Edge Studio

Tuesday February 19

ONE DAY SPECIAL

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

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

Monthly Audition Contest!

Archived contests

Contest ending Thursday, January 31

Contest Title:

Looking at you

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a TV commercial voice-over about investing. You are the parent of a young woman, as you reminisce about milestones in her life. You’re proud of her, and proud that you have planned for her future. You’re also just a little bit broken up about it. Please slate your name or username after the script.

Script:

The day you were born, we promised we’d provide for you. There were times it wasn’t easy, but we managed. We all managed. And now – look at you. As you look to your future.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- “FlynnRachelM”  and “katydid7” – for standing out from a pack of very similar reads. This simulated audition called for "pride," but a delivery that runs a gamut of emotions.  Exactly which emotions was left to the talent, but logically they might range from regret, amazement and/or amusement to pride, tearful joy and hopefulness.  Maybe also a bit of concern.  How is a voice actor to cover all that ground in just a few sentences?  The answer, in part, is ... don’t.  A script like this does call for emotional variety, but don’t try to prove your ability by doing the unnecessary and virtually impossible task of showing more emotions than appropriate.  DO make some decisions, choosing real, relevant emotions that show contrast and credibility.  It has to be honest. Here are some tips for hitting that high mark.
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
Decide how to read a scene by asking yourself a series of questions.  Some answers will be defined by the script or instructions, and some will be left to you, as you define your character.  Key questions are:
  • Who are you?
  • Where are you?
  • Who are you talking to?
Other defining questions you might ask include:
  • Why are you saying this? 
  • What action or response does your character want from the other character?  
  • How is unseen and unheard character reacting as you speak?
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
Begin and stay in an appropriate character.  But even a very experienced actor may find it difficult to lapse into a particular emotion without warm-up. Experience helps, but so does this:  Pre-voicing.  Write out or ad-lib a sentence or two that would naturally precede your line. That helps get you fully up-to-speed; your mind, your voice, your manner all making you sound convincing, natural, like a regular human being. 
 
In fact, you can do this for each change of emotion, just being sure you leave a clean break and that you don’t change your recording and mic’ing technique. When you have your takes, cleanly edit out everything except the script. 

Be sure that your characters are appropriate and realistic, and that they won't turn off the listener.  Many entrants in this contest used overly dramatic character voices, which sounded fake. And they dragged out those fake voices. (They either read phrases or sentences -- even the entire script -- in the same fake character, or they read ver-r-ry slowly with lo-n-n-ngbreaks between phrases). Either way, the recording dragged.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
Respect punctuation, but be your own person.  Almost everyone paused too long at the first comma (“The day you were born,”). Boring!  Yes, it’s a comma, but it’s not the complete thought. Rather than pause there, maybe respect extend the word “born” or use inflection?  
 
And the last sentence. It’s not even a complete sentence, so what’s going on there?  Many people came to a full stop before it. What is the point of that statement? What is your character thinking? Is it a warning? An afterthought? A shift of focus from “we” to “you”? (The questions in Tip #1 will help answer this.)  Did the scriptwriter mean to stop there, or is it an error?  As we said, you should respect punctuation, and respect the scriptwriter’s intentions. But some writers are not voice-acting experts.  It’s your job to help things make sense.

1st place winner: FlynnRachelM

100 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear FlynnRachelM's recording

She has all the right emotions, and there is some variety. But much of her manner is a little bit too dramatic, too contrived. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/January Edge Contest (Looking at You)_FlynnR.mp3

2nd place winner: katydid7

161 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear katydid7's recording

She, too, conveys all the right emotions, but they are all too dramatic, contrived. The recording is noisy, with a high-pitched buzz.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/K Brannan Edge Jan 29 2019 .mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Thursday, January 31 click below

Contest ending Friday, December 28

Contest Title:

Across the River

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a children’s audiobook containing fables and brain teasers. This script is from the old story about the farmer needing to cross a river in a small boat that cannot carry his full load – which is himself, a goose, a dog, and an open sack of grain. Speak in the narrator’s voice; do special voices for the characters, but make them still sound like the narrator speaking.

