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Monthly Audition Contest!

Archived contests

Contest ending Monday, May 7

Contest Title:

Yoga Lesson

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an instructional video about yoga. It’s also an inspirational video, as you see in the script. Please read with a calm yet confident voice, and be relaxed, vocally free. Slate your name or username at the beginning, in your normal street voice.

Script:

Where is your awareness? It’s in your heart. Hold this position for 5 breaths. With each exhalation, say – silently to yourself – “My body is worthy of my love.”

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

We figured we’d inspire people to inspire the viewers of a yoga video. The assignment in this hypothetical audition was simple: relax and explain the yoga procedure, in a way that builds the student’s confidence in both the lesson and in themselves. Specifically, the Director’s Notes advised to “read with a calm yet confident voice, and be relaxed, vocally free.” Our winners did that, and more. Others didn’t achieve that, or tried to do too much more. Here’s why some people didn’t win:

Many people were not truly vocally free. What does that mean, to be “vocally free”? It simply means to speak without tension in your voice. Without constricting your voice. It means that you sound relaxed. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Here’s an exercise to help you feel the effect. Fake a yawn. (That is, an intentional yawn will do, if you do one well.) As you yawn, toward the end of it, do you feel how your air passage opens up? That’s how you should be speaking, with a relatively open air passage, and breathing from your diaphragm.

Some people hurt the “relaxed” sound – by speaking with glottal stops. A glottal stop is a momentary closing of the throat before an initial vowel, such as in the words “awareness,” “each” or “exhalation.” Everyone had a few. Many people had too many. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Eliminating glottal stops is an important skill to master, because your words flow together more smoothly. Casting screeners listen for this ability, and given an instruction like this audition had, it could make the difference between winning, or not.

Yet another way that many people introduced tension was that they paused after the first word ("Where"). In itself, that word means nothing to the listener. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Pausing after the first word is a common practice that audition screeners often will attribute to inexperience. Knowing this, experienced voice actors will avoid doing it in an audition. Instead of pausing after the first word, pause (if appropriate) after the first thought, which is “Where is your awareness?”

A number of people phrased the lines other ways that could confuse the listener. Specifically, the part where you say, “say – silently to yourself – “My body is ...”. If you pause too long there, the listener will think you are saying, “Say ‘silently to yourself.’” They’ll then realize that the next words are what they’re supposed to say, but ... too late! Now you have them sorting out their confusion, rather than keeping their minds where they should be. There are exceptions, such as with our First Place winner. He did pause before this phrase, and after, but nevertheless the listener will easily follow his meaning because of the way he said it, and his long-ish pauses give the listener a moment to grasp the thought. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Punctuation is a strong basic clue as to how to understand and read a script. But remember that your listener doesn’t have the script before them, and sometimes punctuation is there just for grammar's sake.

Some people figured they’d get all other-worldly in their manner, affecting a weird voice that in some cases was downright spooky. Sometimes, the person slated in a normal voice, then a totally different person emerged once he or she started reading the script. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Except when you’re creating a character for a reason (as in animation), it’s generally a good idea to be you. You are who they’re hiring. Nobody else sounds exactly like you do. You are real. Even a potentially mystical scene such as this one benefits from being grounded in reality.

Some people sounded like they were reading, not speaking from the heart. In other cases, it sounded like an industrial video. Some reads were hurt by overacting. In yet other cases, they exaggerated, the way someone might read to a child. And some people sounded “commanding.” (For example, many people voiced the opening question rather sternly, as a parent might ask a child about her messy room: “Where are your shoes?!!” Others hit the word “is” in rather illogically, as in the thought, “I need my notebook. Where IS my notebook?”) EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Remember, in a voice-over situation such as this, it’s as if you are speaking to one person who is standing next to you. Be friendly, and courteous of their feelings.

Some people ad-libbed, which can be good or bad. One person added an inhalation and exhalation. That's good, usually. It shows creativity. But another person added many words, breaths, and even extended the script. So where do you draw the line? Don't change the words. And even in the first example, if the breath is not technically correct for this yoga lesson, it, too, would be wrong. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: As talent, you may not know whether the casting screener is expert in the subject matter or not. So if you do augment a technical script, you’d better be darn sure that your change is correct. And even then, if you change words, you might lose the audition because the producer is concerned that you can’t stick to the script.

