses of natural variety usually work better than pausing at every punctuation mark.

A handful of people slated incorrectly. The Director’s Notes said to slate by giving only your first name or your username. Some people added to that – for example, also reading the Contest Title. In other words, from their performance, we know at least one thing about them: they don’t follow instructions. Other factors being equal, which person would you hire? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When slating instructions are given, follow them exactly. If instructed to slate with only your first name, give ONLY your first name, without additional information unless requested.

A couple people submitted two takes. Is this “cheating”? Unless instructions forbid it, no, it’s allowed. But it is a bit risky. Wisely, two entrants in this contest succinctly said “Two takes” after their slate, so we knew to stay tuned. In one case, the two takes were very unlike each other; the first was low-key and snarky, while the second take was bright and in a higher pitch. That’s valid. But in another case, the two takes were so similar that we had to replay them a couple times just to figure out how they differed. An audition screener probably isn’t going to bother with that, if they even get through the second take, to begin with. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Don’t expect an audition screener to make your decisions for you. Unless you have a clear reason for submitting two takes, and they’re both very strong performances, pick one and go with it. At least you won’t bring your professional “ear” and judgment into question.

Some people slurred words or sounds. For example, their S sounds were slushy. Or they mumbled. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: You might think you’ve read clearly, but you know your voice, and you know the script. Your listeners don’t have that advantage. Even if your enunciation seems “close enough” for conversation, important sounds can be lost if your read is mixed with sound effects or music. For example, what if the engineer adds the sound effect of a shredder in the background of this commercial? Or the truck? Or happy shredding music? Or “Jaws”-style undertones? Often you won’t know what the final production will be, so give your producer a perfect product to work with.

Recording quality varied. Some sounded excellent. Other were too low in volume, or had lots of room reverberation. Or there was noise. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you can find a quiet space, making it quieter might be the least expensive investment you can make. Invest the time. Hang blankets around you. Close the door. Record in your walk-in closet. There’s no one solution, and none will be perfect. But they’ll all make you sound better, like you want to sound like a professional.

1st place winner: gmura

753 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear gmura's recording

Great pacing, articulation, and a very nice smile, with nice variety. It all makes for a read with personality. Our main concern is just that he’s too choppy. We wish he hadn't paused after "bin, "call," and "scene." Beyond that, his New York accent on the word "call" adds realism to the read. (Other “New Yorky” aspects might be his tending to say “right at da curb” and “records za scene.”) It’s okay for this script, but not necessarily acceptable for other auditions and jobs. Also, see our thoughts in the article, regarding pausing at punctuation marks. By adjusting his pausing and using other differentiating techniques, he could add yet more variety in a “real” way. Recording quality is great.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by February 28, 2018 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EDGE_CONTEST 010218.mp3

2nd place winner: nikkilulowe

437 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear nikkilulowe's recording

Hey, here’s someone who isn't choppy! Sign her up!!!! She has good pacing, nice variety, and good articulation. Overall, it’s a solid read. But she said "truck" instead of "truck's." Recording quality is good.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by February 28, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Shred - Nikki Lu Lowe.mp3

3rd place winner: Solwondervo@gmail.com

412 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Solwondervo@gmail.com's recording

Generally good pacing and pitch, and a pretty nice smile at the top. Our take is that she's new at this, and, with more practice, she'll be good. Interestingly, she pauses after "shredded" -- where there isn't a punctuation mark -- yet didn't pause after "scene," where there is. Either way is logical, but one is the way it was written. Her smile diminishes as she progresses, and she needs to have more fun. Because she hasn't infused personality into the read, it sounds a bit run-on. That’s more important than it might seem, because, assuming this is a snippet of a full-length commercial, we'd be concerned that the delivery could become boring after a while. We don’t advocate having a glass of wine before reading, but it wouldn’t hurt if she sounded as if she had. As for recording quality, her space has an abundance of reflection. She should reflect on ways to minimize this!

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by February 28, 2018, by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/edgestudio-shred - .mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, February 5 click below

Contest ending Tuesday, January 2

Contest Title:

Holiday Invitation

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a TV commercial inviting tourists to visit our city for the holidays. No slate, no sound effects, no music, just you. Sound festive. Leave clean breaks at the punctuation, so we can sync the audio with visuals. The spot itself will be a full production, with music, happy families and couples, and holiday-time scenery.

Script:

It’s a beautiful time of year. Join in our festivity! Whether you come for a short visit, or an extended stay, you’ll find fun things to fill every hour. Fun people, too!

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This was a TV commercial for the holiday season. The production method is specified: It will be a “full production” with the talent’s read chopped up a bit and spaced out to match the visuals and music, which perhaps have not yet even been selected. How do you sound “festive” and natural when you’re thinking about technical stuff like leaving “clean breaks” for the producer and don’t even know the flow of what they’re going with? Our winners got the knack of it. Here’s why some people didn’t:

The Director’s Notes said to “leave clean breaks at the punctuation.” A clean break is a short pause that is easily editable. (In other words, the engineer can easily put some space between the words on either side of the break, and the whole thing will still sound natural.) It can thus be the shortest possible pause, hardly noticeable by the casual listener, or it can be a bit longer. Sometimes the direction will say how long to make it (e.g., "a beat" or even a second). But this time it was unspecified. So, in the case of continuous text like this, it can be helpful to make the break very tiny, so that if the producer doesn't want to add a pause, the read will sound normal. Instead, many people left obvious pauses. If reading a list of phrases, or reading different characters’ lines, a very short pause is sometimes appropriate. But this is continuous copy, meant to be read naturally. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: A “clean break” can be so short that is just long enough so the engineer can easily make a clean edit.

Most people didn’t leave a clean break at the comma in the last sentence (“Fun people, too!”). Those who did, they were probably following direction very carefully. Good for them. A few people even included two versions of the last sentence – shows they’re on their toes. However, the Director’s Notes also explained the reason for wanting clean breaks at punctuation; it’s so the producer can sync the audio with visuals. The comma there is grammatically correct, and that may be the only reason for it. It seems unlikely that the producer would want a big pause between “people” and “too.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you’re a copywriter, be careful that your punctuation doesn't conflict with instructions. If you don’t want a pause there, maybe omit the grammatically correct comma. If you do want a pause, be clear, maybe by writing it this way: “Fun people ... too!” To talent: Realize that clients aren’t always perfect, so sometimes you’ll need to use your judgment. In this particular case, remember that the direction said simply to leave a clean break. You can leave a very short clean (easily editable) break before the word “too” without obviously pausing.

For more about clean breaks, watch the Edge Studio blog for an article coming soon: What is a "clean break" and how long should it be?

A few people took liberties with the script, or introduced errors. For example, instead of "it's a beautiful time of year" they said, "it's a beautiful time of the year." EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you’re working with a director or client while recording (and if they notice the error), they can ask you to fix it. But it’s annoying. And if you're working alone, the prospective client is likely to choose someone who gave them more confidence that the script will be read correctly. After choosing your take, and again before submitting your recording, listen to it word-for-word, to be sure you got it right.

Some people sounded tired and subdued. Right away, that’s a problem, because the Director’s Notes said, “Sound festive.” So, whatever other strengths these people might have shown, a casting screener is likely to move on to other auditioners. It's impossible to know if the talent could sound more festive (if reminded to do so). In fact, since they didn’t follow direction, it’s impossible to know if they can take it. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: To help expand your emotional range, make a list of emotions. In each of them, record a sentence (the same script for each). Ask a trusted friend to listen to each and name the emotion. Does their evaluation match your intention? You can also do this with attitudes, words describing your surroundings, etc.

Some sounded too announcery, or were over the top. It may have been their personal style, or it may have been an attempt to sound festive. To a certain extent, they may have the right idea -- we say “too” announcery, because this sort of read is sometimes rather “promotional.” But the direction was for “festive,” not “hype.” And most announcers sound (to the average listener) very much the same, conveying limited emotional range. If you sound personal -- like a real person excitedly inviting tourists to come -- isn’t that much more credible, and doesn’t it give you much more emotional range to work with? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you can’t get the “announcer” sound out of your head, try this: Pretend you’ve just read or heard about this celebration. Then step away from the microphone (figuratively, not really), turn to your (imagined) engineer or coworker, and talk to them about what you’ve learned, using the same words. After all, announcers are real people, too.

Some were neither subdued, nor announcery, but just didn’t sound genuinely excited and happy. Others didn’t show genuine emotion. And sometimes the fact that they were reading was betrayed by things like saying the article “a” as a long “A” (as in “hooray”). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: The same exercises (described above) will help with this, but also try this one: Smile! Now, pick a real friend, someone you actually know. The imaginary part is this: you just heard about this celebration. Exaggerate it in your mind – maybe it’s a contest with a million-dollar prize and you’ve just learned the odds are 5-to-1! Now – tell your friend. They don’t want to come, but you want them to. Remember, this is your friend. Really. Don’t hype. Convince! But not angrily or frustrated with them. As we said: SMILE!!

Some people went too fast. It’s a common error. Sometimes fast is good, but in this case, with music underneath, and video imagery playing out, your voice needs to be clear and well-paced, so it can be understood, and so it can work along with the pictures. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Record some commercials in a genre like this, and read along with them. NOT to imitate the talent! Just for a sense of their pace. If you can, listen to them on headphones and record yourself separately. Then listen back to yourself (without the original). Do you hear yourself going slower? Good!

Many people were too articulate. Every. Word. Was. Distinct. ly. Uttered. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: We almost always note that some people mumbled or slurred at least some of their words, and that enunciation is important. But over-enunciation is also undesired. The exercises above will help you find the common ground: vocal clarity combined with vocal ease.

Several people slated, even though the Director’s Notes said not to. That might not lose you the audition, but it doesn’t help. And it could be awkward. What if the producer is playing these for a client and doesn’t want to reveal names, or there’s a potential conflict of interest? What if they’re listening to hundreds of these, and everyone did that? That’s more than 10 minutes of slates alone! What if the audition screener just wants to focus on the reads, no distractions? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When slating instructions are given, follow them exactly.

