Edge Studio

Sunday April 19

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.

Weekly Script Recording Contest!

Archived contests

Past Contest Quicklinks

Contest ending Friday, April 10

Contest Title:

Hypothetical GPS product

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a TV/online infomercial, selling the “KeyPointer,” a product that locates anything via GPS. Please read distinctly, as some viewers do not speak English as their first language, but maintain energy and a sense of enthusiasm. This is the greatest product ever! Slate your name first.

Script:

Just call it from any phone. And within seconds, the KeyPointer texts you back with its location. What’s more, you can even see its location on the map! How cool is that?

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Can you believe some of the things they sell on infomercials? Well, you’d better, because for people to believe in those products, people have to believe you. In many cases this week, the necessary enthusiasm just wasn’t there, or wasn’t ... believable. Here’s that, and other reasons why some people didn’t win:

The read lacked energy. In some cases, they might even have sounded somewhat “conversational,” which strikes the right tone in some scripts, but not this one. This is the greatest new product since the automatic bread slicer, and you should sound like it. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: "Energy" does not necessarily mean "hard sell," even in an infomercial. It does mean a sense of enthusiasm and true interest in what you're saying, interest that you want the listener to share. It means not doing the read on cruise control.

Some people sounded like they were reading a report. They sounded dull and methodical. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Okay, these reads didn’t have enough energy, either, but it’s an interesting concept. Infomercial spokespeople, in addition to being excellent salespeople, tend to have an certain characteristic in their personality. If you’re developing an infomercial persona, you might explore this one. Maybe in your head you can meld a professorial engineer-type with a high-energy personality. How would that sound? What other personality mixes might you explore, or (better yet) exaggerate of your own?

Some were “enthusiastic” but unbelievable. Hype and “Billie Mays” exuberance might be effective for a minute or two. (Although it’s not the sort of approach that usually wins VO auditions!) But this is a long infomercial, there’s a limit to how much forced shouting and fake enthusiasm a viewer can take. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Become personally enthused by the product. Think of this as not a key finder, but the long-sought invention of cold fusion energy. And you just happened to invent it yourself by accident yesterday and are showing your actual best friend. How cool is that!

Some people needed to work on their articulation. They slurred the words. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A sales pitch can’t be effective if the listener can’t understand what you’re saying. So that’s a mandatory in winning any audition. You don’t have to slow down, necessarily. Practice by exaggerating -- open your mouth wide, move your jaw, and form each sound fully. It might feel odd at first, and it will be, but when you relax a bit and read for real, you’ll find that you’ve lost some of that tendency to mumble, slur words and speak with a “lazy” mouth.

On the other hand, some did in fact read too quickly. Particularly since this is an infomercial, not a very short commercial, you probably have more time to play with. Or in. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If the director says to slow down but not how much, if you're unsure, it's okay to ask. As you slow down, take care not to retain the bad vocal shortcuts you might have had when reading quickly. (See “articulation,” above.)

Some reads were choppy. The talent was so focused on reading distinctly, that they lost the flow. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Enunciation should become a habit, not something you have to constantly think about as you’re reading. In your practice time, include enunciation exercises. Then, when you’re reading a script, read every word, but think of it as a series of thoughts, not a series of words.

Three people forgot to slate. Next! Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: We listen to every recording entered in this contest. But in a real online audition, with maybe a hundred submissions, the audition screener is looking for a reason to drop people from the herd as quickly as possible. If they’ve already heard an audition similar to yours, which do you suppose they’ll listen to further – the person who didn’t slate as requested, or the person who followed directions?

1st place winner: kevinvo

81 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kevinvo's recording

Wonderful emotion, energy, and consistency. Just a little sloppy in spots. For example: "texts you back" sounded like "takes you back." Furthermore, it’s such a key phrase (no pun intended) that slowing down there would be good. The third word ("it") is missing its "T" sound. The "T" in "KeyPointer" is light. We can hear these sounds now, but slightly. Once covered with music, or sound effects (such as applause), they will completely disappear. Recording quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 17, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: Debby Barnes

143 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Debby Barnes's recording

Great smile in her voice! But she's being too careful -- tip-toeing through the words as if ensuring that she is articulate, evenly paced, and so on. (Yet, it’s not so much as some cases, where you can almost hear the talent mentally going through the checklist.) Her slate was distinctive and effective. It wasn’t the classic downward-inflected confident statement that we recommend, but neither was it the undesirable upward inflection (“uptalk”) we often hear. It was more as if she popped her head in the door and with good energy said, “Here I am again folks, it’s good to be back!” – all in three syllables. If everyone did that, it could become annoying. But we found it refreshing. Recording quality was very good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 17, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: SRausch

123 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear SRausch's recording

Nice smile, and good enunciation. He moved right along, yet we understood every word. But he’s trying too hard, over-thinking. It was choppy at times, particularly after “texts you back” and “what’s more.” The pauses there are good, to let the listener absorb important points, but rather than cutting short those ending words and abruptly pausing, he should extend them, and maybe extend them into the next phrase. Avoiding glottal stops where possible (“any”) will further smooth things out. The word “cool” was a bit on the phony “DJ sound” side. Considering the genre (and especially considering that he didn’t sound like that throughout), that bit of “epiglottal push” is okay. But we’d have preferred it as a more sincere exclamation. Recording quality was good, if slightly muddy and significantly quieter than our other two winners.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 17, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/KeyPointer 040615.mp3

3rd place winner: prestonvoice

114 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear prestonvoice's recording

Nice energy, with a trustworthy “real world” voice, that’s clear, relaxed and vocally free. But also a bit stilted. His pauses, while helpful in letting a listener absorb important points, were awkward, especially after the name “KeyPointer.” Overall, despite the energy, there wasn’t much variation, to keep the listener attentive and draw them back in. And the Director’s Notes said simply “Slate your name.” His extended slate (which included the contest title) was therefore a no-no. As for the technical quality, he was too close to the mic, causing very noticeable wind noise.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 17, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Jon Eric Preston - Hypothetical GPS.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, April 10 click below

Contest ending Friday, April 3

Contest Title:

The Letter A

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an eLearning video about the origins of Biblical languages. As you speak, the letter A will slowly morph from the Roman letter “A,” to the Semitic character “aleph,” to the pictographic rendering of an ox. Please slate your name or username before the script.

Script:

The word “aleph” means “ox.” Being first, it was powerful in rank. And, four thousand years ago, it actually looked like the head of that era’s most powerful animal.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

As the Fonze used to say, “AAAAAAAAY!” Does the alphabet have a history, or what? The Semitic alphabet, on which many cultures’ current alphabets are based, dates back at least 4,000 years. We suppose that over time it evolved in a smooth progression. If only all our entries this week had been so smooth. Here’s why some of them didn’t win.

Many reads sounded choppy. Some people were hesitant at times, such as before pronouncing the word “powerful.” Or they paused too often, where there was no logical reason to pause, nor punctuation to be observed. Sometimes this may have been the result of trying too hard to be "educational," other times it’s just a matter of habit. And sometimes the effect was magnified by the presence of glottal stops. (A glottal stop is the momentary closing of the airway before an initial vowel -- e.g., “every” “any” “if.”) Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Narrations of this sort typically call for pauses, so that the viewer can keep up mentally, and so that time can be added or subtracted in order to synch up with the video. But excessive pausing tires the listener over time. It’s a common tendency among relatively inexperienced talent. So if you limit your pauses to where there’s punctuation, or where you would naturally take a breath, your read will tend to be more impressive to an audition screener. Be smooth, not tiring.

Some reads sounded robotic. That is, they lacked interest. Remember that the audition screener is likely considering the amount of interest you add to this short snippet of their script ... because if you can't make this little bit interesting, you certainly won't be able to make the full-length script interesting. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Consider the audition a chance to show what you could bring to the client's full-length script. Vary your delivery. Make it interesting.

Don’t slur words together, as some people did. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: “Smooth” does not mean you shouldn’t pay attention to enunciation. Pronounce each word correctly and clearly, yet naturally. Even in an eLearning video, sound friendly, confident and interested, not pedantic.

Speaking of pronunciation, this weeks’ script had some interesting pronunciation issues. One was the word “era.” Some people said “air-ah,” some said “eer-ah.” Which is it? Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A good place to start any pronunciation check is HowjSay.com. Dictionary.com is another one. Each has a link that plays a recording of the word. We were surprised to hear Dictionary.com say “EER-ah,” which is also the first pronunciation offered by HowjSay. But HowjSay adds this: “American -- AIR-ah.” As with dictionary definitions, the first pronunciation given is usually the preferred option. However, if you know you’re recording for an American audience, and the guide explicitly says a certain pronunciation is American, that’s probably the one to choose. In the case of this word, you might even choose to split the difference, saying “EHR-ah,” pronouncing it with a slightly-less-than-broad E sound.

Another pronunciation conundrum was the name of the Semitic alphabet’s first letter -- aleph. People pronounced it various ways, such as A-Leff, alef, al-lef. Not having been around 1,200 years ago, and presumably not being a linguistics scholar yourself, how can you know? This word, too, is in HowjSay.com. But what if it weren’t? The answer: look it up. Type pronounce aleph into your favorite search engine. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: BEWARE that some sites offer user-submitted samples and answers; some of those answers may be authoritative, but maybe not. But here’s yet another option: find a YouTube video on the subject. It didn’t take long to find this chapter in the History of Hebrew; the letter is pronounced 30-seconds in. Another Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Do your homework ... it can pay-off!

Some people spoke as if sharing a story with a kindergarten class. That’s probably the wrong tone for this, because although learning the alphabet is appropriate to that grade level, learning the evolution of all the letters might be overwhelming. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: This isn’t to say that the history of writing wouldn’t be an interesting subject for children. But if they’re old enough to grasp the concept of alphabetical metamorphosis and the historical context, they might be at least slightly older. And probably of an age that talking down to them would not be appropriate. Except for very young kids, a video is adapted to a young audience more by the nature of its script, rather than the tone of your voice.

Bad audio. A lot of recordings had distracting sounds. We’re pretty sure we heard someone’s (pet) bird in the background. There were also cases of excessive sibilance (strong, distracting S sounds) and other technical performance issues. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If your recording space isn’t yet up to professional standards, that’s okay for practice, learning, and even this Weekly Script Recording Contest. But for a real-world audition, it should be quiet and “dead” to professional standards. Even if you know the actual job will be recorded elsewhere, a technically deficient recording sounds less than professional and distracts from your performance.

1st place winner: JohnZ

184 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JohnZ's recording

A nice job, especially in the last sentence, where he added interesting and appropriate emphasis, and was one of the few who paused at the comma after “and.” There was a slight glottal stop in the last sentence. And in the slate he had a tiny bit of “lazy mouth.” (Lazy mouth is where you begin to make a sound while your jaw or lips are still closed (“nnnJohn...”). Recording quality was good, but the volume level was low.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 10, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/JohnZamorano-LetterA-Contest.mp3

2nd place winner: boxermom2000

124 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear boxermom2000's recording

She was another of the few people who paused at the comma after "And." And, except for a couple of slight glottal stops, she was smooth in the last sentence. Just a tad fast through there, and a bit nasal. Good recording quality, except for mouth clicks -- even in her slate.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 10, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Aleph_1.mp3

3rd place winner: Scott Martin

140 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Scott Martin's recording

Why didn’t he slate? In a real-world audition, compared to other strong candidates who followed direction, such an oversight could cost him the job. But there were some other things to work on. For one, the word "thousand" sounds something like "tau-sand." He missed the comma after "And." And like many people, his last sentence was choppy. There were a number of glottal stops throughout that added to the choppy effect overall, right from the first word, “The.” As for the recording quality, he sounded a bit muffled, and the volume was low.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 10, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scott McDonald_Sen_iD22_AA.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, April 3 click below

Contest ending Friday, March 27

Contest Title:

Battlesuede

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a video game. You are the owner of a shop that another character once visited. You are talking to armed detectives who have a reputation for being rough. You need to be confident but non-challenging. Voice all three lines, with clean break between (no more than a second). Which line your character will say depends on the game situation. Observe the emotion indicated. No slate.

Script:

(Angry) I said I don’t sell that stuff here, and to get out!

(Apologetic) Yeah. Bought some stuff. I shoulda hid it in back, but ...

(Disinterested) Look, I gotta get dinner now, okay?

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This was a fun contest to listen to. Lots of reads would have made believable characters. This is one of those times where a real-life casting director might winnow down a surplus of strong candidates by finding the slightest excuse to rule some of them out.

But there were also more fundamental reasons why some people didn’t win.

The Director’s Notes said to sound angry in the first line, apologetic in the next, and disinterested in the last. Many people sounded similar in each line. That’s a problem, because the audition was intended to investigate the talent’s range of emotion. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Let’s choose the first line for example ... If you’re having trouble getting your “anger” up to speed, invent a little extra bit of dialog before and after it. Not much, just enough to “get you started.” Like, “Man oh man he ticked me off!! I said I don’t sell that stuff here, and to get out! And then he swore at me and left!!” Have clean break before and after the actual line, and edit out the pre-sentence and post-sentence parts before your final mix.

But there’s a danger in this. In saying “(Angry),” the direction means that the line is supposed to be said angrily, not that the character is describing how angry he or she was earlier. (Although both might be the case.) The character might be angry at the detectives whom he or she is talking to, or might still be angry at the person he or she is talking about. In any case, the character is truly angry at the time he or she is speaking. Some people restrained their anger, constricting their voice as if to sound angry but not wake the baby. That’s a description or simulation of anger, not actual anger. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Although anger can be seething and is not always loud, sometimes you just have to move a bit away from the mic and not be afraid of annoying your neighbors when you record.

The “apologetic” line seemed the hardest for many. Some people instead sounded annoyed, wistful or just plain faked it with a subdued voice. Many never really lost the anger from the first line; rather than sounding apologetic, they sounded only a little less angry than before. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Try the pre-sentencing tip we mentioned above. Also, before voicing the next line, take a few deep breaths, turn around twice, sit down and stand up, or wait a bit. Meanwhile, envision the character’s situation and motivation. Why are you apologetic? Then voice the line. You’ll get closer to your emotional target, and “angry” will be history.

Some people did not have a clean break between lines -- the last word of one line rolled into the next sentence. The direction was clear: “with clean break between (no more than a second).” While a casting pro might overlook some errors as being easy to correct with direction, failure to understand the importance of this basic aspect of the recording process can be a deal-killer. It can even brand you as an amateur. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: A “clean break” is one where the engineer can easily select the block of words on one side of it or the other, without the selection having to include the starting or finishing sounds of a word, or part of a breath. The break doesn’t have to be long. (Half a second to a second is fine.) But it needs to be a clean split-second of silence, so that the engineer can copy and move the selected block, or process it, or extend the pause, whatever.

Some people overacted. Some “pushed” the emotion. Some dragged out the read to little practical effect. Some simply sounded unnatural. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: If you want to work in Video Games, Animation, or Audio Books, it helps to at least have insight into the acting process. Acting lessons involve serious commitment, so although they can be valuable – or invaluable – don’t head into them full bore unless you feel the call. But do consider some basic acting lessons. Test the waters. Check out courses at your local colleges. See if there’s a student film that could use your services (pro bono). Read up. Find an improv class or group. You might be a natural. But unless you get your toes wet, you may never know.

There were various cases of bad audio, including echoes, room resonance, low audio, weird background sounds, and buzzing. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: A busy audition screener will listen for only a few seconds at first. If the audio quality isn’t up to professional standards, that will generally be the only few seconds they hear before moving to the next audition. Especially if the job is to be recorded in the talent’s own studio.

Most people used their regular speaking voice. That’s fine, because the Director’s Notes said that a “character” voice was not necessary, and no points would be deducted for using your own. Then again, no points were deducted for using a character voice, either, and a few people did so. Of men who affected a character voice, they tended to make the same choice – which in itself did not distinguish them. One additional concern, in the case of some artificial voices, is whether or not the actor can maintain that voice consistently over the long haul. For example, a falsetto voice might change in range over time, or become annoying. Or a breathy gruff voice might make the actor hoarse before long. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Developing a stable of character voices is good. Experiment to determine what voices you can perform consistently and at length. Different techniques work for different people. If a voice causes you any pain or you can’t sustain it, avoid it, and find another way to sound like the character you have in mind.

Some people may have thought these were to be three different characters. If so, they didn’t read or didn’t understand the instructions. These were three lines to be said by the same character. Which line is heard in the video game situation depends on user input, and/or events occurring earlier in the game. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Always read the instructions completely. And, no kidding, once you’ve read them, read them again. It’s amazingly easy to overlook or misunderstand something the first time through.

Some entrants may have misunderstood what the Director’s Notes probably meant by “disinterested.” We think it meant the character is not interested in the conversation, just wants to get away (to dinner), maybe isn’t even listening. Some people voiced it as more pleading, or (again) apologetic. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: When given direction, think for a moment for the reason behind the direction. It may help you choose the better of two options.

Some people added words, which potentially changed the meaning. For example in the line “Bought some stuff,” adding “I” before the verb might change the meaning drastically – maybe the character means the person he’s talking about bought some stuff. Same for adding “the” to “hid it in back” (albeit to a lesser extent). EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Adding a non-verbal utterance is generally okay (e.g., “uh,” a sigh, or a stammer), but adding or deleting words can be problematic. After your recording, listen to your every word, and be sure you stuck to the script.

Some people didn’t speak clearly. Especially when doing a character who speaks with sloppy or regional pronunciations, the range between too much clarity and listener confusion is sometimes narrow. For example, when the words “dinner now” were not said clearly, they sounded like “git to the now.”

Nobody slated. The good news is that the Director’s Notes said not to slate. Yayyy!

Honorable mentions: In addition to our three winners, we also direct your attention to the following auditions. They didn’t win, but came so close that they deserve a mention as good examples in their own ways.

Ken Foster

Very good character, clearly not in his natural voice. He also had believable, on-target emotions. But we wonder if he could maintain this "throaty" delivery for an entire script. The word “dinner” not clear, sounding like “git to the now.” Recording quality was good.

SRausch

A very good character, with good range of emotions, on target. The stutter in line two is a nice addition and sound natural, not overplayed. But he added the word “the” to "back," and the “B” sound in “bought” is very light (if covered with music, could sound a bit like a “V”). Good recording quality.

Mandy_Bellenger

Good character, and the emotion are very much on target. Her hesitations and stutters make it very real. However they may be a tad overdone, and if made a habit, they could slow down the scene. The “get out” part is restrained, as mentioned in our article above. It’s as if she was demonstrating that she had been angry when talking to whoever she was talking about. But the direction meant to be angry as she says the line. Recording quality is good.

ayetalk

A believable character, with real emotions. But all the lines are in a very similar forceful voice, and the “disinterested” is not very. He also added “the” before “back.” Good recording quality.

1st place winner: Skmigs

196 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Skmigs's recording

A very good character (which sounds like her own voice) and good emotion. The lines were distinctly different emotionally, each right on target. The third line (“disinterested”) sounded a bit close to the second (“apologetic”) but a change in tempo pulled it out. Also good, her read was efficient. Although (as some others did) adding a realistic stammer, or a pause, or some other non-verbal tweak can be impressive, it also exposes the actor to claims that the stammer (or whatever) did not sound natural. She simply said the lines, which would be easy to animate, and said them well. This suggests that the entire recording session will be performed efficiently. Recording quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 3, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Battlesuede_1.mp3

2nd place winner: layhooo2

140 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear layhooo2's recording

Also a very good character, with good emotions. The emotions were distinctly different and each was on target. He added the word “the” to “hid it in back," but it’s more of a verbal stumble. (Either way, not good, except that real people do sometimes stumble, especially when feeling insecure ... and apologetic. But more likely, we’ll bet that, at least in the back of his mind, he realized he was misreading the script.) As for the recording quality, it was good, but had too much room resonance.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 3, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: WhatBobThisBob

126 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear WhatBobThisBob's recording

Another good character, with good emotion, right on target. Rather than stammer or hesitate going into a line – which is what some of our entrants tended to do – he stammered coming out of a word (“stuff-ff”). Nice. This, and the variety in his three lines, got him onto the podium. But some concerns cost him a place. One is that he added “I” to “bought some stuff.” (It changes the meaning.) He also added “the” before “back.” And there’s some room resonance in the recording, although it can probably be controlled with more attention to the space’s sound conditioning.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by April 3, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/WhatBobThisBob_Script Contest 3-27-15.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, March 27 click below

Contest ending Friday, March 20

Contest Title:

St. Pat's Sale

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a radio commercial tag. Make it 10 seconds exactly. The [pretend] client’s name is eWow Electronics. Please read clearly, with energy, but real. We want listeners to relate to computer products and salespeople, not hype. Slate your name or username first.

Script:

Save big during tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day Sale! Up to 40% off products throughout the store. Tomorrow only, during the Savin’ o’ the Green at eWow!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Voice-over work covers virtually the full spectrum of society. Some jobs are highly artful, some are super-fun, some are educational or instructive, some tug at the heartstrings. And some jobs simply pay the bills, both the clients’ and yours.

As we noted last week, maybe this simulated audition has a hidden purpose, such as being the trial run on a search for a new company spokesperson. But most likely, it’s a one-day sale that aims to bring customers into the stores and sell computers. There are a lot of bread-and-butter jobs like that, so it’s important to get it right. This week, many people got closer to the mark, apparently having heeded last week’s tips. But some still fell short, and here’s why:

  • Still a bit of sloppiness in words. For example:

  • *"tah” instead of “to”

    *“Bih” instead of “big”

    *“Ah” instead of “of”

    *“Say” instead of “save”

    *“Uh” instead of “off”

    *“produh” instead of “products”

  • We’ll overlook those who said “uh” instead of “of” in “Saving o’ the Green,” because that’s how the script read. But not elsewhere. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Practice enunciating in your everyday speech. Not to worry, your friends aren’t likely to wonder where the “real you” went. They’ll just find you easier to understand. And you’ll find that enunciating comes more easily and feels more natural when you’re at the mic.
  • Some were too hard sell. Another word for “hard sell” would be “hype,” which was expressly forbidden. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: The word "hype" says it -- it's not rationale, not real, not personal. If you're being pushier than you would be with a friend, that's hard-sell. In most voice over work, talk as if to a friend.
  • Others had no energy. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: If you’ve tried coffee (just kidding), or jumping up and down a few times before reading (no kidding), try tricking yourself a bit. Suppose that whoever you’re talking to is about to leave the room, and you want to convey to them, in a friendly manner, that it’s important that they hear this first.
  • Some appeared to be trying for our prescribed narrow line between “real” and “motivating,” but fell off to one side or the other. Sometimes they appeared to be “overthinking” it as they spoke, even wobbling back and forth in their style, so it was neither real nor salesy, just artificial. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Plan your read ahead of time, get your mindset into your head, then go. Don’t think about it while you read. Think instead about “who” you’re talking to, what you want them to do, what you’re saying rather than how you’re saying it. (The “how” should be automatic, as a result of your forethought and markup.) You might not hit the mark with the first take, but you’re more likely to sound real, and consistent.
  • Some didn’t get the store name quite right. Some paused before it. As we noted last week, it comes at the very end, so if you pause it’s easy for the listener to think you’re done and tune out (mentally, at least). So don’t pause before “at.” Some people rushed it. The one mention of the client’s name is something to savor, not skip over. Some people slurred it, combining “at” and “eWow” into a kind of non-distinctive “addywow.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Pronounce the T in “at” – this will give a clean break before saying the name, without having made an actual pause. Rather than rush it, s-t-r-e-t-c-h the name, if anything. You might even exaggerate its pitch slightly, just enough to add some style. Or, point at an imaginary “eWow” sign as you say it. (Body language comes out in your voice, both physically and emotionally.) Arguably the brand name is the one point in this script where, given the instructions to be “real,” you might be a little bit “unreal,” in order to stick the landing. But if you choose to take a chance with this, exaggerate it as a real person might, with realistic intonation, not a parody of corny commercials.
  • Some phrased things oddly. For example, pausing after “up” in “Up to 40% off.” Several said “Savin’ Oh the Green” (as if it were an Irish surname?), rather than “Savin O’ the Green.” (See discussion of sloppiness, above). Another example: pausing after “40%.” We suspect some people paused at these points, either excessively or altogether unnecessarily, in order to “enunciate.” Unfortunately, that’s not the point of enunciation – the point is simply to pronounce words clearly. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Think it through – what does each phrase mean? (That is, the words between pauses or punctuation, if not actual grammatical phrases.) Using the example we’ve just mentioned: By itself, “Up” means nothing. The phrase is “Up to 40%.” However, if you pause after 40%, it might be misheard as nonsense, or misinterpreted as 60% off. The full sense of the phrase is “Up to 40% off.” Why not “up to 40% off products”? Answer: Because that would mean nothing more – what else would the 40% be off of? The word “products” belongs with the next phrase: “products throughout the store.” Now put that entire sentence together, intoned logically, and without pausing.
  • Some people got tangled up with a tongue-twister: “Tomorrow only.” It came out as “tomorraonly.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Some sounds just don’t fit together naturally without some special effort. To transition between the “oh” sound and the “ohn” sound without blurring them together, do one of two things: a) be sure to pronounce the “W” sound, just in passing, so the result is sort of like “tomorro-wonly” (but not unnaturally so); or, b) begin to do a glottal stop there, but don’t fully close your throat. There's also a (c) option, which would be to pause there. But that's really not an option, for three reasons: 1. There’s no comma. 2. There's no need to pause. 3. The split second would be better used elsewhere in this very short script. A full pause would just sound choppy.
  • Some audio levels were too low. This annoys the audition listener, because they then have to turn up the volume, listen and turn it down for the next audition. Worse, if they forget to turn it down, the next audition will blow out their ears, or their speakers, or annoy coworkers. If there are other good audition candidates it might be easier to click the button labeled “Thank you, next!” EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Check your levels at all stages of the signal chain. They should be near or just below “0.” For an audition, some pros like to set their "normalization" processing so that the peaks (loudest sounds) reach -0.3 dB, others feel safer peaking at around -3.0 dB. (In an actual job, the client may specify other values, but never more than 0.) Then, before sending, listen to your finished .mp3 file, and compare its volume with that of other recordings you know to be of professional grade. (For example a typical demo at a well-known talent’s website.)
  • Everyone slated, but some stated more than their name or username. For example, adding the contest title. In a real audition, would that cost you the job? Not necessarily – it may depend on the screener’s mood at the moment and how close your competition is. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: When slating instructions are given, slate exactly as instructed. Not only does it save the reviewer time and avoid annoying them, it shows you can follow instructions. Or at least, it doesn’t demonstrate that you don’t.
  • Some slated too quickly. That cost them the opportunity to “brand” themselves to the listener. Or worse, it implanted a bad impression of someone who is not quite fully secure, or not attentive. EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Slate clearly and confidently, pause less than a second and begin the script.

1st place winner: jamesromick

198 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jamesromick's recording

A generally good read, although it struck us as a little stiff. He paused slightly after 40% and hit “products” just a bit too much. Because he continued on to say “throughout the store,” it was okay, and a good use of the “pivot” technique, but the consecutive pivots without any change of tempo made him sound somewhat sing-songy. (We would have preferred combining and even stretching “40% off”, and instead of hitting "products", and/or stretching “throughout” would have been nice.) He says "Savin' ah the Green," which as mentioned in our article above, is acceptable because that’s how the script reads (“Savin’ o’ the Green”). His enunciation elsewhere was good. His recording quality was also good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 27, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/eWowContestScript2_VO.mp3

2nd place winner: amyjoywarner

175 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear amyjoywarner's recording

She has a real voice and manner, with a sort of cute delivery, especially the way she hits the word “big.” But while stretching the word “big” is effective, it also gives the impression that she’s starting at too slow a pace. Maybe that’s because she failed to fully pronounce the V sound in “Save” and listener confusion ensues? Also, despite the stretch on “big,” she also failed to pronounce the G at its end. She rushed “Patrick’s” almost to the point of sounding like speed compression, but the word's sounds are clear, and so is the word itself in this familiar holiday context. We only wish she had pushed “Sale” at the end of that string. She says “during-ah” rather than “during the,” but ironically (and not objectionably) she pronounces the “V” sound in the word “of” (represented by “O’ in "Savin' O' the Green”.) Recording quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 27, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EDGE St Patty 317.mp3

3rd place winner: D Voice

133 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear D Voice's recording

This was more “classic announcer” than requested, but had some redeeming virtues. We like his choosing to hit the word “big” by stretching it. He also got the phrasing correct, which many people didn’t. But his slate was too fast, doing him a disservice. And a number of words are rushed or slurred. ("Save" sounds like "Say"; "off" sounds like "uh"; "products" sounds like "produh"; Recording quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge- St Pats Sale (DV).mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, March 20 click below

Contest ending Friday, March 13

Contest Title:

St. Pat's Sale

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a radio commercial tag. Make it 10 seconds exactly. The [pretend] client’s name is eWow Electronics. Please read clearly, with energy, but real. We want listeners to relate to computer products and salespeople, not hype. Slate your name or username first.

Script:

Save big during tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day Sale! Up to 40% off products throughout the store. Tomorrow only, during the Savin’ o’ the Green at eWow!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

We’re scheduling a re-do. We feel that everyone could stand to improve, and are confident that many will.

The re-do ground rules:

1. You may submit an entry whether or not you entered the first week.
2. You must re-submit a recording. The past week’s entries will not be automatically considered.
3. Don’t resubmit the same script. Please read our tips and record again.

Here are some of the reasons we didn’t pick a winner, and ways to possibly improve your read:

(To review last week’s recordings, go to Archived Contests, scroll to the bottom, click “View all entries” and wait a bit for the collection to load.)

When the instruction says “10 seconds exactly,” that’s what it means – the read should be 10 seconds on the nose. Definitely not longer, and not significantly shorter. Within your DAW editing software, you can see exactly how long a recording is. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Even If you’re just 0.1 seconds short, consider adding that tenth of a second by imperceptibly extending a pause. Or do another take. If an otherwise excellent take is a tad too long, consider editing out or shortening a breath or pause. (Again, the edit must be imperceptible.)

If your time is much shorter than 10 seconds, not only have you missed the spec, you’ve done yourself a disservice. Most likely you’ve slurred or dropped important word-sounds, which is the first thing you should correct. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If your read is still too fast, use that extra time creatively – how can you use an extra half-second to make the tag more interesting, more compelling, or more memorable? Or even make yourself more “real”?

Yes, the Director’s Notes said to sound “real,” not like “hype.” But this is a very short retail tag. It advertises a one-day sale, and the store name is mentioned only once. So it’s essential that you hit important “selling” words. As always, that includes the store name (“eWow”). It should also include the words, “Save big,” “Sale,” “40% off,” “throughout the store,” and/or “Tomorrow.” That’s virtually every other word, so make some choices and emphasize what you think will be most effective. (Many people instead punched “products,” which adds nothing to the message.) Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Remember that there are various ways to “hit” a word or phrase, including stretching it, inflection, and pausing. But beware of too much pausing, because it will sound choppy and time is limited. Also remember that increasing volume is generally NOT the way to hit a word in voiceover.

Note that this is a radio spot, not a TV commercial. Therefore, the listener does not have the store name displayed on the screen as you read this tag. All the more reason to be sure the store name has energy. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Always consider the medium and the environment your read will be heard in. In this case, the main commercial that precedes this tag might mention the store incessantly. But it might be a manufacturer's "co-op" commercial that doesn't mention the store at all. In that case, the store name is critical. (In that case, this would also have been a badly written tag, so it's unlikely. But talent has no control over that.)

How do you do all that and still sound “real”? It’s almost a contradictory instruction, but real-world audition direction is sometimes like that. There’s often a reason that you can’t know for sure. For instance, maybe the client doesn’t realize the contradiction. Or maybe they know it will be difficult but want to see who can achieve it. Or maybe they’re scouting for a personality to be their spokesperson and this tag is a trial job. Or maybe they don’t mean totally real, just not announcery or full of hype. Our suggestion: go for the middle ground. Be as real as possible, but not laid back. In other words, think like a salesperson but don’t sound like one. And definitely don’t sound like a typical “announcer.” (There were some good entries of the announcery type this week, but in light of the direction, they would not have landed the job.) Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Consider being a character – For example, the Director’s Notes say they want listeners to relate to their salespeople, so maybe you’re a salesperson who is very enthusiastic about the coming sale. Think of all the customers you can help. Think about how you can’t help them if they don’t get to the store. That’s real. Just also be sure the “salesperson” you choose to play is also an articulate one. And use your real voice. “Real” does not mean “slurred” or “mumbly,” and “character” does not necessarily mean a fake voice.

The phrase “the Savin’ o’ the Green” is the name of the sale, but when you analyze the phrase, what does it add? Not much. It’s just a gratuitous reference to St. Patrick’s day. It does contribute a little “personality” and maybe some fun to the script, but nobody buys because of the name of a sale. More important are the key words within it: “Savin’” and “Green” (money). Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You can say the phrase quickly, but the words should nevertheless be understandable. (For example, if you don’t pronounce the V in savin’, it will sound like sayin’. And rather than hit it as a phrase (hitting an entire phrase is awkward anyway), focus on one of those key words.

Don’t rush your slate. State your name or username clearly and confidently. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: As the first impression you give, your slate is highly important. The casting team often does not see your name in front of them, so it’s essential that they understand what you’re saying. Then, as you go right into the script, they won’t be annoyed, confused and distracted.

Maintain energy right through the end. That’s always important, but especially important considering that the last word is the store name. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To maintain energy through the last word, imagine or even write out and speak a few words that would logically follow this script. (That’s known as “post-sentencing,” the cousin of “pre-sentencing.”) For example, “... at eWow! (Of course!).” Use any phrase you like. If you actually say those words, have a clean break first, so you can edit them out of your submission. Don’t leave them in!

Sound positive, but not bubbly or artificially happy. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Relax. Let your voice be vocally free, and simply smile.

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, March 13 click below

Contest ending Friday, March 6

Contest Title:

Pilates

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a Pilates exercise video. The voice over will be heard as an on-camera subject performs the exercises.

The script describes a simple version of "roll like a ball." (You can see various versions of it here: https://www.google.com/search?q=pilates+roll+like+a+ball&source=lnms&am… )

Where it says "(break)" put a short, clean break, don't add time yourself. Your voice should be confident and encouraging. Let's make this fun!

Script:

Inhale, and hollow out your belly. Shoulder blades down and back. (break)
Exhale on the way up. Do you feel your abdominal muscles working? That's good!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

For an exercise to work, the person exercising – in this case, the student watching this video – must want to do it. That requires that they be confident of results, and it also helps if the process is fun. That’s why the Director’s Notes said to make this voice over “confident, encouraging and fun.” But there’s another requirement: the student needs to grasp how to do the exercise. For that reason, any exercise narration needs to delivered clearly and slowly enough that it will be easily understood. Here’s why some people didn’t reach that level of fun, confidence, and clarity:

Many people achieved two of the three requested tonal qualities (confidence, encouraging and fun), but most did not get all three. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Imagine you’re teaching Pilates to an actual friend, someone specific you know. Choose someone who trusts your knowledge, whom you would really want to succeed, and whom you like to have fun with. This will make it easier to express so many emotional qualities, naturally, in such a short time, because you’ll actually feel the emotion, rather than having to act it.

Most reads – even the best of them -- were way too fast. Reading too fast is common when someone reads a narration of this sort for the first time, especially if they haven’t seen the exercise performed. Most real-life events tend to proceed more slowly than we imagine them in our head. And in this particular case, even if they have watched the exercise, it may have misled them. The quick rocking motion of “Rolling Like a Ball” happens more quickly than other exercises typically do. In fact, the “rolling” part happens so quickly that it would be almost absurd to describe it in real time. So why try? The video shows how to do the move. The audio adds reminders and details. The read can begin as the exercise model readies herself and end after she returns to stasis. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Before your read, or during, watch the action ... or do it yourself. This will give you a realistic sense of timing.

Our Founder and Chief Edge Officer David Goldberg can attest to this first-hand. He recalls a yoga-video narration job at Edge Studio, when the client had planned to have a yoga instructor perform the exercises as the voice talent narrated. (Fortunately for David, the instructor couldn’t make the session, so the client asked David to perform the exercises.) Having someone perform the exercises worked -- when the narrator recorded, "Now roll over, inhale, and roll back," David did. When David had finished with that move, the narrator would record the next move. This way, the narrator knew exactly how much time each exercise required to comprehend and perform, and knew how long to pause between phrases, so the pacing was perfect, with minimal editing required later.

Some people forgot to leave the clean break that had been requested. Or they made it way, way too long. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A clean break isn’t a long break. It might not even include a breath. It’s just a moment of silence between one word and the next, so the engineer can easily extend the pause if desired.

Some people sort of “dumbed down” the read, as if explaining rocket science to children. Maybe they were trying too hard to be “encouraging.” Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Speak as you would to a friend. No need to get sing-songy or artificially slow. For a more realistic slow pace, maybe imagine you and that friend are chilling out in a quiet room.

A lot of people delivered the last words ("That's good!") as if they were praising a child or rewarding a dog. While it was suitably fun, it also came across as condescending. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When analyzing a script, look for phrases that might have alternative meanings. In this case, the statement “That’s good,” might not be so much a “reward” as it is important information – the narrator is saying that it’s good, not harmful, to feel your abdominal muscles working.

On the words “inhale” and “exhale,” a few people actually inhaled and exhaled. But they did so too dramatically. It was distracting at least, and sometimes was way over the top. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Thoughtfully adding such a nuance to a script can be good; if the director thinks it’s too much, it can be lessened or taken out. But listen critically to your recording before submitting – is your tweak so exaggerated as to be inappropriate or obnoxious? That can make your thoughtful invention seem more like poor judgment.

Some misread the script. For example, saying "abdomen" instead of "abdominal." Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Have a friend “proof-listen” your auditions, just as you should have someone proofread your resume. First, have them listen without benefit of seeing the script. Can they easily catch every word? Then have them listen while looking at the script, as an extra check that you’ve read all the words correctly. No friend available? Wait a bit and listen to it critically yourself before submitting.

Most people failed to enunciate clearly. For example, “and” sounded like “nnn.” The "T" at the end of “out” was missing, making the word sound like "Ow," or it was voiced by using a glottal stop, rather than a clear “T” sound. Our comments on the winners provide additional insight into this. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When “proof-listening,” focus on the transitions between words. Are all the intended sounds and letters there? Also bear in mind that when most words are poorly enunciated, the listener begins to “fill in the blanks,” sometimes erroneously – that’s why “Do you” sounded like a sloppy “Till you,” causing confusion.

Some people had odd inflections or pronunciations. For example, ending the word “back” with an upward inflection. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: An upward inflection (uptalk) usually indicates there is more to come. But the word “back” is followed by a pause of unknown length, so there might not be more immediately following it, and the upward inflection there is thus inappropriate.