Many people rushed their reads. Some rushed their sentences, then left long pauses. Neither approach sounds “relaxed.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Listeners need time to absorb the words, and in the case of an exercise video, time to respond. To get a sense of the video pacing in this genre, watch similar mainstream videos that are professionally produced.

A number of people were too laid back. They sounded relaxed. They didn’t rush it. And for the most part, they sounded vocally free. But they also sounded almost ready to go to sleep. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Your voice can have energy even when you are speaking softly. The energy is in the thoughts behind your words, and how that thought comes out as expression.

Some recordings had technical faults that might have been avoidable. For example (among many others): A fan or other constant noise in the background; Or the volume of the script didn't match the slate which had been recorded separately. Or working too close to the mic. (Just because you speak as if near someone’s ear, that doesn’t mean you should be right up on the mic, which results in breath noise, mouth noise, pops, and other undesirable effects.); Or background noises (such as a dog barking or pages turning); Or audio on only one channel. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you get the job and will be required to record it in your home studio, the potential client will be listening to carefully to your recording quality. On the other hand, if after being selected you’ll be asked to come to the client’s studio for the actual job, they might overlook small technical flaws in your audition. But why distract them? And why give them the impression that you’re not a pro? Learn what constitutes a technically high-grade VO recording, and work towards achieving it.

A special focus here on recordings that were so low in volume that we thought the file was flawed, until we cranked our speakers (headphones, actually) way up. In a real audition, this deficiency would probably cause the audition screener to move on. There's a practical reason: If they turn up their speakers and forget to lower the volume again, the effect on their ears and equipment could be ruinous – or at least really annoying! EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Recording volume is one of the factors you can most easily control. Compare your final recording with similar files known to be professionally produced (for example at a major talent agency's website). Play them in the same browser, using the same audio setup and settings. If your recording's volume is significantly different, or if distorted, put "setting levels" high on your educational agenda.

1st place winner: DavidWandelt

433 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear DavidWandelt's recording

Great. He exhibits a nice personality. His read is a bit fast on some words (especially the word "yourself," which ends abruptly), but he has enough space between phrases to allow us to absorb the thoughts. On the technical side, the sound quality is great, except for a few noises (very low in level) between some phrases.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by May 25, 2018 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge-Contest_1804_DW.mp3

2nd place winner: JenP7

322 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JenP7's recording

Also great. She followed everything nicely, and spoke with good, natural variety. But she is a bit too dramatic on the last phrase, and she missed the "d" sound on "hold" (When music is added, it will likely sound like "hole.")

"

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by May 25, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

"

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EdgeAuditionSisco_4.mp3

2nd place winner: FlynnRachelM

293 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear FlynnRachelM's recording

Also great. She sounds like a friend talking to you alone. Her adding a breath is a very nice touch. The only negatives are that she slurs the word "silently," and her sound quality is very sub-optimal. (It's low in level, and recorded in a resonant room.)

"

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by May 25, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

"

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/April Contest _FlynnRachelM.mp3

2nd place winner: marianvo

232 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear marianvo's recording

Also great. She followed everything nicely, in a clear voice. But she is just a tinge too theatrical and a tad choppy, and she missed the "d" sound on "hold." (With music mixed in, it'll likely sound like "hole.") Great sound quality, except for a few mouth clicks during her slate.

"

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by May 25, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

"

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Marian Erikson April Contest.mp3

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

Contest ending Monday, April 2

Contest Title:

Drawn to You

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an animated series about futuristic androids. Although they are metal “robots,” they are very intelligent, fully capable of human-like emotion, and they sound human ... when they want to. In this script, one android is male, the other is female. They are named “Mo” and “Jo,” but we haven’t decided yet which name goes with which gender. READ ONLY THE “MO” LINES, with a one-second break in-between. The scene is an industrial setting that the two are exploring. Slate your name or username after your read.