Many people sounded “pushy” because, in their exuberance, they used glottal stops more than is desirable. (A glottal stop is a momentary closing at the back of the throat before a vowel.) For example, when they emphasized “every” they used a glottal stop on that initial “e” sound. Or they had a glottal stop on “Or” (which was not a word to hit). It’s not “wrong” wrong. But it’s not smooth, and it adds tension as occurrences add up. Physiologically and psychologically, the difference between glottal stops and being vocally free is the difference between a cough and a sigh. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Many people habitually have glottal stops in their everyday speech, especially when stressing a word for emphasis. But it’s a habit that voice actors should learn to avoid. Some clients and some directors won’t mind. But others will direct you to avoid them, and woe to you if you can’t. Casting screeners, especially, notice little things like this, so to distinguish yourself from others, show what you can do ... and not do. (Only two people did not glottal stop on “every.” That in itself is not why they both won prizes, but it tells you something!)

Technically some recordings were distorted. At some point in the process, they were too loud, and in digital recording, once the sound is distorted by too much volume, there’s no easy way to repair it. Other recordings were too soft, or were recorded off-mic. Making them louder then makes the background noise and other flaws louder, too. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Before recording, record a level check. You should record it, because if you watch the volume meter while reading (except to first get in the ballpark), you’re probably not in your normal recording position and frame of mind. And don’t say, “Testing 1-2-3.” Instead, read from the script, just as you intend to (and allow for the possibility that you’ll get louder as you loosen up). Optimal volume parameters vary depending on client preferences and type of work, but for an audition, usually your maximum recorded volume should be between -10 and -3 dB.

1st place winner: bobbimaxwell

874 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear bobbimaxwell's recording

Super nice smile, nice variety, good pacing, overall sounds great. Except she did not leave a break at the comma in the last sentence. (See our notes in the article.) If the producer does need to edit there, her speed would make “fun people” sound like it stops short. The recording’s technical quality is good, except that it is over-compressed, to that point that letters like the "f" in "fun" and the "th" in "things" are lost, or sound like hard consonants. The "t" sounds in "short" and "visit" are also lost (it sounds like "shore visih"). Sometimes this isn’t a big deal -- listeners' brains will likely add the "t" to "visit" – but the word "short" can be mistaken for "shore," since either word might be logical in this sentence, and that sets up confusion. There’s also a small amount of reflection in her recording space.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by January 26, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/BobbiMaxwell Edge Contest Festivity 12 6 17.mp3

2nd place winner: sbailey100

639 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sbailey100's recording

Nice warm delivery, with nice variety and pacing. But he did not leave a break at the comma in the last sentence. And he added a word, making "fill every hour" into "fill your every hour.") From a technical standpoint, the recording is over-compressed, such that some word sounds are lost. (See our comments on the First Place winner). He’s one of only two people who didn't glottal stop before "every." The recording quality is good, but it begins with part of an edited breath.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by January 26, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Holiday Invitation.mp3

3rd place winner: Michelle Volz

518 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Michelle Volz's recording

Nice smile. Nice pacing. Pretty good variety. But a bit rigid -- in other words, she's missing a natural warmth. We suspect it’s because she's thinking about her delivery, rather than just having fun with it. The first two words, (“It's a") are totally lacking in smile. On the other hand, she’s one of only two people who didn't glottal stop before "every." But on the other other hand, like almost everyone else, she did not leave a break at the comma in the last sentence. And the "t" is missing on "visit." Recording quality is pretty good, just a bit too close to the mic.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by January 26, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Contest_Holiday Invitation_M.Volz_.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Tuesday, January 2 click below

Contest ending Monday, December 4

Contest Title:

Management Memo

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an audio summary of a business book. Please slate your name or username and the words, “One-Hour BizBriefs.” We’re looking for someone who sounds knowledgeable and authoritative, but friendly and helpful.

Script:

Hire thoughtful people and give them room to think. Trust them to find the best ways to reach your goals. In other words, don’t tell them how to get to Chicago, just where to be and when.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This script from a business-management book happens to be a bit like directing -- especially when it says, “Don’t tell them how to get to Chicago, just where to be and when.” Telling exactly how to get to Chicago might be like a director giving you a “reading” (which means they read the line to you, for you to imitate). Many directors try to avoid doing that, because it short-circuits whatever special or spontaneous quality the talent might add to the read. Instead, the director will tell you where to head emotionally, or what the writer means between the words, or address some basic element of your presentation (e.g., energy, or pacing), etc.

But what if you’re self-directing? Ah, that’s why practice like this is important. It may explain why our winners did well. Here’s why some people didn’t do well:

A lot of people sounded pleasant and businesslike, but that was sometimes the problem. They tried too hard to be “friendly” or held back and lacked energy. (Whether their low energy was the result of an intentionally conservative performance or just the way they always read, we couldn’t always tell.) EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Don’t read. Speak. As if you were speaking to a friend. Or, in this case, to a business associate, one-to-one, or someone you’re mentoring. Just don’t slide into some speech habits – such as slurring words -- that might be acceptable in conversation but not in most VO work.

Speaking of slurring, that was a common problem, even with some of the better performances. For example, hard “th” sounds (“thoughtful” sounded like “dawtful”). Some people over-enunciated most of the text, but slipped up once or twice. Other examples, including mumbling and sounds that were run together:

  • tuh instead of to. (We wonder where we would find “Teshicago.”)
  • fer instead of for
  • truss them instead of trust them (very common)
  • broom to think
  • ’ngive them
  • git instead of get
  • hivethoughtful
  • dink instead of think

EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: On the other hand, many people were obviously trying to enunciate very clearly. Too obviously to sound natural. A way to find the happy medium – consistently enunciating yet sounding natural – is to pay attention to your everyday speech. Do you habitually enunciate? We doubt your friends will find you stand-offish if you cleaned up your act a bit. To practice, record yourself reading, and also just talking with a friend (forgetting that it’s being recorded) and listening back with a critical ear. Eventually, you will learn to turn the “habit” on and off, as you would also do with a regional accent. Add to your toolkit, don’t throw stuff out!

Many people had pacing issues. Some read too quickly. Others paused too often or too long in places, yet rushed the phrases. And some read too slowly. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Listen to all the recordings. You’ll hear how some go much more quickly than others, and a pleasant pace will become apparent – just the right speed for the listener to this audiobook to grasp and digest each thought. But don’t JUST listen. Also listen to professionally recorded mainstream books in the genre, and record yourself reading along ... till your sense of pace becomes innate.

Some people sounded bored. They had little energy in their manner. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: To increase your energy, increase your interest in the subject. Do you really CARE that the listener will learn to run their business better? Suppose it’s your business, and you did this, proved it works and want to tell someone. Somewhere between “bored” and “stereotypical motivational speaker” is that place, the place you should be.

Many people hit the wrong word, or seemed to hit every third or fourth word at random. Ironically, it makes them sound unthoughtful! For example, in the phrase “Hire thoughtful people” some people hit “people.” But is that the key word in that thought? No. It doesn’t mean to hire people as opposed to hiring cats or chimps. It means to hire thoughtful people. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: There are various ways to decide what words to emphasize:

  • Look for adjectives and adverbs (modifiers). For example, “thoughtful” is an adjective. “Best” is also an adjective, and “your” modifies goals. But see the next option...
  • Ask yourself, “Where’s the news?” That is, what words add to the meaning or are key to understanding the point? Sometimes it’s not the adjective. In the sentence, “Trust them to find the best ways to reach your goals”, isn’t that all about trusting? In a business setting, wanting the “best” way and aiming at the employer’s (“your”) goals are axiomatic. They almost go without saying! The “news” is that they should “trust” good hires to use good judgment.
  • Ask yourself, “What is contrasted (‘this’ vs. ‘that’)? For example, in “Don’t tell them how to get to Chicago,” many people hit “tell” or “get” or “Chicago.” But the script means to contrast a detailed instruction (for example, which roads to take, where to stay, what vehicle, etc.) vs. basicinstruction (e.g., “be in our Chicago meeting room at 10 am Wednesday”). By hitting “tell” or “get,” that contrast is lost – there’s no counterpart. By hitting “Chicago,” it seems the contrast is with some other city. Bit hitting “how” sets up the coming alternative.

    A lot of unnecessary pausing! For example, in “where to be and when” many people paused before “and when.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In addition to sounding choppy, a pause often emphasizes the word(s) right after it. When those words don’t deserve to be hit, the pause is useless and distracting. In this example, bear in mind what we said above, regarding which words to hit. The contents of the phrase, “where to be and when” is relatively unimportant. The script might as easily have said, “where to be and what to bring.” The point is that it’s a simple instruction. It’s a single, simple thought, contrasted with “how.” If any phrase in this script can be rushed a bit – sounding like a single thought, not two – this was it.

    Some people sounded like radio announcers. They had that sort of artificial energy. Ironically, at least one had an announcery slate, but then voiced the script with little energy at all. Others continued in that vein, sounding like the audio equivalent of a formal billboard announcement, even a prediction of World War Three. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: There are some times where a radio DJ or old-style announcer is appropriate. It used to be the clue that the speaker was “knowledgeable and authoritative.” Thing is, these days clients usually want to convey that by through the use of genuine emotion. And “announcery” doesn’t sound so “friendly and helpful,” which was also requested.

    Some people submitted two takes. But both takes sounded virtually the same. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Show that you have good performance judgment – “good ears.” Unless both takes are excellent and significantly different from each other, make a choice and submit it. Don’t expect an audition screener to make that choice, let alone have to figure out what nuance you have in mind. If you’re in the ballpark, and are a professional, and all your other performance qualities are great, the client will assume you can accept direction, to speed up or slow down a bit. Ironically, if you seem not to have good professional judgment, they might assume you are not so directable.

    A lot of technical issues here and there. They included:

    • Off mic / room resonance
    • Page noise
    • Audio on only one channel
    • Audio was recorded or processed too loud, resulting in unpleasant distortion
    • Audio was too low, too quiet. In addition to being inconvenient for the audition screener, it makes you seem like you have less energy.
    • Tinny sound
    • Pops

      EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: All of the above issues can be solved or at least be improved without spending a penny. Most don’t require learning any sophisticated audio processing. Just listen to your recording before you submit it and, using the same audio player, compare it to recordings known to be good. Preferably, check your work at each stage in your recording and production process, so you’ll catch errors before working further.