1st place winner: dianabirdsall

194 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dianabirdsall's recording

She submitted two takes. While both takes have the desired confidence, her second take also has the "fun" that was also requested. However, both takes are too fast, and she doesn’t enunciate clearly enough. For example, her slate begins with lazy mouth ("NnnDiana"), and on the first word (“Inhale”), the "L" sound is a bit indistinct – if covered with music, the "L" sound will be mostly gone. Furthermore, "hollow out" sounds like "hollow-ow," and we hear no "D" in "shoulder." Recording quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 13, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: SheilaSnoddy

145 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear SheilaSnoddy's recording

She is encouraging, confident, and fun, but a little too fast. The word "back" is oddly sing-songy, hitting three pitches in this one-syllable word. On the other hand, she is one of the few to enunciate the "L" on "Inhale" and the "T" in in the phrase "hollow out." Recording quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 13, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/PILATES WEEKLY SCRIPT REC CONTEST.mp3

3rd place winner: BassMatic

145 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear BassMatic's recording

Some good moments, but it’s on-and-off. While his slate is "confident and encouraging," the beginning of his audition is not. It’s so plain that we almost hit Stop. Just in time, he improved, and his tone is much better in the second half. The slate begins with lazy mouth ("NnnGarin") and he doesn’t enunciate clearly enough. For example, "hollow out" sounds like "hollow-ow." Good recording quality.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 13, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/20150227_Pilates_GaranFitzgerald.mp3

3rd place winner: kevinvo

107 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kevinvo's recording

A good natural sound, but he sounds more "cool" than "encouraging and confident." Also, he said "abdomen" instead of "abdominal" and did not enunciate clearly enough. For example, "hollow out your" sounds like "hollow-ouchyer." Good recording quality, except for a mechanical click after "down."

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 13, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, March 6 click below

Contest ending Friday, February 27

Contest Title:

There’s no place like it

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a real estate sales video showing multi-million dollar properties. Where you see “ ... “ the audio will pause while the video shows the subject. Pause one second in each of those spots. Slate your name or username and the words, “Top tier.”

Script:

As you enter, see the modern touch. Totally renovated, with the luxury great room ... spacious media room ... and the kitchen is also a showplace.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Do you have a few spare million dollars to spend? That’s the price of the home that this video is selling. And regardless of price, such expenditure is not made casually. It is, after all, one’s home. This video was looking for a voice to present such an upscale home, a voice that -- in the process -- contributes to its character and perceived value. Here’s why some people didn’t reach that neighborhood...

Many read the script very casually. There’s such a thing as taking a subject too seriously. But as we’ve noted, this is not one of them. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When given direction as to the tone of a script, follow that direction. But when not, that’s something you should determine. Analyze the script and the situation. What is the listener’s mindset? What is the client’s mindset? Where do they most logically meet? What sort of person – what sort of manner – do they relate to? It’s fair to guess that in this case, they’re both looking for a little class. Be comfortable, and at ease, but not flip or informal.

There were many unpolished reads. Whether it was from lack of attention, lack of training, or lack of not understanding the objective, we can’t always know. But an unpolished read does not match the nature of the home. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When you get a script, analyze it not only for what it needs, but also determine how you will meet that need. Mark it up, practice, record a take or two, then listen back. Are you achieving what you set out to do? If not, don’t just keep reading it again and again. Change something, and listen for what effect it had. In the case of this script, the talent should sound every bit as polished as the real estate agent who would be showing this home.

The term “unpolished” includes failure to enunciate, mumbling, or slurring words together. We heard lots and lots of that this week. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To be sure your words will be understood, practice by over-enunciating. You may have to kick it up several notches. Listen back. It might be too much. But it will probably sound totally natural – and much clearer – if you then dial it only one notch back.

Many people didn’t pause a full second at the ellipses (the “...” parts). As stated in the Director’s Notes, the producer will insert more time there, to allow for showing a view of the room. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Technically, the engineer needs only a clean break (a very short moment of silence) in order to add more time, but the direction was to pause “one second.” In voice over, time-oriented direction such as this is common. Practice with a stopwatch or a clock having a second hand, and get a feel for how long “a second” is. And in this case, when cleaning up the audio in your DAW software (Audacity, Twisted Wave, Pro Tools, etc.), you might as well use its time scale to make the pause exactly a second.

Many people inflected the three parts of the second sentence (the three rooms) as if they were reading one normal sentence. That is, their pitch rose at the end of the first two words in the series, as you would read, “The colors are red, green, and blue.” But, as we’ve noted, this series isn’t like that. Going up in pitch on “room” just leaves the listener hanging as the camera pans across the great room (or various shots are shown). 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In a series like this, treat each part of it as a declarative statement. In other words, the ending inflection of each part should be downward.

Many people, including two of our winners, didn’t hit the word “also.” Instead they hit “showplace,” as if to suggest the kitchen is a place to cook, but it’s also a showplace.” So why hit “also”? Think about the script on a wider scale ... we’re showing a media room, dwelling on it visually, including a nice, big movie screen, and cushy theater seats from which everyone can enjoy a show. It’s obviously a showplace. And guess what? The kitchen is ALSO a showplace! 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Hitting “showplace” was not wrong. It’s a powerful word and it is an unusual one to describe a kitchen, so it’s intriguing in itself. But by relating the kitchen to the media room, you enhance continuity and build one thought on another. Maybe it’s not what the director will choose to hit, but in an audition, it shows you are thinking. Casting people like that.

Some people gave choppy reads, pausing too often or too long at the comma. A comma indicates that the phrases (the one before the comma, and the one after the comma) should be separate from one another. This can be done by pausing at the comma, or by changing the delivery (changing pitch, or tone, or temp). You need not breathe. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Where there is no comma or other punctuation, flow your phrases together. In fact, you can even flow your words. For example, don’t just say “spacious” – el-o-n-g-a-te it, taking a bit more time in saying it ... as if sprawling it all over the room.

Many people went too quickly. This often happens when reading. A person reading doesn’t have to think about what to say, and nerves play a role in speed, too. But people naturally speak slowly as well as quickly, and in reading this script; slower is the order of the day. The pace needs to allow the viewer to take in the video. To hear and grasp every word. And in especially with this script, every nuance. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: As you speak, see the video in your head. Your listeners will need time to see it, too.

Many, many recordings had poor audio quality. Room reverberation, noises, hiss, and distortion. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you’re just starting out, make the best of what you’ve got. But you’ll need to address such technical issues before going professional. If you’re not sure even how to begin, consider taking our Home Studio 101 or our other technical consultation or setup services.

Some people had a long pause before their slate, that made us wonder if anything was recorded. Sometimes we were about to click away, when the voice began. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In your audio editing software, delete any “dead air” before your recording begins. Don’t just silence it, delete it (being careful not to cut into your first word.) If necessary, slide your take over to “zero” on the time scale.

1st place winner: JCDunnVOX

178 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JCDunnVOX's recording

A very good read -- friendly and casual, yet articulate and with a discerning feel. That’s a smart combination; it motivates. Except for a slight glottal stop before "also" (which makes it a tad choppy), this read works perfectly. Recording quality is good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 6, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: Mark Holcomb

135 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Mark Holcomb's recording

He placed because of his natural sound. We like the energy and clarity. We don’t like the speed. Not only is his slate too fast, he doesn’t milk any of the words or phrases. For example, when saying “As you enter,” he might envision someone entering ... not extending that phrase for the full time it would take someone to pass through the door, but long enough for the camera to begin to enter the room. Recording quality was pretty good, although the volume a bit low.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 6, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: dstromberg

145 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dstromberg's recording

A nicely relaxed read, but there are some ways it could be enhanced: Overall, the delivery could use more zest. She skipped both commas. And she "uptalked" the first and second list items (see our comments regarding inflection). However, she seems to have caught the relationship between the media room and the kitchen (that is, both are showplaces), as she hit “also.” In fact, she managed to hit “also” and “showplace” equally, the best of both worlds, and had a noticeable smile as she did so. Very clear technically, except for room resonance. A few breaths were chopped off (such as before "As" and again before "spacious").

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 6, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Deborah Stromberg-Top Tier 022415.mp3

3rd place winner: Lynn Marshall

124 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Lynn Marshall's recording

Nice relaxed read, yet perhaps a tad too fast. There are a number of potential enhancements: Her slate is a bit rushed (her name -- which is her ONLY chance to brand herself -- merges into "Top Tier." As with her co-winner, her read could use more zest overall. The first phrase is phrased as if it were one word: “Azuenter.” That could confuse the listener. She skipped the second comma. She "uptalked" the second list item. And she paused after "kitchen", which breaks up a single thought. (It would be an incorrect place to put a comma, and it also sounds odd to pause there.) Technically, her breaths are distracting and could stand to be lowered in volume. She’s also a bit distant sounding, yet there’s lots of mouth noise. Changing her position with respect to the mic might improve both. Try working closer, but not speaking directly at it.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by March 6, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/LM Top Tier.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, February 27 click below

Contest ending Friday, February 20

Contest Title:

Noir et Blanc

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a podcast about the cinema. The show is scripted, but you should sound like you’re speaking off the top of your head, unrehearsed. Slate your name or username first.

Script:

I think my favorite genre is Cinema Noir. I mean, you can do so much on a small budget. In fact, somehow even recent movies work better in black-and-white. Let’s you focus.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This contest was a tough one to voice, and even tougher to judge, because it posed three distinct objectives for the talent:

1. Sound natural
2. Sound unscripted
3. Sound like you know the subject

Although, in any genre, talent should not sound as if he or she is reading, there is something of a difference in this one. For example, in a typical department store commercial or corporate video, the voice talent might announce a sale on lawn chairs or describe a factory in a “natural, real person” manner, but the listener, in the back of their mind, doesn’t really think that the words are unscripted.

In the case of this blog copy, however, not only should the speaker sound like a person talking in his or her everyday voice, we wanted them to sound like they’re really speaking off the top of their head. And that they know what they’re talking about.

Here’s why some people didn’t quite reach that “trifecta” level:

Some voices sounded polished and vocally free, but didn’t sound like they were speaking extemporaneously. Others took the “ad libbing” too far. In particular, they hesitated here and there, as if thinking before they spoke. But their hesitations just sounded choppy. In some cases, they had a lot of thoughtful pauses (real), but then charged through the text (unreal). Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t overdo the thoughtful pauses. When overused, it gets artificial real fast. Besides, some thoughts just flow, so you don’t need a long pause at every period. If you want a pause, then instead pick just one spot where a pregnant pause would be most logical, one moment where the speaker really might be conjuring up a new thought. Pause briefly. You might even add “um” if you can make it sound unrehearsed. As for the rest of the copy, use other techniques to maintain interest and a sense of reality, such as inflection, and variations in speed.

Some people sounded theatrical. They had the right emotions, and their emotion may have changed from statement to statement (that’s good), but the way they expressed the emotion didn’t sound real. It was exaggerated, or too “polished.” Or, in some cases, they sounded forced or stereotyped.

Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t focus on your voice -- take off the headphones. Instead, focus on who you’re talking to -- just one person who is with you. Further tip: Record yourself while simply talking with a friend. Listen to yourself later. You’ll probably sound very different from your “VO” self, and of course totally natural. Note the differences and practice those.

Many people were hard to understand. They ran words together (e.g., “let’s you” became “less you”), or mumbled, especially the first words, which they sometimes also rushed. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Adopt the mindset not of someone who is trained in VO, but rather someone who happens to have all those good qualities you’ve learned – enunciation, clarity, vocal freedom, etc. The more those qualities become a habit, the less you’ll think about them and the less “practiced” they’ll sound, so you can focus on the other aspects of what you’re saying, such as emotion, timing, inflection, etc.

Some people sounded like they didn’t know what “cinema noir” is. In particular, many people hit the word “movies.” In case anyone is still in the dark, the term (also known as “film noir”) means “black (or dark) cinema,”. It refers to a genre that was in its heyday in the 1940s and ‘50s. Since it’s a film genre, the whole discussion is about movies -- so why hit “movies”? The word to hit was “recent,” to contrast with the genre’s mid-century origins.Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When not entirely sure what a script refers to, ask the client or director, or (as in this case), do a quick online search. Google and Wikipedia are handy for this.

Some people mispronounced “noir,” or got very French about it. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Although even an expert on film might be excused for roughing up a foreign phrase, it’s nevertheless distracting, maybe even annoying to those who know better. When in doubt, favor your normal accent (e.g., American English, if that’s you), rather than venture on to thin ice. For a guide to pronunciation, check with howjsay.com.

Some people slated incorrectly; many included the contest title (“Noir et Blanc”). The Director’s Notes specified only “Slate your name or username.” In some cases, the talent mispronounced the title, doing themselves a disservice when they didn’t even need to take that risk. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When given slating instructions, follow the instruction precisely, no more, no less.

Some people fell into a pattern, which quickly became artificial and boring. In particular, many started each sentence in a high pitch and went lower.Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Variation in pitch is good. But saying every sentence the same way gets artificial. See our tip above, about recording yourself in an ordinary conversation. At a point when you’re really talking, and have forgotten about the recorder, you’ll probably hear lots of variation.

Some people spoke too rapidly, or too slowly. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When someone speaks impromptu, they usually don’t have all their thoughts and statements planned out beforehand, let alone exactly worded. So, although too much pausing for thought not only sounds choppy and artificial, it also sounds artificial if you don’t seem to be thinking at all. On the other hand, speaking lethargically gets kind of boring, even with an occasional change-up.

Someone submitted two takes that were very much alike. The only reason we noticed the second take was because we didn’t hit the stop button exactly at the end. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In the real world, an audition screener is faced with maybe hundreds of auditions and other demands on their time, so if they hear a technical fault (e.g., hiss) or your first words don’t wow them, they may hit the Stop button within seconds of your start. If you include a second take, it should be significantly different from the first, and both takes should be equally impressive.

Some recordings had serious technical problems. Distortion, low volume, overly aggressive audio processing, hiss. One even consisted of only an outtake fragment. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When you make the MP3 file to send, listen to the file first, outside your DAW (e.g., using a media player such as QuickTime or Windows Media Player). Does it sound professional? If not, then figure out why not. In the long run, addressing that issue may be more important than this one performance. If you're not sure about your audio quality, Edge Studio has engineers you can email files to for assessment. Our engineers can also remotely log-in to your home computer and set up your recording levels, EQ, and other processing equipment, so you know that you're submitting industry-standard audio quality, and not decreasing your chances of winning work. For more information, visit our Home Studio Services page, or email training@edgestudio.com, or call 888-321-EDGE (3343).

How “real” was this audition? That is, how often might you have the opportunity to read a podcast script? Well, if it’s your podcast, the answer is obvious -- regularly. And, since many VO professionals have previous or simultaneous experience in other fields, it’s conceivable that someday you’ll be asked to guest on a podcast. In that case, you might answer questions unscripted, or you might follow a script, or somewhere in between (e.g., talk from notes). But even if there’s no podcasting in your future, there are many situations calling for talent to sound totally natural and unscripted and unrehearsed.

1st place winner: layhooo2

213 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear layhooo2's recording

He sounds unrehearsed: reading without tension, and changing emotion as he moves from one thought to another. That’s very lifelike. Unfortunately his recording is noisy and has room resonance.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 27, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/KJS-Cinema Noir.mp3

2nd place winner: castlevozz

168 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear castlevozz's recording

Another great read. He, too, comes across as unrehearsed. The changing emotion and laugh show that he can bring personality to the script. Even if the casting team dislikes the chuckle, they'll know that he is versatile, has range, and is comfortable playing up the character. Our only concern is that his pace is a bit too slow. Recording quality was good, although, being picky we noted a few mouth clicks in his slate, and the breath after the last word gets chopped off abruptly.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 27, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: Annie Markert

73 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Annie Markert's recording

In contrast with many other entrants, she doesn’t sound like a trained voice (in this recording anyway); her voice is not relaxed and “vocally free.” But she does sound natural, and for that she wins this podium spot. Her few pauses are naturally brief, barely a break. She sounds like she really means what she’s saying, and she although her voice is soft, she still has energy and variation. Her pronunciations are clear throughout, and her pronunciation of “cinema noir” sounds natural and unaffected. However, she loses energy in the very last words; they don’t sound like a real afterthought, nor like a key point. From a technical standpoint, she used an audio gate to remove hiss during the quiet moments, but it was set too aggressively, cutting off the tails of her speech and making the hiss more obvious by its sudden absence.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 27, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/2015-02-16 Edge Weekly Script Recording Contest Annie.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, February 20 click below

Contest ending Friday, February 13

Contest Title:

Get the Kitchen Out

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a video about George and Martha Washington. Choose the character appropriate to your gender. George should be calm and modest, firm but not stern. Martha should sound cheerful, but gracious and soft-spoken. Age range, anywhere between 30-67 years old. No need to use a Southern accent; George and Martha didn’t have one as we know Southern accents today. We are more interested in conveying their personalities. Submit only only one take, of only one character. Slate “George” or “Martha” before reading. Do not slate your name or username.

Script:

As one expects, the kitchen building is 20 paces distant. Only a simpleton would place the kitchen inside the manor house.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

An interesting mix of choices this week. Different people chose different words to hit. But, as the Director’s Notes stated, the key goal was to convey the specified personality characteristics of George or Martha Washington. And at the same time to deliver the script in a natural way, one that will be clearly heard. Some people missed the target in one respect or another.

Some read George's statement in a conversational tone, as if someone had asked him a question about the kitchen building, and he was answering. Others read it as a declarative statement, as if he was giving a tour or lecture about Mount Vernon. Either approach might be correct. Where some people went wrong was when they sounded like neither – their manner of speech was lifeless or unnaturally phrased or inflected. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When portraying a character (and in many other VO situations), envision the person that the character is talking to, standing a short distance from you. Talk to that person, that individual, as you would in normal conversation. You should of course convey the personality traits, emotions, etc. that the character entails. But all those accoutrements don’t have to change the other elements of your performance. Remain “real.” A character’s not complete unless he or she seems real.

Some gave George an unlikeable attitude, for example sarcastic. Martha at times seemed arrogant. The direction was for George to be “calm and modest, firm but not stern,” and for Martha to be “cheerful, but gracious and soft-spoken.” In some cases this may have been to reflect the sense of the copy, that (modernizing it here) “only a simpleton would put a kitchen inside the house.” Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Yes, sarcasm or a strong sense of superiority might be appropriate ... except that the direction was otherwise. When given direction, especially in an audition, the professional’s task is to meet that directive. In a recording session (as opposed to an audition), after you’ve done as directed, if you think you have a better way, you usually can ask to try that next.

Audio quality on some recordings was quite bad. Some of the issues encountered were: buzzing, sounding distant, low volume, background noise (including mouse clicks and maybe a microphone support spring?), and sound on only one channel (that is, only one side of stereo headphones). Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Check your volume settings at all stages of your signal path (the mic input, the software interface, the DAW program (e.g., Audacity, Twisted Wave or Pro Tools), and as you create the mp3 file. One way to test your settings, is to listen to other recordings on your computer, from a source known to be good (e.g., commercial recordings on YouTube, demos at EdgeStudio.com, major corporate websites), then listen to the audio file you’ve made of your audition. Is your audition the same loudness and technical quality as the others?

Many people were sloppy. There were a lot of slurred words, and we doubt it was to emulate George’s notorious teeth. Another example would be what’s called “lazy mouth” – where the mouth is still closed as the talent starts talking, which can make “George” sound like “Bee-yourge.” Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In real life, if someone didn’t understand you, they can ask you to repeat what you said. You don’t have that luxury in voice over. So be careful to enunciate and value every word. That doesn’t mean to treat every word the same. It does mean that, in most situations, every word should be clearly spoken, to be clearly heard.

As for people making different choices as to which words to hit? As long as they made understandable choices, and didn’t just emphasize syllables in a sing-song manner. If they win the audition, the Director can ask them to hit other words if desirable. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Practice reading a sentence over and over, hitting a different word each time. Notice how the choice sometimes changes the entire meaning. A VO pro should be able to hit whatever word is specified and make it sound like natural speech.

1st place winner: Eagleye

176 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Eagleye's recording

A very nice, tension-free delivery. He lived up well to the directive to sound "calm and firm." However, the recording was noisy.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 20, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/37.Get the Kitchen Out.mp3

2nd place winner: sabrinasvoice

128 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sabrinasvoice's recording

She sounded properly “cheerful and gracious.” Having nailed that, maybe she could also have been a tad more soft-spoken. Her slate was notable. Usually, a slate should be said in a confident, declarative manner. In this case, however, she "uptalked" the slate. (That is, she gave it a rising inflection, as if asking a question). Ordinarily, that makes the talent sound insecure. But in this case, it seemed as if she was slating in character, which is a valid option. This was another noisy recording, slightly distorted. At the very end, it sounds like someone was talking in the background.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 20, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/S. Hawkins - Get the Kitchen Out.mp3

3rd place winner: Stan Pickett

122 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Stan Pickett's recording

A nice read. It was calm and firm, although perhaps a bit too aristocratic sounding. There was noise in the background, but his gate settings were well adjusted so as to minimize it pretty well. His recording booth has some slight reverberation. More padding would help correct this.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 20, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/15 02 10 Edge - George Washington.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, February 13 click below

Contest ending Friday, February 6

Contest Title:

Formative Years

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a travelogue about Iceland.

Script:

What Iceland misses in trees, it makes up for in spectacular black-and-white peaks and green landscapes. The town of Seydisfjordur is our home base for exploring waterfalls.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

“You had to be there” is a thought that doesn’t suffice in travelogues. You need to sound as if you were there (or in any case sound comparably authoritative and enthused) and make the viewer want to be there, too. Sounding like a people person is also helpful. That’s a lot to accomplish. Some people didn’t and here’s why.

The tones of the reads were also all over the place. Some people assumed a very informative air -- like a school educational program. Others read it in a more salesy fashion, as if promoting a vacation getaway (where the only sites you see are fellow vacationers). Still others voiced it mysteriously, as if letting the viewer in on an exclusive secret. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: While none of these are necessarily “wrong,” none approach the core of travelogue narration style. Styles vary, depending on the travelogue producer, but as we said, the goal is to make touring sound interesting and fun. The sights, sites and experiences should sell themselves, without overt salesmanship, stern lecturing or artificial drama.

Many reads were too bouncy. True, styles vary, but artificial happiness begins to annoy the listener after awhile.

Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Just smile. When you want to sound happy, that usually does the trick.

We’re pleased to note that most people did pretty well at pronouncing the town name “Seydisfjördur.” Many of them may have looked it up. It’s not hard to find. Start by searching for how to pronounce Seydisfjördur. In this case, our first hit on Google was Forvo.com, where there’s an audio link playing a man from Denmark. But some of our entrants had trouble. A few fairly butchered it. What to do if your mouth won’t follow your brain’s instruction? Well, first,since the script is in English, it’s not necessary to say Seydisfjördur with a perfect Icelandic or Danish accent. But you can use such online resources to know which syllable(s) to emphasize, what the vowels sound like, how intonation changes (the word’s “song”) and pronounce it well enough to, oh, ask directions in that country. (Although, as it happens, in Iceland you’d probably do just as well asking in English.) Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Some words, like England’s names “Gloucester” and “Thames,” don’t sound like they’re spelled. But if you have no other guide to follow or imitate, approach pronunciation of a foreign word the same way as you learned to pronounce written words in English – syllable by syllable. Say it slowly but accurately, and practice gradually speeding up.

It may also help to find a “friendly” syllable within it – sometimes it’s the root of the word – making it easier to get your mind and your mouth to cooperate. In this case, the word fjord is embedded. You’re probably already comfortable with saying that word. Simply tack on the rest of the syllables. For practice, you can even make your own “friendly syllables” for your mind to relate to. For example, people sometimes say “Say dis” when they mean “Say this.” Or, as you hear in the recording, the “D” sound in “fjord” sounds more like a “TH.” So you have two ways to think of it while practicing:

.......“Say dis: fjorder” or .......“Say this further”

Once you’re comfortable with those, listen to the genuine recording again, make a few adjustments, and say it for real. Your mouth and brain will be more as one: “Seydisfjördur”!

Some people halted before saying Seydisfjördur. That happens typically when the speaker focuses on pronouncing a foreign word or name and is not fluent in that language. It’s as if they had stopped to prepare. Some people halted after saying it, as if they stopped to reflect back on their delivery (or even perhaps to admire their verbal handiwork). Either halt is unnecessary and sounds choppy. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Again the solution is practice. Say the phrase over and over without allowing yourself to pause. Then say a larger chunk of the sentence. Then the whole thing. It may take several tries, but it usually sounds more natural than tightening up in editing. (Don’t rely on such editing – you may not be able to do that if you get the job.)

Slates were all over the place. Some people didn’t slate at all, some slated at the beginning of the script, some slated at the end. There were no specific slating instructions, so we didn’t hold any choice against anyone. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When no slating instruction is given, traditionally in an audition situation you would slate as little as necessary for the audition team to keep track of who’s who. If everyone is auditioning with the same script, it’s probably not necessary to give script title or client name, unless instructed. So you would just slate your name (or user name) before beginning the script. However, in online casting situations, the casting site’s software might display the talent’s name to the audition listener -- so if you know that to be the case, don’t slate at all, or slate your name at the end. That way, the casting screener won’t be annoyed at having to repeatedly listen to what they already see.

Some people worked too hard at it. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Be natural. Relax both your body and your voice. Let your voice and your throat be free. Now speak, tell. Don’t “read.”

Technical issues, such as sibilance. Every voice recording must have some sibilance (“S” sounds), or listeners wouldn’t be able to tell an “S” from a “TH.” But what a VO director means by sibilance is usually excessive sibilance. Heightened sibilance can sound artificial and be very annoying; if you’re unable to correct it, it can cost you recording jobs. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Sibilance has many possible causes, from the shape of your teeth, to your position at the mic, to aggressive settings in your compression, equalization or other software tools. Check out each possibility, and if necessary work with a coach or engineer to determine the cause.

Some reads were choppy. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Hesitancy can suggest lack of confidence. Speak confidently, slowly enough that the listener has time to take in the visuals and follow your thoughts. Avoid halting speech, avoid glottal stops, avoid “dramatic pauses” (they’re rarely helpful or real) and avoid pauses where there is no punctuation. However do pause in appropriate places where it's likely that the visuals change, so that the engineer can add space where necessary to synch audio with video.

1st place winner: Wayne Chin

90 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Wayne Chin's recording

This was terrific – a tension-free, well-paced read. The lengthy pauses give the casting team time to imagine the video and how he'd synch with the visuals. However, the slight pause after Seydisfjördur is unnecessary and makes it sound a bit choppy. It’s not a logical place for even a comma, and the copywriter didn’t (and shouldn't) put one there, so why stop? It would not even be logical to pause there in order to change scenes in the visual. We suspect the cause of this pause is the “language change-up” trap that people typically fall into, as discussed in our article above. Recording quality was also very good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 13, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Wayne Chin Formative Years Entry.mp3

2nd place winner: Melissa Davis

147 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Melissa Davis's recording

Another terrific, tension-free read. However, she could lengthen her pauses, and add a pause after "trees" as the copywriter’s comma indicates. Our own Icelandic expert isn’t handy right now ... although her Seydisfjördur pronunciation is not accented (here we mean “accent” in the sense of “accented syllable”) exactly as the prototype we found, its pronunciation sounds close, and she spoke it without undue pausing or emphasis. Here, too, recording quality was very good, except for slight sibilance.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 13, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/MelissaDavis-15-02-02-contest.mp3

3rd place winner: lindalutz

115 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lindalutz's recording

Another nice tension-free delivery. However, a little too fast, and her pauses are not long enough. She doesn’t give us time to mentally attach the visuals and music to her delivery. Recording quality was okay, sufficient for an audition, but a bit distorted for actual production.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 13, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Formative Years Linda Lutz.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, February 6 click below

Contest ending Friday, February 6

Contest Title:

Pilates

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a Pilates exercise video. The voice over will be heard as an on-camera subject performs the exercises. The script describes a simple version of "roll like a ball." (You can see various versions of it here: https://www.google.com/search?q=pilates+roll+like+a+ball&source=lnms&am… ) Where it says "(break)" put a short, clean break, don't add time yourself. Your voice should be confident and encouraging. Let's make this fun!

Script:

Inhale, and hollow out your belly. Shoulder blades down and back. (break)
Exhale on the way up. Do you feel your abdominal muscles working? That's good!

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, February 6 click below

Contest ending Friday, January 30

Contest Title:

Home, Home on the Guano

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a TV promotional announcement, promoting a show about penguins. The audience is all ages. Please slate your name or username, plus “Penguin promo,” AFTER the script. Do not exceed 12 seconds, not counting slate.

Script:

What African animal is ... black and white ... brays like a donkey ... and has webbed feet? The African Penguin, on Animal Entertainment, Thursday at 8, 7 Central.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

We hope this was a fun one. At first, the script seemed to be describing a zebra, but it turns out to be about penguins ... not the first animal you’d think of when the subject is Africa. Some people got it, and the other stuff that’s so essential in promo work. Here’s why some people didn’t ...

A lot of people may not have got the joke. When you do promos you don’t always have the benefit of seeing the actual visual, or even a description of it, but you could probably guess this one. Maybe the visual will consist of the camera playing on a close-up of a black and white pattern, and also a donkey-like sound, probably after the word “donkey.” 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The visual and sound effects will help the viewer think “zebra,” but the voice over can help with that, too. Hit the words “African” and “black and white.” Who wouldn’t think “zebra!”? Then of course hit “webbed,” and maybe elongate the word “African” or pause a very short beat before hitting “Penguin.”

A bunch of people read it more as if it were a game-show question, not a promo. They sounded matter-of-fact, with no particular emotion, no enticement to watch the show. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Promo styles vary, depending on the channel, the type of programming being promoted, and other factors. But they all have the same set of objectives: to attract the viewer’s attention, interest the viewer, and tell the viewer when the show is. Be sure to pay heed to the second objective among these.

Some people went through the script very quickly, too quickly for the viewer to process the question, “What African animal is ...?” 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Viewers have probably just sat through 2 or 3 minutes of commercials, so the promo has to recapture their interest. That’s done partly by the visual and sound effects, but part of the job is up to you. Speak clearly and confidently from the outset, not too fast, so the viewer gets up to speed with you.

Some started off at a nice pace but towards the end they sped through it. Others lost energy towards the end. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Because a promo is usually short, every word is carefully chosen and thus very important. What good is getting a viewer all enthused about the surprising African Penguin if they miss the day and time, or if your manner says, “Well, it’s not all that important after all”?

Many, many people did not fully pronounce all the words. It’s likely music will be added, and swallowed sounds could easily be lost in the mix. For example, we heard “pen-win” instead of “penguin.” That’s the punchline, the whole point of the promo! Or, take the word “entertainment.” It would be very important even if it weren’t the client’s name! Yet some people said, “ennertainment” (missing that first T sound). Many people pronounced it “entertaim’nt” (missing the second N sound, or the last vowel, or both). 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Listen to promos on major networks and cable channels. Note how very carefully and completely they voice every syllable, sometimes almost to the point of exaggeration. Using our example of “entertainment,” include all the T sounds, and say the syllable “men” (just like the word “men”) before you say the ending T.

Although generally the pronunciation issues were ones of word and syllable completion, some people mispronounced words. For example, “donkey” became “dunkey.” In some parts of the county, “dunkey” might be the usual pronunciation. But neutral American pronunciation is preferred, and “donkey” is how it’s both spelled and said. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Not sure what pronunciation is preferred? Check a mainstream dictionary. The first spelling and pronunciation given is the more often used or more correct. (And beware of crowd-sourced reference sites, such as Yahoo Answers, where anyone might answer; they’re sometimes wrong.)

Many reads were very choppy. Sometimes the pauses at the ellipses (the “ ... “ parts) were too long, or choppiness was created by glottal stops (momentarily closing the throat before pronouncing initial vowels), or a halting over-enunciation, or exaggerated word-sounds (e.g., “brays” sounding like “berets”), or a full stop at every comma. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Punctuation is your clue as to how the copywriter or producer wants the copy to be read, but at the same time, a script should flow. A comma is not a period, and often requires barely a pause in one's breath. Or maybe a change in pitch or the duration of the word preceding it. Sometimes a comma might be there just for easier reading. But it's best to show you know and follow the rules before breaking them, so to be safe in an audition, adhere to punctuation as written.

Some people, including a couple of our winners, didn't pause at all for the first ellipsis (between "is" and "black"). An ellipsis or long dash suggests a longer pause than a mere period, and is usually there for a reason. Often that reason is to give the engineers a place to add or subtract some time, in order to synch the audio to the video. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Respect the scriptwriter's probable intention. Even if there's no no rhetorical need to pause, there could be a technical one. In addition to synching audio with video, maybe there will be a musical flourish at that spot, or a sound effect, or a special graphic ... or something else you can't possibly know from this script alone. As far as the humor goes, the places to pause are before "brays" and somewhere just before "webbed feet," but a voice over pro should know to give at least a clean break even at each ellipsis.

Some people slated at the beginning instead of the end. Some slated “penguin promo” as requested, but forgot to include their name or username. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Promo work is often self-directed, and always on a tight schedule with short deadlines. Someone who can’t slate exactly as requested might have difficulty following other instructions without frequent re-do’s. The audition screener is likely to rule you out.

Many people’s reads came in well under the 12-second maximum allowed. The Director’s Notes didn’t say the read had to be exactly 12 seconds, so no harm in that. Except for harm the talent may have done to their own opportunity. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The key to winning an audition is in standing apart from the crowd. Most people’s reads will sound very similar. In your read, you’ll probably want to do everything “correctly” and certainly everything that was explicitly directed -- but also add an extra quality that distinguishes your performance. (Something desirable, of course, not something obnoxious or irrelevant.) Maybe it’s a better use of comedy timing. Or slowing the opening a bit, or slowing overall (if that doesn't become too slow.) Or stretching the most important word. Or adding an unscripted chuckle. Or simply being sure you’ve enunciated as you should. Using that extra second or two can be invaluable in touching all the bases, and in hitting that home run ball.

Some recordings were noisy, with room resonance, or buzz, or the person was way off-mic. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you’re still developing your home studio space and meanwhile want to enter our contest, that’s fine. But keep working on your recording quality. After all, the name of this contest is Weekly Script Recording Contest, because in real-world auditions, recording quality matters.

1st place winner: terry66

26 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear terry66's recording

A nice tension-free delivery, with good variety, good consistency. However, a bit too fast on the first word of the two most important phrases: (1) In the phrase "African Penguin," he went too fast on "African." And (2) in the phrase “animal entertainment,” he went too fast on "animal." He interpreted the slating instructions differently than others, by putting his name before the audition, and "penguin promo" after. Well, yes, in that respect the instructions could have been written more clearly (or at least with one less comma), so no demerit for this. His time was about 10 seconds. Two seconds short of the limit, which in this case is neither good nor bad.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 6, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/penguin promo1.mp3

2nd place winner: Jay.E.Henrie

145 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Jay.E.Henrie's recording

A nice fun, easy-going delivery. He goes way too fast on the second word ("animal"); it’s a key word, in the all-important “attention-getting zone.” Once the read is covered with music, the rushed word will be difficult to catch. But he played nicely with the "The African Penguin,” saying it especially clearly and slowly. He didn’t pause at the first ellipsis (before “black and white”), and although it may not have been necessary to pause there for effect, a clean break there might be desired for production reasons. Also, he missed the final "T" in "Entertainment," instead shutting it off with a stoppage of breath. The recording’s volume level was a bit low. His time came in at 11 seconds, one second less than the max allowed.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 6, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/PenguinPromo(JayEHenrie).mp3

3rd place winner: DRKsound

147 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear DRKsound's recording

Well, well! This was a unique, eccentric read, in a good way. It’s not likely to be the take that Animal Entertainment would choose (for one thing, they would probably use the penguin’s braying, not his voiced imitation), but in a mere 10 seconds, he shows the casting team that he is creative, can bring ideas to the table, and has variety. On the title, day and time details, he calms down, which is okay, but in the process he lost some of the warmth and smile that the first part had. His slate is in an even more “normal” voice, showing another option he offers. However his edits don't flow together perfectly -- a little crossfade on each one would help hide the apparent edit spots. And, like our Second Place winner, he didn’t pause at the first ellipsis (before “black and white”), which might have been important to do for editing/timing reasons, at least. His read was exactly the 12 seconds permitted.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by February 6, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Home, Home on the Guano-DRKsound.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, January 30 click below

Contest ending Friday, January 23

Contest Title:

By the Way...

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a bank telephone messaging job. The chosen talent will become the voice of the bank’s phone system, doing the prompts, promotional messages and notices. Please do NOT slate.

Script:

Did you know we offer small-business consulting services? When your business grows, we both benefit. Ask our telephone representative about scheduling a talk with us soon.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

You regularly hear many examples of real telephone on-hold messaging, ranging from very good to very bad. After all, you make phone calls and get put on hold, like everyone else. Which examples do you find most pleasant, helpful, and/or even entertaining? Those are examples to emulate. Here are some examples that didn’t fare quite so well ...

Most of the reads were too fast. Keep in mind the nature of the medium and its users. Just because the caller is hanging on the line, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily hanging on your every word. They may be distracted by the sudden intrusion. And the phone system or line might sound lousy (e.g., low volume, distortion, noise, etc.). 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: First, get their attention. Say the first words confidently but slowly enough that they can mentally catch on and catch up. That doesn’t mean to sound hesitant or unnaturally slow. Just don’t rush.

Many people mumbled or combined sounds. “We offer small” sounded like “we office mall.” A rushed “Did you know we offer” sounded like “Di Juno, we offer” or even “Di Giorno ....” Say every word distinctly and clearly, yet naturally. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Until you feel comfortable with enunciation, it may feel unnatural. So, make it a natural part of you. For practice, be extra careful about enunciating everything you say – while talking to a friend on the phone (tell them what you’re up to), or reading your mail aloud. And record yourself. You won’t sound nearly as exaggerated as you first feel.

Some reads were on the right track, but talent wasn’t thinking about the meaning. This is a sales pitch. As in a commercial, certain words ought to be hit, such as “grows.” Also think about how your words will be heard. For example, many people paused a bit after “small,” resulting in “small business-consulting services” ... “small services” is not what the client wants to convey. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Mark up your copy. What words are key? Where should you breath? What words go together? Where to vary your pitch, or speed? Where does your emotion change? Good choices among these qualities make your read more interesting and more effective.

On many recordings the volume was poorly set. Some were too loud. others were too low. On some the volume varied ... for example, starting out low and then going even lower. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Clients’ volume preferences vary, but if you range between -10 dB and -3 dB at all steps in your process, you’re in a good, safe ballpark for an audition. Ideally, never go into the red (that is, no louder than 0 dB), because that creates distortion.

The studio conditions in many recordings were very sub-par. People were off-mic, or their room was too “live” (that is, it had a lot of reverberation), or it was clearly a small booth with not enough sound absorbtion, or the recording was noisy (hiss or computer noise, buttons clicking, etc.). 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In a telephony job, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to record in your own studio. So for an audition, you’ll need to demonstrate that your studio’s sound meets professional standards.