Script:

MO: “I’m impressed with how quickly you catch on to how things here work. And I have to tell you now, that I’m irresistibly attracted to you.

JO: Mo, I had no idea, you –

MO: No, don’t get me wrong. Will you please turn off that electromagnet?

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Robots will one day sound and act the same as humans -- at least, in futuristic movies they already do. Which is why we were interested in seeing what the people auditioning to play a futuristic android would come back with. The Director’s notes said these robots "are very intelligent, fully capable of human-like emotion, and they sound human ... when they want to.” That purposely left open a wide range of creative opportunity. Some took advantage of it. A few did well, by expanding the range of their robot character in a logical way or adding a creative quirk. Others instead limited their robot character’s speech capabilities by speaking in a monotone or sounding disconnected, and thus limited themselves. For that reason and others, here’s why some people didn’t win ...

A lot of people read without emotion. Or without any change of emotion. Or without logical emotion. How many were trying to sound robotic, we don't know. In any case, by speaking in relative monotones, limited vocal range, etc., they lost emotional expression. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Use the Director’s Notes as a guide to where you should step off. If you have a creative inspiration, it’s usually okay to go beyond the instructions, but always be sure you at least meet them. When would a robot not want to sound human? Can that be applied creatively here? Read on.

A lot of people did vary their emotion, but not appropriately, given the overall script. In particular, some slowed and said the part about “I’m attracted to you” in a very loving way. Except, in the next line we learn that it has nothing to do with emotional attraction. The listener might not suspect this, but surely the character knows it, so they wouldn’t sound romantic, would they? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Modulate your emotion, sometimes splitting the difference so that it’s ambiguous. Given the listener’s mistaken assumption in the first line (the “setup” or “premise”), it can be taken one way. Then after the punchline (the “payoff”), we realize it was meant in another way. Making both interpretations valid is part of the art.

Some sounded human except for a robotic quirk, such as pronouncing each word discretely. In at least one case this affectation was lost in the second line. In another case, the talent did just the opposite (sounding human in the first line, then very robotic in the punch line.) The Director’s Notes saying ".... when they want to" gave liberty, so if the robot is realistically motivated to change its manner, do it. Otherwise, don't. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you give a character a quirk, use it judiciously. If it is inherent in their normal behavior, it should be present consistently. If it appears only in certain conditions (e.g., stammering when excited), that condition should be clear and the mannerism logical.

Some people didn’t seem to get the joke. Or they need to work on how to tell it. Here's the scenario, as exposed in the Notes and the script: a) These robots are metallic. b) Mo says “how quickly you catch on to how things here work,” so apparently the other robot (“Jo”) is operating something. c) Mo also says “I’m irresistibly attracted to you.” These are the phrases to hit, because they are paid off later. So you can say the line’s other phrases relatively quickly – clearly, but without emphasis. Then the “punch line” is “electromagnet.” Why? Because it suddenly tells the listener that everything he or she assumed in the setup was incorrect. This unexpected change in our understanding is what triggers us to laugh. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you dawdle on your way to the punch line, the setup and payoff will be less connected, and the listener will have too much time to think. So don’t extend or pause long after “No, don’t get me wrong.” As for how to read the last sentence, people will vary. Some might read it rather flatly and without special emphasis. An old vaudevillian might really hammer the word “electromagnet” (although we wouldn’t). Others might pause a split-second before it. Still another person might pronounce "please" in a comic fashion (e.g., “puhleeeeze”) and then zip right to the end. In short, there is a wrong way to tell a joke. But there may be more than one “right” way.

Some people went too fast. In any VO script, you need the listener to keep up with your thoughts. Yet, don’t proceed so slowly that they have time to be distracted by their thoughts. And by all means, not so lethargically that they think of the punchline before you say it! EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If for some reason you want to read at a machine-gun pace (for example, your character is a high-pressure, no-nonsense individual), you nevertheless must enunciate so that all the words are clear, and allow extra time between statements, for the listener to catch up. But this is when you read “too fast” on purpose. You rarely have such a need.