      One person entered an irrelevant recording, mixed with music. If this person was serious, he runs the risk of being ignored in the future. It might have been spam, but this time, we’ll politely assume he mistakenly sent the wrong file. TIP: Give your files efficient names, but names that enable you to clearly tell one file from another, and which allow the recipient to identify them, too. Above all, listen to the file just before you upload or email it, to be sure it’s the right one.

1st place winner: JanEliot

844 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JanEliot's recording

She won because she nails the four qualities requested in the Director’s Notes (“knowledgeable and authoritative, but friendly and helpful”), and because she maintains nice interest, maintains a terrific pace (giving us time to hear what she's saying, and to think about it, yet never boring us), and she nicely emphasizes "how" in the penultimate phrase. Just two things could have made her audition even better: 1) Not expanding the slate. 2) The "th" in "think" is a little hard. Her recording quality is very good ... except for mouth clicks. That can probably be remedied by better mic technique, but another option is to run her audition through de-clicking software such as Izotope RX Elements.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by December 29, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Jan Eliot BIZBriefs.mp3

2nd place winner: thomas@wtdunn.com

490 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear thomas@wtdunn.com's recording

He nailed it in many ways: He nicely captures the four qualities requested in the Director’s Notes. He's nicely paced. He's clear. And he's interesting to listen to, which is important. But there are a few reasons he didn't win first place: 1) He loses the "friendly" quality on the very last word of the audition -- why leave us casting agents on a downer? Especially when the pause before the last two words was unnecessary (as noted in our article). 2) He's just a tad "delicate" with a few words, sort of speaking them cautiously. This is okay, sometimes. But too often can eventually turn off a listener ... and given that this an audiobook, he gives the impression that this would happen too often. Perhaps if he was less careful and instead more carefree, he'd have won. 3) He hits "tell" in the penultimate phrase ... but we think hitting "how" better conveys the writer's intention. (As mentioned in the article above.) 4) He rushed "to find." The recording is quite good and clean, just a little too low in level.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by December 29, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Management Memo_ThomasDunn.mp3

3rd place winner: jrandy

433 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jrandy's recording

His read is nice. Friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, as requested. Nice variety and pacing. And sensible emphatic choices, too. But his recording quality is, well, here’s a list: He's a bit too close to the mic, which makes him sound like he's too close to our ears. This becomes distracting after a while. Also, there’s a tiny click at the very beginning of the file - and more tiny clicks that occur throughout the audition. Oddest of all, there's a mystery sound behind the word "and" in sentence one.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by December 29, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/RandyLattaBizBriefs.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, December 4 click below

Contest ending Monday, November 6

Contest Title:

Historic B&B

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a promotional video about a romantic vacation getaway hotel. Slate only your name or username. In this segment from the video, the visual will show details of the room. Make us want to stay here. We'd like something unique -- catchy -- a voice that when TV viewers hear it, they will automatically think of our hotels. Not anything weird or crazy. Instead something special and unique.

Script:

Each room is different from the others. From any others. Mementos of local history remind you of your day enjoying our sights and countryside. Make history here yourself.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Ah, romance! A promotional video like this can be very inspiring, clinching reservations for a weekend getaway or honeymoon. Or, if not done well, such a video can be trite, even boring. The script does well by including a Unique Selling Proposition – that every room is unique, and themed according to local history, which presumably is itself unique. If the rooms are attractive, and invitingly photographed, the video aspect does a lot of the selling job. As for “romance,” well, your read (along with some music, probably) has a part in that. Unfortunately, many entrants didn’t get that message across. Although the rooms are unique and inviting, their reads weren’t. For that reason and others, here’s why some people didn’t win:

Some reads were very boring. They just didn’t sound interested. Didn’t sound like there’s anything special going on here. Maybe they were trying to sound sultry or sexy. But although the visual might show a calming bedroom (maybe), that’s no reason to sound listless or sleepy. Romance is about energy and interest! EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: There’s also nothing sexy about sounding artificial. Be yourself. Speak as if you’ve been to this hotel and are telling a friend how great it is ... that they should go there, too!

Enunciation seems to have been an even bigger issue than usual. Just a few of the variations of words and phrases that we noted: “histry, hishry, hissry, histeremind, daynjoing (instead of “day enjoying”), his story, mike histry, diffent (instead of “different”), for many others (instead of “from any others”), othas (instead of “others”), momentos, mememos, mamentos.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: The word “memento” is pronounced the way it’s spelled. It comes from “memory,” not “moment.” If ever in doubt, check the dictionary, or a reliable pronunciation site such as Howjsay.com. Many people kind of split the difference, which might be okay, but “momento” is definitely wrong.

At the other extreme, some people sounded like they were being very careful to enunciate, sometimes to the point of sounding mechanical, or as if they were reading to someone who doesn’t understand English well, or to an early voice-recognition system. As a result, they didn’t sound natural. And sometimes they slurred words or dropped syllables anyway. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Learn to “hear” yourself. One terrific way to do that is to play short phrases for someone, one phrase at a time, out of order (so they don’t have the benefit of context), and see what they sound like.

A lot of people paused too much. In fact, almost everybody paused before the last word in “Make history here yourself.” First note that the script had no commas in that sentence. Maybe the writer just wasn’t being attentive to grammar, but that shouldn’t be your first assumption. In fact, a comma in that sentence is probably grammatically incorrect. No, we’re pretty sure people paused before “yourself” because they intended to be dramatic. But, two problems with that: 1) It’s not all that dramatic, because it’s not real. Voicing the complete thought is what’s real, and dramatic. (Listen to the people who did this, and see.) 2) Because almost everybody paused there, they all sounded pretty much the same. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: The point of an audition is to find someone who sounds both effective and different. Difference gets the listener’s attention, adds a distinctive quality, and makes a message memorable, if it’s a difference of the right kind and all the other important VO qualities are handled well.

Another reason unnecessary pauses are awkward: In addition to sounding artificial and disconcerting, they can affect meaning. For example, some people paused before “here yourself.” They should hear themselves! Because the listener might hear: “Make history. Hear yourself.” However appropriate to a romantic hotel, that’s probably not a message the establishment wants to convey. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: How can you tweak a four-word sentence without pausing? Experiment a bit. Several things choose from are: stretching the word “history” just a bit, or changing its pitch, changing your voice quality/emotion (sort of verbally “raising an eyebrow” or looking askance), or using body language. And smile.

Nevertheless, we confess to a little experiment, as copywriters sometimes do. As noted, this is a romantic getaway. What does the writer mean by “make history”? Or to ask it another way, what else could that last sentence possibly mean? Do tourists make history? Not usually. But a romantic couple might look back on their weekend with, uh, very special memories. Whether anyone caught on to this extra meaning (it’s not exactly a double meaning), a few people sounded as if they did. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When you get a script, ask yourself what each phrase, each thought, means. Why is it there? What does it add? And if there seems to be a double meaning, is it intentional, or is it an accident? If it “works” then who cares if it was intentional – take advantage of it! If it doesn’t work, then it may be an accident, and you may need to minimize or avoid it. A further tip: Sometimes a copywriter will try something like this, hoping that maybe someone will make it work, even though the writer may not be able to explain how. But, like a pun in an ad headline, a double entendre should make sense and convey the same message whether the listener gets it or not. It’s just even better if they do.

Some people went too quickly. Our Third Place winner is just one such example. Remember: While people are hearing you, they’re seeing the video. Whether it’s live action, or the camera panning on stills, the viewer needs time to absorb the scene. What’s more, this is a video, not a commercial, so there’s probably not a strict time constraint. Don’t slow it down too much, but there’s absolutely no reason to rush. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: While your overall pace is one thing, variety in pacing is another. Some people spoke at such a consistent pace, they were boring. It seemed like we were listening to the dictionary. At appropriate times, here and there, it’s okay to pick up the pace (if it remains clear, and is probably not a key word) or stretch a word. Combined with your other vocal qualities, it enhances meaning and emotion when done naturally.

There were also a lot of technical issues. Excessive volume (“too hot”). Low volume (sometimes barely audible). Upcut audio (no, not “uptalk” ... an “upcut” is when a bit of the beginning audio is cut off). Audio on only one channel (one speaker). Pre-sentencing that was left in (pre-sentencing is often a good tool, but be sure to edit it out!). Mouth noise before speaking. Too far from the mic. Noise from clothing or things in the background. Artifacts (clicks) or changes in presence at edits. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In a learning situation such as our contest, we tolerate more than most casting professionals (including us) would accept in a real audition. But the point is to learn, and all the above issues are easily fixable. So listen to your recordings, compare them technically to clearly professional examples, and improve what you can.

Many people did two takes. One even did three – two with music and one a capella. (We were so distracted by the music, frankly, we didn’t hear much difference in the reads.) In most cases, they did themselves a disservice. Either the takes were very similar, or one wasn’t good at all, or they implemented them unprofessionally by not giving a warning. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you feel both takes would be helpful, start with the words “Two takes” or “Two endings” – as short a clue as possible. And you don’t even need to say “Take Two” between them. One person did a thoughtful thing: Because the only difference was in the ending, that’s all he repeated.

Some people voiced characters. Why? It’s hard to imagine they thought it was “romantic.” Especially when (in our minds, at least) they resembled a drill sergeant, or a carnival barker. And why Southern? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Voice-over and romance have something important in common: one of the best bits of advice is, “Be yourself.”

A few people didn’t slate. Some others slated after their read. Yet others added “happytalk” to their slate (e.g., “Hi! My name is ____”). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Since the Director’s Notes didn’t specify where to slate, either the beginning or end is okay (although the beginning is the usual practice). Ignoring slating instructions is a no-no.