In some recordings the audio was badly processed, with results similar to the above. It sounded like speaking into a tin can, or it was distorted or sibilant or lacked highs (sounding like a lisp). 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Normalization, EQ and compression can compensate for small deficiencies in your studio and/or enhance your voice. But don’t be too “aggressive” about it. Excessive processing sounds unnatural and unprofessional.

Most reads lacked polish. In some cases, this meant a lack of polish in the delivery. Hopefully these people can polish up their deliveries through education and practice. But in many cases, it was a broader lack of professionalism – deficiency in almost all the qualities discussed here. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The good news is you can make a quantum leap in improvement, by improving your mic technique, your space, your recording adjustments. Learn to use audio software for basic editing and processing. Many of these improvements cost very little or no money.

Some people tried too hard to sound happy and friendly. It’s the right thought – callers respond positively to a voice that sounds like a trusted friend. But overdone, it doesn’t sound real. In everyday life, people who try too hard to “be your friend” achieve quite the opposite – rather than reassuring, they sound untrustworthy, even scary. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Do what you do when you’re simply talking. Have confidence, smile, and talk, clearly, as if to a friend.

1st place winner: Ceyacoach

108 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Ceyacoach's recording

She spoke a hair fast at times, otherwise a nice, natural, friendly read. Is that a Canadian “about” we hear? If so, it’s just ever so slightly. Audio level was nice and tight (exceeding 0 dB only a couple times, very briefly), breaths were well removed or minimized, and the sound quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 30, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Christine Cullingworth_Edge Contest.mp3

2nd place winner: gr8ful

167 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear gr8ful's recording

A very nice, relaxed reading, except that she comes across as too soft/sexy/intimate for most phone system owners. A bit nasal at times, which could be a regional accent, or simply a matter of voice placement. She pointedly hit every “T” in the word “representative.” As we’ve discussed in the article, enunciation is important, but that was maybe a tad too much. Better to err on this side, but on this word our First Place winner was more natural. The recording’s technical quality was very good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 30, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/By The Way audition.mp3

3rd place winner: sydvit

172 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sydvit's recording

He has a nice, tension-free delivery. But he was way too fast and abrupt on the opening phrase (“DIJOOno”), and somewhat too fast through the rest. From a technical standpoint, it was terribly noisy, sounding like it had been recorded in the rain. He didn’t begin speaking until a second in, making the noise all the more apparent. In addition, his breaths were noticeable, volume consistently too high, and during the word “business” he hit the table or something. Clearing up technical issues would let listeners focus on the promising quality of his delivery.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by Janurary 30, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, January 23 click below

Contest ending Friday, January 16

Contest Title:

MLK Bio

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a biography program about the life of Martin Luther King. The program portrays him as a real person. Don’t slate your name. Do slate with the words “Round one.”

Script:

Martin was not interested in entering the ministry. In fact, he felt uncomfortable with emotional displays of faith. But then he took a Bible class that ultimately changed the history of the world.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

When the script is about so eloquent a speaker as Martin Luther King, what an inspiration! That’s not to say that our narrators this week should have tried to emulate his speaking style (which was of course derived from a particular tradition and aimed at a different purpose than this narration), but it’s always good to be just as dedicated to the goals of clarity ... and touching, personal communication.

Here’s how some of our entrants fell short of that.

Some delivered the read too theatrically; they didn’t sound natural. Yes, when speaking in everyday life, we constantly express one emotion or another. And, yes, this script deserves some emotion. But not too much ... we rarely wear our heart on our sleeve.
 Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You should read with the same tone as when speaking to one person. Try this – suppose you are watching, say, a silent video of an important event, and you’re telling your friend about what’s going on in the various scenes. Read the script like that.

Some were too forceful in their reads. Instead of talking to an individual, they were preaching to the back pew. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Listen to expert narrators of documentary programs you enjoy. You'll hear narrators explain subjects ranging from fungi to lion kills, from lapdogs to volcanic eruptions, from pig farming and road kill to black holes and storms at sea ... yet in all cases they tend to be low-key, conversational, and never pushy. They let natural emotional expression support a powerfully emotional visual image.

Many people, including our winners at times, went too quickly. In addition to not allowing the listener time to see and contemplate the images, a rushed read tends to result in slurred pronunciation and missed letter sounds. For example, when some people pronounced “comfortable” it sounded more like “convertible,” or “faith” sounded like “faye.” 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Ever taken a ski lesson? Instructors remind students to “finish your turn” before starting the next one. In skiing, this has two benefits for the student: 1) it helps the skier make a good transition, and 2) it keeps speed under control. Finishing your words has exactly the same benefits in voice over!

There were very avoidable technical errors. For example, some people’s reads were preceded by excessive silence. (We mean before we heard them slate, or between their slate and the script.) A busy real-world audition screener is likely to think the file has an audio problem, and might move on to the next audio file without ever hearing you. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Before creating your MP3 file, trim any “dead air” and trailing breaths from the beginning and tail of your read. This will assure that your voice will be heard on cue. Also, most audio players display the length of the clip – if a good read is typically, say 10-11 seconds, you don’t want yours to display “21.”

Another very avoidable technical error is failure to heed slating instructions, by either slating incorrectly, not slating at all, or slating at the end (when requested to slate at the beginning). In a real-world audition, a slating discrepancy might be taken to suggest you don’t listen to direction, or you’re temperamental, or you’re just not professional. We can’t know the reason, but we did downgrade people who did not slate as requested, including one person who might otherwise have taken First Place (whom we demoted to a tie for Third). Too harsh? After all, we allow considerable leeway as to recording quality. But that’s because this contest encourages people at all skill levels to enter, and many beginners don’t yet have a professional-quality audition studio at home. In contrast, everyone, at every level, should be able to read and follow instructions. So, with regard to slating, we hold to real-world standards. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Before submitting an audition, read the instructions one more time. Also check the recording’s indicated duration. Sometimes slating and other errors are the result of a simple oversight, having copied too much or too little when exporting the finished track.

1st place winner: longsocksilver

121 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear longsocksilver's recording

Very nice, for the most part. Great tempo, with good choices of which words to emphasize. He sounds interested, and maintains the listener’s interest. However, he is too dramatic in two ways: 1) By retaining a quick, loud breath, then a pause, before each sentence. It’s a fairly unnatural style of breathing. The volume (loudness) of those breaths should be minimized, or (better) deleted altogether. As they are, they resemble a dramatic affectation, one that would become distracting after awhile, especially to listeners wearing headphones. And 2) he has too many dramatic pauses in the last sentence (e.g., the very short pause before “of the world”).

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 23, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: BloombergVO

126 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear BloombergVO's recording

A very nice, tension-free delivery, with just the right amount of variety, and just the right amount of interest. Any more of any of these and it would sound overdone. Any less would be boring. Yet, there are two things he can do to enhance this read: 1) Improve the articulation of some words; "Martin" is a little slurry, and "interested" sounds like "intrested." And 2) his tempo is a tad too fast in the first half (especially around the words "emotional displays"). The speeding becomes more apparent when he suddenly slows to a more appropriate pace at the last sentence. With the more deliberate tempo, he has time to more clearly say the words.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 23, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/11-1-15 MLK - Josh Bloomberg.mp3

3rd place winner: redfrohock

158 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear redfrohock's recording

Her delivery is smooth and tension-free (except for a few glottal stops – for example the start of “entering” and the end of “that”). She also has a great tempo (except she rushed the word "ministry"). An especially nice tone and timing for the ending. BUT HER BIGGEST FAUX PAS: she didn't follow the slating instructions!

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by Janurary 23, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: dstromberg

99 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dstromberg's recording

She has a very nice delivery, and nicely uses pitch range to keep it interesting and to emphasize words. But her delivery is not so tension-free. We suggest she focus on two things: 1) Don’t be so delicate with the words. She’s tiptoed through some of them, being careful not to over-do anything. Instead, she should trust her voice, let loose, and "go for it." And 2) articulate the beginning and end of her words. For example, the word "round" (in the slate) will sound like "rown" if covered with music. (Slates aren’t typically mixed with music, but if the word had appeared in the script, we fear it would have suffered the same fate.) Other examples: "faith" sounded like "faye," and "changed" sounded like "change."

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by Janurary 23, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Deborah Stromberg - MLK Bio 011315.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, January 16 click below

Contest ending Friday, January 9

Contest Title:

Gourmet Sections

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a co-op TV commercial promoting special citrus fruits. Be friendly and make it sound delicious! Can you do it in 10 seconds? No slate.

Script:

For one month only – January Honeybells! Easy to peel, juicy and oh, so sweet. Clipped from the tree at just the right moment. Better hurry!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Commercials isn’t the biggest genre in the voice over business, but it is one of the most popular. Well, you can’t get a more commercial Commercial than this spot for January honeybells. Here’s why some of the hopefuls didn’t quite sell us...

Many were way too low-key. Some were too slow and factual, like some documentary narrations. In both cases, they had very little energy, even at times sounding apathetic. Some commercials are written to be low key, but not this one. And, although it’s an “announcement,” it’s not meant to sound like a newscast announcement, or one of those stern “The government has just announced new standards for home loans, making you eligible for ...” ads. This commercial should make listeners hungry for delicious honeybells, and quick – there’s only 10 seconds to say it and only one month to sell them! 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Need to get more energy into your voice? Put both your mind and body into it. Think about the product. Envision someone’s joy at finding honeybells at a desert oasis (along with the keys to a brand new car). Use your arms. Maybe even jump up a couple times just before reading.

Some people went to the other extreme, with false enthusiasm. What’s “fake” enthusiasm? Lots of times it’s the practice of constricting your throat so that you’re supposedly speaking louder but are not actually louder. It’s an affected sound, as if you don’t want to annoy the neighbors. People don’t really express excitement like that. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You don’t have to shout, but don’t hold back. Set your recording levels appropriately for a bit of exuberance in your manner, maintain a consistent volume (remember, don’t shout in the listener’s ear), and let the energy flow!

Some entrants sounded as if they were reading the script. Well, they were. But that’s the point of VO practice – to read scripts and not sound as if your are. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: This script is only 10 seconds, so you don’t really need to look at it while voicing. Learn it, then while recording give it a glance or two, but otherwise say it as if you’re simply talking to someone who needs good advice. (Using the exact words, of course.) Then simply kick it up a notch. It’s clearly “advertising” copy, not really “conversation,” but your brain doesn’t have to know that.

We caught some people speeding through it. The Director’s Notes said, “Can you do it in 10 seconds?” Maybe they took it as a challenge to do it even faster? Well, that might be better than doing it slower than 10 seconds – inability to fit 10-seconds of copy into a 10-second commercial slot could be a disqualifying issue (unless there’s an obvious pause that can be closed up or something.) But reading faster is no virtue if the performance suffers as a result. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: It’s generally best, for the first take at least, to follow the Director’s guidance literally. “Can you do it in 10 seconds” means just that – can you do it in 10 seconds. If the director had wanted it significantly faster, he or she would have said, “See how fast you can do it, and still make it work.”

There were some verbal typos and enunciation issues. For example “honeybulls” and “honeyballs.” Or “moment” sounding like “mo-men” or “January” sounding like “Janooary” or “only” sounding like “oh-nee.” 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In some cases the cure for sloppy voicing is more careful reading. In some cases it’s more careful speaking. (For example, use your lips and tongue to fully form your sounds.) In either case, always listen back to your recording and “proof-listen” for pronunciation and wording errors.

1st place winner: theglobalnomad1

266 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear theglobalnomad1's recording

An excellent read, with a nice smile from the onset! Her delivery is warm, friendly, tension-free, and has nice variety. Just a few concerns. Her pronunciation of "just" sounds like "juss." And she included two takes. The takes are virtually identical, so some casting people, in addition to considering the second take a waste of their time, might question her professional judgment – does she think these takes are significantly different, and if so what does that say about her flexibility and range? Her time was 9 seconds on each.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 16, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Pam Almand_The Captain's Voice_Honeybells.mp3

2nd place winner: richnice

179 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear richnice's recording

We really enjoy his warm smiles, nonchalant chuckles, and the tension-free, fun-to-listen-to style. But there are some less attractive qualities that we hope he can work on without losing that spontaneity and personable attitude. The result would be amazing! He rushes the opening ("for one month only"); the opening phrase, especially, needs more smile, with time and clarity to enable the listener to get on-board. Also, he doesn't finish words. For example, if this spot includes a music background, the word "month" will sound like "mon" and "clipped" will sound like "clip." His 9-second read allows him time to clean up such things. Technically, the recording needs a bit of cleaning up too – lots of spitty mouth noise, which is sometimes a matter of nerves. Better mic placement, tongue placement, hydration, swallowing, relaxation and/or other remedies are recommended. Different solutions work for different people.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 16, 2015 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/honeybells2.mp3

3rd place winner: amyjoywarner

189 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear amyjoywarner's recording

At the start, she didn’t have enough smile, but she added more by the end. At times she has very nice warmth and variety. But other times, she doesn't value her words. She rushes them ... especially the word "moment" and the phrase "easy to peel." That’s unfortunate, because her read, too, came in at 9 seconds – she had a whole extra second to play with.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by January 16, 2015 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, January 9 click below

Contest ending Friday, December 19

Contest Title:

Get on the Good Book

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an audiobook recording of an open-source translation of the Bible. Tone should be respectful but modern. In other words, not like oratory. Consider high-school and above to be your audience. Slate your name or username, and the word "Matthew."

Script:

When Herod found out that the astrologers had tricked him, he flew into a rage. He sent and put to death all the boys in Bethlehem and the whole of that region, who were two years old or under.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This passage is taken from a 20th-century translation of the Bible. That’s why the hypothetical client requested the tone to be “respectful but modern, not like oratory.” But, while we’re not seeking a John Carradine-like sermon, we’re not looking for a read that sounds like a streetwise buddy talking, either. Most people fell safely within that range. But even within it, there were pitfalls ...

Some people were too theatrical. Some of them were simply too forceful, or sounded something like an evangelist. Some even sounded angry. Others, while they didn’t sound as oratorical as a 19th-century Senatorial candidate, were nevertheless exaggerated – as if spreading gossip with a little emphasis thrown in to be sure it sounds juicy. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: What’s “modern”? You are. Simply speak as you usually do in polite conversation. Or rather speak as you usually should – see the next point....

Some read too conversationally, or rather, let’s say too casually. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Among all sorts of people, “conversation” spans a wide range of styles. As an actor, it’s great to be aware of all the various ways that people naturally talk. People mumble, slur their words, whisper, talk very quickly, even nervously, or “thoughtfully.” But in voice over, a typical “conversational” manner has stricter requirements. This is because in real conversation, there are visual and cultural clues as to what you mean, and the other person can say, “Wait, go back, I didn’t get that.” In voice over, your words and meaning need to be understood immediately.

Some people went the other way – not enough emotion. In fact, some people were so reserved that they didn’t even sound interested in what they were reading. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Aim for the “Goldilocks zone” – not too much, not too little. In a long-form narration such as this, it’s especially important to have some variety and maintain your energy. Without it, even a professional sounding, clearly enunciated, and otherwise respectable read can get really boring after several hours.

Many read very quickly. We can’t be sure why, except that it’s a natural tendency. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In an audiobook, listeners need a bit of time to absorb what they’re hearing. Read slowly enough, and with just enough natural pausing, to allow the listener to stay with you. But maintain energy in your read, and don’t go so slowly that you sound lethargic.

Some reads were choppy. Maybe people were emulating sermons or recordings they’ve heard. But remember that the stereotypical sermon is thought to be boring! Choppiness disrupts the listener’s train of thought. Or, maybe people read haltingly because the text’s intended thoughts were unclear – and therefore, so were theirs? What does “he sent and put to death” mean, anyway? 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In deciding where to pause, first let punctuation be your guide. But second, also think about the meaning. For example, what was it that Herod “sent”? Orders? Soldiers? For his staff? Boys to their doom? “Sent” may or may not be directly related to “put to death,” so it may or may not call for a very brief pause before the next very long phrase. (For example, compare our first- and second-place winners; both choices were valid.) You can’t change the words, but you can make a decision and read it as if you mean it. Because you do.

Some recordings were overprocessed, sounding sibilant or artificial. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Unless instructed to submit an unprocessed recording, an audition is often helped by a bit of the basic tweaking: normalization, equalization, compression. But don’t overdo it. Better to err on the side of minimal processing.

Some recordings had other annoyances, such as background noise or mouth clicks. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Quiet and condition your studio as much as reasonably possible, and read up on mic technique to reduce such sounds. A quieter recording will also reduce the need for processing.

1st place winner: Keith Harris

249 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Keith Harris's recording

Very good. He had very nice variety, but he goes a bit too far, making it a tad too dramatic – especially on the last phrase ("who were two years old or under"). But we didn't discount his chances over this, because it's usually easier to have a voice actor give less than give more; we assume he could pull back a bit and not be so theatrical. Other concerns: A few words or sounds seemed too loud, because he didn’t compress or normalize the recording enough. Also, the slate needs work. He should not have said it as a question. (His first impression sounds like insecurity, and such “uptalk” annoys some audition reviewers). What’s more, he multiplied that damage by adding the word “from”, when specific slating instruction was given. Worse yet, he rushes the extra word so that someone not already knowing what word to expect, rather than hearing “from Matthew,” might hear it as “fromath you” or “for Matthew.”

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 26, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: boxermom2000

194 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear boxermom2000's recording

A generally good read. But it would be nice if she had been a bit looser in her manner ... she's a little too perfect for the "modern" tone requested by the Director’s Notes. There’s a noise before she slates (it should have been deleted), and the pause before “Matthew” is a tad long – the mouth noise there should be deleted.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 26, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Matthew_0.mp3

3rd place winner: Nik Neugebauer

175 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Nik Neugebauer's recording

This is a good, relaxed (tension-free) delivery, with nice variety. But he should be careful about his rapid phrasing. In particular, the word “he” (in “he flew into a”) is so brief that it would disappear if music were added. He might have a tendency to do this, as suggested by the rapidity with which he slates his last name, and his rapid delivery of some other words and phrases (“Herod,” “all the boys,” “who were two”). At least, it’s something to be aware of, without losing the variety that an occasional tempo variation contributes. Technically, he had a little mouth noise here and there, but the big noise issue is his recording space. It sounds like his computer is whirring away throughout. (If you don't hear the noise, put on good headphones. At the end of the recording, the noise stops abruptly, and is all the more conspicuous in its absence.)

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 26, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Get on the Good Book .mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, December 19 click below

Contest ending Friday, December 12

Contest Title:

This Land is My Land

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a documentary about a relatively little-known side of American folk singer Woody Guthrie. Although he hailed from Oklahoma and became widely known on Los Angeles radio, Guthrie then became a New Yorker. The little known aspect is that he collaborated closely with his mother-in-law, a Yiddish poet. Please read this with a casual, natural style, without affectation. Do not include music or sound effects. There might be music added beneath the read later. Please slate your name or username at the start.

Script:

While Woody and Aliza came from very different backgrounds, their passion for social justice drew them further together. Living across the street from each other, their relationship was both familial and professional. Woody wrote Hanukkah songs for neighborhood children, and songs about Jewish history.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

If ever a script called for the “common person” touch, it might be a script about Woody Guthrie. Some people got the natural, relaxed sound that we wanted. But some people went too far with it. Here’s why some people didn’t win:

Many people did not read in a natural style. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: What’s a “natural” style? It’s the way you (or, at least most people) ordinarily talk. With a vocally free sound, lack of tension, calm, just talking person-to-person as in an interesting conversation.

Some people got too casual. They were sloppy with their words. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Casual can be good. But a casual tone isn’t license to be get sloppy, nor is sloppiness even the same thing as being casual.

Some people made weird choices of which words to emphasize, assuming it was a conscious choice in the first place. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Hitting a word should be a conscious decision, made before you start reading. When deciding which words to hit, ask yourself: What word in this phrase or sentence is the one that modifies what you’ve already said? In other words, what is the new information? What clarifies, limits, describes, enhances, distinguishes, adds to, takes the thought further, or etc. That is the word or phrase to hit. (And of course the client or product name, as well.)

Some people sped through the read. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Documentaries are typically more deliberately paced than some other genres. The narrator should leave some space between sentences. This helps the engineer match the audio to the video, and gives the viewer time to take in and absorb what’s on the screen. To get a gut-sense of the pace, record some documentaries and nature shows on TV (choosing ones with exemplary narrators in the genre and style most like yours), write down a bit of the script, and narrate in unison with the recording. At first, you may have to force yourself to slow down, but it will soon feel natural. Slowing or speeding up just 5-10% often makes all the difference.

Some peoples’ reads were choppy. Notwithstanding what we’ve just said about reading slowly and pausing for the picture to be matched and absorbed, if you break the script into segments that are too small, or if you pause at illogical places, it sounds choppy. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Pause at punctuation. In a well-written script, that should be just about frequently enough, yet not so often as to be choppy. Another way is to speak in thoughts. Pause between thoughts, not within them.

Some people tried too hard to be perfect. The effect was as if they were dancing around some of the words, over-enunciating. This can be as distracting and tiring as choppiness. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: How much enunciation is just right? It’s whatever makes you easily understood. To achieve that, there’s usually no need to slow down or exaggerate sounds. Just take care to finish your words, and to move your jaw and lips enough that you are not mumbling. For some people, not mumbling might feel like exaggeration, but it’s not exaggerated if it still sounds like normal speech.

There were some pronunciation errors and confusions. In particular, some people said “familiar” instead of “familial.” Those words are not at all the same thing. Also, people pronounced “Aliza” various ways ... E-Liza, A-Liza, Ah-Liza. We’d think an “ee” sound is unlikely to be correct, but names being what they are, offhand we can’t say for sure which pronunciation Woody Guthrie’s mother-in-law preferred. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When in doubt, go with the most commonly used option. And check online. For ordinary words, sites like Dictionary.com include pronunciation guides and even recordings. But be careful. Not all sites are as authoritative as others. For example, the site pronouncenames.com appears to be crowd-sourced; it can provide extra options and food for thought, but there’s no way to know if someone’s uploaded guidance is correct.

Technically, some people’s recordings had room reverberation or other noise(s), or had their software badly adjusted (for example, too aggressive a gate). 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Even if technical issues are not so relevant to a particular audition situation (if, for example, the finished recording will be made at the client’s studio), some things are hard to ignore. Prepare your room and learn your software as well as reasonably possible, so your auditions will sound truly professional.

1st place winner: jpconn

236 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jpconn's recording

A great, relaxed read. He sounds interested in the subject matter, and that comes through to the listener ... so that the listener, too, is interested.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 19, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/This Land Is My Land 1 N.mp3

2nd place winner: Lou Graham

156 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Lou Graham's recording

Another good, relaxed read. There was a very tiny bit of room reverb in his recording, but not so much that most people would notice. Yet still we'd suggest he add a bit more acoustical treatment to his recording booth.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 19, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Lou_Graham_Edge_Contest_120514.mp3

3rd place winner: Scott Martin

159 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Scott Martin's recording

This is another nice, relaxed read. But his articulation was sloppy at times. For example, the first word (“While”) sounded like “Wo.” And the pace was too fast. Slowing down will help on both counts. His voice cracked on the second occurrence of "Woody" which should have called for another take.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 19, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scott Martin_MJ_iD22_This land is my land.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, December 12 click below

Contest ending Friday, December 5

Contest Title:

Traveling Companions

Director's Notes:

You remember the old brain teaser about the farmer who had to get himself, a goose, a bag of grain and a hunting dog across the river in a rowboat that would hold only him and one of these at a time? Well, in this simulated audition it’s being made into an animated short, and the director is looking for voices. Hopefully, one person who can do all three. (The grain doesn’t talk.) Please make each voice different from the others, and reflect the personality or nature of the respective character. Slate your name or username in your real voice.

Script:

Farmer
(to dog): How about you promise not to eat Lucy?

Dog: My puppy pappy said don't make promises I can’t keep.

Farmer: Well, you make me nervous.

Lucy: You nervous? Look at me. I’m shaking my feathers off! Awk!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

You've probably seen clips of animation actors at work. Sometimes it’s a lot of work, but clearly they’re having fun. Animation voicing is fun. In fact, if you don’t have enough fun while recording, it won’t be fun for people to watch and listen to. That might be the #1 reason why some people this week didn’t win.

    Some people sounded more like they were reading, rather than characters speaking. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Have a clear mental image of the character you’re portraying. Then BE that character. Having a good sense of the character will help you speak the lines, not just read them.

    Many people didn’t differentiate the characters much at all. It sounded more like they were narrating a story without different characters. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Develop a stable of “stock characters” that you can call on, and draw from their characteristics as needed. This forethought and practice will help make each character different. It will also help identify ways they might be too similar, and you’ll have a wider range of vocal tools to draw from.

    Many entrants were not consistent from the Farmer’s first line to the Farmer’s second. Or, they were consistent, but the intervening line from Dog was such a similar voice, the listener can’t tell that it’s the Farmer speaking again, vs. just another small variation. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Animation has an advantage over audiobooks, in that the animation’s audience can usually see which character is talking. But each character’s voice should still be distinct. Especially in an audition!

    Some people appeared to spend more effort in making the Farmer sound unusual than they did on the animal characters, or gave all characters the same (false) accent. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: There are farmers, dogs and geese in all parts of the country. The farmer can simply sound like a human being, using your normal voice. For (bad) example, unless you’re from the South yourself, why give the Farmer a bad southern accent? You could use that instead to differentiate the dog. And if the dog’s accent isn’t very authentic, so what? He’s a dog.

    Many reads were hard to understand, because the entrant created characters who spoke with unclear sounds, or because they didn’t use the clarity techniques that apply to VO generally (e.g., enunciation). In some cases, a Southern drawl got further in the way. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Just because you can do something unusual in voice over, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Some fake voices are obnoxious, and difficult to listen to. (For example, too much “slurping” in a dog voice.) Some are unintelligible. And some don’t fit the character. A little “Gilbert Gottfried” rasping goes a long way. Unless the point is to be annoying or to be a mumbler, it’s probably better to choose something else unusual that you can do.

    The goose’s "awk" sound was very hard for many people to say. Ideally it should actually sound like a goose. (Of course you shouldn’t actually use a sound effect or engineered sound, not in an audition.) Ironically, some people did a pretty good “awk” but the reset of their read was lackluster. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If not sure what a goose sounds like, there are plenty of goose sounds to be heard online. The real tip is to realize that most animals make a variety of sounds. Here it might not be best to use the squawk that geese make while flying, but maybe instead do the one they use sitting on a pond. Somehow it sounds more “emotional” – and more importantly, more human and thus easier to do. Then experiment, mixing it with your own expression of surprise. The key here is to explore, and don’t be shy about making noise.

    Many people’s reads were disjointed, the conversation didn’t flow. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: This was sometimes because they were “reading” (as discussed above), but it can also result from not having a clear sense of who the character is, and how to do their voice. Stopping to think about the character before delivering his/her/its line interferes with smoothly delivering that line in character. If necessary, spend a few extra moments when changing characters, and tighten it up in editing. In time, you’ll know your characters well enough to make the pause unnecessary.

    A few people ad-libbed words into the script, or went overboard with character noises. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Ad-libbing is good, often the way to nail an audition. But don’t overdo it; the audition is about the script, not your noises. And in this case, we mean ad-libbing non-verbal sounds (such as a squawk, an “uh” or a “Mmm?”). Taking liberties with the words in a script are a good way to lose an audition.

    Some people had one strong character and the other characters were not equally strong. Not too much we can say about this, except to work further on your stock characters. If this were a real audition, maybe the producer would cast two or three actors, and if you have one really great voice it could do the trick. But a working animation pro will have at least three dissimilar voices, and in such a situation, that could increase your chances threefold. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you aspire to work in cartoons, listen to cartoons. All sorts of them, new ones and old ones, real-person voices and “cartoon” voices. Identify how they differ and how they’re the same. Then mix and match characteristics, and combine with your own vocal abilities, to make some of your own.

    Some people didn’t show the necessary acting skill. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The characters in a cartoon may not be really real – geese and dogs don’t talk, and when they talk in cartoons, they may not sound like real people you know. But real geese and dogs do have emotions, and when they express themselves in cartoons, they express very human emotions. Conveying genuine, realistic emotion is a skill to be learned, because it serves you well in virtually any VO genre.

1st place winner: nickpmathews

285 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear nickpmathews's recording

He has good, fun characters, and his Farmer character is consistent from first line to second. Clearly he had fun, and that is critical. Sounds more like a chicken, not a goose, but his exuberance suggests that he can morph “begawk” into an “awk.” From a technical standpoint, also a good job.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 19, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: jorgensenvocals

24 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jorgensenvocals's recording

ST = good P = Another set of good, fun characters, and they’re well enough differentiated. But he is not having enough fun, and that prevented a first-place win. Technically, a good recording.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 19, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: jamesromick

151 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jamesromick's recording

He also had good characters. But he, too, is not having enough fun, which kept him from ranking higher. Technically, it sounds like he’s recording in a small space that’s not quite dead enough, but it’s plenty acceptable for an audition.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by December 19, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, December 5 click below

Contest ending Friday, November 21

Contest Title:

Plymouth Rock 2

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a museum audio tour. This stop on the hypothetical tour is a work by video/performance artist Trisha Baga, called Plymouth Rock 2. The piece consists of a audio/video montage, juxtaposed with various objects in the room, with colorful lights playing about the room and all within it. Because the video includes sound, the audio tour is not intended to be played while experiencing the installation. Rather, this is an excerpt from what the museum tour user will hear before and after the experience. It is not necessary for you to know more about the artist or her work, but if you are curious, you can learn more in this review, or this profile and from a few minutes of this earlier related work. Please slate your name or username before your read.

Script:

It is a story – inspired by Plymouth Rock’s mythical place in history. Just as the rock has been invented, enhanced, revered and ridiculed over time, so these images and visual effects portray searching, analysis, humor and change.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Not all museum tours involve explaining Rodin or the Mona Lisa. This one involved an “installation,” in this case one where the viewer is almost a part of the artwork. Everyone approached it respectfully, but not everyone could win. We’ll explain why some people didn’t:

  • Some were too dramatic, or apparently in trying to liven their read, they wound up all over the place.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When explaining artwork, remember that theart should convey the feelings. In a tour aimed at adults, read with an energy level that conveys and inspires interest, but don’t overplay it. In short, to sound interested, simply be interested.

  • Some people were too serious, or read in a monotone.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Remember that, although you’re reading, and we say “reading,” it should sound like your speaking to the listener, conversationally, one-to-one. It’s okay to sound friendly. Be respectful but not overly serious. After all, as the script says, this artwork in particular happens to contain humor, and searching, maybe even a sense of mystery.

  • Some may not have fully understood what they were saying. In particular, “revered” was pronounced “rev-erd.”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To speak as if you mean it, you have to know what the copy means. If there’s a word or thought that you aren’t completely sure of, look it up. And if given the opportunity to ask the client or director, do so. They’d much rather you do that, than get it wrong.

  • Most people read the two lists too matter-of-factly. Generally, each item in a list should generally be read differently, otherwise the list will sound repetitive and dull.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Not all lists are the same. Sometimes the difference between items is just a change inflection (rising “inverted” tone, vs. descending), or pitch. For example, if you say “a mirepoix is chopped onion, celery and carrots,” that’s a pretty standard list and you probably won’t want to give a special emphasis to each item. (No crying over “onion”!). But the lists in this script involved a wide range of things, things that do evoke various emotions. Listen to our winners – they saw each word as significant, and read each with an appropriate, yet slight, change in emotion.

  • Some people read too carefully, sounding unnatural and tiring. Others read too quickly, making them hard to follow. Some sped through just the opening words.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Speak conversationally, as described above. The script contains thoughts that require corresponding thought from the listener. Allow time for their thoughts to keep pace. And when starting, allow time to capture their attention.

  • Not everyone slated. The Director’s Notes said to slate name or username before the read.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Look carefully. If slating instructions are included, follow them precisely.

1st place winner: Dave Saunders

272 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Dave Saunders's recording

Only one thing would prevent us from hiring this guy: he doesn't complete his words. For example, the word "inspired" sounds like "inspire." The words "mythical place" sounds like "mythicaplace." And "Just" sounds like "juss." Otherwise his delivery is terrific. Good variety without over-doing it, he sounds interested in the subject matter, he reads smoothly and without tension, has a great voice. All in all, an excellent read. Sound quality is good, too.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 28, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: kdmayer

198 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kdmayer's recording

Very good engagement of the listener. She initially grabbed our attention by taking her time on the first word "it" -- most other entrants in this week's contest rushed the first word ... but she rightfully clarified “it,” since it is synonymous with the subject matter. And she has nice variety throughout most of the audition. (Except her lists are a bit repetitive.) One thing kept her from winning first place: She doesn't sound vocally free. Rather, she sounds as if she's thinking about her delivery while reading. In other words, she sounds a tiny bit stiff. If she trusted her voice, she'd sound even better! Sound quality is good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 28, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: brittdyer

146 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear brittdyer's recording

The first three words are a tad too plain and don't engage the listener. After that, though, he adds more variety, which is good. Two bits of advice: He should sound (or rather “be”) more personally interested in the subject matter. And he should slow down a bit, given the subject matter. Sound quality is good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 28, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, November 21 click below

Contest ending Friday, November 14

Contest Title:

Smile

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for corporate training video. The client is a fast-food chain. This module is about serving customers with a smile, and having a positive attitude. The visual consists of the employee and a customer. As the employee smiles, so does the customer. No slate.

Script:

A smile goes a long way – right across the counter. Instead of thinking, “Why can’t this bozo make up his mind before he gets in line?” think, “That’s okay, sir. I’m proud that my line moves faster than you expected.” And just smile.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Industrial and corporate narration is in many ways the largest and most varied of all voice over genres, so it’s pleasing and not surprising that we had many entries and heard many new voices this week. This contest was an especially broad challenge for another reason, too – the talent had to go from peeved to pleased in a very short space. Many did. But not everybody can win; here’s why some people didn’t.

  • Some reads went a bit over the top with the angry-attitude part. It was obviously hard for some people to shift gears back and forth, and to make the overall effect a positive impression rather than negative.
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Like the script said, “a smile goes a long way.” It’s one of the handiest and most widely useful “tools” in your voicing bag. Listeners hear a smile in your voice, so remember to keep it handy. For example, listen to our First Place winner’s take on this – it suggests irony, frustration, bewilderment, or even amusement, rather than anger.

  • Some reads were too smiley. Although a smile is an easy tool to use, it’s still helpful to follow its instructions. Just as in real life, a forced smile can sound fake and be counterproductive.
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t just smile with your mouth. Smile in your mind. As Andy Rooney said, “If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.” Like that. A genuine, natural smile is much more credible than the sing-songy, overdone friendliness you’ll hear in some commercials, fluff news reports and welcome messages. The instructions aren’t that complex: Smile, have energy, and mean it.

  • Many people were too formal. Maybe it’s that this is part of a corporate instruction video, employer talking to trainee. Or, because this is a corporate read, they were being very, very careful. Both are good to keep in mind, but can tend to result in an unnatural delivery.
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: It’s good, before you start reading, to have a sense of “who you are.” In this case, are you the “boss”? Maybe, but in person a “boss” has many things going for him or her, that you don’t have working for your vocal presentation. (For one thing, in person, an employee can see the boss’s face.) So, for the purpose of this instruction video, don’t think boss-to-employee. Think “successful veteran employee to confused new hire.” In other words, friend-to-friend. Loosen up, don’t read, don’t lecture, don’t “pitch” ... just loosen up and talk, person-to-person. And let them hear the smile on your face.

  • There were cases where it sounded like the talent was reading to very young children. That may come from the same place as “too formal,” but it’s even more awkward for the listener.
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t talk down to anyone over the age of, oh, say, seven. Kids are remarkably hip (just watch your vocabulary and subject matter), and adults in any job position are even hipper. If your voice and manner naturally tend in a “cute” direction, that can be good. But be extra careful not to go over the line at times.

  • Technical issues. For example, too loud (which can cause annoying distortion, which sounds very unprofessional) ... too heavily gated (a software silencing process that makes the remaining noisy portions sound even noisier in comparison, and/or cuts off the ends of phrases unnaturally) ... too close the mic (this can cause mouth noise, changes in voice quality, pops, etc.) ... too far from the mic (resulting in more room noise).
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Getting professional quality sound at home doesn’t necessarily require a big financial investment. In fact, the bigger investment may be your time. Learn to use your hardware and software properly, “proof-listen” to your recordings, practice, and have the results evaluated by someone with an educated ear (or at least an objective one).

  • Many people paused after the opening words, “A smile.” But that’s not the way people usually speak naturally. Pausing after the first word is often a tip that the talent is new at this.
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Unless there is an obvious reason for a pause after the first word, read the first word and continue on with the opening thought.

  • Lost energy towards the end, and/or dips in the energy level here and there. Remember, this script was part of what might be a fairly long training video. Maintaining energy is very important to any read.
    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When auditioning, pretend that the script continues after the audition’s passage ends and keep up your energy as if ready to proceed to the next portion. If necessary, make up a bit of the “next sentence” and read it. Just be sure to cleanly delete it before submitting your audition.

1st place winner: Melissa Davis

305 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Melissa Davis's recording

Great delivery, creative, variety, not too fast, not too slow -- Nicely done. From a technical standpoint, there was some background noise, and the level was a little low. When the level is raised, the noise will be louder, too. And although some people on the street might pronounce the G in “long way,” she shouldn’t have. She did it slightly (it actually sounded like “log way”), and we assume it was inadvertent. Her manner and creative choices very much overrode this issue, which would simply call for another take.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 21, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/2014-11-10contest.mp3

2nd place winner: David Itse

182 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear David Itse's recording

Quite good. He would be terrific if he trusted his voice, and himself, more. He is being careful with his delivery, calculated, and the result sounds somewhat unnatural. Other things that would cost him a top spot: he added the word "just" after "bozo," and he missed the "d" in "mind." Technically, there was room reverb. some bad edits, and noise in recording. Possibly good enough for an audition, but not if the winner will be recording the actual job.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 21, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Smile_8.mp3

3rd place winner: helga362

152 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear helga362's recording

Good. But she, too, is talking on eggshells. Being too careful yields a hesitant delivery. And she, too, would sound much better if she trusted her voice and had fun when reading, rather than being so careful. We hear room reverb and noise in her recording.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 21, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/smile_3.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, November 14 click below

Contest ending Friday, November 7

Contest Title:

Stress Test

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an asynchronous Virtual Learning Environment class. It’s functionally like a college lecture, except that it is recorded (and the “lecturer” is you, not an on-camera professor), and the student is not responding in real-time. The visual content will correspond to the subject matter. This course consists of many lessons, and professors are usually more interesting if they convey a bit of their personality while lecturing, so that would be nice, as long as you remain suitably authoritative.