A lot of people were sloppy with their vowels. For example, they pronounced “to” as “tah.” Were they just careless, or were they overdoing a casual attitude in order to show how “humanlike” these characters are? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Auditions are a bit different from actual jobs. Sloppy pronunciation is usually frowned upon by audition reviewers, and they can’t know whether it was intentional or not. So don’t give them the impression that you habitually sound sloppy.

A few people took liberties with the script, by adding, dropping or changing words, or getting words reversed. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Again, this is an audition. Once you are working with a director or producer, they might allow you to ad-lib a bit, but if you ad-lib in an audition, the screener might wonder if you can read any script exactly as written. Before proceeding, listen to your chosen take as you read along carefully.

A bunch of people didn’t slate, and some people didn’t slate correctly. The Director’s Notes said simply, “Slate your name or username after your read.” Some slated before it. Some added information, such as the name of our contest. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When given specific slating direction, slate specifically as directed.

There were various technical errors. For example, audio so low (quiet) that it was virtually inaudible. Recording in stereo, rather than one centered mono track. Distorted audio was another common fault. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Of all possible technical errors, low volume is the easiest to spot and correct. Do this beforehand: Compare your final recording to known-professional recordings, using the same player and setting. Once you have adjusted your recording settings to have the same loudness as those other recordings do, make note of your values in all your processing steps, so you can easily replicate the results on the job.

1st place winner: Lauriewinks

711 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Lauriewinks's recording

Good, with nice emotional changes. She sounds like a robot, but her manner has a human fluidity and emotion. Well done! Her pace is a bit brisk, but it’s all understandable, and that adds to the impression of “automated” speech. Some might object that the "to" in “to how things work” is sloughed over (sounds like "tah how"), but maybe more annoying (in a relatively minor way) is how she exaggerates the endings of final words. For example, “work” has a very hard, wet “K” sound. She opens her mouth after many words - sometimes a lot, such as the word “now” so that it sounds like “now-wah" and the word "you" so that it sounds like "you-uh." And sometimes a little, such as "wrong" and her last name (in the slate) that sounds like "Wrinkle-uh." She extended the slate with “This is”, which isn’t optimal, but her read surmounted that small transgression. Recording quality is good.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by April 27, 2018 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Laurie Catherine Winkel_MO.mp3

2nd place winner: talkandsing

429 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear talkandsing's recording

Good emotional change, switching from a very human manner to a robot voice in the last sentence. As noted in the article above, we don’t necessarily get the motivation for this, but over the course of an entire script, maybe it’s that the robot falls back to “base level” when frustrated? (Just one of many possible explanations.) In any case, she did both “voices” well, and thus showed she can include it or not, as the client desires. Like our First Place winner, she, too, hung on the G sound at the end of her username, so it sounds like “singeh” or a click, and she, too, said “tah” instead of “to.” The recording quality is not optimal.

$50 Edge Studio credit

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by April 27, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EdgeContest_2018_March_DrawnToYou.mp3

3rd place winner: Ravie13

393 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Ravie13's recording

Nice emotional changes that keep it interesting, especially in Take Two. Importantly, her two takes are different, providing us with more options. Take two sounds more like a robot, but an interestingly loopy one, maybe even drunk -- well done! She has some big slurs in that take: "irresistible," "electromagnet," and in the ad-libbed "thank you" at the end. They’re in line with the character she’s established, but in an actual job it would be important to be sure that doesn’t get out of hand – words must always be understandable. Like the other winners, she said “tah how things” rather than “to.” Her hoarseness in the second take appears to be intentional, and, combined with various off-pitch words and unexpected utterances (as in “mmthank you”) it gives a strong sense of character – a robot whose speech algorithm is misadjusted. We wonder, though if she can turn that hoarse quality on and off at will, and can she sustain it through an entire script? She adds words to the beginning of both takes. Normally a red flag, in this case it seems she is simply “pre-talking” to get the character up to speed, so okay. (Ideally, she should have paused a beat before “I’m” so that she could chop off the pre-talk before making her mp3.) As for technical quality, there’s noise in the background.

