Voice Over Education Blog

January 2018

What is a "clean break" and how long should it be?


In our December 2017 Monthly Audition Contest, the Director's Notes asked for a "clean break" at punctuation. The direction didn't say how long a break, just that the producer will add time between phrases, in order to match up the video. When a client or director says to pause for "a second" or whatever amount of time, it's clear enough how long a break to give them. But if no interval is specified, what then? How "clean" should a clean break be?

Note: Sometimes a Director will just say "a break." You can assume they mean a clean break. Now, what do they mean by that?

See for yourself.

The best way to grasp this situation is to do a bit of editing in your workstation software. Record a sentence that consists of multiple clauses, and pause at a comma, or wherever a tiny pause is logical. Before or after the sentence, leave the mic open for a few seconds but remain silent. This will give you a sample of your space's ambient (background) noise. (Almost every home studio, and even many commercial studios, have a slight bit of background "presence.") We'll call this your "silence."

After recording, look at the sound image in your audio software, and see where the volume level goes down to zero. (Or, if your space is not totally silent, this will look like the silent part you recorded.) Ideally, you'll see a flat line. That's a clean break.

Hear for yourself.

On Edge Studio's 30th anniversary, an interview with David Goldberg


This year, Edge Studio celebrates its 30th birthday. Thirty is the pearl anniversary, so to celebrate we asked Edge Studio founder David Goldberg for some "pearls" of wisdom. David's ears are considered among the best in the industry, and he is one of the country's most active voice-over producers, instructors, and speakers. Since founding Edge Studio in 1988, he has directed thousands of voice-over productions nationally and internationally. He's also learned a few things in this time, and is always eager to pass along his knowledge to the students and clients of Edge Studio.

Edge Studio: Edge Studio wasn't always a voice-over facility, was it?

David Goldberg: No. Edge Studio began in my college dorm, where I recorded music. And music was the focus in my first "real" recording studio. Before long, I was producing, mixing and engineering the likes of Mel Tormé, Deep Purple, and Jose Feliciano. But almost immediately, my business began evolving.

Edge Studio: What was the impetus for that?

DG: Well, when I insisted that musicians not bring drugs into the studio, we immediately lost half our customers. Then we lost the other half when I also banned cigarettes! Okay, we picked up a few free-spirited hippie bands along the way, but that didn't cut it.

Edge Studio: So you switched to spoken-voice?

DG: Not yet. We became very big in the Gospel sector, working with many Gospel choirs. An interesting perspective in a studio led by someone named Goldberg. But it taught me early on the importance of diversity.

Edge Studio: How so?

Missing Dick Orkin. He was everywhere, everywhere.


Among the voices lost in 2017 – except as recordings – were June Foray and Dick Orkin. Foray was known to the entire animation and voice industry. And to the multitude of people who didn't know her name, she was known as the voice of as Rocket J. Squirrel, Granny, and countless other characters.

Fewer knew the name Dick Orkin, but the listeners of 1,500 radio stations worldwide knew his voice as that of Chickenman. In addition to creating that and other hilarious radio spoofs, Orkin brought his brand of absurdly silly humor to all sorts of radio advertisers. The hall-of-famer's client list notably included otherwise serious concerns like Time Magazine and "more banks than you can imagine" – companies that until then weren't known to air funny spots. For all his listeners, he was as entertaining as Stan Freberg and Bob and Ray had been, and within our industry he was surely as influential.

Orkin died of a stroke on Christmas Eve at age 84. He had been powering down, but he was still writing and voicing occasional commercials at the tail end of his 69-year career.

Actually, the length of his career depends on when we start counting. Orkin began as a young announcer and News Director in Pennsylvania, but was trained as an actor early on, having attended Yale Drama School. The transitional moment was when he moved to KWY in Cleveland. (Cleveland was an especially funny town in those days, spawning also the likes of Tim Conway and Ernie Anderson) There, Orkin's work included voicing a character named "Amazon Ace" (apparently now lost in history). But it was when his Cleveland boss, Ken Draper, transformed Chicago's WCFL that we can really start counting.

Having brought Orkin to Chicago as Production Director, in 1966 Draper asked him to produce a spoof of the popular Batman TV series. The result instantly became history. (We mean to say, it was an instant hit and enjoys a wide cult following to this day.)

Missing Dick Orkin. He was everywhere, everywhere.


Among the voices lost in 2017 – except as recordings – were June Foray and Dick Orkin. Foray was known to the entire animation and voice industry. And to the multitude of people who didn't know her name, she was known as the voice of as Rocket J. Squirrel, Granny, and countless other characters.

Fewer knew the name Dick Orkin, but the listeners of 1,500 radio stations worldwide knew his voice as that of Chickenman. In addition to creating that and other hilarious radio spoofs, Orkin brought his brand of absurdly silly humor to all sorts of radio advertisers. The hall-of-famer's client list notably included otherwise serious concerns like Time Magazine and "more banks than you can imagine" – companies that until then weren't known to air funny spots. For all his listeners, he was as entertaining as Stan Freberg and Bob and Ray had been, and within our industry he was surely as influential.

Orkin died of a stroke on Christmas Eve at age 84. He had been powering down, but he was still writing and voicing occasional commercials at the tail end of his 69-year career.

Actually, the length of his career depends on when we start counting. Orkin began as a young announcer and News Director in Pennsylvania, but was trained as an actor early on, having attended Yale Drama School. The transitional moment was when he moved to KWY in Cleveland. (Cleveland was an especially funny town in those days, spawning also the likes of Tim Conway and Ernie Anderson) There, Orkin's work included voicing a character named "Amazon Ace" (apparently now lost in history). But it was when his Cleveland boss, Ken Draper, transformed Chicago's WCFL that we can really start counting.

Having brought Orkin to Chicago as Production Director, in 1966 Draper asked him to produce a spoof of the popular Batman TV series. The result instantly became history. (We mean to say, it was an instant hit and enjoys a wide cult following to this day.)

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