1st place winner: ScottMartin2

267 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear ScottMartin2's recording

A terrific read. It’s warm, pleasing, unique ... without being weird. Exactly what the director asked for, except he says “mOmentos.” Also, he paused before “yourself.” We’re confident that if the client or director points these out, he would easily correct that. But what if this were an actual job instead of an audition, and he was self-directing? Recording quality is good, except for some noise while recording. It sounds like rustling clothing, a bit tough to hear only because it’s gated out.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by November 24, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scott Martin - Historic B&B 1.mp3

2nd place winner: jeffreyhedquist

684 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jeffreyhedquist's recording

His down-home, low-pitch, easy-going, laid-back voice provides what the director asked for. Other than two unnecessary pauses, it's great. In the first take, he pauses slightly after "room" and distinctly after "local history." His second take is also very good, and there’s a discernible difference: It’s more upbeat, still with the down-home, easy feel of the other read. Also, Take Two doesn't have the first unnecessary pause. We wish he'd gotten rid of the second one, too. Smartly, he respected the screener’s time, intelligence and focus by no saying “Take Two.” In both takes, he reads the last sentence smoothly, without pause. he pronounces “mementos” with a “moh” sound, but the first syllable is so quick, the mispronunciation might be unnoticed. From a technical standpoint, there’s too much noise in the background (including some mouth noise), and a bit of room reflection.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by November 24, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Historic B&B - Jeffrey Hedquist.mp3

3rd place winner: lokawamura

531 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lokawamura's recording

Her voice type stands out, and it’s a delightful read: happy, smiling, generally smooth, nice emphasis, and good pacing. In general, she's certainly distinctive and unique. Is she right for the role? That might depend on the client’s taste and things we can’t know about this particular hypothetical bed-and-breakfast. But she sounds a bit too contrived, taking us away from an honest vacation and making it seem more like pretend. On the other hand, for a romantic getaway, that might be why she would be an interesting choice. On the technical side, recording quality is good, just a bit of hiss.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by November 24, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/October Edge Studio.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, November 6 click below

Contest ending Monday, October 2

Contest Title:

Relax

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a humorous 60-second radio commercial about “Cares-Away,” a new magazine. There are two characters. Please read the CLERK’s lines. (The Customer role is already cast.) Between each line, put a clean break of a second or so, not a long pause. Slate your name or username after the audition.

Script:

Customer: I would like to speak to the manager about this air conditioner.

Clerk: What’s seems to be the problem?

Customer: It seems to not work.

Clerk: And just how do you know that?

Customer: I’m always in a sweat, can’t sleep, I’m hot, and now I’m bothered!

Clerk: Oh! You should read “Cares-Away”! It’s a magazine full of only good news.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Sometimes casting is like life in general – we have to be who we are, not necessarily the role we might like to be. In this audition, most actors would probably prefer to be the customer, who gets the more comedic lines. The Clerk is more of a straight man, and includes a rather stilted sales pitch. But Clerk is the role being cast. Our top winners added an extra level of interest by giving it personality, which helped shape the script. Some people didn’t. Here’s why some people didn’t win:

A couple people gave us the Customer's lines instead of the Clerk's. While we listened to those auditions anyway, in an actual casting situation, the screener might not. And if the talent missed this “detail,” they could easily have missed some other important instruction. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: What can we say? Read the directions! In fact, read them again, once clause at a time.

A few people slated incorrectly. Some (including our winner) slated more than their names. Or slated before the script. (Instructions were to slate after.) Some didn’t slate at all. Such mistakes can be a strike against you. For example, our winner added the character name, and made a sentence of it. While this verbose approach might be appropriate in some stage audition situations, to a VO casting pro, it could make you sound like a VO neophyte. In this case, luckily, the reviewer encounters the faux pas after they’ve heard the read. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Again, read the directions before recording. And when you’re, done, read them again – consider them a checklist to be sure you haven’t overlooked or misconstrued anything.

Some people took a few liberties with the script, by adding, subtracting or changing words. In fact, even our First Place winner did this. But in that case, it was in only one of his takes, the addition was easily editable, and his performance was strong enough to compensate for any concern an audition screener might have. In many VO situations, the script is cast in stone. It’s your job to bring it to life, but not with a chisel. Paint it, varnish it, polish it, whatever else you can do vocally, but don’t chip the stone. Especially in the Commercials genre, scripts have often been legally vetted, timed precisely, and passed through many people for approval. Even if the change seems inconsequential, it might cause a problem down the line. A dialog such as this might not be so sensitive to an added word or two, if it doesn’t change the meaning or lengthen it. Nevertheless, it might annoy the casting pro, copywriter or client, and they might wonder if you’d take liberties with other scripts (or the rest of this one). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: It’s a risk, and in an audition, sometimes it’s worth taking. But if you want to add a bit of spontaneity or personality, it’s “safer” to do it non-verbally -- with a chuckle, a sigh, a sniff, an “ummm,” an extended syllable, or something like that.

Many people had more than a clean break between lines, which made the audition screening process drag on. Yet again: “Read and follow instructions.” The Director’s Notes said: “Between each line, put a clean break of a second or so, not a long pause.” That’s because the audition listener has the script and already knows where lines begin and end. For that matter, they don’t even need to know. They just need to hear you. This request might seem insignificant, but consider that some auditions receive many entrants. Even if each has just an extra second or two, that adds up to minutes. More importantly, the longer pause messes with the listener’s tasking rhythm and invites their mind to wander ... or click away. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: A “clean break” is a pause just long enough that it makes a clean edit easy. It can have standard room tone, but no other sound. Although this time the direction said to make it a “second or so,” a clean break can be much shorter than a full second, and even in this case, the “or so” suggests it would be okay to err on the side of shorter.

Many reads were simply unbelievable. That is, they didn’t sound like real people, or even real comedy characters (who are sometimes exaggerations). What was wrong? Mostly it was a lack of genuine emotion, or an emotion that was inappropriate. For example, some people sounded slightly angry. Some sounded robotic. Some have good, strong voices that are very nice for narrating or being a spokesman, but not the typical store clerk. Some people were just very boring and unremarkable, as if they were bored and maybe thought the script or situation was unremarkable. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Ultimately, a commercial is produced for one reason: to sell something. For that to happen, first people have to listen. Your job is to get them to listen. So if you sound artificial – like something they’ve heard a million times before – or are boring, or are not fun to be with (for example, if you sound angry when your character is not), they don’t listen ... and the commercial doesn’t sell.

Technical quality varied. Some recordings sounded great, technically good enough to record the actual job at professional standards. Other recordings were not technically perfect, but sounded good enough for a professional audition, if the actual job is to be recorded elsewhere. Some needed a lot of improvement. For example, they had reverberation, or electronic noise (crackle or hiss), or mechanical noise (a fan), or the volume was low, or sound was on only one channel, or they were too close to the mic. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Some things are relatively easy to improve. For example, some people sounded like they had recorded in a stairwell or bathroom. To reduce reverberation, hang blankets, draperies or bedspreads around you. Litter the space with pillows and cushions. Work closer to the mic (but not too close). Or choose another room. A large closet full of clothes is often a good candidate for occasional work or practice.

A note about Third Place: This week we have a three-way tie for Third. Sorry, for some of the reasons mentioned above, they aren’t interesting enough to tie for Second or First. But they show promise. In a real casting situation, if the First and Second choices became unavailable, there would probably be a second audition, possibly limited to the three Third Place finishers. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: One gauge of interest might be to compare the actors’ manner; The Third-Place reads sound much more like each other than they sound like the First or Second Place winners. In other words, what they brought to it is rather commonly heard. To win the audition, their performance needs something astonishing.

1st place winner: DEWcali

876 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear DEWcali's recording

He reads naturally, sounding very realistic, not contrived, and is slightly humorous without being melodramatic. His manner has enthusiasm appropriate for a new exciting magazine. He gave us two takes, each different from the other (that’s good, and important). What’s different in them? Take One has two slurred words ("to" and "it's"). In Take Two, he ad-libs a bit ("I’m sorry" and "oh, oh!", both of which we love). While adding words is sometimes a no-no, he did this is at the top of the read, where it could be easily deleted. We recommend, however, that when giving two takes, the audition be preceded with the words “Two takes,” so that the listener won’t click away too quickly. Recording quality is good, but the beeps at the start and finish are unnecessary. Some people might find them annoying, especially since, although well under 0 dB, they are louder than all parts of the read.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by October 27, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Relax (Vernon Dew).mp3

2nd place winner: GBVoice

523 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear GBVoice's recording

Like our First Place winner, she reads naturally (very realistic, not contrived), and is slightly humorous without being melodramatic. Her read is clear, natural, and interesting. In particular, she used nice hesitations that sound real. But she didn't slate. That’s not what placed her Second, but it doesn’t help. Recording quality is good, including its strong volume level, which is just short of too much.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by October 27, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Clerk-GenevieveBaer.mp3

3rd place winner: MikeinGA

421 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear MikeinGA's recording

His character sounds enthusiastic and has a humorous effect. Recording quality is okay.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by October 27, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/edge sept.mp3

3rd place winner: kecker316

344 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kecker316's recording

His performance is similar to our First and Second place winners, but not as natural. It’s a bit contrived. Technically, the recording is okay, but noisy (the noise becomes especially apparent by its absence when the recording ends), and the volume is a bit low.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by October 27, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Neil Keck_Contest.mp3

3rd place winner: jpconn

314 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jpconn's recording

He’s a bit old school, yet humorous. Recording quality is okay.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by October 27, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Relax_2.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, October 2 click below

Contest ending Tuesday, September 5

Contest Title:

Change of Mind

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a dramatic video game about a criminal mastermind. He or she has a dual personality – sometimes charming, sometimes sinister. In this audition, change emotionally from one to the other. Where and how to change, and how gradually or abruptly, we leave those creative decisions to you. No slate.