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

Appy your $25 credit towards the purchase of any Edge Studio product or service! Contact your Edge Studio Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343)

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by April 27, 2018, 2016 by calling your Education Advisor 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

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

Contest ending Monday, March 5

Contest Title:

Producing Freedom

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a recorded self-guided walking tour of Warsaw, New York. Warsaw was a center of the abolitionist movement. To set the scene for you: This stop is at the Warsaw Cemetery, resting place for many people associated with the cause. Two of them are a slave woman and daughter, who at the time of this story was 7 years old. Please slate your first and last name, or your username.

Script:

The trip from Washington, D.C. to Warsaw took 22 days. During that time, mother and child remained hidden in the wagon’s secret compartment. A few months after arrival, Mary gave birth to a son.

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

Narration comes in many forms. One of them is the audio-guided walking tour. In some ways, a walking tour is like a narrated video, but in other ways, sometimes it is not. In a video, it’s axiomatic that the visual aspect is the “star” of the show. The narrator’s job is to explain or supplement it ... usually not adding extra dramatic effect or distraction. Sometimes that’s the case with a walking tour, as well. For example, a tour of an old home or artwork. But some tours don’t have much of a “visual” component. For example, an urban tour that includes the sites of buildings long ago replaced. Or, as in our Monthly Audition Contest for February, a simple cemetery. Our winners added just the right amount of interest to this bunch of gravestones. Some others added too much, or too little, or made other mistakes. Here’s why some people didn’t win.

Some people sounded a bit too perky for the subject matter. This script was about the escape journey of a slave and her daughter in 1849. Obviously it is an excerpt from a larger story. While the end-result was happy (both mother and daughter reached freedom), the mother died shortly after giving birth to the son, and the overall subject, after all, is slavery. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: How do we know things that might give clues as to the tone for your read? Although the Director’s notes in this case provide a pretty fair guide, they don’t mention all these details. But they do mention enough for you to look up this story online. And it’s a rich one, indeed. To get an even better feel for the audition script, understand its context. You don’t have to flesh out the script yourself – it’s enough simply to set the scene in your mind. But to illustrate how this works, we have fleshed it out -- suppose you knew the following, all using information that can be gleaned online in just a few minutes. How might it affect your read?

Pleading for the sympathy of the very gardeners whom she had just finished providing slave labor for, Mary convinced them to take her and her 7-year-old daughter on their trip back to New York. They agreed. They would not send the slaves back to their master.

Their produce sold, the brothers modified their wagon to create a hidden space just big enough to hide the two slaves. The supplies they were bringing back to New York were enough to camouflage it. Although Mary was six months pregnant, it was exactly what she had hoped for. The two farmers set out the next day, carrying their illegal cargo.

The trip from Washington, D.C. to Warsaw took 22 days. During that time, mother and child remained hidden in the wagon’s secret compartment. A few months after arrival, Mary gave birth to a son.

Some people sounded bored, or spoke very matter-of-factly. They evinced no emotion, and had little energy. In fact, some people sounded like their voices were computer-generated. Remember, although there is no visual excitement in this case, the excitement is in the story itself, and your reaction to it. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: There is no gauge that tells you how much emotion is too much or too little. It’s a matter of experience and judgment. To get experience and develop your judgment, listen to similar work by expert narrators. It will probably help to think of the people you’re talking about as real people, not just the subjects of an adventure or circumstances. In other words, develop your empathy.

A number of people slurred their words. They did not articulate. Sometimes this was in contrast with their otherwise formal manner. In other cases, the lack of enunciation was part of an approach that was too casual overall. Not only were some sounds dropped, sometimes words were mispronounced. For example, “mother and child” sounded like “mother and chod” or “22 days” sounded like “22 day” (by abruptly ending the word). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: For another example, consider missing “T” sounds in the words “twenty-two.” All three T’s should be enunciated, as should the T at the end of “compartment.”