Script:

Scientists do not know if psychological stress can cause disease. But it has been conclusively demonstrated that stress can defeat the body’s inflammatory response, even help a disease take hold.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Almost everyone had a favorite teacher or professor. This audition was your chance to be someone’s favorite teacher. Unfortunately, not everyone can be asked to sign the yearbook.

  • Some people sounded a bit like Ben Stein’s character in Ferris Bueller. Just drab and mechanical. Some people even spoke in that Steinean monotone. Maybe they forgot that this could be a long recording, in which case, more interest would be optimal.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A narrator is also a character, even if that character is “Narrator.” Likely, that character is taken from your own personality. But before beginning your read, think about your mindset. How do you feel about the subject? Is it deadly serious? Ironic? Less complicated than most people think? Is it truly rocket science and you’re among the privileged few who can transfer this knowledge? It can add a small but interesting nuance to your approach.

  • Some of the "lecturers" sounded like broadcasters. They weren’t relating to the subject, nor to the student. There was no “personality.” One of the things you remember about your favorite teacher (or teachers) was probably their personality. Explore the range of possibilities. Consider those favorite teachers ... Maybe it’s how they got so wrapped up in their love of the subject that they digressed into anecdotes that weren’t in the book. Maybe it’s how they said, “right?” after every statement. Maybe it’s that they sounded like the crusty, unsympathetic law professor played by John Houseman in Paper Chase. Maybe they hopped in the air every time they got excited. Whatever. Some of these traits are clearly not relevant to an effective eLearning voice over, but they all demonstrate the range of thought you might bring to your assignment.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t affect fake mannerisms, but do adopt the enthusiasm and sense of dedication that led these teachers to act as they did. What emotions will be key to your delivery?

  • Many didn't sound interested in what they are saying. If the teacher isn’t interested in the subject, that hardly motivates the student to be. Most listeners would zone out before even 5 minutes. The best way to sound interested is to be interested. But if it happens that the subject matter is just not one that starts your juices, there are some things you can do ...

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Think about all the people who are interested in the subject, especially your listener, the student. By adopting the mindset that you’re helping them, you’ll help yourself get into the material. And for good measure, maybe jump up and down a few times to get your adrenalin going.

  • Some people overdid the enthusiasm. By “pushing” too much when they read, they sounded too forceful and artificial. No one can be “commanded” to learn. And over a long presentation, artificiality is soon found out.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Read, know and understand the copy before you start recording. You don’t have to memorize it, but you should understand it, as if you had said it yourself. Because you soon will be saying it. If there’s something you don’t understand, a statement that doesn’t clearly follow from the one before, ask the Director or client.

  • Insufficient or exaggerated enunciation. For example “scientists” sometimes sounded like “scientiss.” And ironically, some over-enunciators slurred the word “demonstrated.” Rather than a crisp “T” sound, it came across as “demonstchrated.” Another example would be “stress” sounding like “schress.”

  • Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Enunciation is important, especially when reading educational material – many of the words and concepts may be new to the student, so they should hear them correctly. Often the cure for certain sloppy sounds is simply a matter of your lip, mouth and/or tongue position as you make that sound. But if you overcorrect by overenunciating every phoneme at the expense of emotion and vocal freedom, it can create a halting, mechanical read, that both disrupts the flow of concentration and sounds artificial.

  • Some people read in a manner that we’d call the “cousin of overenunciation” – they read very slowly, sometimes even further elongating some words, and including longer-than-natural pauses between them. While it may seem that giving words such extra-special attention would indicate their importance and suggest the speaker’s interest in their implication, the exact opposite becomes the case – lengthening many words (some of which aren’t even that important) makes the read becomes lethargic and inauthentic.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Nobody is naturally that interested in everyword! Just read naturally yet distinctly. More importantly, rather than think in words, think “thoughts” – what’s the meaning when the words are combined? Each word should be distinguishable, but thoughts are what people find interesting.

  • Technical issues: For one, sibilance (exaggerated, hissy “S” sounds). For another, background noise (e.g., an open window?)

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When practicing, and even sometimes when auditioning, your audio quality may not be perfect. But it should be as good as you can make it. Some things can be adjusted or fixed without much expense or trouble.

1st place winner: LAScott

265 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear LAScott's recording

The best read of the bunch, in several ways. Nice pacing and nice interest. She sounds like a good narrator morphed with the sort of friendly, interested teacher we talked about above. But she turned the first word ("scientists") into a singular (“scientist”). Ironically, it appears that she focused somuch on pronouncing the ending "t" that she hesitated after the word and swallowed the S sound. In her slate, the word "for" in “Thank you for listening” sounds like "fuh" ... which is another irony: There was no specific slating instruction, or even instruction to slate at all. However, since she did slate, “Thank you for listening” was unnecessary and some screeners might not be pleased with the distraction. Technically, audio volume was a bit lower than average.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 14, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: dstromberg

151 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dstromberg's recording

A very good read: nice voice, nice emphasis, nice interest. She read a bit too slowly (as if being too careful), yet ironically "scientists" sounded like "scientisss." From a technical standpoint, the volume level was good, but we heard a little reverb (sound bouncing off her walls and/or music stand back into the microphone).

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 14, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Deb Stromberg - Stress Test 110414.mp3

3rd place winner: brettbender

150 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear brettbender's recording

Good pacing, and good emphasis. Just a little too drab to maintain interest for an entire lecture course. Also, don’t let the tongue be lazy. Although the L sound in “psychological” was good, the word “conclusively” sounded more like “concoosively.” Sound quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 14, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Stress Test Contest (Brett Bender).mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, November 7 click below

Contest ending Friday, October 31

Contest Title:

Halloween Life

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a 30-second TV commercial. The spot will open by showing a parent sending his or her young child off to go trick-or-treating on Halloween. (There are plenty of work-at-home men these days, so the client is fine with whichever gender we pick.) The child is with many friends who are also in costume. The visual will then focus on the parent, as additional copy extols the benefit of having Shelton Life insurance. The audition portion of the copy cannot be longer than 15 seconds. 14 would be better, and if you can bring it in even a little bit quicker and still sound genuine, so much the better. It might give the video editor extra leeway. But 14 seconds if probably ideal. Leave clean breaks between sentences to facilitate synching with the visual later.

Script:

Seeing Tyler, I think how vulnerable he’d be without me. I don’t mean scampering around the neighborhood. I mean if I’m ... not here. If I hadn’t called Shelton Life.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

The hypothetical life insurance commercial in this week’s contest talks about life-and-death, yet you don’t want to be gruesome or gloomy. And there are the other more standard commercial considerations – clarity, timing, capturing the listener’s attention, and holding it.

To set the scene:

The audition is the first 14 seconds of a longer script. When the parent says “vulnerable,” the audience should think the parent is talking about the child on his neighborhood tour. But the parent is actually talking about life insurance. And (this being a commercial) the parent is confident about that, because he or she has Shelton Life.

Do you see tragedy, morbidity or gloominess in that scenario? No, neither do we.

The kids are totally happy, presumably making the parent totally proud and happy for them. And as the parent begins to think about his or her own mortality, it’s in a positive way. After all, it’s a good thing: ensuring that your loved ones are okay when you pass.

  • Many people made the entire read very somber. But even insurance advertising isn’t necessarily a somber matter. For example, consider the long-running advertising campaign for New England Life Insurance Company. It had fun cartoons showing two people, one about to meet his maker in an ironic fashion, as he answers, “My insurance company? New England Life, of course. Why?”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In voicing any commercial, consider all three viewpoints: 1) the character’s, 2) the listener’s, and 3) the client’s. The clients’ view often gives you insight into how to sell.

  • Some people read in a monotone. Maybe they were trying to be serious. Sometimes it’s that the speaker doesn’t hear himself or herself as others do, or just isn’t feeling the script’s energy. Maybe it’s even how they speak in real life. But monotony is virtually never desirable in voice over, and there are lots of way to overcome it.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Listen critically to your recording. Or have a candid friend do so. Use some of the other tips here to help add variety, interest and energy.

  • Many people changed their inflection, but not their emotion as they went from thought to thought. Others shifted their mood too quickly, from sounding a bit happy to sounding sad then sounding happy again. As we’ve said, this entire audition should have a positive vibe, but that encompasses a lot of ground. Consider the opportunities: You might go from proud (“Tyler”) to childlike (“vulnerable”), to silly (“scampering”), to adult (“I mean”), to frank or confidential (“not here”). And then to proud and confident (“If I hadn’t called”). All of these can be positive feelings.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Bear in mind that the advertiser’s goal is to attract and persuade listeners, so – just as it is inadvisable to use a truly obnoxious character voice – avoid repellent emotions. Of the remaining options, try using a different one here or there. It sometimes totally changes the effect of your read.

  • Some people didn’t attract attention to the commercial. In Commercials, this is very important. The producer might grab attention by adding a sound effect, such as a giggle or a doorbell. You can help, by focusing on how you voice the first words.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Say the first word clearly and don’t rush it. This is always a good tip for auditions, and in a commercial it will give your listener a crucial split-second to switch their attention and catch up. It will also assure you’re understood over the tail of that doorbell or giggle.

  • Some otherwise good reads suffered from overacting. They employed emphasis well, were articulate, consistent, but were just too emphatic.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In a commercial, the words are as important as the visuals. But in this case, don’t overdo it. The visual is already emotionally powerful.

  • Many reads sounded pretty much alike, as if following a score with the pitches, pauses and tempo already prescribed.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: With practice and listening, you’ll be able to predict how most people would read a typical script. Sounding exactly like that is not the way to win an audition. The key is to add a quality that is unusual, interesting, and relevant, maybe even unpredictable – while still sounding professional and appropriate. It might even be that you don’t do something that everyone else will.

  • Some reads were sloppy, often with rushed words or phrases. For example, “vulnerable he’d be” sounded like “vulrabuleedbe.” Mumbled and rushed words are hard to understand when combined with sound effects, music underneath, and household or traffic or other noises in the listener’s environment.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Clarity means every sound is important. For example, the client’s name, “Shelton.” Some pronounced it using a glottal stop (“Shel’n”) in place of the “T” sound. That’s typically American, but the spelling is unclear (Sheldon? Shelton? Shellen? Sheltin?). Considering this is the client’s name, clarity should win out.

  • Some reads just didn’t sound professional in other respects.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The more you can do to give a professional performance and make your recording sound technically professional, the better your audition prospects will be. For good examples, listen to a healthy cross-section of talent demos at EdgeStudio.com.

We’re pleased to report we don’t recall anyone exceeding the 14-second time limit. In fact, many good reads came in at 12.

1st place winner: VoiceOfReason

223 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear VoiceOfReason's recording

A very good, consistent read with a natural “real guy” delivery. It builds in drama, maybe just a bit too dramatic by the very end, but otherwise very nice. One note: The first word of the last sentence (“if”) is quite rushed. Once mixed with music, it will sound like "fye hadn't called Shelton Life." Sound quality is also good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 7, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Shelton Life-Joel Richards.mp3

2nd place winner: Garrulous

178 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Garrulous's recording

Also a good read, very natural sounding. However, it was a hair too dramatic. and there was a slight hesitation between "with" and "out." Unlike most others, he didn’t hit the product name (which is usually the thing to hit). Instead he stressed the word “hadn’t.” But in this case, it’s an interesting choice. The shift in emphasis conveys an attitude like, “of course I called Shelton Life, who else?” (He pronounces the name “Shelton Life” clearly, which is always important.) Sound quality is good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 7, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: voce

160 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear voce's recording

Yet another good read, except a little too dramatic, and the word "vulnerable" is slurred. Good sound quality.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by November 7, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Halloween Life-Voce.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, October 31 click below

Contest ending Friday, October 24

Contest Title:

Pain Treatment

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a presentation of contemporary approaches to the treatment of pain, concluding with the presentation of a new treatment being explored by a startup company. The audience is medical professionals and potential investors. Start by slating your name or username.

Script:

Despite four decades of literature, studies are inconclusive as to the effectiveness of Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation in treating chronic low back pain. However, lumbar TENS therapy is seen as effective in reducing pain of peripheral diabetic neuropathy.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This hypothetical script was from a presentation to medical practitioners and potential investors. So it’s likely that later in the script, the presenter is selling something to them – a product, a company, we don’t know what. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the voice artist know what he or she is talking about, and know the audience. In any copy, it important to truly understand what you are saying. Otherwise, how can you hit the words and phrases that embody new, contrasting, or clarifying information? But with Medical Narration, this issue is especially serious, even critical. The talent must get everything right, sound authoritative and interested, and relate to the audience’s own level of understanding and interest. There is no recovery from failure.

  • A few people slated as “Dr. _____,” which they would not (or should not) ordinarily do. But it does make sense in this situation, considering the genre. Despite the title of this article, that’s a good thing, no points deducted.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Of course, if you are not a physician, you should not present yourself as one.

  • Many people had trouble with the first sentence, which is long and rather complicated. Some stumbled through it. Some charged through it, as if to prove they could do it without a mistake and in a single breath. Others isolated each word, reading so distinctly and slowly that the sense was hard to follow and the read went on forever.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When faced with a long, complicated sentence, first identify which parts of it are not essential, and mentally discard them for a moment. What’s left is the overall meaning of the sentence. Then add in the discarded phrases, a bit at a time, which will show you how those phrases color or alter the meaning. Now that you know what you mean to say, it will be easier to say it, as normal speech. Then, rather than charge through the entire sentence, think of it as a series of those various thoughts, varying your speed, intonation, or emotion, etc., as appropriate to each thought. Just don’t overdo it, and don’t pause unnaturally at the transitions unless a hesitation is called for.

  • Some others seemed to be noticeably trying to make the first sentence interesting.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The first sentence is already interesting to someone who is interested in this subject matter. Simply be interested yourself.

  • Some sounded salesy, particularly by saying "despite FOUR decades....” It’s good that they noticed the rhetorical tension between “four decades of literature” (meaning four decades of published studies on the subject) and the statement that “studies are inconclusive.” However, this is not so remarkable in the medical arena.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In medical copy, be careful, and somewhat conservative, in how strongly you hit words. Medical professionals will already note the implications of what you are saying, so if they’re your audience, speak as if you were their peer. If your audience consists of patients and/or other lay people, then you should sound helpful, supportive and respectful of their intelligence. Too much emphasis might make you sound alarmist, or as if you are talking down to them. Go for the “Goldilocks” zone: j-u-u-s-s-st right.

  • Some people read in a monotone. It is important to read with energy. Although (as we’ve said), a hype-toned read would be inappropriate, and exaggerated inflection would be unnatural (and annoying over a long read), real speech has variations in pitch.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t be mistaken for a robot. Robots may understand sentence structure but they don’t understand what they are voicing. If you understand and are interested in what you are saying, you will sound interested. Even with serious subject matter such as this, reading in a monotone is ... monotonous.

  • Many people sounded very stern. Serious is appropriate. Stern is overdoing it. Even this script might, in places, merit reading with a smile.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A medical professional must be matter-of-fact. But they are people, too. For them, this is not tragic news or about the consequences of avoidable errors. This is “conversation.” If the script were, say, a presentation to medical professionals who do not disinfect their hands when travelling between hospital rooms, and the failure would be cause for dismissal, that might be cause for a stern tone. But even then, bear in mind the psychology of some people in the medical community. Some do not take well to being scolded.

  • Many people read sloppily, with not enough articulation. Some even missed words. In Medical Narration it is essential that you know what you’re talking about, and that you speak with confidence. It is also important to sound authoritative, and as if you value accuracy and precision. Sloppy reading does not sound as if you are confident and value accuracy and precision.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In any voice over recording, after you’ve got the take you want, listen to it critically, word by word. Are all the words correct? Are they all there? Are any sounds missing or swallowed? (For example, is the word “pain” missing its “N” sound?) Will every word still be intelligible after music is added underneath? Did you pause at the commas, or conversely, did you pause unnaturally somewhere else?

  • Some people slipped up in their read, but kept on going.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In live speech (e.g., a live newscast), if you make a verbal slip, the ability to “recover” from it cleanly is admirable. In arecording, the slip-up is painfully obvious, and your recovery from it is irrelevant. It’s totally fixable (use part of another take, or do another one), so delivering an audition with such an error marks you as an amateur.

  • From a technical standpoint, we heard quite a bit of sibilance (excessive, strident “S” sounds).

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The hissing of sibilance has several possible causes – your mouth, your mic, or your processing. Regardless of cause, it can lead a casting pro to reject your audition. The first step to a cure is to identify the cause. If the cause is technical, adjust your mic or processing technique. If it’s inherent in your mouth structure or the way you speak, practice ways to minimize the effect, such as how you form your S’s. In extreme cases, it might require some advice from an experienced coach.

  • A few people spelled out the word TENS, which is not common practice. A few minutes of online pronunciation research will show that it should be pronounced like a wad of Alexander Hamiltons: “tenz.”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Here are some resources that will help determine correct medical pronunciation: MediLexicon (http://www.medilexicon.com/medicaldictionary.php?t=90229); Howjsay ( http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=tens&submit=Submit ); Mirriam Webster – and also their Medical dictionary ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tens ); Dictionary.com; Wikipedia; or do a search for medical pronunciation TENS.

  • Some people didn’t catch on that “TENS” (in the second sentence) is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (in the first sentence). Their misunderstanding was apparent in their choice of emphasis. “TENS” is not the news in that sentence, so it’s not the word to hit.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To cite another example in this script, even with just a few minutes of online searching you can learn that peripheral neuropathy is by almost by definition NOT in the lower back (the spine is not peripheral to itself), and, to our understanding (we are not doctors writing this), diabetes is not directly related to lower back pain. Therefore, the likely words to hit are “is” and “peripheral” and possibly “diabetic” – the thoughts in the second sentence that contrast with those in the first.

  • Some people extended the slate. The Director’s Notes said simply to “start by slating your name or username.”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Except for rare cases where you might add a relevant, commonly understood professional title (such as “Doctor” as mentioned above), slate exactly as directed. And even those rare cases are in keeping with these instructions, because the word “Doctor” is part of the person’s name.

  • There were also various entries with pops, some hiss, mouth clicks, low volume, intrusive breaths and bad edits.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Take a bit of extra time to remove or minimize breaths after you’ve recorded. And if those volume changes or edits are at all discernable, do them over. Eventually, you’ll know how to do this more quickly and to do it right. That’s good, because things like breath-reduction are almost always something you should do for a professional audition.

  • Some people clearly pieced their recording together from several takes.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you can do this imperceptibly, it’s acceptable, since no one will know. But you will know. Why did you need to do this? If it’s because a fire engine passed by, or you needed just one edit in a much longer passage than this, okay. But otherwise, patchwork is not a healthy practice. in an actual session, faced with a long script and studio time ticking away, will you be able to replicate what you’ve submitted, in a single take? Besides, until you’ve had a lot of editing and listening experience, it’s possible a professional producer will hear edits that you thought were clean.

1st place winner: amyjoywarner

227 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear amyjoywarner's recording

Very good, with a nice voice, nice inflection and nice pacing. She sounds comfortable with the material. Just one note: She barely pronounced the "n" in "pain. If music is added, this word will sound like "pay." Whether or not music will be added, an audition reviewer may note the flaw. Recording quality was very good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 31, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EDGE-Pain Treatment.mp3

2nd place winner: terry66

152 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear terry66's recording

He, too, has a nice voice with nice inflection and pacing (if just a hair too fast). And he’s another person who sounds comfortable with the material. We have the same concern over the word “pain” – the “n” sound is missing. But overall, we like his very loose voice. Being vocally free makes him sound confident and trustworthy. From a technical standpoint, there were some mouth clicks, noticeable breaths, and room reverb – none of which are optimal, and can hurt the chances of being awarded the job.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 31, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/TerrySpeckcontestmp3.mp3

3rd place winner: Tracy Lindley

136 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Tracy Lindley's recording

Overall a fine voice, but we’d want more smile in it. The audition passage likely leads to a position on some product or concept. A smile would make her sound more proud or confident about it, and make the audience more receptive to her. She spelled out the word “TENS,” which is not common practice, and might suggest that she is not a medical professional. However, with guidance from the director or client, or a bit of research (as discussed above), it’s easily correctible. In an actual assignment, she should not be embarrassed to ask the client about any uncertain words or concepts. In an audition where no such help is available, she should do the research. Another concern is the presence of slight hesitations here and there, such as between "inconclusive" and "as", and her rushing through the words “as to.” The recording quality was noisy and a bit muddy.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 31, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Tracy Lindley--Script Recording Contest--TENS therapy.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, October 24 click below

Contest ending Friday, October 17

Contest Title:

Adventure of the Black Fisherman, Washington Irving

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an audiobook in the public domain. The setting is Manhattan Island, c. 1825. In the scene this passage is excerpted from, Sam has spotted a small boat filled with five men and something heavy. They have just landed, and have not spotted him. Optionally, one of the men may be given a foreign accent (that is, not American or British). Please slate your name or username before the read.

Script:

They had stopped to rest a moment, and the leader was looking about the bushes with his lantern.

“Have you brought the spades?” said one.

“They are here,” replied another one, who had them on his shoulder.

A cold chill ran through Sam’s veins. He fancied he saw before him a gang of murderers about to bury their victim.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

  • Quite a few people missed words in the script , or added words, or simply got them wrong. For example, “They are here” became “There they are.” For obvious reason, the Audiobooks genre is one of the many genres where reading EXACTLY what the author wrote is critically important.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Although you must read exactly as written, you still have plenty of leeway as an audiobook narrator. You can vary the emotion, the timing, the inflection, character’s mannerisms, etc. But you must read the words as written. For example, if the author wrote “they are” instead of “they’re” you might read these two words quickly so that they sound almost like “they’re.” But first think about possible reasons the author preferred the two-word version. It might reveal the character’s nature (deliberate), or an accent (e.g. French), or attitude (annoyed), or be more in keeping with the times (1820s), or serve yet some other function.

  • Some of the accents were vague or unrealistic. For some reason there were a number of Russian accents, or sometimes something that sounded kind of Russian. In other cases, the “accent” sounded more like a speech impediment or general gruffness, not characteristic of any particular language.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: When effecting an accent, if you don’t already speak that language, study up a bit. If the choice of accent is up to you, choose one that you know you do well (assuming it’s compatible with the story). If the accent is specified in the story, listen to people speaking the language, or people with that accent. One source for practice is The International Dialects of English Archive in EdgeStudio.com’s Voice Over Yellow Pages . To know if a particular accent is required, you’ll need to ask the author or director, or read the story or book before recording.

  • The Director’s Notes allowed the option of giving an accent to one of the characters. Many people gave both characters an accent. That might interfere with other parts of the story, might not, but in any case it indicates sloppiness in following direction.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Ability to follow direction is another key quality that casting people look for in talent. As soon as the casting screener hears an inability to follow instructions, he or she is likely to move on.

  • Some people gave the Narrator an accent, but not the characters. Did that result from misunderstanding the instruction or title, or was it simply a daring departure from conventional practice?

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Usually the narrator is the “author’s” voice, not that of a particular character, so no special vocal characteristic is needed when reading the “narrator” parts. If the narrator is himself/herself a character in the story, and must logically have a certain characteristic (e.g., an accent), that might call for some change in the way you speak – but you must be able to do it authentically and consistently. If you do it badly, you probably won’t get the job anyway. So, even when a difficult accent is called for, if it's beyond your ability, you might as well read in a voice you do perfectly – your own. Or wait for a different audition.

  • Some people read well but without much variation. Over the course of the entire story, this can become entrancing (in a bad way).

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: How to incorporate variety into your read is one of the decisions that is up to you. Before you begin, decide what phrases are more important than others. These are the phrases you might emphasize in some way –by reading haltingly, or quickly, or with a slightly different pitch or changing inflection, etc.. For example, consider “a gang of murderers” and “about to bury their victim.” Which of these two phrases might you read more slowly, more deliberately? Or more quickly? In this passage, either seems appropriate, but the choice changes the listener’s focus. If you instead emphasize “fancied” (meaning “supposed” or “imagined”), that would change the meaning even more. Which is best in this case? That’s why it’s important to have read the rest of the story !

  • Some narrations were very, very dramatic. Even when it’s sort of effective in a brief passage (as was the case with some of these entries), an entire story like that would be tiring. It’s also likely that the exaggerated narration would not be consistent from start to finish.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: In the audiobook genre, remember that the original was written to be read to one’s self, silently. All the clues as to the narrator’s and characters’ emotion, etc., are there in the words. The reader of a book embellishes these words in his or her head. When reading aloud as the narrator, allow your listener this privilege. Read with interest and energy, but let the words set the scene, and let the listener do any further interpretation.

  • On the other hand, some people did not have enough energy.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Obviously the characters should be conveyed with appropriate energy. So should the Narrator. While not necessary to be overly dramatic (as we’ve just mentioned), it is important to be interested, with an appropriately confident quality in your voice. A quality that helps keep the listener interested, too. Maintain an undercurrent of, “Hey, this is a good story here ... stick with me, let’s see what happens next!”

  • Many people didn’t have a good transition when going from the character to the narrator.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Practice transitioning in and out of each character until you can do it smoothly, without excessive hesitation, and without “overlapping” the character into the narration.

  • Some people’s characters sounded virtually alike, or one character was distinctive while the other sounded too much like the narrator.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: The listener knows you’re doing all the voices, so it’s not necessary to make each person sound totally different (as you would in, say, a cartoon). But it’s important that the listener know at all times who is speaking. Remember, the listener doesn’t have the benefit of seeing paragraph breaks, quotation marks and “he said/she said” at the end of a line. So before you record, think about what one or two distinguishing characteristics you’ll use for each character (e.g., pitch, speed, mannerisms, attitude, accent, etc.).

  • Some characters sounded like cartoon characters, not real people.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Unless you’re trying for comic effect with a particular character, choose characteristics that sound like real people. It might simply be a matter of dialing back the low-gruff voice you’ve chosen for one, or softening the Southern Belle accent you’re using for another.

  • Many people over-enunciated (e.g., pronouncing the article “a” as a long A, or pronouncing the G at the end of “gang”), and/or were overly deliberate (almost reading each word one at a time), while many others slid through some of the words (e.g., not pronouncing the V in “victim”). Some combined these two unfortunate qualities, making the mispronounced, slurred, or un-ended word even more obvious.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: Read as you speak, but speak clearly. For example, most people say “Ay” for the article “a” only when they are reading. Probably the only time you want to use the long-A form is when you’re indicating that someone is reading, or to emphasize that your meaning is very precise (e.g., “The recipe says ‘a pinch’ of salt, not 'several pinches'!")

  • Some people put too much time between phrases, others not enough.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: If you allow too much time, the read can become tedious before long. But the listener needs to imagine the scene, even time for their mind to wander a bit. So give them just the right amount of “air.”

1st place winner: dstromberg

171 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dstromberg's recording

A very good read, with good variety, and she tells the story without vocal tension. Good characters, with just enough variation. She could use a little more space between phrases. The recording had some room reverberation. A bit of room tone is desirable in the Audiobooks genre, but reverberation and room tone are not the same thing.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 24, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Deb Stromberg-Adventure of the Black Fisherman 101414.mp3

2nd place winner: RTKline

170 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear RTKline's recording

Also a very good read. He tells the story well and has no vocal tension. But at times his voice drifts a bit nasal, especially at the end (from “murders” on), but also in his pronunciation of “bushes” (sounds like “byooshes”), and the “G” at the end of “gang” is disconcerting. Another unusual distinction is that the characters were clearly recorded separately from the narrator (or after pauses which he later closed up). The characters’ volume level, his proximity from the microphone, and EQ are different. Although from a technical standpoint he did it effectively (and the recording is also technically good in other respects), this splice-up makes the transition from narrator to character and back very abrupt. It seems like a “radio play” rather than someone telling a story. More importantly, considering that this is an audition (albeit a simulated one), it’s not what the typical audiobook producer is looking for. It tells the audition reviewer nothing about the talent’s ability – or inability – to switch voices as he reads. In addition, the time required to process and and/or insert or close up each character’s lines would be very costly. Ironically, his read could also could use a little more space between phrases.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 24, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/RTKline - Weekly Contest - Book Narration - Take 3.mp3

2nd place winner: Tom Lennon

159 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Tom Lennon's recording

Another very good read, with good characters and without vocal tension. He has nice variety. It’s possibly a hair fast, with not quite enough space between phrases. He missed the "n" in "lantern" (sounds like "lanter"). This recording, too, had some room reverberation. It manifests itself especially in what sounds like an edit after “moment” – the T sound has a double echo.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 24, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/The Black Fisherman - Tom Lennon.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, October 17 click below

Contest ending Friday, October 10

Contest Title:

Atlantic and Pacific

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a video documentary comparing Columbus’s voyages with those of Pacific Islanders. The target audience is high school youth, but address them as you would any adult. The words “Te Puke” are pronounced “Tay POOkay.” Please do not slate.

Script:

Who but Columbus would brave open ocean in vessels barely 60 feet long? Well, the Polynesians did, centuries before. In twin-hulled canoes called Te Puke, these Islanders would have put Europe’s best dead-reckoning navigator to shame.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

As the Native American said to Columbus in Stan Freberg’s recording The United States of America, Part One:

Native: What you mean, you discover us? We discover you.

Columbus: You discovered us?

Native: Certainly. We discover you on beach here. Is all how you look at it.

Winning or losing an audition is like that – the difference is often in how you look at the script. And the instructions. In this hypothetical narration job, both gave lots of clues as to how to read it.

  • Some people mispronounced the last syllable of "Te Puke.". The Director’s Notes said to say "Tay POOkay,” but some people ended it with “key.” Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Always read the directions and follow them. And to follow them correctly, you need to read them carefully.
  • A lot of people went too fast, the words were running together. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Although it's ultimately up to the Director, a narration of this type is generally not read all that quickly. As we’ve noted in previous contests, the visuals are the star of the show, and the viewer needs time to take them in. (Or, in an audition, the audition team needs time to imagine them.) The engineer can generally insert some pauses to space your sentences out and synch audio with the video, but a more “deliberate” read helps with this, too. Not too slow, but slower than, say, some commercials and some other types of narration. (Narration is a very broad category that sometimes includes other genres.)
  • On the other hand, some people went way too slowly -- the read seemed to go on and on. A whole documentary at that speed would put the viewer to sleep. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: How slow is too slow? If you would never actually talk to someone that way, it’s too slow. “Real" and "natural” are still the goal. (However, as noted above, relatively long pauses are appropriate between phrases and sentences, to help match your words to the visuals.)
  • Many people made the word “ocean” plural. While it makes sense, it shows a lack of attention to the script. That can really hurt you in an audition, when plenty of other qualified prospects will get it right. And in this case, singular makes more sense where Columbus and the Polynesians are concerned – each sailed only one ocean. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When you’ve got the take you like, “proofread” it. Listen to it back while focusing on each word in the script. Better yet, if there's time, have someone else proofread it. The time to catch any error is before you proceed to editing and processing.
  • A few reads were too dramatic. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: As we said above, the visuals are the featured player. A cheetah catching a gazelle ... a tired, soot-covered miner ... a tiny canoe in a vast ocean ... those provide enough drama in themselves. If you’re the reporter who’s reporting an air disaster as it happens, you have liberty to be (naturally) dramatic. In fact, like the guy who reported on the Hindenburg explosion, it may be unavoidable. But when you’re narrating material that your audience knowsis recorded, they would hear the same dramatics as unreal. Nobody this week was as over the top as that ... but the same principle applies, just a matter of degree.
  • Although most narrations don’t need such dramatics, there are times in many scripts where there’s a bit of humor, or irony, or some other type of line that calls for a bit of “comment” in your voice. This was one of them, as indicated by the use of the informal interjection, “well.” Some people missed this opportunity – they just weren’t quite entertaining enough. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you value every word, you’ll more easily spot such situations and easily handle them. We don’t mean to ham it up. Just say the words – each of them – as if each is there for a reason. Because in good writing, each is. (And if it’s not-so-good writing, your job is to make it better ... not by changing the words, but by how you read them.)
  • Many did not leave even a tiny bit of time in between the question and the response. The question was rhetorical, but should have a bit of a pause there. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: This isn't e-learning, which might require a gap or clean break for user response. but even a rhetorical question requires a bit of pause, a sort of dramatic/comedy timing.
  • Some people were a bit sloppy. For example, beginning with a slight “uh” ... or saying “tah” instead of “to” ... or spoke with glottal stops (constricting the throat before certain vowel sounds). Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: One of the qualities that casting people listen for is “vocal freedom.” This is a relaxed sound, lacking tension. A glottal stop works against that.
  • And some people were choppy. Columbus’ managed to survive choppiness. These people did not.

1st place winner: actingmaven

204 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear actingmaven's recording

A great performance. Nice timing, nice inflection, nice enunciation. However, even she said "tah" instead of "to" for the second-to-last word. The technical quality was good.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 17, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Atlantic and Pacific_1.mp3

2nd place winner: Scott Martin

175 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Scott Martin's recording

Great voice, great read, great inflection! Except too fast!!!! Not only were the words too fast, there wasn’t enough space between phrases to let the casting team imagine the visuals ... so they'll feel as though he's rushing. He pronounced “te puke” nicely, but in his haste the word “hulled” could be heard as “holed.” He, too pronounced the penultimate word as "tah" instead of "to." From a technical standpoint, there was some noise in the recording, which was masked by the gate during pause, but can be heard during his speech.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 17, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scott Martin_MTS_Te Puke Edge Contest.mp3

3rd place winner: redfrohock

155 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear redfrohock's recording

Top-notch. It’s an interesting read, nice inflection, tension free ... all good things! EXCEPT that it was choppy in many places, especially towards the end. And she sounds as if she’s reading for 10-year-olds, when the Notes say to read for adults. Technically, there’s noise in the recording.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 17, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, October 10 click below

Contest ending Friday, October 3

Contest Title:

Supernatural

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an animated game. The talent will be responsible for voicing multiple characters. This script has three characters, so let’s see how you do in giving each one a distinct sound and personality. They can be all male, all female, or any mix. (The names here are irrelevant.) Slate your name or username at the top.

Script:

Able: I count seven. Can you see all of them?

Baker: One of them just disappeared.

Able: You mean you can’t see him anymore from your angle?

Baker: No. I mean he just vanished!

Charlie: That can’t be good.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Yippee! If doing one animated-character voice is fun, imagine how much fun doing three must be!

We found an interesting range of characters in this week’s entries. Just about any type of voice(s) was appropriate, considering that this script suited either gender or both, any age range, and could have been taken from any kind of game, ranging from extraterrestrial combat to a kids’ cartoon adventure.

A good range of distinct characters in any one entry turned out to be a rare find. Here’s why some people didn’t win ...

  • Some had one really good character, with the other two seeming to be just afterthoughts. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Specialists in the Animation genre have a stable (or a menagerie?) of characters that they can call up in an instant. The characters should sound different from each other, with different vocal characteristics and personalities. Some voice actors even give their stock characters individual back stories (which of course, the actor doesn’t need to divulge). From these various voices, they can pick one, add an ingredient or two to match the situation at hand, and, voila – yet another character is born. Just like adding ingredients to stock for a soup.
  • Some reads were very disjointed, the characters didn’t flow as in a real conversation. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you’re doing the recording, how you record multiple characters is up to you. You might record all of one character’s lines, then those of the other character, and put them into proper sequence later. Or, you might voice them in sequence, pausing between each character, so then you simply tighten up the recording. (If you’re really, really good, you might slip quickly from one character to another, but still should leave clean breaks so the engineer can adjust timing if necessary.) The first approach helps you stay in character, but (as may have been the case with these reads) you must be careful not to lose the sense of relationship between characters. Practice both approaches, because if someone else is engineering, this choice might be up to them.
  • Some good ideas suffered from bad execution. For example, “cross tracking” (overlapping dialog) helped the listener know that more than one character is speaking. It’s also something people do in real life. But the overlap needs to be executed in a way that doesn’t sounding like a recording glitch or a script-reading mistake. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: “Ad-libbing” is a similar situation. While the term “ad-lib” can mean improvised dialog (i.e. words and sentences), it also applies to unscripted non-verbal utterances (e.g., sighs, grunts, etc.). When ad-libbing during another character’s line, it’s important that the ad lib be realistic and meaningful. That is, it should be understood as the character, not some random noise, and hopefully it expresses something relevant to the script – for example, a sigh reveals an emotion. A grunt might be an emotional reaction, but a random grunt might just be a meaningless, confusing noise. The ad-lib should also be timed well and not obscure the other character’s dialog.
  • Many people had characters that sounded similar, varying just their personalities. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In real life, one person can have different “personalities,” depending on changes in their situation and what emotion they’re experiencing. So, without visual cues, it can be difficult for a listener to tell which character is speaking unless the voices qualities are also distinctive. A person’s head and throat, even body language, affect vocal characteristics, so use these to further vary the ways your characters sound.
  • Some people were the other side of the above coin – they differentiated their characters pretty well, but gave them all the same personality, the same emotion. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Personality is an integral part of a character voice, so varying personalities helps vary the characters. And in a game such as this, you can act “bigger” – exaggerating each character and emotion for greater differentiation and energy.
  • Inappropriate characters. Actually, this is a tiny excerpt from a script that could be about anything, so if one character sounds like a farmer and the other sounds like Dracula, who can say that’s wrong? And it’s an audition, so showing a wide range of capability is a good idea. But (using our example just for example), how many scripts are likely to involve a Transylvanian? Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In an audition, give them something they don’t expect. But also make it something they can use.
  • Some people showed good acting ability and sounded like real people do. But others sounded artificial. By that, we don’t mean they sounded like “cartoon voices” (a voice never heard from an actual human). We mean they didn’t act natural. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Real voices and cartoon voices are both saleable in the Cartoons genre, so in developing your “stable” of voices, include some real-people sounds and some cartoon-character sounds. Listen to popular contemporary cartoons and games, and you’ll often find a mix.
  • Technical issues. These included mouth noises, pops, room noise and so on. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you know the production will be recorded in professional facilities, then a bit of room noise or such may not matter much if your audition is otherwise excellent. But a pro should know how to avoid pops, at least, and if the final recording is to be made in the talent’s own studio, the recording quality will have to sound professional, too.