Script:

I want you to have fun doing this, and I think you will. It’s something we’ve never done before. Nobody has. If you succeed, you’ll be famous, I’ll make you famous. If you fail, trust me, I’ll make you wish you’d never been born.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Every human being has a wide range of emotions. A few of us even have multiple personalities. In a game character, the emotions and personalities could be magnified even more. Our August contest's scene from a hypothetical game involved a dual personality -- a juicy chance to show the actor’s range, along with script interpretation, maybe a little humor, and more. Our winners covered all those bases, but many entrants didn’t push far enough, or went astray. Here’s why some people didn’t win:

Every human being has a wide range of emotions. A few fo us even have two personalities. In a game character, the emotions and personalities could be magnified even more. This scene from a hypothetical game involved a dual personality, a juicy chance to show the actor’s range, along with script interpretation, maybe a little humor, and more. Our winners covered all those bases, but many entrants didn’t push far enough, or went astray. Here’s why some people didn’t win:

Many people displayed pretty much the one emotion throughout (let alone any change in personality). The Director’s Notes said our character’s personalities are “sometimes charming, sometimes sinister.” Many people started off friendly (if not necessarily “charming”) but never changed gears into “sinister” (or maybe got there only at the very, very end). Some started in-between, and stayed there. Others gave their characters such quirks or weird voices that it was hard to tell what emotion they were conveying. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In addition to analyzing a script in terms of its genre, try to figure out what the client is probably looking for. The Director’s Notes are almost entirely about emotion, so don’t be too subtle (except where you want to change subtly). Show them your range.

Some people went “over the top.” For example, creepy delivery, unreal voices, or weird mannerisms. Sometimes way over the top. Often, they sounded like they were simply presenting a character demo. This wasn’t in itself a negative factor, since we don’t know exactly what type of game this is or what its creators want it to be like. More, the problem with most of these extreme exaggerations was that they obscured other factors, such as intelligibility (that is, words were hard to understand), or the emotion (the character became a kind of one-trick pony), or became annoying even before the end of this short script. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Even when you’re creating an exaggerated character, ground that character in reality. It will give you more tools to work with, and be easier for you -- and your listener -- to relate to. And, use any quirky mannerisms sparingly, so they don’t become annoying or boring.

Other people were too low-key. That could, in fact, be a part of a “sinister,” passive-aggressive sound. But being low-key throughout the read failed to show an ability to sound “charming” – or whatever range they might have chosen to display. As a result. these reads tended to be simply boring. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Variety is the spice of life. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope. It’s arguably better to go too far, as then at least a director can probably pull you back. But if you’re always low-key, nobody knows how far beyond it you can go.

Some reads were pretty predictable. “Charming” equaled their normal voice, and “sinister” equaled close to the mic and low pitch. We don’t recall many who actually started with a smile in their voice! EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: While it might be valid to use a microphone’s “proximity effect” to accentuate bass tones and low-key, passive aggressiveness, in this case it usually wasn’t. Rather than sounding like two different personalities, it sounded like two different bodies, and made the mic technique very obvious.

A few people slated, before or after their read. The direction said not to. We can only guess as to their reasons. Maybe they didn’t notice this instruction. Maybe they wanted their real voices to be heard. Maybe they wanted to be known by more than their username. Maybe they wanted to add a “personal” touch. Whatever the reason, it shows they did not follow direction. Next! EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When slating instruction is given, slate exactly as instructed. Period.

A few people switched back and forth between the personalities. This novel approach was not precisely as directed (the Notes said “change emotionally from one to the other,” not “back and forth,”) but there is room to interpret that direction. It added an interesting facet to the character, sometimes funny, and – in particular – showcased the actor’s ability to switch back and forth. But in some cases, we wondered if they had recorded the script in two characters then edited parts of each recording together. (That would be an impractical technique in most real-world game-length jobs.) EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: This worked best when there was a progressive slide from one personality to the other, starting with just hints of the one that becomes dominant.

Very few people hit the word “make.” It offered a bit of wordplay. That is, the character says “I’ll make you famous” then says “I’ll make you wish ...”. It wasn’t necessary to emphasize it; the relationship of those words isn’t essential the character or the meaning, and in fact, our First Place winner didn’t do this. But was an option. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When analyzing a script, don’t over-analyze, but do look for such possibilities. In a less interesting bit of dialog, something like this could be a phrase to play with, and shows you’re observant.

Many of the reads were lethargically slow, or had l-o-n-g pauses between each sentence. (While several reads ran 17 seconds, others were double that length.) This could be a personality trait, but not a trait of both personalities. More importantly – because this is an audition – the resulting choppiness hid any ability those actors may have to make a read “flow.” In fact, a skeptical or cautious audition screener might wonder if the phrases had been edited together, suggesting that the auditioner can’t be relied on to read a few sentences straight-through. And most importantly, each unnecessary pause invites the audition screener to click away to the next audition. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Remember that a casting screener has maybe hundreds of submissions to sift through, and (although we listen to entire entries), professional casting people will typically listen to just the first few seconds and decide then whether to listen further.

A few people submitted two takes. However, there wasn’t much difference between the two performances. Even where the character’s voice was different, the difference wasn’t significant. Maybe some of these were a mistake, maybe some were because the performer couldn’t decide. Either way, it would have been a better professional reflection – in these cases – to have submitted only one. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you do submit two takes, be sure both takes are stellar in every way.

Technical quality was all over the lot. There was popping from working too close to the mic and speaking directly into it. Audio on only one track. Hiss or background noise, excessive room tone, or reverberation. Volume too low, or too high (distorted). Boominess. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Remember that professional recording quality is one of the things that goes into sounding like a pro.

1st place winner: sreichert

622 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sreichert's recording

His read is creative and dramatic, with variety and interest .... and constantly changing emotion. Adding to the variety, he employs various “non-verbal” sounds (e.g., a gasp, a chuckle), without overdoing them or making them too repetitive. His pacing also varies. It’s exactly what the casting team wanted. The only problem is, we wish the audition had been longer, so we could hear more! (We guess we'd have to hire him to get that.) Recording quality is also excellent except that it is a wee bit hollow sounding.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by September 25, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/demo.mp3

2nd place winner: Tonia

493 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Tonia's recording

She starts out kind of neutral, then sounds friendly and helpful. And by the end, her character has a far different attitude, without any artificial voice effects or exaggeration. So it’s very real. All the ideas are in place, and if she amped up the emotional change, she'd vie for First Place. But her emotions shift a bit less than our first place winner's, and there’s less creativity. (Compare the “non-verbal” mannerisms in First Place.) The recording quality is generally good, just a bit muffled.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by September 25, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Contest_20170905_Tonia_Blake.mp3

3rd place winner: Robin Rowan

430 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Robin Rowan's recording

As with our Second Place winner, she sounded like a real person with real emotions that gradually changed from one extreme to the other. There was even a moment that sounded like the character was thinking out loud (“It’s something we’ve never done before”). But also as with Second Place, there could have been a greater degree of change (after all, this character has two personalities), and more use of creativity. Recording quality is good, except for a noise in the background (a brief tone, at “fun”), which can be heard on very good headphones.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by September 25, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Robin Rowan - Change of Mind.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Tuesday, September 5 click below

Contest ending Monday, August 7

Contest Title:

Security

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an off-camera role in a movie. We need the voice of an intelligent robotic bouncer in a crossroads bar somewhere in the galaxy. The robot is somewhat impetuous, and funny despite having a tin ear for humor. It is also multilingual. In this scene, it speaks in a normal, humanlike voice, then speaks in the language of another species from another world. Instead of the words "Graspork fdulyk moshlapooparick sporgladyns," please ad-lib whatever you like, of about the same length ... the more “extraterrestrial sounding” the better. It may or may not sound like human speech, but please make it sound like speech. (Bear in mind that human speech has a wide range of sounds not used in English, including clicks, throat sounds, etc., and we're not limiting you to human sounds.) Do not use sound effects, special effects or tell us a wookie-like roar or a whistle is somehow intelligible. Slate your name or username at the end, in your normal voice.

Script:

Stop that brawling. If you continue to brawl, I’ll make you bawl. ... That’s a joke. ... Okay then, Graspork fdulyk moshlapooparick sporgladyns. Capisce?

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Voice actors almost always need to stick to the script, but occasionally you'll come across a script that provides an opportunity to ad-lib. And almost all voice-over work involves the expression of emotion to a large or small extent. This script, which is supposedly voiced by an interstellar robot, provided both those challenges and more. Some of the entries had us chuckling (in a good way), some did not. Here’s why some people did not win.

Many people chose to have the robot speak in a monotone. But the Director’s Notes said, “it speaks in a normal, humanlike voice.” After all, generations ago, the public accepted that robots and computers could speak like humans. Consider HAL 9000 in “2001”, C3PO in “Star Wars,” and the ever-depressed Marvin in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (which was originally a radio play). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In developing characters, think them through. Base them in reality, and in an audition especially, avoid stereotypes. And always carefully read the direction!

Other people, in order to sound robotic, drastically affected their voice. Sometimes it was effective. But in a few cases, it sounded like they were severely straining, to the point that it would be painful to do that voice throughout a long script. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Even if not painful, it may not be sustainable. Find another way to do it. But especially if a voice is painful to do, don’t let one job endanger your career. Besides, if it sounds painful to do, it’s probably painful to hear, and that’s not good.

A lot of reads were inconsistent. Many entrants were boring in the English part, but very creative and fluent in the ad-libbed part, even giving it interesting vocal nuances that the English lacked. Other people were just the opposite. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: For a variety of reasons, in real life many people do change their pitch or tone of voice when speaking a second language. But in this script, the differences were often too extreme – as if we were hearing two different people (or rather, two different robots) with different personalities and sense of energy.

A more important measure of consistency was emotion. Many people lacked it, or it didn’t sound genuine and logical. Again turning to the Director’s Notes, this robot is supposed to be “somewhat impetuous, and funny despite having a tin ear for humor.” But the robot is also a “bouncer” (as at the door of a nightclub), so there might be a “tough-guy” side to the robot. That provides a wide range of emotional possibilities. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Before you start rehearsing, think of someone who you know who is (in this case) a physically strong person who thinks they’re funny, but isn’t. Don’t know anyone like that? Well then, is there a celebrity like that? Try channeling them; it will come out with your own spin, but it will be based on something genuine. Later, as you wend your way through life, keep an ear out for real characters of various types. Write down quick notes to remind yourself what mannerisms and voice qualities make them sound and act as they do. Then practice them from time to time, so they become second nature.

Although many of the ad-lib “extraterrestrial language” lines sounded odd and were spoken fluently, they didn’t seem to serve a purpose. As the saying goes, “What’s my motivation?” Why is our robot changing to the other language? What’s the meaning of “Okay then”? Is the robot launching into a threat? Or is the robot just switching to a language the brawlers will understand? Or is it yet another joke? Or is the robot changing the subject, and if so, why? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Whatever you conclude from the clues in the script, it will affect your manner in delivering the line “Okay then” and the ad-libbed part.