On the other hand, some people overdid their enunciation. This may have resulted from being too “careful” (or rather, sounding overly careful), or might have been part of a regional or cultural accent. For example, the word “hidden.” Being extra careful to pronounce the “D” sound isn’t exactly “wrong,” but it can be distracting. The trick is to enunciate, yet still sound natural. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Enunciation decisions sometimes depend on context. In this case, it is arguably acceptable to say “hidd’n.” Why? Because not only is it a natural, accepted pronunciation, it comes after the word “remained” – where the D definitely needs to be pronounced – and another “hard D” right after it kind of “bounces around,” distracting the listener. Listen to our winners, who vary within acceptable bounds. But don’t take this as license to be too cavalier. Don’t say “hitt’n” (as some did), and don’t say “hidd’n ’n the” ... that would sound sloppy, and if there is music or background sounds could even be inaudible or confusing.

Then there were the regionalisms. In particular, the word “Washington.” In some parts of the United States, it is commonly pronounced “Warshington.” But in most auditions (and especially this script, which would be used in upstate New York), neutral American English is called for. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: If you have a regional or foreign accent, work with a coach to soften it or “lose” it. But – retain the ability to revert to your natural accent at any time. In some situations, it can even be an asset.

Some reads were choppy. Especially, many people paused after the first couple words: “The trip (pause) from Washington, D.C. to Warsaw took 22 days.” That’s a common error, possibly the result of having heard so many other narrators make the same error before, as a misguided “dramatic pause.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: A dramatic pause adds nothing -- is not dramatic -- if it’s gratuitous. Yes, sometimes a pause after the first word or two can be dramatic. (As in “The city, site of a million stories.”) But there’s no punctuation after “The trip” and certainly not much drama without the following words. Generally, assuming the script is well written, let its punctuation be your guide.

Some people overdid adherence to punctuation: They paused after “Washington” – maybe because of the comma in “Washington, D.C”? EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Some punctuation is there just for grammar. This is one of those cases. (In fact, a very strict grammarian might want a comma after “D.C.”, too!) Another such case would be the comma before “Jr.”, as in “Martin Luther King, Jr.” especially if the parent (“Sr.”) is not notable. In some MLK contexts (e.g., a biography), his father might be relevant, but in most modern contexts probably not.

Every so often, someone emphasized the wrong word. Or rather, they emphasized a word haphazardly, either for no particular reason, or for the wrong reason. One example: in “Mary gave birth to a son”, there is no reason to hit the word “Mary.” From the Director’s Notes, we know that the daughter was seven years old, so she couldn’t have been the one giving birth, and there are no other women in the scenario. The more logical choice would have been “birth” or “son.” EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: When emphasizing a word, ask yourself: “What is the emphasis saying .. as opposed to what?”

Five people did not slate properly. The Director’s Notes said “slate your first and last name, or your username.” That is, it said to slate and it specified what content. Some omitted it altogether. Some people added extra words and even extra information (e.g., the title). One person added the words “This was recorded by username ... ”, and then, after saying his username, he spelled it. That’s not only more than was specified, it’s stating the obvious. And spelling it out may just drive home the fact you didn’t enunciate it well in the first place. The one saving grace is that it came at the end; in an actual audition situation the screener may have moved on before even reaching it. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Whether to slate an audition before or after the read, unless specified, sometimes depends on the situation.

Many people, including a couple of our winners, went too quickly. Although, as we’ve noted, there is no video to let play out (as you would with, say, a nature documentary on TV), there is still a visual aspect. It’s in the listener’s mind. They are imagining the scene as you describe it. Not only that, but as they gaze out over the cemetery, they are subject to distraction (for example, by a bird, a sound, or other interesting gravesites). EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Imagine the scene in your own mind. If there were an actual video component, how would it progress? To develop your sense of pacing, it might help to video-record some programs featuring respected narrators, write out some of each script, and read along with them.

There were also a smattering of technical deficiencies. For example, audio level too low (too quiet). Boomy bass. Or a hollow sound. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: A good pair of studio headphones can help you spot problems that won’t always be apparent with speakers or in a poorly conditioned room. You don’t have to go overboard; adequately responsive, “flat” frequency range, closed-back monitoring (studio) headphones run about $75-150. Don’t confuse them with headphones that use bass-boosting technology and or active noise reduction (e.g., for use on an airliner). If not sure, ask us for recommendations, or check with Sweetwater Sound.