1st place winner: alexdormanvo

275 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear alexdormanvo's recording

Fun characters, and each has a distinct personality. Good acting and timing, too. Also, he ad-libbed well, adding various chuckles and stammers in a realistic yet distinctive manner . (See ad-libbing discussed above.) Ad-libs can be appreciated in this sort of copy. Agents sometimes request such ad-libs, even in commercial auditions (which tend to be otherwise rigidly worded for legal and client approval reasons). His inventive utterances are not words, so they don’t change the meaning of the copy. We suspect from his performance that if the Director said (as often happens in animation) “now say it three different ways,” he probably could. The only downside was a bit of room noise.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 10, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Supernatural - Alex Dorman.mp3

2nd place winner: BJPetersen08

198 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear BJPetersen08's recording

Pretty good overall. The characters are distinguishable, with one of them having a different accent. To differentiate them further, he might vary their energy, pitch level (more than he has already), or voice placement. His slate is EQ’d differently, which is okay ... in fact it shows the audition team a “fourth voice.” But he pops the P in his name a bit, which doesn’t get things off to an impressive start. There’s a small amount of room noise and a few very slight mouth clicks. He should also watch enunciation – the “D” at the end of “disappeared” was ... disappeared. In this script context, we happen to know that the word is past-tense, but in other situations, that D sound might be important to hear.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 10, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Supernatural_1.mp3

3rd place winner: Robin Rowan

155 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Robin Rowan's recording

Her first two characters are good. But the third voice (Charlie) doesn't sound that different. There are a couple of seconds of silence before her slate. That’s way too much. The noise (hiss) behind the recording is made even more noticeable by using a gate – as it fades to silence between lines, the hiss becomes all too obvious by its absence. Some of the gaps between characters could stand tightening in any case. That would help make this sound more like a real conversation, instead of a series of lines.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 10, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Supernatural - Robin Rowan.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, October 3 click below

Contest ending Friday, September 26

Contest Title:

Late Show Promo

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a series of show promos for a TV program celebrating its final days. Have energy. Have clarity. Have fun. Make them want to watch! Music will be added underneath; do NOT add any music or sound effects yourself. This is a network position involving a wide range of programs. You do not need to sound like Letterman’s announcer Alan Kalter. Do not exceed 14 seconds!

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

Just so you know, we’re going to stud your screen with stars: Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lawrence, Benedict Cumberbatch … Cher! … and the best of Stupid Pet Tricks, on the next Late Show with David Letterman.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

To be clear, this simulated audition was for a spot for imaging promo talent, not for an announcer position on the Late Show or any specific program. The Director’s Notes said this: “a network position involving a wide range of programs.”

Some of our entrants seemed to get it backwards. Rather than adopt a Promo genre style, they came off as the person who introduces the show. Although the Notes did say (among other things) to “have fun, make them want to watch,” it wasn’t asking for a show intro. The prescription is a tricky one to fill, granted.

A network might employ various promo voices, depending on what type of show is being promoted. For example, one person for comedies, another for dramas, or for kids’ shows. But there can be a tremendous range within any such category, so the auditioning talent needs to demonstrate the clarity and energy, yet ease and naturalness, that will make them appropriate for any situation.

  • Most people this week had no such enthusiasm. A shame, because there are many places in this script to have fun. For example, “ ... Cher! ....” Those dots are a clear tip that something special is going on there. The other star’s names also each connote their own special qualities or eccentricities. Certainly “Stupid Pet Tricks.” Even “the best of” Stupid Pet Tricks is an opportunity to vocally raise your eyebrows. Punching every one of these words and phrases would probably be excessive. But there’s plenty of opportunity to be (and thus sound) enthusiastic.
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You can be enthusiastic and still “have clarity.” Clarity doesn’t mean you have to sound dry or pedantic. It just means your expression of energy should be more like you’re showing, oh, a great new device to a friend, not like you’ve just finished a foot race.
  • In other cases, if they showed energy, it sounded fake and forced. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: using the “DJ sound” to convey energy. (That’s the stereotypical constricted-throat technique that you’ve surely heard on some radio stations.)
  • Some read too quickly. The Notes allowed 14 seconds. Our three winners brought it in comfortably at 13 to 13½ seconds. It’s a fairly long script, and to read it much more quickly does both it and you a disservice. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When given a time target, try to hit it on the nose, without going over (just like The Price is Right). Even if you could read it a lot faster, there are probably creative, thoughtful ways you can use the bit of extra time. That way, you’ll show both your professional ability, and distinguish yourself from the competition. (If the time limit is really excessive, that might be a different story. If you’re given 30 seconds to read what is clearly a 15-second script, either you should read it as you feel comfortable doing it, or you’ve misunderstood something in the direction or the script itself.)
  • Many were “game showy.” Again, this is a Promo job, not a replacement for a show announcer. The instructions did note that there would be a series of these promos, and given the Late Show’s special “personality,” it’s reasonable to go near the edge in the style department. But this particular job (as described) is nevertheless for a wider range of programming. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Whatever genre you are auditioning for, listen to a range of good examples within that genre. Don’t imitate them, but do learn from them. Determine what qualities they all have in common. In promo work, you’ll hear that enunciation (even over-enunciation) is one of those qualities, along with a natural excitement, and a natural voice.
  • Quite a few people butchered the name “Benedict Cumberbatch.” We put that in the script on purpose, along with the phrase “stud your screen with stars.” The latter, in addition to having a double meaning and a visual element, is a bit of tongue twister. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A good script writer will avoid writing tongue-twisters, not insert them on purpose. But sometimes they creep in, or are unavoidable. Work on vocal agility as part of your daily VO practice.
  • A LOT of people, even our winners in some places, slurred words. Even words that can easily be pronounced distinctly got mangled. For example, “Chust” instead of “just.” “Gonna” instead of “going to.” “Jusso” instead of “Just so.” Again, listen to professional promo people on the major networks. One thing you won’t hear from them is sloppiness. (Another signal that enunciation was particularly important in this audition: “Music will be added.” Your words must be understood over it.) 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If the writer wanted you to say “gonna,” he or she probably wouldn’t have written “going to.” Such informality is fine in some contexts. But you don’t have to sound sloppy to sound natural and friendly.
  • Slating was inconsistent. No specific slating instructions were given, so we don’t fault people who did or did not slate. Some people extended their slate with the script title or whatever. Why is this significant? Well, since the instructions said not to go over 14 seconds, we were using a stopwatch. When someone didn’t slate, we were caught off-guard. When someone simply said their name, waited a beat and began the script, we were happy. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In most audition situations, simply follow that last example. And for more slating insight, get The Edge Studio Guide to Slating free, when you subscribe or renew your subscription to our newsletter. This comprehensive 18-page manual will have you slating like a pro! 
[http://info.edgestudio.com/voice-over-slating-guide]
  • Many people sounded like they were just reading a list of names, running all the names together.
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When reading a list, it’s generally best to end each item with a downward inflection. (Exceptions include informal deliveries, very first-person reads, and some character reads. But the “downward inflection” advice applies to Promo reads and almost any script where there’s music, or where visual changes might occur between the list items.) But you can make the list more interesting by varying speed, your pitch, tone of voice, etc. And, as followers of Letterman’s show will know, you can have an extra bit of fun with the name “Cher!”
  • Even some good performances had technical problems, such as flanging (a fluctuation in frequencies that sounds like Darth Vader), poorly set gates (typically used to minimize breaths, the gate can take effect too abruptly), bad edits, and popped plosives. 
Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: It’s not too difficult to learn how to use your recording software’s basic audio processing capabilities correctly. But good-quality audio is best achieved at the outset. Use a pro-quality condenser mic (notice we did NOT say “really expensive”), use a pop-screen, avoid computer fan noise, etc., and record in a quiet, non-reverberant room. That way, the need for processing will be minimal.

1st place winner: Chris Koprowski

25 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Chris Koprowski's recording

He has a clear, friendly, exciting delivery, with clarity, good emphasis, and nice word-value. And he’s free of vocal tension, which is also nice. But like so many others this week, he can work on vocal accuracy. His first word sounds like "Chust," he said "gonna" instead of "going to,” and there’s a bit of “lazy mouth” (that’s when the voice starts before the mouth opens) before "Benedict." He could have made "stupid pet tricks" sounds more amusing. Also, he cut off the end of the recording, where he was still exhaling on the N at the end of “Letterman.” The resulting artifact is awkward, and distracting, and poses an editing difficulty for the engineer. Better yet, instead he should have held his tongue in the final "n" position for a moment (against the roof of the mouth) ... and then released his tongue. Doing so makes it an easy edit for the engineer. (On a long-copy job or for a long-term relationship, engineers prefer hiring a voice actor who requires less editing.)

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 3, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: myscript

182 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear myscript's recording

Like our First Place winner, he has a nice, friendly natural quality. In places, he has exemplary enunciation (“Cumberbatch,” “the best of,” “Letterman.) But the clarity comes and goes. The first word "("just") has a small amount of lazy mouth (he says, "nnnJus..."), and he also says “nnnJohnny” and “nnnJennifer” and (especially noticeable) “mmmBenedict.” “Just so” became “Jusso.” “With stars” is “wistars.” And so on. These slurs are far from optimal when mixed with typically loud music. (And if it’s a live promo from the booth, it’s even more dangerous.) As noted above, he could have had more fun saying "Cher." Stupid pet tricks probably has a funny visual, and so his delivery should be more amusing. The comma after "Tricks" doesn’t have to be a long pause, but should be a clean break, if only for later synching it with the visual. It certainly calls for a change in emotion and tempo at that point (it’s the big finish). Instead, he had a tiny hesitation before "David," which is not the same thing.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 3, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Late Show Promo SamuelFleming.mp3

3rd place winner: Todd A Wilson

182 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Todd A Wilson's recording

His rich voice has a nice smile (especially toward the end), and good vocal freedom at points (e.g., “so you know,” “screen with stars,” “Benedict Cumberbatch”, “Cher”). Although there’s a bit of lazy mouth before “Benedict.” And there are a few moments where he tends to go “DJ” (“Johnny Depp,” and “on the next”). We suggest he keep the energy, lose the constriction. It even turns into a small pause before “David Letterman,” which in itself is awkward. His rushing the first word (Just) will make the word hard to hear over music.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by October 3, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/LATE SHOW PROMO TW.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, September 26 click below

Contest ending Friday, September 19

Contest Title:

Out of the Park

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a sports documentary. Read it as if it were live play-by-play, but with a sense of excitement and drama. The audience knows, as you do, what’s about to happen in this scene. The ball/strike count “1-0” is pronounced “one and oh.” Start matter-of-fact and build. No slate, please.

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

It’s cold and drizzling, but he doesn’t notice. The count is 1-0. Al Downing lets go a fastball, and Aaron swings. It’s a line drive to left field, sailing just over the 385-foot marker! Chalking up number 715, Hank Aaron has just sailed past Babe Ruth in career home runs!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

It was interesting to note the range of variation in people’s approach to this script. The Director’s Notes for this sports documentary said to read the script as if it were a live play-by-play. Our winners did that, effectively. Others did not.

  • Some people sounded as if they’d never heard a baseball game announced in real time – because some of them showed little sense of the timing, or the spontaneous excitement, or even baseball’s general announcing style. Some people sounded as if they were narrating a movie ... which of course this is, considering that Aaron broke Ruth’s record in 1974. (A traditional sports narration could have some of that spontaneity and extra energy, but could just as likely have a more deliberate, scripted tone.) Other people sounded like they were reading a story to kids. We grant that the script does have a touch of “narrative” to it – a live announcer couldn’t read Hank Aaron’s mind to say “he doesn’t notice it drizzling.” But the Director’s Notes are clear, and it wouldn’t be unheard of for a live announcer to make up a small bit of drama like that.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You can’t emulate what you’ve never heard. So do research!!! Extra time spent researching can help you win extra jobs! For a random selection of baseball play-by-play announcing, watch some videos at mlb.com. http://m.mlb.com/video/v16184539/mlbcoms-top-10-plays-of-the-week]. Here are some older baseball films.


  • Others had the proper feel for it, but many of them sounded like they were mimicking existing sports announcers’ styles. We suppose even some professional sports announcers start by doing that. But do you suppose the classic voice and lyrical manner of Vin Scully came from imitating his boss Red Barber (another classic sports announcer)? In fact, according to Wikipedia, Barber advised Scully not to listen to other announcers.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If this genre appeals to you or if you want to emulate it, do start by listening to others, and practice, practice, practice. In fact, budding play-by-play announcers can be found announcing a game into a recorder while they’re still in high school, just for practice. By the time they’re looking for a job, they’re already old hands at speaking sports vernacular off-the-cuff. But once you’ve gotten started, forget what you’ve heard. Be yourself. If you’re seeking to develop a style, let it emerge from your natural mannerisms. Give it your own spin. Fans don’t like clichés, and that applies to cliché voices as well as phrases.


  • The Notes said to build excitement, as announcers do when a routine hit ball suddenly becomes an outstanding play. Unfortunately, as the excitement built, often so did the sloppiness. Even some of our winners sounded like they might have said “joking” instead of “chalking.”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Listeners don’t have the script in front of them. As a narrator, you do, and you have the luxury of knowing what’s coming up. Don’t lose the spontaneity, but do retain your voice over standards. How? Make enunciation a habit, so that when you get excited, you’ll continue to speak clearly and won’t stumble over words.


  • Some people were not excited enough, or sounded as if they were faking their excitement.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Are you inhibited by your neighbors hearing you shout? Stifling yourself or “imitating” a raised voice sounds fake. If necessary, talent have been known to tell their neighbors, “I’m going to be shouting for a few minutes, and yelling for help. I’m just recording a script. No need to call 911.”

    (By the way, varying the volume of your voice is generally a VO no-no for technical reasons. If you do speak more loudly, move a bit away from the mic, and if working with a recording engineer, warn him or her beforehand. To express excitement, raising your pitch rather than increasing volume is sometimes just as realistic.)


  • Some people were inconsistent. For example, they didn’t started off well, but then produced realistic excitement. Or part of the recording was clearly edited on. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In a short audition, edits should be rare. And if you can’t make the edit totally undetectable, do another take, straight through. Because if the casting team hears that you can't get through 15-seconds of copy without needing to stop and start, or if they hear that you're not good at editing, the job could go to another voice actor.


  • Some people had bad audio. Sometimes it was bearable, but in some cases, it was extremely distracting.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Always record in conditions that make you sound as good as possible. If the audition is just to get the job and you know the production will be recorded in a professional sound studio, you might get away with some reduced audio quality. But at some point a technically poor recording makes you sound unprofessional. You probably won’t get away with that.

1st place winner: KentClark

197 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear KentClark's recording

A very good read, especially realistic in the first few lines. It was a tad too fast with a few words (e.g. on “385”). There is a bit of hiss throughout, and the opening and close could have used some attention. There’s a bit of noise or exhale before his start, and he loses energy on the last word. But overall, a very realistic sounding delivery. Play ball!

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 26, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Kent Clark - Out of the Park.mp3

2nd place winner: dvoice

122 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dvoice's recording

Another realistic read, especially once sound effects are added. They will naturally fill the long pauses. But the pauses are a bit long for another reason: his read doesn’t match up with the actual events. For example, he recognizes the pitch as a fastball, and there’s a relatively long time before saying “Aaron swings.” Then the time before realizing it’s a line drive is longer than necessary. And by the time he announces it’s a home run, the ball has long since touched ground. Granted, viewers know subconsciously that this is an after-the-fact narration, so exact synchronization isn’t absolutely necessary. But something in a baseball fan will know when the timing just isn’t quite right. However, this wouldn't cost him the job, because an engineer could easily tighten the phrasing, and the laid back style is both realistic and distinctive. Technically, this is another hissy recording. (Good monitors or headphones expose this. Ironically, it sounds like a rainy day.)

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 26, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Out of the Park_3.mp3

3rd place winner: Ken Young

125 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Ken Young's recording

Very realistic, but could have could have had even more excitement by the end. He stumbled through “385” a bit, and the very last word drops unnaturally low in pitch. (No pun intended.) Technically in the background there is room hiss and room reverb that could be avoided.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 26, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Out of the Park - Ken Young .mp3

3rd place winner: Charactervoices

125 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Charactervoices's recording

Another realistic style, but we can’t fully evaluate it because he added crowd sound effects. So if he slurs words, the casting screener might be wary of not hearing it. If the final recording is to be done in his studio, there’s no way to know how clean a recording he can produce. And the client will need to be experienced at separating his performance from the overall effect. Some casting people might therefore see the sound effects as “cheating,” and hiring him on the basis of this submission as risky. Especially considering that the SFX were mixed a bit too loud relative to his voice.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 26, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Out of the Park-Joe Mishriki.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, September 19 click below

Contest ending Friday, September 12

Contest Title:

Holding the Phone

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a telephone message. In this particular script, the caller has been on hold for about 5 minutes. The point of this message is not only to encourage the caller to keep holding, but to make the caller feel like a wanted customer (or prospective customer) and to convey a positive tone regarding what is probably by now a frustrating situation. Please slate your name before the read. Put yourself in the listener’s position. Although this is an apology, don’t sound patronizing. Your apology needs to sound as if you mean it, and should convey a sense of optimism and positivity – a bright ray of hope.

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

We’re sorry to have you waiting so long. Our representatives give each caller as much time as necessary, and sometimes things get a little backed up. But when it’s your turn, we’ll give you all the time you need, so please hold on a bit longer.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Businesses are very aware that their customers do NOT like to wait on hold before speaking with a representative. But sometimes it’s unavoidable, a matter of budget, or maybe unusually heavy call volume at that time of day or for a period of days. Whatever the reason for holding, studies show that callers are more willing to hold when they hear music and/or messages or status updates.

Although any music will clue the caller that they haven’t been disconnected, the quality of the music probably influences the amount of time they’re willing to wait.

So does the quality of message and status recordings.

This week’s messaging script serves several functions:

  • Keep callers engaged.
  • Keep them from becoming anxious.
  • Make them feel good about the company.
  • Discourage them from hanging up.

A pleasant hold experience might even speed the eventual conversation, because the caller won’t start with a long complaint about having been on hold.

To accomplish all these objectives, the voice actor should sound natural and friendly. If you read too quickly, you’ll sound like you’re not paying attention to the caller. (Yes, we know, even though the customer knows you’re a recording, it still has that psychological effect.) Moreover, the caller might not catch what you’re saying – it could be a bad connection, they may have a language difficulty, or their mind might be elsewhere. If you read too slowly, you may sound bored, unbusinesslike or condescending.

And whether too fast or to slow, you’ll sound unnatural. So the speed to speak at is – a natural pace … as if you were live on the phone, having a conversation. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To get the feel for a natural pace, it might help to precede the script with a line or two that you make up. Then delete the added lines from your recording.

Sounding unnatural was a major reason some people didn’t win. Here are some others:

  • Not effectively apologetic. The Director’s Notes said to sound apologetic but not condescending. It should go without saying that the tone should also sound authentic, as with any apology. Some people appeared to try their best, but nevertheless came across as fake and insincere. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: What’s a sincere apology? Imagine you did something wrong but not a crime – for example, suppose you ate somebody else’s sandwich by mistake. How would you apologize for that?
  • Some people were too apologetic or empathetic. You’d think they ran over the caller’s dog, or were talking the caller out of suicide. The caller has simply been on hold for 5 minutes. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You can’t sound genuine if you aren’t in a genuine mindset. Are you just reading? That might be the problem. As you voice the words, who ARE you? Adopt the mindset of someone specific. In this case, it might be helpful to think you’re the business owner. Or the boss’s positive-thinking executive assistant. Or the rep who will eventually answer the phone. What’s more, don’t just think like that person. Bethat person!
  • Some people wandered back and forth through believability and artificiality. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When you think you’ve got a good take, listen back to it. Is it consistent? Does each statement you make convey an emotion? Is the emotion appropriate to that statement? If not, do another take – in entirety. (Another cause of inconsistency is when you splice together a bunch of takes.)
  • Some people were a bit sloppy. Sometimes it was because they sped through the copy. Slowing down may be the fix for that. Some simply didn’t sound clear and professional. For example, some people said “tah” instead of “to.” Above, we mentioned several reasons a caller might not catch what you’re saying. E-nun-ci-ate, without overdoing it. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To enunciate without sounding unnatural, simply be careful to fully use your jaw and lips as you form each sound. At first, it might feel like you’re exaggerating the movements. But soon, it will feel natural, and you’ll no longer be mumbling and slurring your words.
  • Mouth noise, especially wet mouth. Some people worked a bit too close to the mic. Maybe it was in order to sound more personal, maybe because we typically hold a telephone closely. But a telephone mouthpiece or microphone doesn’t reproduce the wet-mouth noises as much as a condenser mic will. It may not be evident once played down the phone line, but for all you know the audition reviewer is listening on studio monitors! Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you find your mouth is excessively salivatic, one fix is this -- remember to swallow. (If you do swallow audibly during the take, edit it out.) Other cures are to chomp a bit of green apple, or a piece of bread. Also move back from the mic a bit, and aim it at your face or chest, not directly into your mouth.
  • Many people did not slate as directed. Maybe this was because the slating instruction was buried in the middle of the Notes? Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: These slip-ups might signal an even more important failure: Always be sure to read the instructions, carefully, in their entirety. Missing an instruction will cost you the audition.

What’s a good example of on-hold messaging in a clear, natural manner? As you wend through life, make note of any good examples you come across, for your future reference. Meanwhile, we’ll cite the woman who voices on-hold announcements for GODADDY (480-505-8877). Thing is, unless you’re calling their billing department at 11 p.m., you might not be put on hold, so you won’t hear her announcement (which goes something like our audition script). But she also voices their menus, so you can at least get the idea. (Please don’t all call at once.)

1st place winner: theheartofmel

236 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear theheartofmel's recording

She has a nice tone in her voice, and she enunciates naturally. Her read is a tad fast in a couple places, but she nevertheless sounds natural and genuine. Her slate is a bit stylized, as she emphasizes the alliterative M’s in her name, but that’s okay..

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 19, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/MelanieMurphy-EDGE-Phone9-8-14.mp3

2nd place winner: sshahawy

190 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sshahawy's recording

She sounds businesslike and sincere. At a few points she is too "pretty" with her words. There’s also what seems an obvious drop-in (“we’ll give you all the time you need”), which could be of concern to the audition team, considering this is not a long passage. In fact, the whole recording seems edited back-and-forth between two or more takes.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 19, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/ShireenShahawyHOLDING THE PHONE contest entry.mp3

3rd place winner: JHBvoice

186 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JHBvoice's recording

A pleasant voice and a pleasant read. But at first, that’s what it sounds like – a read, overenunciated and theatrical. He speaks more naturally as he progresses. There are a couple moments where he seems to have lost his place in the script. (e.g., Weee’ll … give you all the time you need.) That may not be what happened there, but when overdoing the drama, that can be the effect.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 19, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, September 12 click below

Contest ending Friday, September 5

Contest Title:

Labor Day electronic release

Director's Notes:

In this simulated audition, the producer seeks someone to voice a trailer. Trailers typically run 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. For the online release of the movie Labor Day, a much shorter trailer is needed for special situations. It’s almost a teaser. Do not read the lines that are quoted – those are audio from the movie that will be inserted there. Just pause (a second or less) at those points, giving the editor a clean break. Slate your name or username at the end.

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

Love knows no bounds.

“How does a fellow let a woman like your mother get away?”

People do.

“…Serving 18 years for murder.”

When the idea of love transcends two people, it’s time to change the boundaries. As two lovers do … on Labor Day.

Available now.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This script somewhat resembles poetry. It would be a good model to follow. The general advice when reciting poetry is “cherish the words, but don’t over-do it.”

  • Some of this week’s entrants did, and didn’t.
  • Many tried to sound too deep and low. As a result, the listener is more focused on them, not on the message. And, unfortunately, what the listener may be thinking is, “Why is this person sounding so weird? Is this a put-on?” Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If your voice is naturally basso or breathy, great. You have an advantage for certain types of scripts. (Not everyone can play a Darth Vader.) But nothing about this script necessarily calls for a deep, low voice. A natural voice is perfectly suitable if read well. The listener might think it’s the voice of a fellow townsperson, or a relative, or an storyteller. Someone like you.
  • Many showed no thought, no understanding of the words. They were not connecting with the script, let alone with their listener. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Whenever you have time to do so, check the script’s back story. If the script is a breakfast cereal commercial, give it a try, and more importantly, know who it’s marketed to. If it’s a cartoon character, what’s that character’s history and personality? And if it’s about a movie, get a sense of the movie if you can. And in this case, you can – trailers for it are available on YouTube.
  • In some cases, it seems as if the person just recorded it, made an mp3 and uploaded it without listening. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Although the importance of listening to your recording would seem to go without saying, do more than just listen to it. Listen to it critically, as others will. And while you’re at it, read the script while listening. Sometimes this will point out a mistake, and maybe even give you a new idea for approaching the read.
  • Others went too dramatic, maybe trying to do what they think is the standard movie trailer sound. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: There is no “standard movie trailer sound.” The imposing tones of Don LaFontaine, Hal Douglas and others of their ilk are just one possible sound. And with the passing of both LaFontaine and Douglas, there may be a trend to “less is more.” Some current trailers let the movie scenes speak for themselves, with minimal narration. Want to reverse that trend? Do a great read in your own voice. Odds are producers haven’t heard that.
  • Too fast or two slow. If you’re thinking “poetry” or “drama” the tendency is to go too slow. More typically, people went too fast. Moderate is just right. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you’re nervous, or not sure what you’re reading, it’s likely you’ll read at too fast a clip. One way to fix this, other than simply slowing down, is to think about communicating with the listener. You probably speak clearly to your friends. Not like an athlete full of adrenalin in a post-match interview.
  • Moments of naturalness, but fleeting. Some recordings were artificial in one way or another (overdone, listless, fake voice, affected-sounding, etc.), but there was a phrase somewhere that sounded great. Unfortunately, that ray of sunshine rarely convinces an audition screener to ignore the rest. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When listening to your performance, try to identify the part in the script where you sounded more natural. Can you bring that quality to the entire script? Think about what gives it that natural quality, where it came from, and maybe another take is in order.
  • Poor enunciation. This being a movie trailer, there’s likely to be music and/or sound effects under you. Not only will untreasured words be wasted opportunity for emotional effect, often they won’t even be heard. Mispronunciation and malformed sounds are related problems. For example, several people didn’t fully pronounce L sounds at the end of words. (E.g., “people” sounds like “peepo,” “Idea of” sounds like “ID of.”) Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Sometimes sounds such as L and R are badly formed due to laziness or inattention, but some people do have a physiological reason for such difficulty. A session with a qualified coach or even a speech pathologist might help fix or work around the problem.
  • Bad audio: hiss, background noises, poor placement at the mic are some examples. Sometimes the defects are not noticeable when listening on speakers in a room with some background noise. But using studio-quality headphones, they can be painfully apparent. Guess what we generally listen on? Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You can only do your best, and while you’re in training, a bare minimum of technical quality may do. But to win actual auditions, you’ll need to know and do a bit more. The good news is, it’s more a matter of knowledge, training and experience, not necessarily one of dollars.
  • Some read everything with no space in between, which suggests they didn’t understand the instructions. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When there are points where an engineer will need to insert other audio or silence, leave a clean break. That means just enough silence that it will be easy to cleanly select your phrase in the audio editing software.
  • Three people did not slate, and one slated incorrectly. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In the real world, not slating as instructed can cost you the job. In this contest, we don’t necessarily reject a mis-slated recording, but the read had better be extra special. Incidentally, a “weird” slate can also cost you, whether it conforms to instructions or not.
  • Some entrants won our contest within the past two months. Recent entrants aren’t eligible to win, but if you want to use the contest as “practice under pressure,” that’s fine with us. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Regular practice is important. Our Weekly Script Recording Contest can always be part of it, giving you the benefit of competition, deadline pressure, possible feedback, and showing others what you can do.

1st place winner: AndrewRomano

212 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear AndrewRomano's recording

He begins great, at a suitably slow pace, valuing each word. However he gets faster at times, and throws some words away. He also gives some sounds short shrift. In particular, the trailing L sounds, as discussed above. The recording had background hiss. The gate makes it more noticeable, but the gate itself is set pretty well. The movie’s title, “Labor Day” is sufficiently sold, whereas some entrants threw it away.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 12, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Studio - Script Contest (2014 09 01) Trailer Labor Day.mp3

2nd place winner: kellyfinandrews

229 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kellyfinandrews's recording

A nice, natural approach. The opening lines are a bit quick, but the later ones are especially too fast. The speed makes her quick breaths less apparent, but on slowing down, they would be better deleted or minimized, especially the mouth noise between phrases. Recognizing the “timeless, poetic” nature of this script, we’d like more precision in pronunciation ("To" was pronounced as "tah" --sometimes that's good, but not in this case). And this was a case where “idea of” might be heard as “ID of,” momentarily confusing the listener. I her slate, she says her name almost as an aside...as if it's less important. That’s a friendly sound, but not optimal. For one thing we can’t tell if she’s saying Wilson, or Wolfson, or something else.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 12, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/082514_KellyWilson_LaborDayEdgeStudioContest.mp3

3rd place winner: jpconn

177 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jpconn's recording

He’s way too close to the mic, which in addition to introducing technical flaws such as pops and mouth noise, might be heard as rather repellant, not romantic. (No ear-licking, please!) But if he stands back and stops relying on the mic’s proximity effect, his read shows promise. In particular we like that he was one of the rare entrants to hit the word “do” in “People do.” (And for that matter, in “lovers do.”) He said most words a little fast, and some of them way too fast, even staccato. For example, "When". . . once mixed with music and SFX, that word will be near-impossible to understand. (context would help listeners' brains figure out the word...but we shouldn't rely on that). And pay attention to those L’s.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by September 12, 2014 by calling our team 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Labor Day Comp.mp3

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

Contest ending Friday, August 22

Contest Title:

Sewer Party

Director's Notes:

This simulated audition for a political radio commercial. If you’re a woman, read the script as-is. If you’re a man, change “my lawn party” to “our lawn party.” Slate your name or username first. (This being a hypothetical script, the name of the candidate has been changed to avoid complication).

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

The day of my lawn party was the day they broke ground for the new sewer. Right in front of our house, without notice. We need a mayor who’s more sensitive to people’s lives. That’s why I’m voting for David Goldberg.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This week’s pretend audition was a political spot. Political advertising is often highly tested. We wish all political advertising could be positive, but it seems tests generally show that negative political advertising is more effective at times. It stands to reason – negativity gets people angry, and when they get angry, they get motivated.

In any case, the character in this script should sound angry. As he or she sees it, the mayor ruined their barbecue.

  • But many people sounded as if they could hardly care less. Some even sounded amused. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When auditioning, consider what emotion the client would direct you to use, rather than what emotion you would like to use.
  • And then there were the people who seemed to want to sound angry and upset, but just came off as whiny. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t choose a tone of voice that most people dislike. Most people don’t like whining. (Think about it – how often to you hear it used in voice over?) Even if it’s a logical voice for this commercial, it could annoy the listener every time they hear the spot. Politicians (and advertisers generally, not to mention Program Directors, etc.) don’t like to annoy their listeners. So unless directed to be whiny, or maybe briefly for good comedy effect, consider another tone of voice that would also fit the situation. In this case, real anger.
  • A lot of other people didn’t sound authentic at all. Rather than conveying any real emotion (even the wrong one), they sounded like they were reading a script. It’s conceivable that an ordinary person off the street might write out their thoughts and read them, awkwardly, but that’s a different creative concept. More importantly, such a low-energy read is unlikely to get listeners angry and motivated. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When voicing any commercial (not just political commercials), think first think, is there an underlying “concept” behind it? If so, what is it? (A grocery-sale or car dealer commercial may not be conceptual; a car manufacturer’s commercial might be.) What will further that concept and make it effective? What action or emotion, etc., is it meant to elicit from the person who hears it?
  • Quite a few people took liberties with the script, adlibbing or misreading words. That in itself is usually a red-flag to audition screeners. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Anyone can make a mistake. Pros correct them. After you’ve recorded, listen back as you follow the script.
  • Failure to follow slating instructions (if any) is another potential disqualifying factor. Two or three people didn’t slate, or slated incorrectly, even though the Director’s Notes included slating instructions. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Follow slating instructions to the letter. Especially if you’re starting out in the business.

Some reads were in the right ballpark (genuinely angry character), but were inconsistent or missed the boat on important fundamentals, let alone the nuances that win auditions.

  • Some recordings were technically deficient – e.g., poor sound quality, distracting background noises, (wet) mouth noise, too much silence before and/or after slating, etc. (By the way, have you noticed that the name of our contest is “Weekly Script Recording Contest,” not “… Reading Contest.” That’s because in a real audition, the recording quality is almost as important as the quality of your read. In fact, it can be a deal-breaker if the actual job is to be recorded in your home studio.) Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Practice and peer feedback doesn’t necessarily require technological perfection. But in a real audition, there is a limit to how much slack a screener will cut you. Do what you can to bring your home recording capabilities up to professional standards. And in addition to practicing reads, practice using your software’s basic processing features, too.
  • Many people trailed off at the end. Some people sped up. Either is bad, especially in this case, because that’s the part where the character says who to vote for. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In a commercial, ALWAYS hit the product name, and say it clearly. Do it in a natural way that fits the tone of your delivery. If it appears often, you might hit it a different way each time. But never let it be misheard, unnoticed or unremembered. It’s paying your fee.
  • Some people paused oddly before the end, or between phrases. A dramatic pause, maybe. But not a “real” one. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: A dramatic pause is often too obviously an “acting tool” and will be heard as such. If you do use one, use just one, and in exactly the right place -- where it is natural and will enhance the script’s overall impact, not so it stops the flow of thought or confuses the listener. Consider: in your own real-life conversation, how often do you actually use “dramatic” dramatic pauses? Very rarely, if at all.
  • Some people just charged into the script. Remember that this is a commercial, and you need to capture the listener’s attention. Part of that responsibility is the script’s, but part of it is yours. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you’re going to slow down anywhere (but not pause), do it in the first word or two, speaking with energy but deliberately. This lets the listener get up to speed.
  • The character’s tone should shift in the last two sentences, where talking about who to vote for. Some people still sounded angry. At the other extreme, some people sounded rather comforting and friendly at the end (that can be good), but also sounded that way in the “story” part. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: What’s important is not necessarily what’s in your mind. It’s what’s in the character’s mind.
  • Some people sounded theatrical. In most cases, that’s as bad as sounding like you’re “reading a script,” because it’s equally unreal and unbelievable. In this script, you don’t want to sound like a trained actor. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: For this type of script, a great voice isn’t necessary, as long as the voice isn’t repellent. The more you sound like a real person on the street, talking from the heart, the more effective this script will be.

The bottom line is what we said at the top – this commercial should make the listener angry, angry enough to vote out the incumbent mayor. To do that, you have be real.

1st place winner: veronicaaustin27

266 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear veronicaaustin27's recording

Her read sounds like a real person talking, which is the goal. And the reality effect is enhanced by a very nice chuckle in the set-up. But that chuckle should have become more rattled -- especially in the phrases "sewer" and "in front of our house" -- because her read stays too consistent in tone and doesn't bring in the necessary anger, as mentioned earlier in this article. The pause after “we need a mayor” is distracting – the listener may first think that’s the end of her sentence. The recording’s technical quality is not good. To control background noise between phrases, she used a “gate,” set very aggressively. But a gate does nothing to reduce noise while you’re speaking. So, because it was set to cut the noise abruptly, her gating just made the remaining noise even more noticeable. It also cuts off the tails of words at the ends of phrases, sometimes even sounding like a click. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Used in combination with other basic audio processing tools, a gate can make noise less apparent. But the gate must be properly adjusted. When in doubt, don’t be too aggressive, and do what you can to reduce ambient noise to begin with.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 29, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Sewer Party - Veronica Austin.mp3

2nd place winner: Patty Gibbons

203 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Patty Gibbons's recording

Nice smile and a pretty good read. Something she could do to make her read sound more natural would be to not articulate so carefully. Enunciational overkill makes her sound unnatural at times. This recording, too, had background noise throughout, excessive sibilance, and some movement noise at the end.

Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Famous intro announcers have various styles in the way they introduce their hosts. For example, Ed McMahon intoned “Here’s Johnny!” as if suggesting, “who else but?” Joel Godard stylizes “Conan O’Brien” as “Co-nan O-Bry-Yan!” And Alan Kalter introduces David Letterman with in a very promo-ish style by raising pitch and extending the vowels. Here’s the tip. Don’t necessarily imitate anyone, do think about your approach. But then “hear” someone in particular in your head as you read. The result will be a mixture of them and your own personal touch, that you can experiment with further.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 29, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Script Contest - Sewer Party.mp3

3rd place winner: Carolsplace

178 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Carolsplace's recording

In some ways, this is a good read, but too fast at the top, with no attention-getting punch in the first word or two. She would benefit from incorporating more emotional change. This would make it more interesting, keeping the listener engaged.

Edge Studio Voice Over Tip

: As people express various thoughts, they express various emotions and levels of emotion. The angry phrase, “without notice” should not convey the same emotion (should not sound the same) as the relatively matter-of-fact “day of my lawn party” did at the start.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 29, 2014 by calling our team

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Carol Knizek Sewer Party.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, August 22 click below

Contest ending Friday, August 15

Contest Title:

Miscast Podcast

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a podcast’s opening billboard. The situation is this: Inspired by an old Bob and Ray radio comedy bit, a metal foundry has decided to actually sell steel ingots to consumers. As part of the marketing plan, the manufacturer will present a weekly podcast, hosted by the foundry’s Founder, a Mr. Widget “Ace” Flange. Mr. Flange’s content will be a weighty discussion of ingots and their many household applications, but the intro can be either serious or lighthearted, whatever builds energy to point where Mr. Flange will begin speaking. From that point, all we can do is pray. No music, no echo, no slate. Music and effects will be added later. Incidentally, whereas the company name used by Bob and Ray (Monongahela Foundry) was hypothetically real, the names of this company and its founder are really hypothetical.

Script:

Now, In the search for better living, Weehawken Foundry presents Ingot Insights. Wherever homemaking ideas are floated, Weehawken ingots bring them down to earth. Here’s your host, Mr. Ace Flange.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Two phrases in the Director’s Notes were key this week.

The first of these phrases was “Bob and Ray.” If ever there was a hint that the client is looking for something at least a little absurd, it’s the name of this classic radio comedy team. And we’d think the rest of the Notes and the script itself would have confirmed that this was a prime opportunity to have fun.

The other key direction was “whatever builds energy.” Instructions were to be either serious or lighthearted, so it wasn’t necessary to go over the top. (In fact, many people this week apparently tried to slide under.) But most of the low-key intros were off-target. It takes something extra to be both high-energy and quiet/reserved.

(What would that “extra something” be? Well, Bob and Ray themselves had energy, but their characters generally spoke as ordinary people would. Thinking further, and putting this particular script aside for the moment, “quiet energy” might be a noticeable attempt to restrain genuine emotion; or it might be an exceptionally flat style (like the comedian Steven Wright); or it might be a low, menacing tone. For example, Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lechter is often reserved in his speaking, but rather high energy, no? However, would that character be right for this script? Probably not.)