Another line that calls for motivation is “That’s a joke.” Some people didn't deliver the preceding lines in a way that resembled a joke – that is, with comedy timing, or an over-emphasis on the words “brawl” and “bawl.” How does the robot feel at that moment? Angry because nobody laughed? Or embarrassed? Or dismayed? The emotion you express at that point will, in turn, affect how you say the next words (“Okay then.”) EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In real life, whenever we say something, it is spurred by whatever we said or heard just before. You’re either adding information, or repeating, or emphasizing, or clarifying, or reacting with sadness, surprise, glee or whatever, as the other person frowns, smiles, looks blank, etc. In other words, human speech isn’t just an expression of emotion – it’s a logical progression of emotions, in response to what we and other people have said or done just before.

A fair number of people sounded like the didn’t get the script’s other little joke, which was that it ended with the American-Italian word, “Capisce?”, which means “Understand?” (In actual Italian, it’s pronounced and used differently.) This American slang is sometimes heard in gangster and comedic roles (even if the character isn’t Italian). There are various reasons it could be funny here: (a) It’s yet another language. Or (b) maybe the extraterrestrial language has that word. Or (c) maybe it’s another poor attempt at humor by our robot. Whatever you think it means, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate personality, nuance, emotion, and comedy timing. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: What's the "right" comedy timing? As a stand-up comedian will attest, the perfect amount of time to wait before delivering a comedic word, phrase or line varies according to the audience and situation, even when the joke remains the same. But most simply put, it’s a pause just long enough that your listener is expecting something, but not so long that they get bored or mentally fill in the gap themselves. The comedian Jack Benny made a career of milking that moment for all it’s worth. But usually the pause is just a “beat” or a “change-up” ... a second, more or less.

Some people mumbled. For example, if the listener can’t tell whether you said “ball” or “brawl,” the whole point of that sentence is lost! Another pronunciation thing: several people pronounced the “G” on the end of “brawling.” Although probably accidental, we found it confusing, because it sounded at first as if they were doing an accent that they didn't stay in. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Make enunciation second nature in your speech. Whatever you do with your voice, in character or in normal voice, if people can’t follow what you said, the rest of your efforts are pretty much wasted.

The Director’s Notes said to “slate your name or username at the end, in your normal voice.” Many of the slates were surprisingly different from the robot voice, and very pleasant. Some of these people might have done better by voicing their robot that way. However, a number of people included extra information. This was momentarily confusing, and casting professionals tend to be turned off by such inability to take direction. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Some people say that slating in character reinforces the character and makes it seem even more real. Other people say that using your real voice gives the listener insight into how much you changed your voice, and what you would sound like in other roles. But whatever your opinion, when exact slating instructions are given, slate exactly as directed.

There were various technical issues. Some people added echo or reverberation. One sounded like it was recorded in a stairwell. (Were these bad recording spaces, or were they attempting to sound like a mechanical voice?) Some recordings were very low in volume. One was so low it was virtually inaudible. Some were distorted, perhaps for having recorded at too high a volume setting, which distorted their loudest sounds. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: At any point in your recording or processing, if your volume is set so loud that the audio distorts, it will stay distorted at every stage thereafter, even if you then lower the volume.

1st place winner: stcst

241 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear stcst's recording

Her lines in English are great: clear, solid emotion, and nice emotional changes. They’re just a bit too slow or robotic. Also, she says "brawling-guh" (although the "guh" is slight). The foreign voice is not as good. It sounds like she was just speaking in made-up words (which you obviously need to do, however it's not supposed sound made up). There’s no harm in thinking them out and writing them down before recording. Use in whatever notation works. After all, in this case especially, it’s not a real language. Recording quality is excellent.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by August 25, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/stella stocker.mp3

2nd place winner: nickpmathews

479 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear nickpmathews's recording

The English part is very good, with solid emotion and nice emotional changes. He shows great use of space. (That is, he doesn't jump from one sentence to the next; rather, he leaves time between, as if thinking or waiting for a reaction.) The foreign part is creative and uses various sounds, which is good. As for the technical quality, it would be excellent, IF he got rid of the teeensie bit of resonance and noise. Also, the breath between "...brawl" and "I'll..." is cut off. (It’s not terribly chopped, though. In fact, it’s audible only on good speakers or with headphones.)

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by August 25, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Robot_Security.mp3

3rd place winner: lesfrommelbourne

406 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lesfrommelbourne's recording

The English part is pretty good, although he speaks a bit too loudly. Also, it would be good to add a bit more space between sentences. The foreign-language part is excellent at first, but after a moment or two it becomes too repetitive. The recording quality needs improvement; there's too much resonance.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by August 25, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/edge studio audion - Les Horovitz.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, August 7 click below

Contest ending Wednesday, July 5

Contest Title:

Double-hull

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a documentary narration about shipbuilding. The video shows the space between the inside and the outside hulls of a double-hulled ship. A man is welding in this confined space. The script will go on to show how people and robots can work together in a situation such as this. Slate your name or username first, plus the word “welder.”

Script:

It’s a tight fit. And in daytime, almost unbearably hot. Extremely dangerous for humans. A large robot could comfortably make these complex welds, but there’s no room for a big robot. Or is there?

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

The subject of robotic welding may not interest everyone, but if you’re asked to narrate a script about it, that should make it fascinate you. Whether the subject matter is a week old, or a decade or centuries, you’ll probably learn something interesting from any script. Part of the narrator’s task is to convey that sense of interest to the listener. Some of this month's contestants did that nicely, others fell short. For that and other reasons, here’s why some people didn’t win:

Many people sounded uninterested. In effect, some sounded downright depressed. They spoke in a monotone, and/or were very subdued. As a result, they made the scene sound dull – when in fact the script says it’s “extremely dangerous.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When narrating a video, speak naturally, as you would explain something to a friend. Don't exaggerate your emotion, but don't hide it, either.

On the other hand, some people were too animated. Or were “announcery.” Some were consciously controlling their voice to the point that it sounded very unnatural and even spooky. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Your daily practice time is when to think about controlling your voice. When on-the-job, your vocal qualities (placement, inflection, enunciation, etc.) should be second-nature, so that your mind is focused on what you’re saying, not on how you say it.

Some people had pronunciation issues. In particular, the word “comfortably” is usually best pronounced the way it’s spelled, or else “comftuhbly.” In any case it’s not “comfertablely.” Another example was “robots” – some people rushed it, or tended to say “robets” or “robits.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: What most people say and what VO casting people listen for are not always the same thing. They may be fine with the more informal pronunciation (another example being “Feb-yoo-ary”), but by smoothly delivering the harder pronunciation, you may show that you know the difference, along with your skill.

Many people read the script pretty much exactly as many other people did. That put a spotlight on the relatively few people who differed. For example, one woman said “It’s a tight fit,” as if she meant, “Yes, granted, it’s a tight fit.” She sounded as if she were responding to something in the full script just before. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Imagining various situations that could have preceded this scene will help you experiment with saying a line various ways.

Some didn't phrase the ending as a question; it sounded like a statement, or they just barged through it, ignoring its being a transition. At the other extreme, some read it with an inappropriate upward inflection, as if it were a quiz. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Listen to all the endings, and note how some other people paused just a bit longer before this question (longer than their other pauses). It wasn't so long that you’d call it a “dramatic” pause (which are often way too dramatic!), but enough that it set up a bit of surprise or expectation. This line isn't funny, but it uses the same principle as comedic timing.

Many succumbed to sloppiness. Some slurred or swallowed words. (For example, “extremely” came across as “essremely” or “esschremely.” Or “It’s a tight fit” emerged as “It’s tight fit.”) Someone even stumbled over words and left the stumble in. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: To help slow yourself down on a phrase, use a hand gesture or body language. It will probably cause you to slow you down just enough, yet you'll still sound natural.

Some people gave two takes. And in one case, they didn’t mention the second take, so we almost didn’t hear it. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: On rare occasion, including two takes is okay. Just say “Two takes” after your slate. But if they’re virtually the same, that tells the casting person that you can’t hear the similarity, or that you can read a script only one way.

Some people forgot to slate. Others had too much silence afterward. Some embellished their slate. Someone added “Take One” and then uploaded only one take. Some slates were obviously recorded at a different time. And some slates sounded more naturally voiced than the script. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Slate exactly as instructed, clearly and confidently, pause one second, then begin your read.

A few people added sound effects or music. In one case (which happened to be one of our winners), it sounded appropriate. In the other another cases, though, it didn't. And none of these helped the entrant. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: And audition is NOT a demo. Unless the client requests SFX or music, don’t add them. They make it harder to judge your voice, your VO skill and skill in processing. A casting person might even ask themselves, “What is this talent covering up?”

Many reads were choppy. Often in narration, there is reason to pause longer than in other genres. This gives the listener time to absorb what the video is showing, and helps the engineer sync the audio to the scene. But in an audition, the pause need be only slightly longer than a (silent) breath or a “clean break.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Record the audio from some programs voiced by top narrators. Write out the scripts. Then read along with the actual program’s audio. This will help give you a sense of the desired pace and placement of pauses.

A dozen or so were too low in volume. Some were WAY too quiet. (Note: we’re talking about “finished” volume, not the volume at which the read was recorded.) A proper volume level depends on the client’s needs and opinion. But if yours is much softer than the other auditions, it puts you at a disadvantage. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If the loudest sound is less than -20 dB it’s almost certainly too quiet. (Learn about "normalizing" from Episode 5 of Whittam’s World: http://www.edgestudiotechnology.com/resources-2.html) Unless requested otherwise, we suggest aiming an audition for a finished peak volume of -3 dB before making the MP3.

Other technical issues: Sound on only one channel. A file was zero length (silent). Many had room resonance. Some people overprocessed. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: As you learn how to use the few standard processing tools (such as gating, normalizing and compression), also learn how to apply them conservatively. Often a cross-fade or a slightly gradual attack (or release) sounds more natural than an abrupt transition.