1st place winner: lanfred01

856 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lanfred01's recording

Very nice. She sounds comfortable at the mic, with a tension-free, relaxed voice. Also, she sounds factual (authoritative, reliable, knowledgeable) without being pedantic. Her pacing is a tad too fast, and the space between phrases is a tad too short, but we could digitally slow down her pace and increase her pauses. Or, after direction, we suspect she could adjust her delivery. However, there are instances of “lazy mouth.” That’s when the person begins making sound before actually beginning the word – as in "nnnduring." But with direction and practice, that too can be fixed. She takes first place because she excels at something hard to achieve, namely "ease" when reading. We enjoy that vocal freedom. The recording quality is good, except way too low in level.

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by March 30, 2018 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Producing freedom lanisa frederick.mp3

2nd place winner: stevestansellvoiceover

500 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear stevestansellvoiceover's recording

Nicely done. Other than being a smidge too dramatic at times, and missing two letters (the "G" in "Washington" and the second of three "T"s in "twenty-two"), this is a nice solid read. He nicely tells us the story, without being announcerish, pedantic, or boring. Recording quality is good except for some clicks after his last name.

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by March 30, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

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

3rd place winner: todd leitz

402 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear todd leitz's recording

This is a generally good read. But it’s a bit fast at times, and too quick from phrase to phrase. He doesn’t give the listener time to absorb the information. It’s also a bit “announcerish” at times, most noticeably at the ends of some sentences, where the last syllable drops in pitch. From a technical standpoint, room resonance is apparent.

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Studio February Audition Contest(2).mp3

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

Contest ending Monday, February 5

Contest Title:

No-Strings Shredding

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: gmura

995 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear gmura's recording

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

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

2nd place winner: nikkilulowe

605 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear nikkilulowe's recording

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

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: Solwondervo@gmail.com

554 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Solwondervo@gmail.com's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest ending Tuesday, January 2

Contest Title:

Holiday Invitation

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: bobbimaxwell

976 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear bobbimaxwell's recording

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

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

2nd place winner: sbailey100

716 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sbailey100's recording

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

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: Michelle Volz

573 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Michelle Volz's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest ending Monday, December 4

Contest Title:

Management Memo

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: JanEliot

892 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JanEliot's recording

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

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

2nd place winner: thomas@wtdunn.com

534 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear thomas@wtdunn.com's recording

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

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: jrandy

463 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jrandy's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest ending Monday, November 6

Contest Title:

Historic B&B

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: ScottMartin2

303 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear ScottMartin2's recording

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

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

2nd place winner: jeffreyhedquist

706 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jeffreyhedquist's recording

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: lokawamura

557 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lokawamura's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest ending Monday, October 2

Contest Title:

Relax

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

Clerk: What’s seems to be the problem?

Customer: It seems to not work.

Clerk: And just how do you know that?

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

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: DEWcali

906 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear DEWcali's recording

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

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See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

2nd place winner: GBVoice

541 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear GBVoice's recording

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

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: MikeinGA

435 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear MikeinGA's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: kecker316

352 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kecker316's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: jpconn

321 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jpconn's recording

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

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest ending Tuesday, September 5

Contest Title:

Change of Mind

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: sreichert

656 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sreichert's recording

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

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

2nd place winner: Tonia

516 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Tonia's recording

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

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: Robin Rowan

456 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Robin Rowan's recording

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

Free DAW webinar!

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contest ending Monday, August 7

Contest Title:

Security

Director's Notes:

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

Script:

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

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

Results

Why Some Voice-Talent Didn't Win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st place winner: stcst

274 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear stcst's recording

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

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

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

2nd place winner: nickpmathews

498 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear nickpmathews's recording

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

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

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

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

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

3rd place winner: lesfrommelbourne

419 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lesfrommelbourne's recording

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

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See prize details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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