Some other reasons people didn’t win …

  • Many people took a television promo-announcer approach. That’s good for this. But most lacked genuine excitement, or were too over the top. Although this simulated audition was lighthearted, it was meant to simulate an actual audition, and thus the resulting read needs to be appealing.
  • Some of the above people, and others, were TOO energetic, and their endless emphases strung the read out too long. The result was exhausting.
  • Some people did not hit the manufacture name or show title, or they stumbled or mumbled it. Many lost the word “Ingot” by either swallowing the “g” or rushing the second syllable too much. True, it is correctly said more like “een-g’t” than “ing-gaaht,” but -- especially because it’s an unexpected word -- the listener needs to know for certain what it is you’ve said.
  • Some handled the funny parts of the copy (and we thank them for thinking it funny) as if constantly poking the listener in the ribs – “now wait, get this one, it’s funny, right? Right?” No need for that. The effect is counterproductive, making the whole thing drag. Humor is best delivered in a real manner. That’s why comedy timing is so hard to define and prescribe – it’s not “created,” it’s fundamentally real.
  • Some reads were simply dull and lackluster, showing no imagination, and, again, no energy. In some cases, they suited the Director’s Notes option of having a “serious” tone, but they were being read seriously, not spoken as if the presenter’s own words.
  • Some people voiced as if they hadn’t seen the copy before, let alone planned how best to read it.
  • Some had bad audio quality. And there were other technical issues in many performances, such as slurred words, or just plain sloppiness. Some mispronounced (or misread) words, or pronounced them oddly. Whether electronic or in the talent’s read, technical issues detract from even a good performance.

Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The best intro announcers -- no matter how extreme their intonation or enunciation -- still come across as if they’re introducing from the heart. Learn the script, think about your approach and mark it up, but then try putting it aside, and – in the manner you planned – smile and just say it. It will probably come across more “real.”

1st place winner: arranh

193 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear arranh's recording

This was a fun take on the assignment. He shows personality, having made it sound like a talk show. But he starts abruptly, without energy. “Building” energy doesn’t mean to start at zero. The second half of his read is better. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Voice a bit of extra text before the script (or simply repeat the first sentence). Have a clean break where the script begins, and later delete the added text from the audio file. That way, when you begin the script, you’re already in character, warmed up and rolling.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 22, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Arran Haynes_3.mp3

2nd place winner: Lynn Marshall

150 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Lynn Marshall's recording

Articulation is a bit lacking at the beginning (“Now in the” runs together and lacks punch), but then she gathers herself and heads in a respectable direction. However, her read falls short because she falls flat. She doesn't emphasize (doesn’t hit) anything in the first half. Given that music will be added, this dull monotone could cause a casting pro to hit Stop before finished. If she would value the words more, it will also help her enunciate (and not stumble/swallow the word “Foundry”). The second half is much better, except for the last word, the person’s name. It still doesn’t “build.”

Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Famous intro announcers have various styles in the way they introduce their hosts. For example, Ed McMahon intoned “Here’s Johnny!” as if suggesting, “who else but?” Joel Godard stylizes “Conan O’Brien” as “Co-nan O-Bry-Yan!” And Alan Kalter introduces David Letterman with in a very promo-ish style by raising pitch and extending the vowels. Here’s the tip. Don’t necessarily imitate anyone, do think about your approach. But then “hear” someone in particular in your head as you read. The result will be a mixture of them and your own personal touch, that you can experiment with further.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 22, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/LM Ingot Insights.mp3

3rd place winner: Rick Hord

174 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Rick Hord's recording

Okay, he’s doing a comic announcer, and “announcers” have long been out of vogue. But he does get that this is a parody. More importantly, he’s done several things to liven it up – he hits and extends the introductory “now” without blasting it or totally pausing; he takes his voice through a wide pitch range (albeit artificial when he gets a bit growly); and he varies the pace, by sprinting through “wherever … are floated,” then changing up. The recording is noisy, and it might have been interesting to see if he could have ranged a bit more to the extremes without going too far.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 22, 2014 by calling our team

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Miscast Podcast_1.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, August 15 click below

Contest ending Friday, August 8

Contest Title:

WAAAY Imaging

Director's Notes:

In this simulated audition, , the [mythical] radio station WAAA wants a new “trademark” voice for its imaging. (“Imaging” is to radio stations what “branding” is to products.) Like most radio stations, WAAA uses jingles and recorded slogans and announcements to reinforce its carefully defined image. They’re not sure what voice they want, they’ll know it when they hear it. But it should have energy, a sense of quality, and be one a young adult can relate to. WAAA’s primary audience is adults age 25-44, and it plays only hits, from a range of musical genres and periods (but not classical).

Here’s what the audition script is about: Before each commercial break, it plays snippets of three songs, followed by the imaging voice telling listeners to stay tuned. There will be a very quick musical segue from the last song, to music that will be added under the voice over. (Record just your voice. DO NOT add music yourself!) Then, before the last commercial in the break, there’s another quick “stay tuned” announcement. Slate your name or username, and separate the two announcements by one second of silence.

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

… These three and many other WAAAY Better Hits coming up, right after this product information especially for you!

In 60 seconds, the most requested Hit of the week!

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Radio station imaging scripts are short, and sweet in terms of challenge. Frame the talent with strings, throw in some musical stingers, and just about anybody can sound “good” here. But that’s not the challenge. The challenge is to establish a memorable station identity in a way that attracts and retains the listener. It’s a very important role, because, while radio station ratings are sometimes based on electronic technology, the “listener diary” method is also used … listeners sometimes forget which station they’ve listened to, or aren’t sure, or even list the wrong one. And if the listener has tuned out during the commercial break, it doesn’t matter what rating method is used – they’re gone! Imaging is carefully planned and placed to prevent all that.

So, above all, three things are highly important here: 1) The station’s name, call letters, slogan, etc. 2) A distinctive sound and/or manner. 3) An attractive, involving delivery – positive energy.

Notice that we haven’t said, “a deep voice” or “hype.” Today’s range of possibilities is wider. And today the chosen voice is as likely to be female as male.

It is, however, important to have energy, clarity and some sort of distinction. What does that mean in this particular script? The direction didn’t much say. It can be frustrating to talent when the client says they’re “not sure what voice they want, they’ll know it when they hear it” (as in the Director’s Notes). But whether the client says that outright or not, it’s very often the case. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In an audition, the talent needs to differentiate themselves from the competition, in a constructive way.

Oh, and one other thing. Radio stations are busy places, often requiring fast turnaround, and the economics of efficiency, without needing re-do’s. Mistakes and a disregard for workflow are warning signals.

Some people lost out on those and other grounds.

No energy. Energy isn’t shouting. It’s not fake excitement. It’s not the traditional “DJ” sound. (The “DJ sound” is a forced or tense, constricted voice, also known as an “epiglottal push.” Some call it the “puke” sound, which pretty much says it all.) Energy comes from inside, from emotion. Unless you’re bored (and boring), energy is not expressed in a monotone. Remember, the second and almost as important a goal in this read is to convince the listener to stay tuned! Hey, folks, this is the MOST requested hit, OF THE WEEK. You don’t necessarily have to shout that (in fact, do NOT shout), or even hit exactly the words just capitalized. But you should feel their meaning, should convey the appropriate emotion, and transmit that emotion to your listener.

Misread or mispronounced words: We heard “Expecially.” And some said “hits” when the script said “hit.” And so on.

Poor enunciation: For example, “product” sounded like “proct.” “In sixty seconds” sounded like “issixysechhs.”

Some people had the right sense of eccentricity, but overdid it. The station probably isn’t looking for a 1960s-style oddball DJ. The chosen voice won’t be the “star” of this performance. The station is to be the star here. For example, some readers will remember the TV promos for the show “The Love Boat.” The promos were read by a deep-voiced announcer (standard procedure in those days), pretty much a standard promo read, but he dug down extra deep when he said “The LOVE Boat.” The point is this: One distinctive characteristic, otherwise normal. Do more than one weird thing, and the resulting impression might not be so much “memorable” as “eccentric” or even “erratic.”

Many people pronounced “WAAAY Better Hits” as “W.A.A.AY better hits.” In other words, they spelled out the station’s call letters (which were cited in the Director’s Notes). Someone even said it both ways. This, in itself, was not a disqualifier. A bit of direction can clear that up. The more important factor, where the auditioning talent is concerned, is that by not saying the word “WAY” and elongating or playing with it as that spelling suggests, they robbed themselves of a chance to do something distinctive. Especially considering that the station’s ID is the part of the script that most needs to be memorable. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When you receive an audition script, as part of your preparation and markup look for one place in the script that you might do differently than the “usual” way, which most people would do. It should be an appropriate creative choice, of course. But it should be creative. That makes you memorable.

Another opportunity might have been the phrase “this product information especially for you!” Really? Radio stations are careful not to run commercials that would clash with their programming, or that would offend their listeners, but it’s unlikely each listener gets his or her own set of commercials. So the phrase seems pretty tongue-in-cheek. Nobody seemed to voice it that way. Maybe that would have been too much. Or maybe it’s another opportunity lost.

Among these entrants and others, many people also seemed not to notice that the words “Better Hits” were capitalized. In other words, the words “More Better Hits” is one phrase, an identity, the brand. But many people paused after “More,” as if the words “better hits” were just words. As a result, to the first-time listener, it could change the entire meaning of the sentence, to: “These three, and many other way better hits (than these) ….” That’s certainly not what it means to say.

Some did seem to have a good sense of what the script means to say, but were too conversational. They extended the announcement too long, as if it were just that – an announcement. Thankfully, they didn’t have a “DJ” vocal sound, but they did have a DJ manner – as if they were just talking to the listener, like the host on an album-format station. It’s possible to be vocally free (a very good thing), yet not sound like you’re just shooting the breeze.

Some had odd phrasings. For example, in “most requested hit of the week,” pausing before the word “hit” instead of after it. (Note that it’s not “Hit of the Week.”) Incidentally, in such short scripts, unnecessary pausing often makes a delivery choppy. But in this case, when music will be added, the pause will be filled by music, or maybe even a “stinger” (e.g., a trumpet note, drum, cymbal, violins flourish, etc.). It is important, however, that any pauses be logically placed.

Some people sounded like they took a different tack with the second part of the script. But there’s no way of knowing if this was to show different approaches (usually they weren’t different enough for that to be it), or if they were just inconsistent (inconsistency is not good).

Some extended their slate, or slated at the end. One person slated in the middle! That’s novel, but not helpful for anyone. Don’t make it hard for the casting people to find and identify you. Furthermore, it could disrupt the listener’s workflow. Suppose they are adding some music behind you, just to get a feel for the final production, and there’s no gap to stop the recording at, or they stop at what looks like the start of that sentence and it turns out to be a false start (your name)? Yes, they might remember your name in that case … perhaps unfavorably.

Some people raced through the script. Others had a good pace, but hit nothing, no emphasis, anywhere.

Some reads were very badly recorded. We try not to disqualify anyone on the basis of their studio sound, but sometimes it sounds like they just spoke into a $35 tape recorder’s built-in mic. Their read would have to be extra extra-special to get past that. In an audition, it’s important to appear professional.

None of the entries this week were perfectly on-target. If this were a real-life audition, the client might give the top prospects a bit more direction and ask them to take another shot. But as it’s not a real audition, so we’ll make our choices now…

1st place winner: keith@keithlobrien.com

214 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear keith@keithlobrien.com's recording

His unique style could work well for the intended demographic (ages 25-44). He reads without tension, which makes it work well. He extended “WAAAY” well, and voiced “Way Better Hits” as a coherent phrase. Shows he’s thinking.

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 15, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

2nd place winner: dan@vo4u.com

203 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear dan@vo4u.com's recording

In seeking “a new ‘trademark’ voice for its imaging,” does the station want something unusual, or a “traditional,” even cliché DJ sound? Ideally, the former. But if the latter, he’s got it. He has more than a touch of “DJ push” but it’s tolerable. Great enthusiasm, and consistency throughout. His extended slate could be annoying. The “Hi” and “I’m” aren’t such a problem, but the audition reviewer would be expecting the script to start after his name, and might cue it to that spot. Instead, we hear “Thanks for listening.”

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 15,14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: Happy2Voice

239 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Happy2Voice's recording

Is hers a “hits” sound? She has very little energy. But her voice is kind of squeaky cute, and maybe she might work it to become coy and flirtatious with the listener. Unfortunately, she’s not doing even that here. We chose her because even though it sounds more she’s reading a children’s book, her fundamentals are sound, she has a smile in her voice, and it sounds like she has more in reserve. However, regarding fundamentals, her slate is an exception: after repeated listenings, we’re still not sure of her name. Is it four syllables or five, and does her last name start with a V or a B?

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

Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

Claim your prize by August 15, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/WAAAY_Imaging_08.05.14_Lynn_Voutsinas.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, August 8 click below

Contest ending Friday, August 1

Contest Title:

So, You’re a Parent!

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an online public relations video by a baby food company. The occasion is Parents’ Day, but the video will remain on line throughout the year. The audience will be driven to the video via social media, news stories and TV interviews. Slate your name or username.

Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

Script:

It might not seem so at 2 in the morning, but maybe you’ve already noticed: kids grow up so quickly. In the next 4 and a half minutes, we’ll show how to make every moment count.

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

This week’s script is an interesting case, because unlike some elearning situations, it has a marketing angle. So (although this is always important) the video needs to be fresh and interesting, right from the start. No relying on the audience being captive here.

Here’s why some people didn’t win…

  • Many people changed the words in the script. That’s simply not allowed without prior permission. And there seemed to be no apparent justification, such as there being an obvious typo. The biggest culprit was reading, "we’ll show you how to make" when the script actually says, "we’ll show how to make." (In other words, many people added the word "you" to the script, probably inadvertently.)

  • Almost as bad, a bunch of people did not slate, and a further few people slated incorrectly. When competing with scores, even hundreds of other contenders, these errors are reason enough for an audition screener to push the “next!” button.

  • Apparently some people thought being a parent meant being overly emotional. At times it sounded as if this video were discussing how to deal with the death of a loved one. Voices were soft, even grave at times. Quite the contrary, the subject is newborn kids, and should even be joyful!

  • In any case, there’s no need to be overly theatrical. The better reads were those that came across as “natural.” And better still is natural enthusiasm. “Enthusiasm” and energy are, after all, entirely natural behavior when speaking. It’s overdoing it that becomes problematic.

  • Some people included some really weird pauses. We often mention choppiness as a trait to be avoided, but this week, the seas seemed exceptionally rough going.

  • Glottal stops (cutting off the breath by momentarily closing the throat before an initial vowel) also contribute to choppiness. At least one otherwise good performance suffered from too much of this. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Relax yourself, especially your throat and consciously avoid glottal stops. Just “talk” as if to a friend, without analyzing your performance as you speak. Before long, this fluidity will feel completely natural, and you’ll sound much smoother. While you’re at it, smile!

  • Slurriness is another common problem that manifested itself this week. Not sure why.

  • We also consider technical issues, such as popping, background buzzing and noticeable edits. Even when an edit is not itself discernible, they’re evident when different phrases are said at different speeds, or pitches, or with a vocally impossible transition. In an audition, editing is always cause for concern, because the client thinks, “If they can’t get through 10 seconds without patching it together, the actual job will take us forever!”

  • 1st place winner: rdoyle1978

    257 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear rdoyle1978's recording

    A great delivery – with a nice, warm natural-sounding smile. However, he goes too fast on "In the next", and he loses some steam toward the end. The audio is adversely affected by his voice rattling (echoing) off his music stand. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To prevent sound from being reflected off the music stand, cover the surface with a folded towel, or blanket, or piece of carpeting. Also, angle the surface so that your voice bounces away from the mic (consult your local billiards player). If that puts the stand at a steeper angle, the cloth will also help keep your page from sliding off. The Director’s Notes didn’t say whether to slate at the beginning or end, so his slating at the end didn’t count against him. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Except in certain situations, or unless directed otherwise, standard practice is to slate your name (only your name) before the script.<'p>

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by August 8, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    2nd place winner: Ceyacoach

    230 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Ceyacoach's recording

    A pleasantly voiced, clear read at a good, attention-retaining pace. The friendly smile in her voice is mixed with a touch of empathetic irony. But that ironic touch, where words are very delivered in staccato fashion, is overdone. Separating each word in a phrase such as “It might not”, “kids grow up”, “we’ll show how” and “every moment count” gives emphasis to the phrase. But doing it four times in 13 seconds turns legitimate emphasis into a repetitive gimmick. Talk about irony – she says her last name too quickly, and loses the “th” sound at the end. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Before the take, plan what phrases most need emphasis, and if they’re close together, emphasize them in different ways.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by August 8,14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Christine Cullingworth_Edge Script Parents.mp3

    3rd place winner: Ainjell

    195 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Ainjell's recording

    This is not the first time someone has mixed music or sound effects with their audition without being instructed to do so. But she won despite this extra effort. In fact, we had to overlook the fact that the music is too loud and not quite in the right style (it’s too emotional/heart-rending). Her voice has a pleasing tone to it, an audible smile, good enunciation, and good pace. But our concern is that the music could be covering up breaths, pops and maybe a click or rattling mic stand near the end. It also seems to have distracted her from including a slate, which was requested. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t add music or sound effects to an audition unless requested. Your choice of music might be nothing like what the producer would choose, or the way he/she would use it. And even if it’s a great choice, if you don’t do it expertly, it’s just something else for a reviewer to find fault with. Even more important, as in this case, the audition reviewer might wonder what you’ve covered up. Even if you’re not covering any fault intentionally, you may have covered some in any case. One function of the audition is to determine that you correctly use the mic, that you have a professional sense of breath control, that you don’t have a lot of edits, and that you have good diction. Music frustrates the audition team’s ability to evaluate these qualities in your performance. Lacking this confidence in you, they may move on.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by August 8, 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Voice Contest - So You're A Parent!.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, August 1 click below

    Contest ending Friday, July 25

    Contest Title:

    Financial Documentary

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for an Economics Channel documentary about the historic sale of one major firm to another. It’s serious stuff but hardly dry. In corporate terms, it’s a life-and-death story. The video for this segment is not yet known, but will probably be simulated cinéma vérité (sign on a door, backs of people in a hotel suite, etc.). Slate your name or username after the script.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    With the fatal deadline looming and both companies’ support teams standing by and holding, it remained for the CEOs to countenance hammering out a deal. And for them then to get out of the way.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Financial meltdown anyone? This script fragment is pretend, but its scenario is anything but fictitious. It could be a documentary about any number of major corporate mergers with riveting implications and nerve-wracking timelines. In a way, the voice artist’s role in this production couldn’t be easier – just tell the story and stay out of the way.

    Yet we chose three winners who did more than that. While some people read the script stone-cold seriously, others had a bit of warmth in their tone, or other comfortable quality. Documentaries are all about trusting the producer, and that means trusting the narrator. A touch of warmth helps create that identification between the voice and its listener.

    With “low-key” being the guiding directive as to style, that gives talent plenty of time to focus on the more technical aspects of their delivery. Such as enunciation and timing. Quite a few people stumbled over the awkward (but meaningful) phrase “for them then to … .” Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When met with a tongue-twister, don’t focus on the sounds. Focus on the meaning. If you’re actually thinking “for them then to get out of the way,” you’ll say it. It also helps to move your lips and tongue more deliberately (not so much “exaggerating” their movements, as completing them), but the change in mindset can make it all so much easier.

    Some people inserted long pauses, possibly to sound dramatic. Sometimes it does, but it can just as often make the read choppy, or cause problems for the producer who then may have to close them up. If space will need to be added in order for the voice script to stay abreast of the video (and assuming you don’t have the finished video or time specs in front of you), just leave clean breaks where the engineer can then add space.

    Some people sounded a bit forceful, even aggressive. Again, let the video and the events drive the drama.

    This week, we also heard some really bad audio, including hiss (more than acceptable for even just an audition), and audio that was either way too low or too loud.

    And this week also presented an unusual slating situation. The Director’s Notes said, “Slate your name or username after the script.” Apparently some people thought this meant that they should slate after reading the script title . Thus, they said the title, then their name, then read the script. It is unusual to slate after a script, but sometimes it is requested. And if the Director had meant “title,” it would have said “title.” Others disregarded the notes completely and slated just their name, as they normally would, which, considering the instruction, makes no sense at all.

    1st place winner: dstromberg

    242 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear dstromberg's recording

    We placed her first because, although she apparently misunderstood the slating instructions, she seems to have clearly understood the meaning in the script. She hit “CEOs” just right, to contrast it with the support teams. She hit “countenance,” which is a key action required of the CEOs, yet is the only action required of them. She therefore had just the right hint of irony in “get out of the way.” She treated “standing by and holding” as a unified phrase. (“Standing by” means essentially the same thing as “holding,” so it’s actually a bit redundant and there’s no need to focus on each word.) And she valued both words in the potentially troublesome combination “them then.” Yet, she didn’t push the delivery; she never overacted. One suggestion: her enunciation was very good, but she should pronounce the "t" in "countenance" for the sake of both clarity and tone.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 8/1/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Deb Stromberg-Financial Documentary.mp3

    2nd place winner: Marianna

    203 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Marianna's recording

    Her performance was also good, except that the first few words are too slow, and the words "countenance" and "hammering" are said too tightly together. (In this case, there should be some differentiation between them.) As with many entrants, she almost lost the L sound in “holding.” From a technical standpoint, the recording has a very hollow sound, which is not good.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 8/1/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Financial Documentary Mary Ann Jacobs.mp3

    3rd place winner: Mike Jacobs

    191 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Mike Jacobs's recording

    His was an interesting approach in its low-key, close-miked sound, and he valued the various key words nicely. But, although at least one other entry was even more reserved, this was just too quiet. The tone would be better for, oh, describing or advertising jewelry. His slate had more energy, so the intimate style might be fixable by the director. But there were other flaws not necessarily so easily corrected. When the first word of a phrase is small, he rushes the word – specifically the words "with,” “it” and “and.” If covered with music, no one would hear these. Listeners would also miss the L in “holding.”

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 8/1/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Mike Jacobs - Economics Channel Documentary Entry.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, July 25 click below

    Contest ending Friday, July 18

    Contest Title:

    Injecting Knowledge

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for an industrial video on using an injection molding machine. The audience is any factory worker who might be called upon to operate this tool. It’s possible that English is not their first language, so please enunciate, but don’t talk down. Slate your name (or username) and “Model PS-46.”

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    Fill the empty hopper with plastic beads. Be sure nothing else falls in. The light indicates all the machine’s parts are properly secured and it is ready to begin extrusion.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Every voice over genre involves acting to some extent. Acting is a matter of empathy. Not so easy to do sometimes. Like, if you’re supposed to portray a factory worker but you've never worked in a factory yourself. Even if you’re supposed to talk with a factory worker, this might be one of those times.

    Imagine your job is not in the “swinging, swirling world of show business” (thanks to a young Don Imus for that phrase), but simply to run the plastics extruder on an assembly line. Or Management wants everyone in the shop to understand the overall production process, for reasons of pride, or multitasking or whatever. As the Director’s Notes state, this script is from a video you’ll be asked to watch. Oh, joy, how to fill a hopper!

    It might seem hard to get too emotional about that. But it is somebody’s job, and it’s important to them. And, to everyone who works at the factory, it’s important that it be done right. There’s a right way and wrong ways to do it.

    So – at least to some extent – knowing how to do this job is a matter of pride. Pride, you can relate to.

    In many reads, we didn't hear that emotion, or any emotion. Over the course of a long video (that this script is supposedly excerpted from), some people this week would leave the viewer bored -- because they sounded bored themselves. They read in a monotone, or robotically, making it hard to concentrate on even this short passage.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Emotion happens in the moment, so from moment to moment a person’s emotion can change. For example, each sentence in this script carries a different thought. Your emotion should progress accordingly, however subtle the changes. That’s key to making a script like this interesting, and keeping your emotion ... or rather, emotions ... relevant to the listener and what you’re saying.

    A cousin to robotic reading is choppiness. Unnecessary, unnatural pauses tend to tire the listener, and suggest the talent is taking too mechanical an approach to the copy.

    In the case of this script, some of the pausing, slow pacing and over-enunciation might have resulted from the instruction to speak precisely enough to be easily understood by people for whom English is a second language. That’s good, but it’s possible to err too much on the side of such caution. Some people sounded almost like they were dumbing down their reads. Remember empathy. You’re talking to an adult factory worker who runs an expensive machine to earn money and run a household. This is not a video for kids.

    At the other extreme, some people had a forcefulness in their reads that made them seem a bit harsh. Whether that came from adopting a “managerial” tone or whatever, it’s an unnecessary addition. And some had an overly dramatic or “DJ” approach that just doesn't work.

    And some people went too fast.

    The right approach? Simply talk with the video’s viewer as you would talk with him or her while explaining the machine in person. In that situation, you’d speak naturally, be friendly, and probably smile from time to time, right?

    Another thing to remember with a voice over job like this is there will probably be some tech terms and critical instructions, so mistakes in the read can be especially problematic. Some people (even one of our winners) had such mistakes. They missed words, or contracted words when the script did not. Some of these errors would be functionally inconsequential, but that’s not for the talent to decide. And in an audition, they’re glaring, because some errors are not inconsequential. If the talent can’t get through 10 seconds without a mistake, that suggests they would have difficulty reading a long script correctly, or might require extra money and time for re-recording. Even worse, what if a mistake goes uncaught?

    Finally, there were some “technical” technical concerns, such as sibilance, excessive volume (going over 0 dB frequently), low volume (for example, never going louder than -10 dB), noticeable editing, overprocessing, bad process settings (for example, an over-aggressive gate), and hiss and/or background noise. In our contest we don’t give these factors overwhelming weight, but do consider them. Because the prospective client would.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When reviewing your recording, use an “honest” set of studio headphones. They’ll help you hear noises, bad edits, etc., that you might not hear from speakers in your studio surroundings.

    1st place winner: KentClark

    331 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear KentClark's recording

    A terrific read with appropriately slow pacing. Yet he made it interesting. He extended the slate with “This is ....” Some audition screeners find that annoying, others don’t mind it as long as it’s short. In any case, he quickly followed with his name, said confidently and in a positive manner. Also, after a beat he said the model name (as requested) without undue pausing or elaboration. (We might suggest cutting the pause to half a beat.) He lost energy at the very end of the script, sort of “shutting down” with a throaty, closed-mouth exhale – “extrusionhmmm.” (Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To help maintain energy right to the end of an audition excerpt, pretend the next sentence is there. In fact, you might even write a short phrase to follow, include it, then edit it out.) On the technical side, his recording had significant hiss, and repeated clicks which may be mechanical or digital. (They are not mouth clicks.) His volume level frequently exceeded 0 dB (that causes distortion), but unlike some other people’s recordings, his entire slate was at a good level (about -3 dB, which is perfect).

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/25/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Kent Clark - Injecting Knowledge.mp3

    2nd place winner: Scott Martin

    223 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Scott Martin's recording

    A terrific read, with appropriately slow pacing. A very mellow sound. In addition to being good for this training video, we can imagine him voicing one of the several industrial “how-to” programs on TV. But – and this is why he didn’t place First – he missed the word "it" in the phrase "and it is ready". Although his recording, too, frequently exceeds 0 dB, the opening syllable’s volume level in his slate is perfect (about -5 dB); the attack on some other people’s slates was so loud and abrupt that it blasted out.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/25/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scott Martin_MTN_RNC_Model PS-46 no 1.mp3

    3rd place winner: amyjoywarner

    212 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear amyjoywarner's recording

    A very good read, pleasantly voiced, and articulate without “talking down.” But we’d like to hear a tad more smile, warmth or interest in her voice. Her separating “S” and “46” in the product name is not a good idea. It’s important to show you can flow through names and terms that are even more technical, and surely the client’s sales team doesn't pause as she did. Her recording level, too, frequently set off our volume meter’s “distortion” light.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/25/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EDGE-PS-46.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, July 18 click below

    Contest ending Friday, July 11

    Contest Title:

    Independence Day Sale

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for a prototype Macy’s 10-second TV commercial. Do not exceed 10 seconds. 9.75 seconds is better. This is a hard sell, but please still sound friendly. Slate your name or username up front. Edits are allowed (e.g. breath reduction), but please do not use time compression and do not change the script.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    Macy’s savings are coming! Add them up, for summer fun! Selected items save an extra 15%. Clearance items, save even more. Monday only, at Macy’s!

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Just 10 seconds, but oh, what a challenge seemingly mundane spots like this can be. Especially when the chosen talent could wind up voicing the advertiser’s brand personality for years. Hypothetically, the client here was Macy’s, which would probably suggest a different personality than, say, a bargain warehouse or a string of car dealerships ... that is, although urgency and salesmanship are key, a sense of friendliness is also desirable. In addition, it would be great if the voice is also distinctive in some way. For the reason we’ve just described, a “crazy” approach would probably not be appropriate, and it might be too much to expect, say, a new Tom Bodett (one who doesn’t sound like Tom Bodett, because he’s been done). But this is a mere 10-second spot that will run just a few days at most, for a one-day sale. It HAS to stand out from the advertising clutter.

    Yes, accomplishing all that in 10 seconds is a challenge. Some people came pretty close. Various others fell short for various reasons.

    We didn’t notice anyone going over 10 seconds, but if they had, it would probably be an almost sure disqualification. Broadcasters don’t allow any leeway, so being able to read copy within the prescribed time is absolutely necessary. On the other hand, a large number of people were significantly under 10 seconds – sometimes just 9 and even almost 8 seconds. While an advertiser, if otherwise entirely pleased with the delivery, might welcome that as an opportunity to add another word or two to future copy, more likely the talent is shortchanging themselves. Use that extra second to make sure the audition team will be entirely pleased with your delivery.

    And if you’ve already dealt admirably with everything we mention here, use that extra second to be extra special. Depending on the script and client situation, you might stretch a word or two, or affect some distinctive, attention-getting or memorable mannerism, or just slow the delivery down a tad, so as to make it more friendly or whatever.

    Some people sounded completely different in their slate than they did with their read. This can be helpful or harmful. On the harmful side, it might cause one part or the other to be disappointing. A busy audition screener might press stop after a disappointing slate, never hearing your wonderful read. On the helpful side (less frequently the case), it can let the listener know you have other vocal options than the one used in your read.

    Another slating issue is when someone “mispronounces” his or her name by not enunciating (often by losing the ending consonant). Not to single anyone out here, we’ll pick an example at random: Is the talent’s last name “Harold” or “Harrel”?

    Some people did not slate at all. In general, when slating instructions are given, failure to heed them is taken as a lack of professionalism (either lack of training, or lack of attention, or inability to follow direction). In the case of this audition, a missing slate might be especially annoying to the audition screener, because they might be using that time to start or reset their stopwatch. Similarly, when slating instructions say to slate your name, that means only your name. Many people added other information, which can be equally annoying.

    Even more concerning is when someone omits or mis-states a word in the script, or adds words. Commercials for major advertisers are very carefully written to say exactly what needs to be said in the exactly the allotted time. Talent should never change the script without permission. Doing so in an audition suggests the talent might be prone to costing extra production time and/or causing embarrassment. (If you’re absolutely sure it’s a typo, the thing to do is inquire about it, or record it both ways and say “two takes” in your slate.)

    As many entrants demonstrated, it is possible to read this script in 10 seconds without slurring words. But some people did not enunciate well. In a 10-second commercial, every word must be clear. Although enunciation is always important in voice over, in some situations the visual or subject context helps makes meaning clear. This is not one of those situations.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To help keep from slurring, exaggerate your mouth and tongue movements to be sure you are forming your sounds fully. Listen back. Once you have this down, you may then want to reduce the exaggeration a bit. But probably not. It might feel exaggerated, but it will sound right.

    There were also various technical snafus, including poorly edited-out breaths. (While, physically, talent can read this entire script without a breath, by the end of it your voice quality will probably be changed, even if you aren’t straining. So one or two “micro breaths” might be called for, or a bigger one that you’ll edit out.)

    Many recordings had bad audio (e.g., buzzing, volume too low, background noise). Some people sounded as if they were on a speakerphone.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Although professional quality studio equipment and room conditions are not always needed for auditioning, it never hurts to sound technically as professional as you intend to be. It costs nothing more to use proper mic technique, pay attention to volume levels, and control reverberation with blankets or other materials you probably have around the house.

    So much for mechanical aspects of delivery. That’s just the start. Now let’s get to the art of it.

    It’s a sale commercial, and as we said, the commercial schedule and the sale itself are for a limited time. It’s also a fairly “ordinary” sale – the sort of pitch we’ve all heard many times before. The message needs to sound special, even if it isn’t. Which in turn means the talent needs to sound as if they believe this sale and its message is special. You need to have energy.

    But as we said above, this read is also an expression of brand personality. So, considering the client, you should also convey a sense of trustworthiness, friendliness, product quality, any or all of those attributes and more. Are these two characteristics compatible? Sure. We all know plenty of friendly people who sometimes get happily excited.

    Many people went too far in one of these directions, others not far enough. Some read the script too bouncy. Some sounded “happy,” but their happiness was not believable. Some of the reads were too forceful. Some were way too low-key for a one-day sale. In fact, some people sounded like they didn’t really care about it. And some had a false sort of energy, often described as “DJ-ish.”

    Some reads were disjointed. Unnatural pauses in a 10-second spot are both disconcerting and a waste of time. Similarly, some people hit (emphasized) the wrong words. Examples:

    * The most important words in this script are “Macy’s” (the client’s name is ALWAYS important), “savings,” and “Monday.” If listeners note only those, they have the message. But some people eased through the opening “Macy’s” and instead emphasized the word “coming.”

    * In the sentence “Add them up, for summer fun!” which half is more important? We’d argue it’s “add them up,” because that is unique to this sale, and it’s a reference to “savings.” “Summer fun” is a nice thought, but there’s nothing urgent about it. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When faced with a choice like this, it is actually possible to hit both phrases without sounding pushy. For example, the second phrase might be preceded with the slightest of pauses, or might be in a different pitch, or said at a different speed.

    * Another key word is “extra.” It sometimes got lost.

    * While it’s hard to say which word in the phrase “save even more” is most important, by saying the entire phrase quickly, you can effectively call attention to it as a single thought.

    * Some people misplaced the comma in the last sentence. It supposed to be “Monday only, at Macy’s!” Not “Monday, only at Macy’s!” The difference in meaning is significant.

    There were even a few reads that sounded very nice ... nice voice, clear delivery, mellow manner ... every bit a friendly, “professional voice over” sound. But absolutely nothing was hit.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Always analyze and mark up your copy, using symbols that you come to standardize on. With practice, heeding the symbols will become a virtually subconscious process, so you can focus on the words, saying them as if from your heart. (And do your markup in pencil, so you can easily adjust it if necessary.)

    Put it all together, and it’s a classic commercial voice situation, where you’re telling a friend about something you know -- something they don’t know but you think they should, and you’re really excited about this opportunity to clue them in. As a script, it’s challenging. But it’s achievable, and it’s not an unusual situation. In fact, outside the studio you probably do it every day.

    1st place winner: acer7b

    347 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear acer7b's recording

    Very nice. She's having fun and that shows. She sounds possibly too young to be the regular spokesperson, and a bit shrill, because she’s working too hard at being excited. Instead, she should let it come out naturally. (We especially like the nuance in the “at Macy’s” close. It sounds like a lifted eyebrow. And we note that she lost a bit of that energy in the closing sentence, which may have allowed it to be more natural, less hype. Keep the energy, but don’t force the hype.) Furthermore, that forced sound might be raising her pitch, adding to the young sound. But although her energy is not always consistent, on average it’s right in the pocket. And it works, considering that the teen market goes with “summer,” even if Mom does the shopping.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/18/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    2nd place winner: theoutlaw

    212 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear theoutlaw's recording

    Some reviewers would call this too “screamish,” but it’s not outside the limit. She’s in the same ballpark as acer7b. Yes, she’s a bit pushy. But, whoa! The last couple syllables were in a totally different, more mature ballpark. On the downside, that’s inconsistent and inconsistency is not good. But on the upside, we’d like to hear what she can do between these ranges, and (very important) she interpreted the script well, so she squeaked in.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/18/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    3rd place winner: Cheryl Cherise

    219 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Cheryl Cherise's recording

    She was in danger for lack of energy, but her friendly sound won out. Her delivery is consistent, and although it doesn’t exactly command attention, when you do pay attention, you hear her speaking in thoughts, not just words. She just needs more “salesmanship.” One thought we’d like to hear her hit better is “add them up.” As noted above, the second half of that sentence is more a reminder -- people already know that summer is fun. She at least confirms that.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/18/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/CherylCherise.Macy's.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, July 11 click below

    Contest ending Friday, June 27

    Contest Title:

    Making Father’s Day (Take #2)

    Director's Notes:

    IMPORTANT NOTE: We’re repeating this contest, because none of last week’s entries were of winning caliber. We encourage everyone to give it another go, and we invite new entrants to join in. For details and suggestions, please see the comments in Archived Contests. (Technically, you can re-submit your original entry if you want, but if any were of winning caliber already, we would say so. You’ll learn more and improve your chances if you try recording this script again.)

    This is a simulated audition for an audiobook of short stories. The scene is a father teaching his teenage child how to parallel park. The car is currently next to the car they will park behind, and there is someone in the back seat of that other car. Read this with a sense of amusement. No slate.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    The woman, sitting alone, tried to ignore us.

    “Now turn the wheel,” Father said.

    “Right?” I asked.

    “Right,” he said. “No, wrong! Left! Turn it left! Where’s your sense?”

    Father was adept with spacial relationships, not so much with ours.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Lots of people like to do audiobooks, and for good reason. It’s a satisfying accomplishment when you’ve done it right. But this week’s assignment, which was a continuation of last week’s, demonstrates that turning a work of fiction into an audiobook isn’t as easy as it might sometimes seem.

    Unlike a non-fiction work, which nevertheless requires the expression of emotion, a work of fiction requires genuine acting. Yet, as we explained last week, it requires the acting to be toned down. An audiobook is not a radio play. But the listener needs to know who is speaking – the narrator, or this character, or that character – without relying on the “he said, she said.” The acting was better this week, but still clearly the dialog bits are what everyone needs to work on.

    Pretty much everyone had the same problems that we discussed last week. For what those were, and solutions to them, we’ll refer you to last week’s article in the Archives.

    This week we didn’t hear as much amusement in the narrator’s tone. Maybe this was because last week’s discussion focused on the character’s lines, and the differentiation between them? Whatever the reason, the Director’s Notes instruction remains: “Read this with a sense of amusement.”

    In some cases, though, the narrator’s opening and closing lines were done well, even if the sense of humor was rather dry. But then the character’s lines in between were either unchanged, or overacted.

    Many of the reads were choppy. As was the case sometimes last week, it sounded more like a series of automated phone prompts, rather than telling a story. Sometimes the narration and the character’s lines were delivered at significantly different speeds; while this might have been an attempt at characterization, it also strained the listener’s concentration. This was true of even some of our winners. Reads were halting, disjointed, didn’t flow. In many cases, we got the impression that the talent was very consciously reading us the words, just so. But never actually talking to us, as someone would tell someone else a story from memory.

    1st place winner: JCDunnVOX

    271 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear JCDunnVOX's recording

    He did the best acting this week, and his recording is technically pretty good, too (although a tad too loud). But there is a ways to go. We suggest he simply have more fun while recording, he'd be even better. He hit the word “relationships.” We would have preferred hitting “special” which plays against “ours.”