1st place winner: Friedmanvoice

501 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Friedmanvoice's recording

Very good. He reads without vocal tension, and doesn't affect his voice to sound like the stereotypical announcer. (He nicely just narrates what viewers will see on the screen.) However, he doesn't leave enough space before the closing "Or is there?" From a technical angle, his recording was sibilant, and a bit hollow (resonant).

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by June 28, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Jeff Friedman - Welder.mp3

2nd place winner: SaraSounds

373 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear SaraSounds's recording

She has lovely variety. However, it’s too dramatic at times, especially in her slate, where she elongates the word "welder." Her recording space is resonant. (That's not good.)

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by July 28, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EdgeStudio_Double-hullJune17Contest_SaraSounds.mp3

3rd place winner: VoxWerks

351 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear VoxWerks's recording

He has a very marketable voice. The slate is not as the Director's Notes specified (they said to use either name or username; he used both), and it’s resonant. But the audition itself is much better. It is too announcery at times, especially on the words “is there?” We might chalk this up to “drama,” except that there are other examples (e.g., “make these com-plex welds”). The addition of sound effects was unnecessary. Although they sound realistic (see discussion above), they distract from fully hearing the quality of his voice and delivery. (For example, did he say “welds” or “wells”?)

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by July 28, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Welder.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Wednesday, July 5 click below

Contest ending Monday, June 5

Contest Title:

Carrot

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a 30-second radio commercial for a fast food restaurant. The script is an excerpt. If you can, give the carrot an interesting and appropriate character voice. Then do the tag in your regular voice. No slate, please.

Script:

Carrot: You know what it’s like being a carrot? I don’t. And I AM a carrot. I mean, I get cooked, or sometimes I’m raw, sliced, diced, and ... what’s the long way ... anyway, I like it better when I’m in a salad. Got company, you know?

Tag: Auntie’s Table. Sit down to something good.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This month, we enjoyed hearing a hopeful tale from the sometimes-lonely carrot. Radio makes it so easy for carrots to talk! And who knew they were such characters? There were many recordings with fun, quirky moments here and there. But a winning performance requires many important qualities, overall. Here’s why some of the characters were winning personalities. And why some of our contestants didn’t win:

Some people were hard to understand. In any voice-over genre, it’s a given that you must be easily understood, and in a brief radio commercial, that quality is as critically important as it gets. If someone doesn’t know what you’ve said, they can’t click a “replay” button and try again. And if they don’t even know what you’re talking about, the entire commercial can be lost to confusion, inattention or changing the station. Yet, in this commercial – which is about carrots -- what word was almost always poorly pronounced? “Carrot.” Most people – even our First Place winner said “carruh.” We can count on one hand the ones who clearly enunciated the T sound. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In everyday speech, most Americans pronounce a final “T” by using a D sound, or simply stopping the flow of air with their tongue at the top of their mouth. In some situations, that is okay, IF it’s conversational and if your listener will understand the word. But when your listener is hearing the script “cold” – having no prior knowledge of what it’s about -- “caruh” isn’t enough. On the first occasion, at least, be sure to pronounce the end of the T sound by releasing your tongue and expelling a bit of air. (For example, hear the word as pronounced by MilissaMoran, mj_draper, jmarin4, jamesromick, MichelleJeanmard, and a few others.)

Some people mumbled. Others didn’t seem to know the point of what they were saying. We’re citing this as a separate example, because it’s more than just a difference in pronunciation. It’s mispronunciation. Or failure to pronounce at all. For example, “You know what it’s like being a carrot” was rushed as “Yno wazlak binga cayrt?” and “what’s the long way” got swallowed so that it sounded like “what’s the wrong way?” Or “Got company, you know?” was voiced without the comma, sounding as if the carrot is asking if the listener has company who the listener knows. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In your daily practice, and even in your ordinary conversation, pay attention to your enunciation. If you normally slur your words, enunciating might feel unnatural at first. But it will come to feel normal, and then, unless you try to exaggerate, it won’t sound unnatural.

Many people gave the character a Southern accent. What’s up with that (, Doc)? The vast majority of carrots in the U.S. come from California, and other “carrot states” include Florida and Texas but also Colorado and Washington. And they grow in back yards just about anywhere. Maybe people assumed that the hypothetical restaurant is in the American South, perhaps becauser of its “home cooking” or “hospitality” angle? Or maybe they chose an accent that would differentiate the character from their neutral-American-English “regular voice” tag at the end? Maybe. But we suspect that many people chose a Southern accent simply because it differs from their own. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: A “character” is more than an accent. It also includes voice quality(ies). And personality. For example, consider the ultimate carrot-crunching character, Bugs Bunny. Mel Blanc gave him a nasal voice and also a smart-alec attitude. And Bug’s accent? Brooklyn! (Which by now is also very gratuitously overused, and somewhat antiquated.) FURTHER TIP: If you happen to originate a new character on the spur of the moment, great! But don’t rely on that. In your VO practice sessions, build yourself a stable of interesting characters that you can then draw from and adapt as needed.

Some people were too high-pitched (and this was not limited to women). This, too, might have been to differentiate the carrot from their natural voice. But it might have been nerves, a random choice, or some other reason. The potential problem with this high pitch is that it’s not so pleasant, it can sound strained, and is not essential to being a carrot. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Everyone has a range of pitch that is natural to them, so what’s “high” will vary from person to person. The naturalness of a pitch will also vary according to the way they’re producing sound. In general, even when voicing a character, speak in your normal range of pitch. You might favor the higher end of that range (some people had a really cute “small voice” sound to them). But stay within your comfort zone. It will leave you more room for pitch variation, won’t tend to sound strained, will help you enunciate (which was a problem some of those small voices had) and will give you more stamina. Some were not fun enough. In fact, some carrots sounded bored or depressed. Hey, gang, this is a commercial! A food commercial. Therefore it probably should be interesting, appealing, and (in this case) fun to listen to. We don’t mean necessarily “funny.” But we do mean enjoyable. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Remember that most scripts in most VO genres involve some sense of emotional progression. This is certainly one of them. Although our carrot might start off sounding a bit confused by life as a carrot, it needs energy throughout, and should quickly sound positive and hopeful.

Some were impressive characters, in the sense that the carrot didn’t sound at all like their normal voice in the tag. But sometimes these characters were based on an inappropriate choice. For example, one carrot spoke so nervously, constantly panting, that it became unappealing, even tiresome and hard to understand. Others, some of which we noted above, were draggy or whiny, neither of which is appealing. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Unless a character is supposed to be obnoxious, don’t go that way, especially in a commercial. And even then, a vocally obnoxious character (for example, Gilbert Gottfried’s typical character voice) should have some redeeming quality. (For example, Gottfried sounds “scrunched up” but not “pained” and he’s sort of engagingly earnest.)

Most people sounded like they were “acting” a character, not as if they “were” the character. In other words, they paused and changed their voice and all that, but they didn’t sound natural and spontaneous. They sounded as if they were reading from a script, not speaking from the heart. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: The script contains lots of moments for a voice actor to chew on. The most obvious one is the aside – “and ... what’s the long way ...”. This can be asked as a question to the listener (as some people voiced it), but it’s more interestingly presented as a thought to one’s self, a thought said aloud. As such, it can be quickly muttered (see our note about overall speed, below) and dismissed. But "play" with the line, give it a twist, don't just barge through it.

And there other motivations and things to play with. For example, the irony (and listener surprise) in “I AM a carrot.” And the many ways a carrot can be prepared. (Maybe punch each of them?) And the overall tone – above, we mentioned “confusion,” which is arguably more interesting and appealing (and in this case probably more accurate) than “depression.” What other ways might you describe the character’s emotions, and how would you express them?

Many people missed the point of the commercial, which (apparently) is not to sell carrots, but to sell salad. By “missing the point” we mean that they breezed right through the word “salad,” without giving it any emphasis, let alone clear pronunciation. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In any commercial, know what the listener’s takeaway should be. Sell that.

Some people voiced the script too slowly or were choppy, with too many pauses (or paused too long). The Director’s Notes for this audition even mentioned that it’s only part of a half-minute commercial. That’s your clue that if your read approaches 30 seconds, it’s too slow. (Whether or not a script is well written to fit the time allotted, it’s what you have to work with!) Not counting the tag, this excerpt can be read nicely between 14 and 19 seconds. Add four seconds or so for the tag, and that’s as much as 23 seconds, leaving little time for the character or announcer to say that the restaurant has 25 different salads to choose from, or that a salad is a great addition to their all-you-can-eat ribs, or that Auntie’s carrots are all organic, fresh, and inspected to assure they have a healthy attitude. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Was your read too slow? Don't overcorrect in the other direction (unless you're just experimenting). There’s no way of knowing what the rest of this commercial consists of, so don’t assume the client wants it read as quickly as possible. Maybe they omitted only 5 seconds, or maybe this is just a test script. Focus your efforts on the character and effective delivery. . . . But if it’s in your character’s nature (or yours) to drag out their speech, that may call for modification. Vary the pace to suit what you’re saying at the moment. (It will make your read more interesting and improve your comedic timing.) Give the casting team reason to believe that you can make the character, and make it fit.

A few people took liberties with the script, by changing or adding words. Even our First Place winner was none too careful about the exact words as written. For example, she said “I’m” instead of “I AM.” And “what is” instead of “what’s.” And she added “okay” and chuckles and such. But these didn’t affect the sense of what she was saying, they worked, and were totally in-character (in fact, they became part of her character). In contrast, someone else said “got a company,” which has a different meaning than “got company.” Another example: “Sliced or diced” is not necessarily the same as “sliced, diced.” Even when a change is seemingly innocuous to the script, it can hurt you, because it suggests that you aren’t very careful about the exact words. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Adding a chuckle, or an “eh...,” as some people did, is often acceptable, especially in a character situation. In fact, if it sounds natural, it shows imagination. But in most situations, you should read the words exactly as written and leave changes to the client. Limit any ad-lib mannerisms and vocalizations to the “non-verbal” sort, such as a laugh or a sigh.

