Voice Over Education Blog

February 2013

Following Instructions=MORE VO WORK

Here at Edge Studio, we cast, record, and audition a LOT of voice actors.

Surprisingly, we are shocked at the number of voice actors who don’t follow instructions. As a result, these voice actors lose work from us and our clients.

In this series, we’ll highlight the most common poor practices and give you friendly reminders to increase your voice over work.


--Be Punctual--

About 60% of Voice Actors Are Late!

(Worse, only a third apologize - yet usually with a lame excuse. Look, everyone is late sometimes... but be honest about it. Say, "Hey, I'm so sorry for being late and for any disruption it may have caused. This is not normal for me." In your own words, of course.)

Things move quickly these days: clients have last-minute voice over jobs, recording studios have tight time schedules, casting calls are booked in 5-minute increments... Being late can be very disruptive. Worse, for you, you lose future work.

Do what you can to be on-time. If your client needs your recording by 10am, then get it to them by then. If your call-in time is 5:15pm, then call in at 5:10pm. If you need to arrive at a studio, then get there 15-minutes early. Being early is a chance to establish good rapport with your clients and maintain a good relationship.


Are you at risk? Read and find out!

Vocal Fry is a speaking style that damages your vocal chords.

It occurs when you speak in your lowest register and create a low, glottal, grumbling sound. When this sound is created, the vocal folds compress tightly and become limp and compact. This sound is stereotypical of young girls and reality television stars.

This speaking style is a rising epidemic in today’s society, but many don’t know they are doing it.

If you are a singer in addition to a voice actor, you are even more at risk. Vocal fry is that stereotypical "croaking" sound made in country music, and is also used by bass singers in gospel choirs. These practices can permanently damage the vocal chords and may cause you to lose some upper notes in your register.

Other common names for vocal fry are pulse register, pulse phonation, glottal rattle, glottal fry, glottal scrape, creak, laryngealisation, and strohbass.

So I’m "Frying" my Vocal Chords…How Do I Stop?

Vocal Fry has snuck its way into our society and is affecting the way we speak.

The best way to stop this bad habit is to become aware that you are doing it. Once conscious, stop yourself each time you hear vocal fry creeping in.

To correct further, record yourself speaking and listen back. Post recordings on the
FEEDBACK FORUM and get vocal fry feedback from your peers as well.

You will hear your vocal fry when your voice is pitched lower than usual, or part of elongated vowels in the middle of a word, at the end of word, or in voiced consonants.

Become aware of your speaking. Keep your voice healthy.

What Do You Do To Stay Healthy For Voice Over?

We asked some of our friends, and here is their advice:

PAMELA JACKSON says, "plenty of water, eat healthy, exercise vocal as well as physical, and I listen to my body. Take care of your voice and your voice will take care of you."

KENDRA WEBB says, "A unique, powerful immune supplement in the form of a molecule extracted from bovine colostrum and chicken egg yolk."

A'LISA WILHELMSEN ANDRADE says, "Vitamin D 6,000 IU/daily as well as a Neti Pot regimen for immune system support. To prepare for a long day of recording, take Mucinex 1200 mg extended release tablets. It does 2 things: lubricates the vocal folds to ensure the smooth luscious sounds stay clear AND thins mucosal secretions so all that yucky winter phlegm doesn't clog those tones. If you find yourself with a scratchy dry throat, try Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea or Thayers Lozenges. Both use slippery elm which is mucilaginous."

NIKI KERNOW says, "I drink at least 2 litres of water everyday and I drink hot water with lemon, honey and ginger!"

SUSAN D'ANGELO says, "Lot's of foods high in anti-oxidants. I drink a lot of green tea, and I swear by Emergen-C every day. Also, I keep my chest and neck covered up when out in the cold. It's all about staying virus-free."

And…My advice:

Foreign Language Voice Over - Travel Zoo

We see projects of all shapes, sizes, and languages come through Edge Studio. We regularly facilitate translation, adaptation, and dubbing of Foreign Language Voice Over for a variety of clients, for use in everything from video games to internet audio, in just about every language imaginable, from Berber to Beijing Mandarin.


One of our favorites? Travel Zoo! Edge Studio regularly supplies Foreign Language Telephony prompts for Travel Zoo’s International Phone System in Catalan (Spanish,) German, and French. This year, we’ve completed updates to their current system for 2013, and are in the process of recording additional Spanish prompts to round out their current system.


One of the most important aspects of these updates is consistency. Each prompt needs to sound like all of the others, regardless of when it was recorded. We carefully monitor each new recording against the others to ensure this consistency, and the result is a cohesive body of prompts that Travel Zoo’s customers can enjoy listening to when they phone in for customer service.

Does your phone system need updating for 2013? We’re happy to help, whatever the language! Please email production@edgestudio.com to learn more about our Telephony Services.

To hear samples of the Travel Zoo Telephony Prompts, click here and scroll down.


Some Classic “Fake” Accents in Film and Television

Do you agree? Disagree?

1. Hugh Laurie plays Gregory House on “House,” an American doctor. Though he was born in Oxford, England, he was able to fool everyone during his audition and ultimately landed the role.

2. Who can forget the beautiful film “Shakespeare in Love?” American Gwyneth Paltrow portrayed the character Viola de Lesseps and ended up winning an Academy Award for her British accent in the film.

3. In the movie musical “Chicago,” Catherine Zeta-Jones played Velma Kelly, an American woman who is in prison for the murder of her husband and sister. When you hear her thick Welsh accent in real life, it is hard to believe how she pulled off an American so successfully.

4. Sacha Baron Cohen is known for his crazy accents, most recently seen in “Les Miserables” as Monsieur Thenardier. In my opinion though, his most beloved role was Borat, as he was able to maintain a consistent ‘Kazakstani’ accent in the film.

5. Remember the remake of “The Parent Trap” with Lindsay Lohan? Not only did she have a pretty believable British accent for a child, but she was able to switch back and forth seamlessly.

6. Though Daniel Dae Kim plays a Korean man with barely any knowledge of English on “Lost,” in real life he has a normal American accent. While he was born in Korea, he moved to Pennsylvania at the age of two.

7. Did you know that Health Ledger was actually Australian? You would never know from any of his films, as he immersed himself completely in his roles. Some say his most impressive film accent was in “Brokeback Mountain,” when he effectively played a cowboy.

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