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/04/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/JChristopherDunn-Audition_0.mp3

    2nd place winner: GabrielDunn

    214 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear GabrielDunn's recording

    Another passable acting job, but it’s a noisy recording. Worse, he gated the sound, and the resulting sudden silences make the noise even more evident. The noise fluctuation gets in the way of enjoying his delivery. He varied the pitch level between his character and Father’s voice, that’s good. He swallowed the word “spacial” a bit (“shpashorelationships”), that’s bad.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/04/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EdgeStudios-Script_Contest-Gabriel_Dunn.mp3

    3rd place winner: boxermom2000

    182 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear boxermom2000's recording

    Unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind is the recording’s reverberance. Far from the mic, in an empty room? It won’t do for a finished production, but maybe it’s that sitting-down-at-the-kitchen-table quality helped us feel like she was just talking to us, which is good. But past that, there’s not much emotional change through her read, and Father’s voice is not differentiated from that of the woman narrating. She kept a good pace, not pausing too much between roles, although there were a few odd hesitations in the second half. The clicks at the start and stop of the recording should also be removed.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 7/04/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, June 27 click below

    Contest ending Friday, June 20

    Contest Title:

    Making Father’s Day

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for an audiobook of short stories. The scene is a father teaching his teenage child how to parallel park. The car is currently next to the car they will park behind, and there is someone in the back seat of that other car. Read this with a sense of amusement. No slate.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    The woman, sitting alone, tried to ignore us.

    “Now turn the wheel,” Father said.

    “Right?” I asked.

    “Right,” he said. “No, wrong! Left! Turn it left! Where’s your sense?”

    Father was adept with spacial relationships, not so much with ours.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    We’re repeating this contest, because none of last week’s entries were of winning caliber. We encourage everyone to give it another go, and we invite new entrants to join in.

    Here are some tips that might help:

    • Many entries had a good foundation. They were pretty good as the Narrator, and if this script were a non-fiction audiobook, we might have chosen winners and moved on. The dialog was the problem. Usually when recording fiction, you stay in the narrator role, and when voicing the various characters, you change your voice or manner slightly for each. That way, the listener knows that it is a character who is speaking, without having to wait for “he said” which often comes afterward. Remember, the audiobook was originally written for reading off the paper, which has the benefits of quotation marks, paragraphing, and the reader being able to see the entire sentence at a glance – all of which make it clear that a character is speaking. The audiobook listener has none of these cues. It’s up to you to provide them ... without actually changing the author’s content. In some reads, when Father speaks, some narrators changed their voice barely or not at all. That’s something to work on. It didn’t help that they paused before “Father said,” so the reader was still in the dark as to who said “Now turn the wheel.” Being able to change quickly from the character’s voice and manner, back into the narrator’s voice, without pausing, is one of the qualities of a good audiobook voice actor.
    • On the other hand, some people overacted. Remember, an audiobook is not a stage or radio play. All you need to do is differentiate the character and suggest the character’s attitude, emotion, or feeling (whatever word you care to use.) Again, it was originally written to be read by a person off paper. On paper, the written word has NO emotion. It’s ink. The emotion is discernible from what the character’s and/or author’s actual words. So how much do you need to add in the way of emotion? Overtly, maybe just a smidge. Internally, more. Know what each emotion is. Think in terms of emotional progression or change (which we’ve discussed in more detail in previous contest reviews). It’s more important for the emotion to be real, than for it to be vocally “worn on your sleeve.” Again, this definitely calls for acting, but it’s more like an actor telling a story.
    • Also watch your production values. Many people, especially when voicing Father’s reaction to the wrong turn, got VERY loud. This can be problematic for a number of reasons. At the most basic, the recording process (especially digital recording) does not like volume levels that exceed 0 dB. Just as fundamental is that the human ear (especially if wearing headphones or with the speaker volume up high) does not like sudden increases in volume. It can actually be painful, either in terms of annoyance or distortion.
    • So what about Father’s response? First, bear in mind that it may be enough to suggest his emotion, not resort to actual shouting. Then, again, maybe (in the scope of the overall book) you know that Father is a “shouter,” so you feel obligated to convey that. In that case, lean or turn away from the mic as you raise your voice. Some people mitigated the issue (intentionally or not) by “swallowing” their shout. But that just sounds unreal. If you’re going to do the character full blown, then stay in that character. At the very least, check your volume levels before making the final file (or better, re-record if necessary), to be sure no parts are too quiet or too loud.
    • Incidentally, we wonder if the author meant to portray Father as being so angry as some people made him sound ... especially considering the Director’s Notes regarding “amusement” and the overall tone of the passage.
    • Don’t pause too much. We’ve already mentioned that people paused before “Father said.” Many reads were very disjointed because of “dramatic pauses” throughout their reads. The gaps made it hard for the listener to focus on the passage. It’s very short passage. Imagine how disconcerting such a halting style would be through an entire book.
    • Although the director’s notes say to read with a “sense of amusement,” don’t overdo it. Again, help the author’s words carry the humor. No perma-grins, don’t laugh artificially at your own joke, and don’t work too hard at the setup.
    • The last word (“ours”) was often a problem, because it could be heard as “hours.” (Once again, the listener does not have the advantage of seeing the printed page.) To prevent this confusion, we might suggest shading (very slightly) the word’s pronunciation to “arz” rather than “oww-erz.” The latter is usually preferred, but in this case the former could help. But a more important observation is that the misunderstanding is more likely when the line is delivered haltingly. A ... disjointed ... reading style ... encourages the listener’s mind ... to think ... ahead, ... finishing the thought before you’ve said it. Don’t rush the line, but don’t string it out. Let the listener hear your read as thoughts, not as individual words. That way the link between “spacial relationships” and “ours [our relationships]” flows naturally. (By the way, some people misread “spacial” as “special.” And speaking of flowing, when all the analysis is done, you’ve marked your copy, and you’re ready for your takes ... relax, be vocally free, and go with it. Telling stories is fun!

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, June 20 click below

    Contest ending Friday, June 13

    Contest Title:

    Akshara’s Remorse

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for a new superhero animated series. The producer hasn’t yet decided whether the hero will be a man or a woman. He or she has no superhuman powers, except for greatly enhanced senses of empathy and deductive reasoning. Think Deanna Troi combined with Sherlock Holmes. The character’s name is Akshara, but he or she is of no particular heritage. Please slate your name or username.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    AKSHARA:

    I’ve never killed anyone and I won’t start now. For one thing, it would make no sense. For another, it would really, really hurt. Me, I mean. I’d feel it.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    There tended to be two patterns in the way people characterized this superhero. Many people under-acted -- in fact, they didn’t seem to be acting at all, but rather reading the script as if storytelling. We can’t know if this resulted from lack of acting experience and training, or from a misunderstanding of the project. To be clear, this simulated audition is “for a new superhero animated series.” In other words, it’s a cartoon, not an audiobook or documentary narration. Each of these genres calls for a very different approach.

    And the other extreme, many people tended to ham it up, by which we mean they gave the character some sort of dark or brooding personality (a la Batman?), or a foreign accent (that in at least some cases was not their natural one), or spoke unusually haltingly, rather than making their character real.

    Okay, granted, Akshara (our superhero) is not real. As the Director’s Notes state, he/she has no particularly superhuman capabilities, but does have a superior deductive intellect and a heightened sense of empathy. But while those could make all the difference to the plot, does it mean the character must be vocally exaggerated?

    After all, NO fictitious character is real. Acting is the process of making the character seem real. That’s no less true with this one, and bringing it about is pretty much the same as it would be to portray a fictitious ordinary next-door neighbor. What was missing in most cases, even among our winners, was a sense of reality.

    How to get that? Add emotions. Note the plural -- ascribe a different emotion to each thought. (Our winners added emotion, but did not sufficiently change their emotion from thought to thought.)

    Emotion is all the more significant with this character, considering that he/she is especially empathetic (and apparently even somewhat empathic), but emotion is the key to the soul of any character in voice acting.

    Some people did find the groove between non-acting and over-acting, but in most cases they made it a very narrow one – using the same “song” for each phrase, with no change of emotion as the character’s thoughts progressed. An odd voice, while not necessary, might be appropriate. But above all, the team casting this character would need to hear the range of emotion and variety in speaking to give them confidence in the actor’s ability to sustain the character through the entire episode.

    Interpretations may vary, but here’s one analysis of the script to demonstrate how the character’s emotions would change. The words in parentheses describe what’s in our character’s mind, as the audience senses it, plus a one-word description of the character’s emotion at that point. Your choice of word might vary, even with the same thought in mind.)

    I’ve never killed anyone

    (A statement of fact, relatively low key. Proud.)

    and I won’t start now.

    (A personal reminder to self. Or maybe a firm statement to the listener. Adamant.)

    For one thing, it would make no sense.

    (Depending on the plot, this might be obvious. Be quick about it. Confident.)

    For another, it would really, really hurt.

    (People getting killed tend to hurt from it. Convey that. But see the next line first... Silly.)

    Me, I mean.

    (Oh, we see, it’s a bit of dark humor. So make this and the preceding line work together. It’s a matter of contrasts and timing. Instructive. )

    I’d feel it.

    (Remember, he/she senses the feelings of others. This is the classic kicker – the “third item” in a series. Suddenly, yes, the meaning has gotten dark. Milk the word “feel.” Introspective.)

    By ascribing a different emotion to each thought, it should be almost impossible to read each line the same way.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Acting is also reacting. As you deliver your lines, how is (are) the other character(s) reacting? Determining this will give you further clues as to your own character’s frame of mind and emotional progression. Who are the other characters? What is your character’s relationship with them? Where are you (your character’s turf, or theirs?) This might all be apparent in the other character’s lines, etc. But, as we see in this excerpt, quite a bit can happen while the other character says nothing.

    So, the point is that even though this is a short monolog, it is still a dialog. Some people sounded very introspective, as if they were delivering a soliloquy or a theatrical monologue. Both have their place. It’s probably not here. Granted, these could all be thoughts voiced out loud, as the character works out his/her feelings. But nothing in the script or direction suggested that. And given that it’s a cartoon superhero – and an audition – more action and variety is probably called for. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you seek the job, show them the qualities they seek.

    Some people sounded angry, as if embroiled in an argument. Again, maybe, and it has inherent energy. But a wider range of emotion would show the casting director more.

    What about the fake accents, the dark, somber tones, the lighthearted approaches, the occasional dramatic pause, etc.? Nothing in the Notes required them, but nothing ruled them out. Suffice it to say that any such affectations need to be consistent, and should be secondary concerns to the voice actor. First, nail the basics. And if you feel an absolute need to use a (hopefully very rare) dramatic pause, make it real, not just “dramatic.”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip:

    To help nail the basics, build your animated character one step at a time. Start with a flat read. Then add the various emotions. Then, whatever actions might be involved, including facial expressions. (Typically in cartoons and other animated productions, the character has a different facial movement and/or body gesture for every (or almost every) line ... the voice will appropriately change emotion to match. Or, the animation will be drawn to reflect the voice.) And only then, add the accent, or whatever other characteristics you want to play with. In addition to assuring a more robust, consistent characterization, it will give you a better sense of the effect, and maybe suggest additional options.

    And after all that, go back and listen. Have all these various additions degraded intelligibility? It is important to enunciate, in character and still sounding natural. Here are some examples of words that were problematic, and would be more so when music and sound effects are added:

    *"I've" -- too breathy . After mixing, it will be difficult to discern.

    *“And I won’t” – slurred, said as “An I won’t.”

    *“It would really” -- nearly impossible to discern, because it begins with lazy (closed) mouth ("nnn’it") and the “d” in “would” sounds like a “t.”

    *"Me, I mean" -- slurred together, could be heard as “May I mean?”

    Some technical snafus:

    • Some people did more than one take but did not mention in advance that they were doing this. In a busy casting office, it’s possible the screener has already clicked the “next” button before the first take is finished. And a second take should be included ONLY if it is equally good, and significantly different from the first.
    • Some people misread the script. The result made sense, so it’s not clear if they intended to do so. But such inventiveness won’t endear you to the writer. As we’ve demonstrated above: “It would really, really hurt me. I mean, I’d feel it” has a different meaning from “It would really, really hurt. Me, I mean. I’d feel it.”
    • One person didn’t slate, some extended their slate unnecessarily. Instructions were to slate talent’s name or username, and that’s it. When given a specific instruction, stick to that.
    • Some slated out of character, sometimes overdramatically, to boot. While this demonstrates that they are able to change their voice or personality, and also gives the casting person a “second option” (their natural voice), it sets up a confusing and sometimes unimpressive first impression. In some cases, the character voice was so different from their natural voice and produced in such a potentially painful way as to suggest it could not be sustained for an entire script.
    • Some audio levels were very low, making them almost inaudible without adjusting the volume. Some were a bit too high, especially annoying when the loudest point in the recording is the first syllable of their name and the start is tightly cut. Worst is when a soft one happened to precede a loud one. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Pay attention to your audio level when recording, and in the final file. If it’s so low that the listener must up their level, that won’t endear them to you if they forget to turn it back down and the next person comes blaring out!
    • At least one recording was empty. Well, at least that leaves lots of room for improvement.

    1st place winner: jpconn

    283 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear jpconn's recording

    He has a wonderful voice, and wonderfully expresses emotion with each line. However, there's not enough variety in his performance to hire him with confidence. Remember that the client is casting a voice actor for an entire series, and even the character’s gender hasn’t yet been determined. This is the voice actor’s golden opportunity to demonstrate ability to carry the character for an entire episode, week after week, and in this case, it’s also an opportunity to help shape the character creatively.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 6/20/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Akshara's Response C.mp3

    2nd place winner: peterhassinger

    189 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear peterhassinger's recording

    He has better variety than most. While some people drew out the speech too much, our Second Place winner could have slowed down. A little more attention to enunciation would also be helpful. For example, "for one thing" could be heard as "for wanting," especially when music and SFX are added. Similarly, the following phrase "it would" is slurred. But we wouldn’t want to lose the natural quality. The hesitation after "it would really" sounds very natural ... as does the stutter he adds before "I'd feel it." Nice touch!

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 6/20/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Hassinger Akshara's Remorse.mp3

    3rd place winner: terry66

    155 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear terry66's recording

    He has a good voice, and brings out an interesting dark sort of character. The character’s voice is not so extreme that he could not sustain it, and it’s very much a contrast with his pleasant “good guy” slate. (This is an example of where slating out of character tells the casting pro something good about the talent.) Our biggest reservation is his overuse of very long dramatic pauses. They’re too dramatic. Furthermore, they interfere with the listener’s focus on other aspects of his performance. Instead, we’d suggest choosing one place to pause (if he must), and instead adding more emotional variety. Also, his level was too low, which in a real audition situation could invite a potentially tired reviewer to simply move on to the next recording.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 6/20/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/TerrySpeck1.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, June 13 click below

    Contest ending Friday, June 6

    Contest Title:

    Scout's Honor

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for the narrator of a documentary film. The film follows the events as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts prepare for their town’s Memorial Day pageant. The audience of this cinema-verité production is young teens through adults. Do not read the “Video Sound”; pause only briefly there. There might be some noise under you in the mix, as the film shows people talking and moving about in the scene. Please slate your name or username.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    The flag is torn, the result of last year’s mishap. [Sound on video: “How did we forget that?”] Billy saves the day. His mother is a professional seamstress, and always keeps a sewing kit in the car.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    It’s among the biggest of genres. It’s among the smallest of genres. It’s “Narration.”

    The Narration field is wide and varied, that’s obvious. But in a sense, it’s also a relatively narrow field, because in narration often “less is more.”

    Unlike some other genres, where you’re more or less the “star” (or at least a co-star), in Narration the subject matter plays the lead role. The visual is the key player. So as a narrator, it’s important that you speak with energy, but equally important not to overact. Convey that you understand the significance of what you’re saying, incorporate subtle changes in emotion, but at the same time have a certain detachment. The story is worth telling, worth hearing and seeing. There’s no need to embellish overtly.

    This week, the line between excess energy and too much detachment was even a bit narrower, considering the subject matter -- a probably solemn Memorial Day context, but about kids.

    Some otherwise promising entrants didn’t hew that line. While some read in a monotone, with no emotion or energy at all, many people sounded theatrical, too polished, even slick. Some had a “newscaster” quality to them. (While that might seem appropriate to a documentary about Memorial Day, it’s not optimal for this, and not what casting people typically want.) Some entrants really dumbed down their read, sounding almost condescending. (Remember that the Director’s Notes indicated that the audience for this film is wide – teens through adults – and not little children.)

    What do we mean by “polished”? Certainly, you should be polished in the sense that you should master your craft. But by thinking about how you sound, by trying to sound cool, by inserting many “dramatic pauses,” by apparently focusing on how you say the words rather than what you’re saying ... by including all these affectations, it’s very easy to leave out the most important thing: a relaxed, natural, tension-free quality in your voice. Lack of tension wins out over drama and announcer-ness time after time.

    As directors will attest, someone who is habitually theatrical and slick in their delivery is less likely to be directable than someone who sounds naturally loose and appealing. If the latter type is a good voice actor they will be malleable, and the director can focus on subjective and creative preferences.

    The following matters come under the heading of “mastering the craft”:

    Many reads were very choppy. Some sounded as if the phrases were a series of computerized prompts. Some were choppy because of attempted drama (the “Captain Kirk” effect).

    Some reads were clearly edited together. In at least one case, it resulted in a double-breath. A casting pro will realize that’s an edit, and may wonder if you can read even such a short passage without error. Some less attentive listeners might think it was an unintended hesitation. Either is bad.

    Even among our winners, some people were sloppy. The word “professional” was particularly troublesome, in that some people stumbled through the “sh” sound, and some rushed it (“profeshn’l”).

    Another example of sloppiness is “lazy mouth.” That’s where the speaker starts vocalizing with the lips still closed. For example, the word into "Billy" sounds like "mmmBilly". (Of course, words starting with the letter “M” are exceptions.)

    A few forgot to slate, one person slated at the end, and a couple (including one of our winners) slated not as directed (e.g., by including a script title, too.)

    On the subject of slating, our First Place winner illustrates the importance of slating clearly. His name is Rick Hord. But if the listener isn’t looking at the list of names, he or she is likely to hear Rick’s name as another word often heard in our business: “record.” (Yes, this actually happened with one of our reviewers.)

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Whether your name is easily misunderstood or not, always slate it clearly and confidently. This may be your one chance to be heard by that casting pro, so be sure you leave a strong, favorable impression, making your name ring correctly in their ears. In cases where misunderstanding is likely, taking liberty with the slating direction might be justified. For example, Rick could say, "Record with Rick Hord!" Or "Hire Rick Hord to Record!"

    Here’s another example of the writer’s intention differing from what listeners might hear:

    “His mother always keeps a sewing kit in the car.”

    Unless the “T” in the word “kit” is clearly enunciated, listeners might hear that as “kid.” Especially considering that this film is about kids, so it’s a word the listener would (at least subconsciously) not be surprised to hear. By the time their mind realizes “Wait, that makes no sense,” the moment is gone and the listener is losing focus. With care and experience, a good audio writer can anticipate and write around many such booby traps. As talent, you may not always have time to spot them, so this is yet another reason why general clarity and enunciation is always important.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: You know what the script says, so you know what to listen for. Your listeners don’t have that advantage. So as you rehearse, give it a pass with your ear in the role of “listener.” As in the song, “Mairzy Doates,” almost any common words can be made almost unintelligible if read unthinkingly. Just do your “thinking” beforehand, so that your read will come out natural.

    Then there was the person who had the habit of breathing out through his nose, even after his slate. Not fun to listen to, especially when wearing headphones.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Control trailing breaths. Whether through your nose (which should be avoided altogether), or as a result of over-enunciation, they become distracting and could even be mistaken for laughter. This is apart from “normal” breaths, which should also be controlled and are typically reduced in volume or deleted altogether after recording.

    1st place winner: Keith Harris

    247 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Keith Harris's recording

    He has a pleasant, unaffected, conversational sound. In particular, there’s a nice and appropriate smile in his voice, most evident toward the end. He could stand to slow just a bit in the beginning ... or else give a smidge more space between the first two phrases. The "t" in “kit” is too clear. (Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you pronounce the "t" and it's too loud or too clear, lower its volume in post. ) There is a double break before “Billy saves the day” which is probably the result of an edit. In the slate, the recording is very sibilant on the "s" in "Harris." Since that’s a name he’ll be saying often, he should practice ways to soften that.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 6/13/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    2nd place winner: Chris Koprowski

    217 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Chris Koprowski's recording

    We love his tension-free delivery. Pacing is good. He left a major breath intact (after "day"), but we like the effect. The word "professional" is slurred, and as we’ve noted above, the phrase "sewing kit "sounds like "sewing kid." He also has a slight tendency toward lazy mouth. ("Billy" sounds a little like "mmmBilly.")

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 6/13/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scout'sHonor-ChrisKoprowski.mp3

    3rd place winner: Rick Hord

    189 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Rick Hord's recording

    A bit fast, but his tension-free delivery is nice. He got choppy at the end ("always keeps a sewing kit---in the car"). Regarding his slate, see our comments in the article above. The irony is that by unnecessarily adding the title, he increased the chance that the listener might hear “Rick Hord” as “Record.” He also should heed our warnings on the word “professional” and trailing breaths, above. Technically, the recording’s volume is not compressed enough, so some words are a bit too low, and room tone is apparent.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 6/13/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Scouts Honor_0.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, June 6 click below

    Contest ending Friday, May 30

    Contest Title:

    A Stitch in Time

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for an instructional video aimed at medical professionals. It is about alternatives to the suturing (stitching) of wounds. The video images will proceed rather quickly, as this is only the introduction. It not show everything you mention. We assume you will look up the pronunciation of any word(s) you are not familiar with. Before the script, please slate your name or username only.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    A topical medical-grade cyanoacrylate adhesive is indicated as an alternative or adjunct to sutures. Contraindications include the ocular region, and oozing or possibly contaminated wounds.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    On the job, physicians may speak to one another efficiently and without visible emotion.

    But medical practitioners are people, too, and an instructional video is not the Emergency Room. So what’s called for in this video script is a serious attitude, but mixed with a sense of calm and helpfulness.

    The key is in finding the correct middle path. If you’re lifeless or stern, you risk losing your listener. If you’re too emotional or flamboyant, you come off as unprofessional (medically, that is).

    There’s no need to overact. Things that ordinary people (including even you) don’t understand can perk the attention of a medical professional. And words and thoughts that ordinary people might find unusual or interesting are common medspeak to a medical practitioner, so special emphasis on them may be unnecessary or even odd to their ears.

    That is all paramount. And yet it is all secondary. The first concern, as in medicine itself, is to be accurate.

    A medical analogy might be this: First, you want your doctor to be totally competent. But you also really, really, really hope they also have a pleasant bedside manner.

    Some people were not accurate. Occasionally we heard “contradictions” rather than the correct word, “contraindications” (which means situations where the specified treatment is NOT to be used).

    Some people slurred words. This is often just the result of vocal laziness or lack of training, but we wonder if some people used it to cover possible mispronunciation.

    Many reads, including some of our winners, were choppy – more of them than usual. Here, too, we suspect this sometimes reflected a desire not to trip over the many complicated words.

    The formality of the subject matter may have been another cause of choppiness. Formality, for whatever reason, tends to breed glottal stops. (A “glottal stop” is when you momentarily constrict the throat before an initial vowel). In most cases and with most people, glottal stops are unintended. They’re also unnecessary, so they are a particular yellow flag in an audition, and VO pros should know how to avoid them. Done to excess, glottal stops tire the listener. Done on occasion, they make for a choppy delivery that (like other unnecessary pauses) interferes with the listener’s attention or understanding.

    At the extreme, some entries sounded as if they were just trying to get through the script one word at a time – their reads had no flow.

    At the other extreme were people who went too quickly. There are almost always entrants who need to slow down, but this week we wonder if some people speeded up intentionally, so as to show how well they can deliver hard-to-pronounce words. The irony is that, with practice, anyone can pronounce complicated words quickly. The professional voice actor says them at a normal pace, demonstrating the ability to take big words in stride.

    An even bigger issue is that choppiness or rushing can make the voice actor sound as if he or she doesn’t understand the copy. Choppiness can literally change the meaning, depending on where the pauses fall. Examples in this script were: “as an alternative or adjunct to sutures” (should not pause after “alternative”) and “the ocular region, and oozing or possibly contaminated wounds” (should not pause after “oozing”).

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Developing a personal copy-markup system and following it consistently is extremely helpful in reading copy as you had intended. Use whatever marks seem to work best for you, but here are some ways to indicate “read this as a phrase,” that you won’t confuse with an underline, parentheses or circle (which you might prefer to give other meanings):

    *Draw a long arrow over the phrase.

    *Draw a “ligature” over the phrase (as composers do in scores to slur from note to note)

    *Draw an incomplete loop around the phrase. (This has the advantage of being clear even through linebreaks.)

    Some people were simply boring, speaking in a monotone. Some people spiced it up by sounding broadcaster-ish. Professional-sounding is good. But in this case, not that profession.

    Fewer than half a dozen people forgot to slate. Considering the need for absolute accuracy and efficiency in this voice over genre, we would not be surprised to see a casting professional disqualify anyone who could not follow slating instructions. That includes the few who included the script title, when the Director’s Notes said “slate your name or username only.”

    And on another technical note, a word about editing. Some entries clearly contained edits. As we’ve noted in our comments on the winners, a bit of editing and/or processing can improve the impression made by an audition recording. But it’s vitally important for the post work to be done expertly. Edits should not be noticeable, and processing should not be overdone.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Where you must edit, such as when removing a breath, crossfading can help hide the transition. The technique for crossfading between segments varies depending on what audio editing software you use.

    In this genre, it’s also important not to accomplish correct pronunciation and phrasing by resorting to assembling a lot of separately recorded segments. For one thing, edits are likely to be apparent to the expert ear. And even more important, for everyone’s sake, is that you must be able to replicate any audition performance you submit (whatever the genre). Intensive editing can create an unnatural flow, and even if undetectable, it will take an inordinate amount of time, effort and expertise to do the entire job.

    It is much better to spend the time up-front, researching troublesome words and practicing phrases until they come fluidly. Over time, the process will become easier, you’ll avoid most mistakes in the first place, and you’ll be able to deliver on-time and profitably, without misrepresenting your performance ability.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: For our Weekly Script Recording Contest, we encourage everyone to enter even if the script or genre are not best suited to them. Whatever your VO specialty or ambitions, it’s helpful to explore new territory, and it might turn out to be surprisingly friendly territory for you. That said, if medical terminology is not your cup of tea, we strongly advise that you not submit to real auditions that involve heavy medical terminology. You’ll spend a lot of time researching word pronunciations and on getting through them. It’s not necessarily that you couldn’t do it. The problem is that, if awarded the job, you'll be in for trouble.

    1st place winner: evalowe

    307 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear evalowe's recording

    All terrific! A great voice, she’s articulate, and everything is well pronounced. She has just the right measure of variety in her presentation, and her voice shows no vocal tension ... except for some glottal stops. From a technical standpoint, her recording would sound much better if she had compressed the volume. For example, that would have made the third word "medical" sound more natural, because compressing would have eliminated the word’s sudden volume increase.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by June, 6 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Eva Lowe-Edge Studio Script Contest-A Stitch in Time-5:27:14.mp3

    2nd place winner: achoicevoice

    218 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear achoicevoice's recording

    Another great voice with the same good qualities as mentioned above! Except that it was too choppy. It would have sounded SO much better had she avoided the glottal stops and also edited out the breaths.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by June, 6 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/LindaScott_A Stitch in time.mp3

    3rd place winner: cncarlson4

    218 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear cncarlson4's recording

    Another good example for all the same reasons, plus he has the smoothest read of these three. And, for obvious reason, it was smart to include his title “Dr.” in his slate. In fact, he would have made first place except for one critical factor: He did not value his words sufficiently. Giving word-value helps the words and visuals work better together. Maybe he was thrown off by the Director’s Notes saying “images will proceed the Director’s Notes saying “images will proceed rather quickly ... [will] not show everything you mention.” That direction withstanding or not, as a separate issue, this is not the operating room; it’s important to convey the copy as thoughts, not just instruction.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: There is no way to read a producer’s mind, and audition instructions are not always a comprehensive description of the producer’s intentions or possible changes in plans. There might even be music. So it helps to show, through pacing and appropriate breaks, that you will give the producer the flexibility to match audio to video, whatever the possible options.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by June, 6 2014 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge contest_Nathan Carlson--normalized.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, May 30 click below

    Contest ending Friday, May 23

    Contest Title:

    Mother’s Day Table

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for an online flower retailer that sells fresh-cut and live flowers, vases, tools, etc. The retailer’s website has a number of videos. This one will be about flower arranging for a Mother’s Day dining table. This part of the video will show a person arranging tulips, with cuts between the steps to save time. The talent can be male or female. Please don’t add music; the producer has already chosen it to go under the voice. The person watching this video is probably new to flower selection and arranging, so make it fun, interesting and easy to follow. Slate your name or username.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    To make a dozen tulips look like many more put a grid of tape across the vase. Now space out the flowers for maximum impact!

    OR

    To make a dozen tulips look like many more, put a grid of tape across the vase. (short pause) Now, space out the flowers ... for maximum impact!

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    In an audition, your assignment is to stand out among all the contestants, with a read that is both appropriate and professional, yet somehow unusual and constructive. And to begin making that impression in even fewer words than contained in this week’s short flower-arranging script.

    In a way, by offering two versions of the script – one with the “pause” directions, one without – the client did everyone a favor: make your mark before that first pause!

    Ah, but the Director’s Notes ask for a “fun” read, and making the first part fun is an even more challenging challenge. The fun part of the script, if anything, is in the second half ... where the video shows someone spreading out the flowers and the viewer sees their “maximum impact!” Compare this action with the first part of the script, which shows someone placing tape across the top of the vase. Oh, joy, what excitement!

    We jest. But our winners demonstrate ways to accomplish this. Many people sounded dull and lifeless. They had no variety in their delivery, sounding more like they were narrating a serious history documentary. Except that even the most serious historical documentary needs variety of some sort.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When you first get a script, think about it overall, and relate it to the direction. What is the script’s key point? That will tell you volumes about what tone to take, what words to color, where to pause, and more. For example, in this script the key point is how to make a few flowers look like many flowers. What words (and what thoughts) are therefore most important, and what points give you an opportunity to be “fun and interesting” yet natural and unaffected?

    Fun leads to smiles, and this is one of those times when smiling while you read can have a happy effect on how you sound. That’s good. But some people were annoyingly friendly, as if they were reading with a huge smile the entire time. That’s unreal. Nobody smiles unceasingly. Don’t alternate with a frown or bored feeling, but do pick your spots and understand why you’re smiling. (What thought in the script is making you smile?) Then it becomes real, and all the more effective.

    Many people went at too quick a pace. In a how-to video, there needs to be time for the visual action to unfold, and for the viewer to take it in and understand what’s happening.

    Some people read the first sentence rather mechanically. It’s possible they didn’t really understand what the video will be showing. If you don’t have the benefit of a storyboard, video description or access to the client, sometimes it requires a bit of analysis. What is the function of a “grid of tape across the vase”? What does it look like? To the viewer, the video will make it immediately obvious, but if you think about the process you’re describing, it should soon be apparent: by putting each of the dozen tulips in a different “slot” in the grid, they will be spread out and look like many more.

    There was the old “vase” vs. “vaze” vs. “vahz” pronunciation issue. Which should you say? As always, we recommend looking it up and using the first pronunciation shown, which is the more often used or recommended. The choice is also a matter of tone. If the video is aimed at a more formal audience and you know that they tend to say “vahz,” consider going that way. But this video is aimed at a popular audience generally unfamiliar with flower-arranging. That suggests saying “vase” or “vaze.” The latter seems a good compromise. Ultimately it’s up to the director or client, and if you have a British accent (like our First Place winner), that also will affect your choice. Above all, be consistent.

    Watch out for words like “tulips.” Some people said “tulups,” including our Second Place winner.

    A simple name slate was requested, and if we remember correctly, everyone slated this time. That’s much better than in months (even years!) past. And it remains important. The slate, and whether or not you followed directions, is the first impression you make on the audition reviewer.

    Some recordings were sibilant (exaggerated “S” sounds). The natural amount of sibilance varies from person to person. It can be accentuated by a number of factors, including the room, the mic, and the amount and type of audio processing. If your mouth or system seems prone to excessive sibilance, learn how to minimize or compensate for it.

    Another technical issue was the audio level. Although it’s best to record at the correct volume in the first place, erring on the lower side is the lesser of two evils (some recordings were too loud, which causes unfixable distortion). If your recording is then much quieter than typical learn how to use your audio software to “normalize” it. Done correctly, that will bring the volume up to ... uh... normal.

    Some reads were too dramatic. This is flower-arranging, not a ghost story. Let the flowers supply the drama.

    Very many people hit “flowers.” We suspect there were two possible reasons for this. Some probably weren’t thinking about it much at all. Others might have figured, “the first part is about tape, the second is about flowers.” This is the first time the tulips appear in the vase, and might even be the first time they appear in the video.

    But wouldn’t “space out” be the more appropriate emphasis? The whole video is about flowers, the viewer can see them, and you’ve already said “tulips.” The key point in that sentence is that the flowers should be spread out. And, since that action on the screen is likely to take a bit of extra time, we suggest saying those two words a bit slowly (as if doing it in your mind) so your voice better matches the sense of the visual.

    Some reads were choppy. In some cases, this was an over-reaction to the second version’s punctuation and directions for pausing. People generally realized that both versions are actually the same script.

    In some cases, people had additional short pauses. Intentional or not, they were not necessary. Choppiness wears on the listener. If there is no punctuation and no need for a breath, and no change in the action, make your delivery smooth and relaxed. That’s one of the many things that will make you stand out from the amateurs.

    1st place winner: helen.mooregillon@gmail.com

    208 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear helen.mooregillon@gmail.com's recording

    She has a nice smile in her voice. It’s genuine. She heeded the comma in the first sentence, but ignored it in the second sentence. (In other words, she “combined” the two script versions.) While this is inconsistent, it’s not a major flaw and we have no fear that she couldn’t read it either way in the actual job. More important are other nuances, such as the nice way she slightly stretched the word “now” (which itself makes up for the missing comma pause there). We would have liked to hear a clean break before “for maximum impact” (at least, somewhere in that sentence). Although it can be argued that a pause would be choppy, it’s in one of the versions and would have signaled that she understands the producer’s editing needs. It might be that those last few words are meant for a closing shot.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/30/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    2nd place winner: rhondaduncan@att.net

    184 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear rhondaduncan@att.net's recording

    She followed the second version, except for leaving out the pause after “Now.” We like the way she read “space out the flowers” (and spaced out the words “space out”), sounding like she really understood what the video will be showing. Her studio is too reverberant for recording the final job, and her recording’s audio level is relatively low. In her slate, she added “This is.” Any divergence from direction invites a frown from super-sticklers, and costs the audition team time, but she did it so quickly and charmingly that it’s not much of an issue. More of an issue is her pronunciation of “tulips.” As we’ve noted above, usually the second syllable in this word passes so quickly that the vowel is barely even heard. But when pronounced slowly, as in her read, using the correct vowel sound becomes important.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/30/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/RhondaDuncan_Mother'sDayTable.mp3

    3rd place winner: Tom Fiske

    147 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Tom Fiske's recording

    A tad too slowly said, but otherwise good. We can almost see the final scene when he says “for maximum impact.” He emphasized “flowers,” which as we’ve noted might not be the best choice to hit, but he did it with such oomph that it actually sounds convincing. Sometimes a director can be favorably surprised. In fact, often. And that’s part of the goal. His studio, too, is a little reverberant, but okay for an audition if the final recording will be produced elsewhere.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/30/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, May 23 click below

    Contest ending Friday, May 16

    Contest Title:

    Outnumbered Victory

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for a computerized eLearning program aimed at high school students. The subject is the history of international relations between Mexico and the United States. The scripted question will have three answers for the student to choose from. (The answers will be shown in short video segments, so they are not in the script.) After the student selects an answer, the program will deliver one of three responses. As you see, these are included in the audition script. Leave a clean break between each answer, but to save our casting team’s time, make each break less than one second. Do NOT slate.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    Mexican-Americans first celebrated Cinco de Mayo to commemorate which battle?

    Correct! The Battle of Puebla.

    No, but try again.

    Sorry. But you get another chance.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Question: When is a voice over read not necessarily like a voice over read?

    Answer: When it’s an audition.

    This week’s contest is a case in point. Many of the entrants didn’t show the amount of range that an audition reviewer generally looks for. That’s always an important quality, but with such a short script, it might seem difficult or unnecessary to do.

    This eLearning script is especially short because most of it consists of three alternative answers, and the listener will probably hear only one. “Aha!” we can hear some of our more experience entrants saying, “So it’s like a computer-assembled telephone script, where everything should be very consistent, in order to be put together seamlessly.”

    Yes and no. Yes, because the three answers should be consistent in voice quality, overall pacing, and “personality,” as well as in volume level, mic placement and other technical aspects. But no, because each response is different, calling for different emotions. One response is for a correct answer, two are for incorrect. This gives you the opportunity (in fact, the need) to display some range.

    And more to the point of our riddle above – because this is an audition, this gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd. Many entrants conveyed the same emotion regardless of whether the student was right or wrong.

    If all the answers had called for the same emotion, and if it were the full script, you’d be able to show variety from one question/answer set to another.

    But again, this is an audition situation: the casting team might not listen to your full recording. So even if you have a longer script to play with, it’s still important to get your best stuff up-front.

    That’s assuming you’ve adopted the right persona in the first place. Considering that this eLearning project is aimed at high school students, it’s likely the casting professional is expecting to select someone who sounds like a high school teacher – a confident and knowledgeable adult and talking as if to adults, but friendly, not stern, and but not talking down as if to little kids. Instead, some people sounded like game show hosts, others sounded a bit stern (almost angry), some were way too dramatic, some were sing-song, some robotic.

    Instructions explicitly said not to slate. One person slated ... a verbose slate, at that.

    A note regarding pronunciation of “Puebla.” Virtually everyone got it right, saying “pwebla,” Some (English) dictionaries allow a second alternative, “poo-eb-la.” A few people gave it a bit of extra flourish, such as Pwayb-la. or Pooayb-la, or even Pweb-lahhh.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When a respected dictionary shows more than one acceptable pronunciation for the same use of the word, the first shown is the preferred or more frequently heard. Use that, unless there is clear reason for using the alternative. And unless you are fluent in your pronunciation of a non-English word, trust the dictionary’s judgment.

    Some people had a bit of difficulty with the word “battle,” pronouncing it somewhat like “batto”. In some cases, it was awkward in one instance, but they pronounced the L correctly in the other.

    Many people sped through the read, making it hard for the student to follow along.

    That’s not to say you should pause illogically. For example, the script’s question does not include a comma and is readable in a single breath, at a reasonable pace. Yet, many, many people paused after “Cinco de Mayo,” which introduces choppiness and potential confusion. (Subconscious brain to listener: “Is that the end of the sentence? Oh, wait, there’s more.”) The key thought is not that Mexican-Americans first celebrated Cinco de Mayo, but that it commemorated which battle. Get to it.