Pronunciations of the word “Auntie’s” varied. Many entrants pronounced it “ahnty” or “awnty,” which is technically correct. But parts of the United States (and many people all over) favor “anty” (with a broad “A” sound as in “ant). Because it’s the brand name, ultimately this choice is up to the client, and an experienced casting person should understand that a professional voice actor can voice it as desired. In fact, some people might be impressed that you know the “correct” pronunciation. But if pronounced at either extreme, some people might be rubbed the wrong way. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If this were a real company, you’d want to check online for some past commercials or other recordings to see if they have a preference. Otherwise, consider going for a half-and-half pronunciation – forming your lips somewhere between the two sounds. (Hear one pronunciation at Howjsay.com and both at Dictionary.com.)

Technical quality varied. Some people had a lot of room resonance, or bad mic position, or low volume, or sounded muddy, hollow, etc. One recording didn’t play (it was indicated as only 4 seconds long). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Less-than-perfect audio quality won’t necessarily cost you a shot at this contest, but can cost you a real-world audition. Condition and isolate your recording space as much as you can, and learn proper mic and recording technique. The latter improvements will cost you virtually nothing to implement.

1st place winner: Robin H

631 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Robin H's recording

Wow! We love her openness, vocal freedom, creativity, expressiveness, and ad-libs. That is why she won First Place. She helped shape the script. She gave the carrot personality. But there were some things to improve. She rushes the first few words so much that, if mixed with music and/or sound effects, they would be difficult to discern. This happens to a lesser degree with some other words, too. In particular, on many words she doesn't pronounce the ending consonant: "carrot" sounds like "care uh," "good" sounds like "guh,” and so on. Our point is that every word must be discernible, even when a character is speaking. As for the liberties taken with the script, they are in character, occurring naturally, and are inconsequential to the time and meaning. She took a risk, and it paid off. As for recording quality, there are some pops, her opening word “you” is wet, and the loud breath after her early laugh should have been reduced in volume.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by June 30, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Carrot Audition Contest-R. Hudson .mp3

2nd place winner: jeffreyhedquist

394 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jeffreyhedquist's recording

He’s creative and interesting. We like the vocalisms he tossed in. But he doesn't pronounce the ending consonant on a few words (such as "carrot," which sounds like "cara"). More importantly, he's not as loose as our First Place winner. Recording quality is okay.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by June 30, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Carrot - Jeffrey Hedquist.mp3

3rd place winner: Blair S

346 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Blair S's recording

She used some creativity, but sounds a little bit timid. Not that the character sounds timid; she does, about portraying the character. As with our other winners, her ending consonants tend to disappear. For example, in the all-important tag line, the words “down” and “good” aren’t quite finished. Recording quality is okay.

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by June 30, 2017, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/BlairS-EdgeMay-Carrot.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, June 5 click below

Contest ending Monday, May 1

Contest Title:

van Gogh

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a museum audio tour about Vincent van Gogh. Please slate your name at the beginning, saying “Hi, I’m (your first name). Press ‘Go' to proceed.”

Script:

As Van Gogh’s mood became darker, he came to use lighter colors and Gaugin’s impasto technique. See how the brush strokes add interest and emotion to otherwise rather flat shapes.

Remember to check Archived Contests the first Monday of each month to learn who won, with explanations of why they won and why others didn’t, and hear some examples of each.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Van Gogh lived more than a century ago and died at age 37. You would think there would be nothing much new to say about him in a museum tour, but not so. Like most historical records, new facts and interpretations continually come to light. So this month’s contest supposed that a producer needed talent for a new audio tour recording. Our winners would do a nice job of seeing van Gogh in a new light. We also had some nice also-rans. Here’s why some entrants didn’t win:

Many recordings presented one or both of two common issues. Most critically, just about everyone’s read got choppy in the second half. In particular, they exhibited glottal stops (momentary closure of the throat before an initial vowel) and paused where pauses were unnecessary and broke up a continual thought. For example, almost everyone had a glottal stop before “interest,” and most paused before and after “emotion.” And some stopped after "otherwise." While some people habitually speak this way, a voice actor should not. Use dramatic pauses only occasionally, for an intentional effect. (And in most scripts, you won’t have a use for it at all.) Each glottal stop and unnecessary pause disrupts the flow of speech and thought. Such pauses also signify tension in your voice. This sets up a tiring, unconstructive sense of tension in the listener’s mind. It can become disconcerting, and even make you sound like a computer-generated voice. Furthermore, it’s something that casting pros listen for; being able to read smoothly, without glottal stops, is the mark of a pro. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When you have mere seconds to differentiate yourself from other auditioners, reading smoothly is one of the ways to do it. Many of the coaches at Edge specialize in helping you gain a smooth delivery, one that casting pros prefer.

We heard some people thinking about their delivery. How could we hear that? They seemed to be overly careful about their presentation, sounding “stiff” and not emotionally connected with what they were saying. They were expressing mechanics, rather than thoughts. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In most scripts in most genres, it is important to plan your read, and can be helpful to mark up your script. But, like a musician reading music, you should be able to read your own particular markup “shorthand” without actually thinking about the “notes.” (This is one reason everyone has their own markup techniques – whatever works for them.) When you’ve rehearsed a bit and it’s time to record, you’ll know the script well enough that you can simply “speak” the thoughts, not the individual words. Of course (and especially if you’re self-directing), be sure to listen to your recording afterward, to be sure you got all the words complete and correct.

Some people rushed some words. For example, in the phrase “he came to,” the word “he” was shortchanged; the "H" was almost swallowed, so it sounds like “ee.” Sounds were also dropped or mumbled in other cases. For example, the word “impasto” came out as “impestle.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Don’t overexaggerate, but, at least when practicing, try exaggerating consonants you sometimes miss. Some letters are silent, but all sounds are not! Every sound needs to be conveyed. If you’ve been habitually dropping sounds, exaggerating them might feel unnatural, but may not sound so to listeners. It's like telling someone who typically slouches to hold their head up and shoulders back. It might feel exaggerated, but to others, they’ll look great.

The all-too-common list of technical issues includes low audio level, room resonance, pops and mechanical or electronic noise or noises, and chopped-off bits of slate. Even a repeated slate, using different names! EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: It may take some time and expertise to soundproof or sound-condition your recording space, but many other technical issues can be avoided relatively easily. For example, most pops are can be avoided by using proper mic technique and a simple pop screen. (Even a patch of nylon hosiery stretched over a coat hanger will do pretty well in a pinch.) If a pop slips through, it may be easier to re-record than to edit it out or minimize its volume. As another example, it costs nothing but a few extra seconds to listen carefully to your recording at each stage and before uploading!

Most people pronounced this Dutch painter’s name as Americans generally do: “van Go.” However a few people used the British pronunciation (see BBC, below*). The correct Dutch pronunciation would sound sloppy and confusing to most American ears, as well as pretentious, distracting, or even confusingly unrecognizable. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Either the American or British pronunciation could be acceptable, depending on the client’s preference and the intended audience (plus your own ability to say it as desired.) However, an incorrect accent would be incorrect, period. To hear how a name or word is properly pronounced, consult a phonetic guide, or listen to a recording, at an authoritative website. For example, searching for how to pronounce van gogh, produces various pronunciation guides. (Beware of guides posted at YouTube or crowd-sourced sites; they might be correct, but might not.) One of these, a good standard resource, is “howjsay.com.” Click on the word there, and you’ll hear the great differences from country to country: http://howjsay.com/pronunciation-of-van-gogh

* For British audiences, the BBC says: “We don't expect non-native Dutch speakers to pronounce his name with a perfect Dutch accent. Instead, we recommend the established Anglicisation van GOKH (-v as in vet, -g as in get, -kh as in Scottish loch) which is codified in numerous British English pronunciation dictionaries.”

1st place winner: MTrueblood

573 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear MTrueblood's recording

Very nice. She reads with interest, her personality comes through, and she’s pleasant to listen to. What’s more, her voice is vocally free (no vocal tension), which tells us she'd be easy to listen to for a long time – such as in a museum self-guided tour. Except for a glottal stop before "interest," she is very smooth! However, she needs to clean up the word “to” – even with this First Place performance, all her "to"s sound like "tah"s. As for recording quality, it’s good. She gated out the tiny bit of noise floor, but once or twice the gate cuts off a tad too early. In other words, the gate's threshold is set a bit too high.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

Book your Free One-Hour Audition Workout with David Goldberg valued at $240 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

. Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by May 26, 2017 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EdgeStudioAprilVOContest_MargoTrueblood.mp3

2nd place winner: Gregorylovering

52 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Gregorylovering's recording

Very nice read – it’s clear and interesting without being bouncy. And impressively, his voice matches what the museum patron is looking at. However, he’s choppy in a few places, and he missed the word "rather." The technical quality was not so good – very noisy and too low in audio level, with mouth clicks at the start. Luckily for him, judging this contest doesn't take audio quality into consideration. However casting pros usually do.

Free DAW webinar!

Call to register for your Free DAW webinar valued at $99 now! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

Claim your prize by May 26, 2017 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge April Audition.mp3

3rd place winner: rickadamson

329 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear rickadamson's recording

Nice personality, clear and well-paced, with no vocal tension. But all his "to"s sound like "tah"s, and the "d" is missing from "mood." Also, he slated his first and last name, apparently overlooking the example in the Director’s Notes, which said, “slate your name at the beginning, saying ‘Hi, I’m (your first name) [etc.]’” Recording quality was good, but it would have been nice to lower or delete the breath after "emotion."

Pick a prize based on your current skill level and needs!

Appy your $50 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the six months (6 months), you are not eligible to win any place in this week’s contest. Why? To reward other entrants who have improved in that time. But we encourage you to enter nevertheless, for practice and to demonstrate your capability. You are still eligible for the Participation Prize.

This offer cannot be applied toward any services already purchased, nor to any service in which you are already enrolled.

Prize is to be used by you only, not transferable.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/RickAdamson-VanGogh.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, May 1 click below

How to Reach Us

Call us 888-321-3343
Email us training@edgestudio.com

Click for Edge location information...

Meet Your Coaches

Edge Alumni Work Everyday

Get free educational
voice over newsletters!

Get free, educational voice over newsletters

Where should we send them?