    Some people had barely a pause between answers. The Director’s Notes did say to make each break clean but “less than one second.” Maybe some people took this too literally. How long is a “clean break” in this situation? Well, a smidge less than one second, but longer than a break between sentences. Another way of looking at it is, to look at it. In the software’s voice display, the engineer should be able to see these breaks and easily select the segment between them.

    There were some serious technical deficiencies here and there. One of the recordings was “empty” – 0 seconds long. Most were lower in volume than optimal, but some were very low in volume (for example, averaging -30 dB and never louder than -22 dB).

    And even one of our winners committed a major faux pas – he submitted two takes without mentioning it at the outset, and (worse) they were virtually identical.

    In fact, his takes are so similar that we hope it wasn’t intentional (which would indicate lack of professional judgment). It’s likely he overselected the desired region at some point. We judged based solely on Take Two. Thing is ... at least one of our reviewers didn’t realize there was a second take, and in a real-life audition, that would be typical. In fact, in a real-life audition, many busy screeners might not finish listening to the first.

    EDGE STUDIO VOICE OVER TIP: As you might have learned in 7th Grade, after adding up a column of numbers, double-check -- is the result in the logical range? Same thing in delivering your VO work: Always listen to your final recording, checking it against the script. But double check -- if you recorded about 10 seconds of copy and your software indicates the final file is 20 seconds long, or zero seconds, something is wrong.

    1st place winner: Melo78

    241 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Melo78's recording

    A pleasant voice, pleasantly used. Her manner was natural, and she didn’t pause unnaturally as so many people did. However, her overall pace was too fast (a full second or two faster than many good reads), and we would have liked to hear a bit more smile in the “answer” lines. Otherwise, she was clear and articulate (without being overly so), and the recording was technically good. In our contest, we don’t attach so much importance to the technical aspects, but it might be instructive to note that, unlike many entries (which were recorded at too low a volume), the peak and average volume of this one were pretty much spot-on.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/23/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/MelinehKurdian_EdgeContest_Outnumbered_9174493240.mp3

    2nd place winner: arranh

    209 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear arranh's recording

    His rough voice would not always be a casting professional's first choice. But it actually fits quite nicely here. Sometimes the casting professional says, "Hmmm... we weren't thinking about a voice like his, but it works!" Not to overanalyze, but he sounds a bit like the actor Tony Danza (who is also a teacher), a bit like a Mexican singer, and an average friendly guy. (In judging our contest, we ignore voice types and base our selection mainly on performance, with a bit of attention to audio quality.) He has a good smile and easy manner in the answers. However, the first three phrases in the opening all sound alike, as if he’s reciting. Although the ending has more variety and is thus more natural, it’s not enough to assure a screener that he just needed to get warmed up. Otherwise, he might have made the top spot.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/23/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Arran Haynes_1.mp3

    3rd place winner: cobryon1

    182 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear cobryon1's recording

    His read is okay. We can hear his smile in the answers, but it comes and goes. A key issue is that he included two takes, as we mentioned in the article above. Take One would not have reached Third Place. It opened too fast, had an brief unnatural pause after “Americans,” the phrase “the Battle of Puebla” was slurpy, and the answers (although virtually identical in both takes) might be thought less varied. The first take’s overall volume is low (that’s a fault of many entries) except for the first two words, which are louder and thus sound like they were tacked on. We would not have judged on the basis of “merging” the two takes, but the second take was good enough in itself. It was smooth (he didn’t pause after “Mayo”), relaxed yet with energy, well paced, and had just enough variety in the answers.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/23/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/CrisOBryon_Edge_051014.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, May 16 click below

    Contest ending Friday, May 9

    Contest Title:

    History Program

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for a historical documentary that will air on basic cable. The producer needs a male or female narrator. This passage is about tactics used in World War I. There will be some silence where a pause is indicated, to allow for visual events to unfold on-screen. But to save the casting team’s time, pause only briefly there – a clean break is sufficient, one second at most.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    Germany’s mobile tactics were no longer working. [Break] With the French and Russians dug in, all the armies became largely immobile, until the introduction of tanks.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    In this documentary, the images tend to take more time than the words. So if there’s one bit of advice that will usually help the narration, it’s this: Slow .... down.

    Many newcomers to Narration speak so quickly that it would be difficult for the editor to sync audio with video, or it would at least would require extra work. Or, if the video were somehow to progress that quickly, it would be almost impossible for the viewer to take in what he or she is seeing, let alone hearing.

    The art is in maintaining a deliberate pace and pausing a suitable number of times in appropriate places, without sounding robotic or choppy.

    And all the while, the narrator must still maintain appropriate “energy,” -- sounding genuinely natural and conveying a sense of conviction, interest, understanding ... whatever you call it.

    A number of entrants didn’t hit that mark. They were either robotic, or choppy.

    In fact, even though there was an actual instruction to pause briefly at one point, some people barely paused at all. Did they forget, or did they figure “less than a second” can mean “way less”? The Director’s Notes could be interpreted two ways. Perhaps the producer simply wanted to be sure of a clean break at that point, enabling the engineer to add however much pause will be needed. But, from the reference to saving the casting team time, it’s more likely that – because an audition is not the final recording – the Director wants only a clean break to save time in reviewing what might be hundreds of auditions. So, why put the word “[Break]” in the audition script at all? Sometimes it’s already in the script, would be a hassle to remove, and it’s easier just to tell talent to ignore it. Sometimes the audition team wants to see how the talent responds to this direction. Whatever, in this case, any break less than clean, or lasting more than a second, was a no-no.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To get a good feel for the proper tempo in narration, record some of the many excellent narrators on TV. Record yourself as you speak along with them (and/or play them, then record yourself). Then listen back to yourself, and repeat, until you get it. Before long, the pace will feel natural. (Don’t try to emulate their voice, just their cadence. Your voice should be natural, vocally free, and is what makes you unique.)

    People pronounced the words “mobile” and/or “immobile” variously. First, since they’re essentially the same word, the “mobile” part should be pronounced the same. As we recall, everyone did that. But some used the British pronunciation: “mo-bīle” (with a long i). According to Dictionary.com, the only two standard American pronunciations are (we’ll spell phonetically) “mo-buhl” or “mo-beel.” We’d reserve the latter for dangling sculptures and Alabama seaports, so go with the first. A very old Merriam-Webster does give “mo-bīle” as a third option, but a newer edition does not. Perhaps in some geographic regions or in the military, this third option might be heard, but it’s not standard American English. Do you own a “mo-bīle” phone? “

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If you’re at all unsure about a word, ask the director or client. If you’re working alone, look it up in a source such as mentioned above. (Others include Howjsay.com and various specialized dictionaries, the online versions of which often have audio links demonstrating pronunciation.) Even if you’re unsure if you’re unsure about it, it’s so much easier and less embarrassing to check, rather than having to fix it later.

    These two words raise another issue. Often, a repeated word can be as disturbing to the ear as it to the eye sometimes in print. (To bring over a term from the art world, you might think of the two words setting up a distracting “vibration” between themselves. The writer might have avoided this rhetorical issue by substituting the word “stationary” for “immobile.” But he or she didn’t.) This situation is a cue for voice talent to consider the meaning and make a choice. Is the word repeated for effect? Is the repetition awkward? Does the second instance play off the first?

    With this script, it’s the last of these three situations. Arguably the voice artist should hit the first syllable of “immobile,” to contrast it with the previous word “mobile.” But we say “arguably” because it happens that in this script the two words are pretty far apart, separated even further by the indicated “break.” So vibration isn’t a factor, and the effect of this word play is lessened.

    Nevertheless, this is an audition. And in an audition, it helps to display that you’re thinking, that you’ll come through with something that’s both constructive and different. Most people didn’t contrast the two words. Extra points to people who chose to hit that first syllable and did it well.

    Some recordings were technically wanting. In particular, we sometimes heard too much sibilance.

    Some entrants, mostly females, read with a slight smile to their voice. It’s often good to have a smile. It make sense if narrating a program about kids, flowers or any number of things. Not so much when the subject is war.

    Some read the script in a conversational tone, too casual. Again, this subject calls for more gravity. And narrations in general call for an air of confidence or authority.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: What constitutes “confidence” and “authority” in narration? It’s not being brash or bullish, not like a police detective demanding entry, a drill sergeant or a boss giving orders. It is a calm, knowing state of mind. A “quiet” sort of confidence that a friend or wise uncle might convey while telling you something you want to learn and don’t yet know.

    Some people went theatrical, with exaggerated pauses, extra inflection and so on. Sometimes it sounded like speaking to youngsters. Sometimes it carried a sense of “awe” more appropriate to bees doing a waggle dance than to the introduction of tanks in warfare (not such an unusual scene to adults these days). Sometimes it sounded more like a promo. Sometimes it was just unnatural.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In a script like this, low-key is the way to go. Simply go slow, speak clearly and accurately with a loose, free voice, understand what you’re saying, and maintain the energy.

    Let the images carry the “theater.”

    1st place winner: banciaux

    459 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear banciaux's recording

    A good read, tension-free, with good emphases. The hesitation before "introduction" was probably intentional, and we like it. Besides, if we didn’t, his read gives us confidence that he could go without it. The recording’s technical quality is also good.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/16/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Anciaux_Edge_050614.mp3

    2nd place winner: Brian C. Topping

    213 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Brian C. Topping's recording

    Another good read.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/16/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/History Program Brian C Topping May 6 2014.mp3

    3rd place winner: KentClark

    258 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear KentClark's recording

    Good, free-flowing read. Good technical quality, too. It’s a good enough job that he squeaked into Third Place despite a major flaw: He said “tanks” instead of “tactics.” We assume it was just inadvertent, maybe the result of over-rehearsing. But it raises all kinds of uncertainty in a casting pro. While such an error is easily corrected if somebody notices immediately, it’s extra work if unnoticed till later. And what if nobody catches it at all? Or what if the deadline is too tight for re-recording? Is he prone to such oversights? What if the job requires him to deliver a finished product? Another concern is that his failure to catch it means he’s not fully aware of what he’s saying. At the least, he did not check his work against the script.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/16/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Kent Clark - History Program.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, May 9 click below

    Contest ending Friday, May 2

    Contest Title:

    Corporate Welcome

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for a corporate (or industrial) video. The client is the mythical conglomerate called Excellent Yellow Zebra Industries, which is replacing all their orientation and instructional videos. This script is from the one that introduces new hires to the company. The visuals will be scenes from a “walk around” through their offices and production facilities. Be friendly yet proud and confident. Above all, be genuine.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    All of our products include customer service. Everyone at ExYZ is responsible for delivering excellent service, whether before or after the sale.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    There wasn’t a lot of variety among the reads this week. Many people took a very safe, predictable approach, and the result was boring. That’s not usually the optimal way to win an audition. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Adding variety can often help you stand apart from your competitors and win the audition ... that is, as long as you stay within the boundaries of the directive. It’s a little like people who go to a carpet store thinking “black, white or purple,” but wind up buying beige. Find a way to sound brilliant! Those carpet shoppers’ interest was not piqued by seeing beige carpet in the brochure.

    Some people this week got all announcery, pompous or formal. It was not as if they were standing right next to us, talking face to face. Or, often a better way to think of it is, “talking in the listener’s ear.” (Nothing necessarily romantic suggested in this; it’s just a way to envision yourself being close-up and personal.)

    The proper frame of mind and tone of voice for this sort of corporate/industrial presentation is the same as if you were walking with the viewer in person. In the old days, when a new employee was hired, his or her boss might walk the new hire through the factory, explaining the various manufacturing processes, company policies, etc. This personal tour also helped instill a sense of pride and respect for the company. This is that.

    Many people went too quickly. Although this is probably not a “real time” walking tour of the company, the listener does need time to absorb your copy points and view the visuals.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: When portraying a boss – that is, a person in authority speaking to an underling -- don’t talk down, but also do not rush. A boss doesn’t waste time, but doesn’t need to speed super quickly for fear of losing his or her listener’s attention. The underling is paid to listen. In a video such as this, a normal adult conversational pace is fine.

    There were some noticeable edits, which in some cases made reads choppy. Some edits even resulted in distorted words.

    For this and other reasons, choppiness abounded.

    MANY people paused after the word “before.” While this may seem natural, it can subconsciously confuse the listener.

    The sense of the last clause is:

    “whether before the sale or after the sale.”

    But the listener doesn’t know that beforehand. Consider the effect if the pause is too long, as if there had been a period there:

    “... service, whether before. Or after the sale.”

    That makes no sense. Beforewhat? The listener has no script to provide a tipoff. Maybe that’s why there is not even a comma after the word “before.”

    If the copywriter had been more careful about writing for audio, he or she might have done you a greater favor by writing it this way:

    “... service, whether before the sale, or after.”

    In that case, it would be tempting to pause after “sale” even if no comma there. In fact, it would be appropriate, even dramatically effective. But that’s not what’s on the page, and you must stick with the script. Sometimes in a script, you can pause where there is no punctuation. This is not one of those times.

    And if you absolutely cannot resist the urge to pause after “before,” consider this: It might then make sense also to pause after “after.”

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t drive yourself crazy by overanalyzing a script, but do think about what the listener will hear. If the script is not written optimally, don’t change the script without permission, but anticipate and do what you can to help the listener understand its meaning on the first hearing.

    The company name gave quite a few people a hard time. Presumably the employee already knows the name, so stressing it is not so necessary as in, say, a commercial. But pronouncing the company’s name correctly is essential. Some pronounced it “ex-why-zee,” others said “ee-ex-why-zee,” and still others said “Excellent Yellow Zebra.”

    If you can’t ask the client or check other authoritative sources (e.g., an authorized video or commercial), how do you guess correctly at the pronunciation? Here’s an example of the process: Consider the long form of its name: “Excellent Yellow Zebra” – that’s a pretty obvious play on “XYZ,” no? So that’s probably how they say “ExYZ.” Another indicator is the capitalization. It’s not “eXYZ,” where the “e” might logically stand for “electronic.” It’s “ExYZ,” and we know the “E” stands for “Excellent,” which starts with an “X” sound.

    In any case, there is NO way the talent should replace “ExYZ” with the words “Excellent Yellow Zebra.” Scripts are scripts, not shorthand.

    Speaking of emphasis, we were expecting more people to hit the word “everyone,” even at the expense of hitting “ExYZ.” To expand on what we mentioned above, this is a case where the client name is not necessarily the most important word in the sentence. This script is not selling the company (in fact, the employee is already hired). It is selling the message. And the key message in this sentence is that “everyone” is responsible for excellence. Or, an argument could also be made for hitting “responsible” instead.

    Many people paused too often. Some, including some of our finalists, had a lot of glottal stops. (A glottal stop is a constriction of the throat before an initial vowel, causing a unintentional momentary pause.) We’re not keeping statistics on this, but it seems in this week’s contest we heard more glottal stops than usual. Maybe it’s a subconscious response to the subject matter’s supposed formality? In any case, avoid falling into this habit. Glottal stops sound choppy and their cumulative effect can be to annoy and/or tire the listener.

    A number of recordings suffered from sibilance – overly bright “S” sounds.

    Another technical issue was volume. Some people’s recording levels were set too low, requiring us to turn up the volume at our end. (That can be especially annoying if we forget to lower it again before the next recording.) Another was recorded at too high a volume, resulting in sharp audio distortion that will remain in the recording even if played or transferred at a lower volume later.

    1st place winner: Scott Martin

    121 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Scott Martin's recording

    A nice, professional, corporate delivery. At times he goes too fast. This (a) causes him to slur some words, such as the word everyone, and (b) causes slight, odd, inconsistent tempo fluctuations. However, he properly hit the word “everyone.” Like so many others, he paused after “before” but not after “after.” Otherwise, a very nice read.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/9/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    2nd place winner: ZachVO

    252 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear ZachVO's recording

    Breaths are loud, but otherwise it's a very good read. Good emotion, good tempo, clear, good recording quality as well. He has more “energy” than some entrants, and energy is good if it’s legitimate – if ExYZ Industries is a hip tech company, he’d be a logical choice. Only one slight thing that we would change: the glottal stops such as before “excellent” and “after.” But, unlike many people, he attacked “everyone” smoothly, and although he didn’t quite stress that word, he bundled it with the company name that follows, so that the emphasis was on “Everyone at ExYZ” -- which is effectively the same meaning. There’s a grainy whirring noise throughout, which might be the computer fan. It can be heard right after the slate, but is also present while he is speaking.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/9/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge VO Contest 4-29-14.mp3

    3rd place winner: Lologiron

    97 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Lologiron's recording

    A mostly smooth delivery, with just one or two hesitations (one of which is glottal). Her pace was a little too fast at times. She rushed “responsible,” missing the third syllable (the “ih” sound). But she captured the emotion we seek. The audio volume is significantly lower than typical, at least -10 dB quieter than optimal Also, there’s a hollow sound to the audio, as if using the wrong side of the mic, or working too far away from the mic in a live room.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/9/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, May 2 click below

    Contest ending Friday, April 25

    Contest Title:

    Egg in Your Face

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for a TV commercial about chocolate Easter eggs. The client is seeking a man or woman to voice over the visual action. The visual will be someone breaking open a chocolate egg ( as someone would crack a chicken egg to fry it), revealing a cream filling. Please pronounce the word “creme” as you would say “cream,” not as the French would say it (“krehm”).

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    What happens when you break open Cadbury Chocolate Creme Eggs? A mouthful of flavor! This Easter, be sure to put them in more than one basket!

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Talking with your mouth full is not polite. Mainly it’s not nice to look at, but it can also be obnoxious to listen to. And it makes a person hard to understand.

    So that’s why some people didn’t win.

    In voice acting, there are of course exceptions. For example, there’s currently a commercial running with a dog talking while chowing down. But it might be instructive that – it’s a dog.

    When you’re selling people food, and the goal is to make it appetizing, and it’s not inherently funny, we highly recommend not talking with your mouth full unless so directed. At least, not in the one shot you get at an audition situation.

    There are better ways to stand out and make yourself uniquely interesting to the casting crew.

    Sometimes the better way is just to be as relaxed, at-ease and natural as you can, paired with the kind of enthusiasm that people admire.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Don’t overact. In a commercial, as in comedy, the effect is in the words. The more naturally you deliver them, the more “free” and comfortable your voice, the more believable you are. And in the case of comedy, that credibility makes the words’ irony all the more ironic.

    The tricky part is that you nevertheless need to retain the other qualities that make for effective voice over. These include clarity ... enunciation. (A person can be “natural” without being sloppy, and for that matter, without being overly formal.)

    This is why some people did not sound professional. They were either trying too hard to sound polished, or were not polished enough.

    Another ingredient, as we’ve mentioned, is energy. “Energy” manifests itself in many ways. In this script, don’t take it over the top. But do avoid the monotone that some people fell into.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Always mark up your script. Which words are most important to the point it is making? What words would change the meaning if not emphasized (or if another word is emphasized)? What phrase is the most important of all? And use a pencil, so that you can change your mark if the Director gives some other instruction.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip, Part Two: In a commercial, always find a way to “hit” the product name (“Cadbury”) at least once, and especially if it appears only once in the script. This doesn’t mean to go all “announcery” on it. The client’s name should be as natural as the rest of your delivery. But you could stress it, elongate it, go up or down in pitch, smile more broadly, change your voice quality, or emphasize it in even another way. Above all, be absolutely certain it will not be misunderstood or get lost.

    It’s important to realize that “energy” doesn’t mean loudness. For the sake of the recording quality, you shouldn’t change your volume. For variety, use pitch and tempo and voice placement, as well. And above all, think of “energy” in terms of emotion. Remember how you felt when you got the gig? That’s energy.

    Energy is also effective when it builds. This script builds in three steps. First there’s the question. (Hook the viewer, but relatively low-key.) Then there’s the flavor. (“Flavor” being the key word.) And finally, the little joke about not putting one’s eggs in one basket. It is a little joke, to be sure, so don’t play for guffaws. But, unlike some commercials, it’s not just a feel-good moment or gratuitous humor in the name of goodwill or memorability. It’s also a selling point – to get the product into MORE than one basket. (In other words, you’re encouraging the listener to give Cadbury every chance they get!)

    Which brings us back to the issue of talking with food in your mouth. Some people apparently thought of this as an on-camera appearance – as if the narrator himself or herself is eating the egg. Nothing in the script or Director’s Notes suggests that. Did people overlook the fact that this is a TV commercial? It’s very likely that the narrator is just that – a narrator. Someone else is tasting the egg, or (since watching someone eat is not always appealing) maybe the visual is just a close-up of the rich, flavorful filling.

    However, regardless of the scenario, it goes without saying that the voice over talent should sound excited about the prospect of tasting it. And, as noted above, you should up the energy at that point. Unfortunately, some people ended at the same emotional level as when they started.

    Whatever the visual, presumably the voice over needs to sync with it. When possible, ask what the visual will be. If you cannot, conjure up a mental image of it. In this case, it’s a good bet that in this commercial, someone will be breaking open an egg to show the crème (and flavor) inside. Many didn’t pause at this point. It needn’t be long, but it does need to be a clean break, in case the producer needs to add some time.

    Some people had inherently interesting voice qualities, but slurred their words and/or they lost energy towards the end. Others had good ideas, but overthought them while speaking, or aspects of their delivery were sloppy -- for example, inappropriate hesitation or “lazy mouth” (undesired vocalization before speaking).

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: The time to “overthink” is before you perform, and then mark your script accordingly. Whatever system of marks you adopt or devise, use it consistently. Then, once you’re comfortable with it, your marks will become easy to interpret and follow, as easily as other people follow words and punctuation. That leaves you free to think “in character” – rather than listening to yourself and thinking about your delivery, you’ll be truly acting.

    There was some really bad audio, including quite a few entries with echoes. Sometimes, if the job will be recorded at the producer’s location, you can land the job if your performance is excellent and your home studio is of at least “audition quality.” But if the quality is really poor, it can interfere with hearing the nuances of your performance. Or there’s so much echo or reverberation that the casting team thinks it might be masking a performance fault, the casting people will probably move on to a surer bet.

    Some of the women switched inexplicably between sexy and not sexy. Although sexiness is not called for in this script or direction, it’s an interesting option. But their sexy tone was not consistent. That could be funny, if delivered well. (For instance, suddenly switching to sultry on “A mouthful of flavor!”) But, in these cases, the effect of the possibly unintended vacillation just confused the character or sounded indecisive.

    Which brings us back to the mouthful of food thing – remember that sexy dinner scene in the movie Tom Jones? Next time you have a chance to watch it, notice that it rarely shows Tom and his lady actually eating. It’s more about the picking-apart action and their expression.

    Same with the voice over in this commercial.

    1st place winner: Michael Rhys

    309 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Michael Rhys's recording

    Nice. He has the kind of emotional change we’ve mentioned above. The read catches the listener and engages. In fact, on first hearing, some of his emotional changes catch the listener off-guard. This is good, because it keeps the listener engaged. But the read is a hair fast at the beginning (or in the Easter Bunny theme, shall we say a “hare” fast?), and he doesn’t hit "Cadbury" strongly enough. Notice how he manages to hit both “more” and “one” almost next to each other without sounding artificial; he did it by used different emphasis techniques – first a pause before and high pitch, then a little bit of volume and slightly stretching the N sound in “one.” It’s another example of “pivot.”

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/2/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Michael Rhys - Cadbury.mp3

    2nd place winner: Debby Barnes

    218 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Debby Barnes's recording

    A fine, consistent read, with a nice smile. But we’d want more emotional change. The idea of “more” would be one possible thought on which to base further emotional development.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/2/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    3rd place winner: mary_mccready

    236 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear mary_mccready's recording

    Another nicely smiling voice with some emotional changes. She shows yet another example of pivoting on “more than one,” but the word “basket” is not fully clear (the b is missing) and loses the excitement. Her voicing of “Easter” exemplifies what we mean by "lazy mouth,” or in this case, more of a lazy throat. The constriction makes it sounds like “N-this Easter." She, too, should emphasize "Cadbury," and her read was a bit fast throughout.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 5/2/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Egg in your face.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, April 25 click below

    Contest ending Friday, April 18

    Contest Title:

    Animated Ooops!

    Director's Notes:

    This is a simulated audition for the voice of a cartoon character named “Spring Chicken.” He or she (the character’s gender is not yet decided) can’t fly, but is forever trying to spring into the air. (Hence the character’s name.) In this scene, Spring intentionally runs toward the edge of a cliff, stumbles and gyrates before reaching it, then goes over. The client needs a distinctive voice and a series of vocalizations that correspond with the action described in the script. We leave the nature of Spring’s voice and vocalizations to you. They might be a combination of grunts, groans, shouts, breaths, words, or whatever you choose. Only two limitations: (A) The scene (and your recording) must be no longer than 10 seconds. (B) Do not include recorded sound effects.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    Spring Chicken: “Gravity is a powerful motivator.”

    (Runs)

    (Trips over a log, falling on face)

    (Gets up, woozy)

    Spring Chicken: Here goes...

    (Resumes running, flapping wings)

    (Goes over the edge and fades)

    Spring Chicken: ... N-o-t-h-ing!

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    Animation is easy, and it’s not.

    It’s easy because you are often totally in charge of what you choose to sound like. When a company auditions talent for an animation role, the producer and director often don’t even know what they’re looking for. They’re expecting talent to come up with something fresh. Appropriate, and fresh -- a character they haven’t heard before.

    But it’s also not so easy, because you have to stay in character, often while coordinating rapidly changing actions, emotions, or (if you’re doing more than one voice) multiple characters, maybe even in “real time.” This little script is an example, where talent had to run, trip, shake it off, run again, jump and fall off a cliff -- all while seamlessly delivering the three lines, and within the specified 10 seconds. Sometimes, if it’s a dubbing situation (Automatic Dialog Replacement), you may also be matching lip-flap, and who knows what else.

    The key to all that is Visualization and Preparation. Apparently some people this week skimped on one, the other, or both.

    Some people’s vocalizations were really good, but most people made no apparent attempt to sound like a chicken. A high or scratchy voice is a start, but that’s just a start. What makes it a chicken? We were pleased when the vocalizations including clucking, “whirring” (or maybe we should call it, “chicken mumbling”?) and such. And, before going further, let’s correct ourselves – people shouldn’t try to sound like a chicken, they should BE a chicken.

    In the “who knows what else” category of things to remember, one is of course “reading the script”! Some people left out a line or changed it. In animation, you can take a lot of liberties, and are even expected to. But usually that is not one of them. Certainly not in an audition. Some other people, although they included all the lines, pushed everything together, making it hard to distinguish one action from another.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Visualizing and Preparation will help with this aspect, too. For example, running and tripping over the log are two distinct actions. Visualize both, and plan what you will do in the way of body language (or in this case, body motions) to replicate those actions as you perform.

    The only two things you can’t do are (1) move your feet or stomp them, and (2) hit the mic. Otherwise, virtually anything goes. If you’re a chicken, put your hands under your armpits and flap your elbows, or flap your arms some other way, shake your crown or wattle (or is that just turkeys?), move your knees as if you’re scratching the ground, move your head back and forth a little. WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. You should also maintain your mic distance, but it’s okay to move the mic (beforehand) so that you will maintain a consistent relative position. (In other words, if you’ll stoop, move the mic lower.) Then visualize yourself (the character) doing the action, and react to your action accordingly.

    With practice and planning, it can be done. Edge Studio animation workshop students have heard coach Jay Snyder do it with ease. (Or so he makes it seem.)

    A few people were not comfortable with doing this, and it showed in their voice. To them, we say, hooray for giving it a shot! The number of entrants was down a bit this week. Maybe they were just doing their taxes, but we suspect this challenge was outside some people’s comfort zone. How to become comfortable with Animation? Don’t be afraid to be silly. Don’t be afraid to look silly. Fully engage with the character and let yourself go!

    Some people sounded good in their lines, but their “actions” were not so good, or vice versa. We say “actions” rather than “sound effects,” because the talent should leave sound effects to the producer and engineer. That’s why the Director’s Notes said not to add recorded sound effects. But some people simulated the sound of feet on the ground or flapping wings by using their mouths. That’s not really appropriate, either. But it IS appropriate to add “vocalizations” that the actual character would make. As per the examples in the Notes and heard in some entries, these might include vocalizations like, grunts, groans, shouts, breaths, panting, “oofs,” “waaah,” and so on. These vocalizations would also include having shaky voice (e.g., because you’re running or flapping wings), shaking off the wooziness, etc.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To effect a voice that is shaky because you are running or flapping, don’t just jitter your vocal cords. Actually flap your arms, or rapidly massage your throat, or (silently) rub your chest. These actions will be revealed in your voice, more realistically than if you just tried to “say” them.

    Many people did not slate, some did. The Director’s Notes gave no slating instruction. As usual, when not instructed otherwise, we advise preceding your read with your name. Usually you should slate “in character,” but when doing a character that is radically different from your own voice, you have two options: (a) slate in the character’s voice; or, (b) slate in your own voice. With the first option, the casting team will hear what your character can do with something as mundane as your name, and the screener won’t be tempted to move on to the next recording before you’ve even started (although few audition reviewers are so heartless). With the second option, the casting team will hear what you actually sound like, which tells them something about your vocal range, and, who knows, maybe they also need a voice like your natural one? Which way the ball bounces on this toss-up depends on many factors, including the character, your own voice, the script, and what the casting people may already have heard from you.

    Some people seemed not to get the point of the script’s last line. They pretty much just said the word “Nothing” with no embellishment. In the script, the word is stretched with hyphens, and there must be a reason. Considering the direction just before (“Goes over the edge and fades”) it’s likely that Spring Chicken’s attempt at flight is not successful. In other words, the character is probably not fading because he or she is flying off in the distance. It’s more the classic cartoon-fall-off-a-very-tall-cliff routine. (Remember Goofy, slowing disappearing while yodeling “Yahoo-hoo-hoo-hooey!!”?)

    To do the fade, some people actually reduced the volume of their voice. This works to a point, but the point is reached very quickly. The quality of your voice changes as you speak more softly, so it’s not really the right effect. Here’s a better way ...

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: To fade out, use one or a combination of these options: (a) lean away from the microphone, even turning away from it at the end. This assumes you’re in a dead booth, so it won’t just sound like you’ve entered a large room; and/or (b) read the line as the character would say it (after all, the character is moving away, not actually being quieter), then fade it in post-production. In the case of this cliff, you might really s-t-r-e-t-c-h the word as you deliver it, then add a bit of echo, increasing the echo toward the end. (This would also cover the change in room tone if you incorporate technique A.)

    We also heard a variety of other technical deficiencies, including consistently working way too far off-mic, sound on only one channel, and low volume.

    But most anyone can get the technical stuff eventually. The real challenge is in owning the character, and staying in character as you act. Keep at it. Animation is a powerful motivator!

    1st place winner: alexdormanvo

    333 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear alexdormanvo's recording

    From his vocalizations, you can almost visualize what the chicken is doing. We liked how he put in a few chicken sounds, and read the lines clearly. As he flapped over the edge and said "N-o-t-h-i-n-g" at the end, he wisely faded the line in post, rather than just reducing volume as he spoke. It seems he laid some vocalizations over the rapid breathing sound, as two tracks. We’re not sure that makes sense (who pants and clucks at the same instant?), and would prefer to hear the vocalizations delivered “in series,” but it’s an imaginative solution and conveys a sense of commotion. The cluck sounds a little like a dog, but that will not be the case when mixed with the visual.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase-3, or a $197 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 4/25/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

    2nd place winner: Patty Gibbons

    260 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Patty Gibbons's recording

    With her reading the script in less than 8 seconds, she performed more quickly than necessary, but we enjoyed it. Using the full 10 seconds that the Directors’ Notes allowed would have helped her deliver the last word (“Nothing”) more clearly, and even play with it. We liked how her character was a bit prissy. We also like how she got a lot of “action vocalizations” into the performance in what sounded like a single take (whether or not it was). However, some of her vocalizations were “vocal sound effects” rather than sounds from the character’s mouth. As noted above, those would be better left out.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $150 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $114 credit for Phase-3, or a $114 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 4/25/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Script Contest - Animated Ooops!.mp3

    3rd place winner: randypop

    230 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear randypop's recording

    Good character, good energy, clear enunciation, good vocalizations in between the lines (we especially liked his cackle and wattle sound), distinct actions, and he didn’t bother with “mouth-produced sound effects.” Problem is, he completely blew the “n-o-t-h-i-n-g” last line. We have no idea what he said. In a real audition, that could kill his chances among stiff competition.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $100 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $57 credit for Phase-3, or a $57 credit for Phase-4.

    If you have won any place (1st place, 2nd place...) in the past two 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.

    No prize may be combined with another prize and/or coupon, nor applied to services already purchased, nor to any service in which the winner is already enrolled. Prize is to be used by the winner only, not transferable. *You must be assessed prior to signing-up for the Phase 2 ABC Program.

    Claim your prize by 4/25/14 by calling our team at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

    /sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Studio 04-15-2014 Contest submission.mp3

    To view all entries from
    Contest ending Friday, April 18 click below

    Contest ending Friday, April 11

    Contest Title:

    NERDart Tour

    Director's Notes:

    In this simulated audition, the client is a little known museum called the National Exhibitive Repository of Digital Art. It specializes in Techno art. NERDart is developing its first audio tour, and seeking a man or woman to voice it. The entire tour will be about 20 minutes, although the tour itself will take longer, as the visitor stops and starts the audio. The client wants someone who sounds excited about technology and the art it inspires, but not tiresome or overly “exuberant.” Be a friendly authority on the subject.

    Get Pro Feedback for $20! Scroll down, below the prizes, to "AND JUST FOR SUBMITTING AN ENTRY!"

    Script:

    Outdated computers give sculptors an ever-expanding palette to use. The microcircuitry bits in this piece date from 1978 through 2007.

    Results

    Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

    How hard can a museum tour be? Pronouncing names and foreign words are the biggest issue, right?

    No, there’s much more to it than that. Yes, there might be some pronunciation challenges, but this genre has some other special challenges as well.

    A key challenge in tours is in being easily understood by every sort of user, yet sounding enthused by what you are presenting. Another challenge is in having (and inducing) just the right level of “awe.”

    First, the speed. Many people were reading way, way, too quickly. Also, some people slurred their words. The phrase “microcircuitry bits” was particularly troublesome.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Remember, for some museum visitors English might not be their first language. And the audio quality of the touring equipment may not be exactly “hi-fi.” So it is important to speak clearly and slowly enough to be understood.

    There are also other reasons for delivering at a more deliberate pace. A key reason is that the listener needs to follow and absorb what you’re saying. Unlike some other genres, an audio tour presents a lot of information that is new to the listener, and it may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to acquire it. So give them a bit of time to take in that information and mentally “file” it. They also need time to reflect on it. It’s very frustrating to a listener if they find themselves thinking “what did she say?” and during that time they miss what you’ve said next. Some of the responsibility for their paying attention is theirs. Part of it is yours.

    Your listener will also need time to move. In some tours, the user can stop the audio as they move on to the next work or location. For that, the producer may need simply a clean break between the sentences at that point, to add suitable space, a beep, or other cue to pause.

    But at each location, the user also needs time to move around the work being discussed – to move physically, or even just with their eyes.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: In addition to speaking at a “deliberate” pace, pause a bit after you have pointed out a specific feature of what you are presenting. Remember, the art is the “star” of the tour, not you. Enable the user to fully appreciate the subject.

    Some people were too serious with their approach. They seemed more interested in sounding authoritative than in sounding enthused. Or rather, being enthused. In an audio tour, as long as all other technical VO criteria are met, it is arguably more important to err on the side of enthusiasm and “friendly listenability” than on the side of sounding like a stern college professor.

    In a similar vein, some people simply recited in a forgettable monotone. Not so badly as the Ben Stein character in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, but ... anyone? anyone? ... they did nothing to catch and hold the listener’s interest.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If it were a classroom lecture situation and you were a student, which sort of teacher would you rather listen to for an hour? Be that teacher.

    On the other hand, some people were too overexcited. In some cases, it seemed a false enthusiasm, in others it sounded genuine. In either case, it could be annoying after awhile.

    In this week’s entries, we had a mixed bag of deliveries and personalities. Some had a polished feel to them – we could tell they have had some training – while others sounded relatively new at a professional microphone. While the “polished feel” may give the audition reviewing team more confidence in the talent’s ability to deliver, beware of being too polished (or trying to be). It can result in a forced quality.

    In any audition, but especially in Audio Tour auditions, there is also another audience you need to excite – the prospective client. If you sound friendly and easy to work with, the audio tour producer is more likely to want to work with you on a repeat basis.

    Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: As tour exhibits change or are added, you may be asked to record new segments for the tour. So your style and sound should be repeatable – remember your recording settings, room conditions, mic placement, your frame of mind, even the time of day, so that later you can match the original sound as closely as possible.

    While on the subject of mechanics, here are some other things some people missed on:

    * Over-enunciation. For example, the word “outdated” shouldn’t sound like two words. The “t” and “d” sounds should be combined.

    * Overprocessed sound. Some people, especially if they read rather mechanically, sounded almost like a computer-generated voice.

    * Unorthodox slating. Specific slating instructions were not given, so no serious fault in this. Some people didn’t slate at all. Some people added “Hi this is...” or the script title. Someone even slated after their read. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: If no slating instruction is given, by default you should precede the script with only your name, in the same voice and at the same volume as your read.

    * Some choices in emphasis were not the best. For example, in the last sentence, hitting “2007” indicates that it is a wide range of years (and a bit of irony in that 2007 is “outdated”!) – the very point of the script. Many people instead hit a less important word, or read the sentence very matter-of-factly.

    * Choppiness. In some cases, it was because the talent wasn’t 100% “loose.” One of the ways vocal tension manifests itself is in unnecessary halts and constriction.

    * Pausing unnecessarily after the first word or two is another choppiness villain. Many people do this. But it will be heard by the audition reviewing team as the mark of less experienced talent.

    * Swallowing or rushing the first word or syllable. Edge Studio Voice Over Tip: Rather than pause after the first word to be sure the listener has heard it (or for whatever reason, if any), elongate the first word or syllable just the slightest bit. This audition technique will assure that you don’t swallow the word, and that your listener will hear it. It also makes you sound more confident.

    1st place winner: Paul McCloud

    280 people have played this

    Recording:

    Click to hear Paul McCloud's recording

    He wins mainly for his tone. He sounds human, relaxed and natural – genuinely excited by the technology, as the Director’s Notes requested. We would like it even better if he can enunciate without losing that quality. “Microcircuitry” sounds somewhat rushed - and could sound a bit like “mycoshuhchotry” (as we noted, many people had trouble with this word). But overall, he expressed the point of what he was reading, and subtly conveyed a sense of awe, which is Job One.

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

    Select either a $99 credit for Phase-1, a $250 credit for Phase-2 ABC Program*, a $197 credit for Phase