Script:

“If I take you with dog,” he said to the goose, “he’ll chase you all over creation while I come back for the grain."
“Then, by all means, take me with the grain,” said the goose.
“But he’ll eat all the grain!” warned the dog.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- “StanleyJ,” “DanIsgro,” and “Laurie Lane Voice” – for successfully walking a fairly unusual tightrope.  This month’s contest called for an audiobook narrator to do character voices, but always still sound like the narrator. That much is true with many narrated audiobooks, but not usually stated in audition directions. So actors' approaches will differ. Some voice actors, in addition to a “narrator’s” voice (possibly their everyday voice) are able to do a whole community of character voices that are sustainable and sound realistic.  Many other voice actors simply change their voice or manner in some way that differentiates each character from the others. So, why did this audition's Director's Notes explicitly ask for the latter?  And how do you find the right line? Here are some tips for hitting such a mark.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
Above all, the usual criteria still apply: Can the listener tell the characters apart, and apart from the narrator? Notice that in this script, it’s especially important, because the narrator’s “he said/she said” part comes after the character speaks. Once you’ve seen the script, it can be hard to ignore what you know from it. To tell if your characters are distinguishable, consider having a friend listen to your recording. See if they have any difficulty telling when one speaker ends and another begins.  
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
To get your head around the client’s instructions, try to understand where they’re coming from.  This advice applies to many VO jobs.  Although experienced directors know many ways to politely move talent in the desired direction, that’s not always the case. And even then, you may sometimes wonder, “What exactly do they mean by that”? If you aren’t able to ask for clarification, think of a possible scenario that matches what you’ve been asked to do. In other words, in the case of this assignment, ask yourself WHY would they want you to “do special voices for the characters, but make them still sound like the narrator speaking”?  Well, one clue is that this book is aimed at young children.  So a possible explanation might be that the client wants it to sound as if narrated by a parent – and parents are not generally great character actors. But remember Tip #1: You still have to differentiate the characters.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
There are more ways to differentiate characters than doing “characters.”  This story (or at least, what we know of it) has four voices: The human (“he”), the goose, and the dog, plus the Narrator (the person who says “he said ...”.  When there are few characters, you can differentiate them simply by raising and lowering the pitch of your voice – up for the goose, down for the dog. Other ways to help tell them apart is to pause a bit before the character starts.  Or you might change their manner – maybe one character speaks more quickly than the other (but not too quickly to be understood).  Can you think of other mannerisms that would be immediately apparent, so the listener will instantly be clued which character is speaking? 
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #4
When reading to children, bear their nature in mind.  Most kids love scary and nasty characters, but like people of any age, they would be turned off by a really obnoxious voice.  Which is why virtually no script or casting director calls for even bad guys to sound truly obnoxious. Although we didn’t encounter anyone who sounded that repellent, we did hear some rather gruff and harsh voices that would not appeal to kids. Or rather, the talent spoke in a harsh manner.  If your own voice or manner is naturally gruff, practice ways to mellow it out when necessary -- such as modulating your pitch, softening your “attack,” speaking more softly, raising your pitch, or being more vocally free (with less tension in your voice), and being careful not to add harshness in audio processing. Working on this with your voice-over coach may help.

1st place winner: StanleyJ

273 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear StanleyJ's recording

His performance favors the side of sounding like the Narrator throughout. He always has the same voice, but it works. For one thing, it is consistent, and the voice is clearly sustainable. His read does have some creativity and variety, it’s nicely paced, and his pauses help to designate who is speaking. If directed to add a bit more variety, say by changing pitch, he’d be right on the mark. One pause of another sort, between "warned" and "the dog," is a bit disconcerting, but it’s verrry slight and easily tweaked. The recording quality is okay, except for mouth clicks.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Across the River_StanleyJ.mp3

2nd place winner: DanIsgro

216 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear DanIsgro's recording

He shows creativity, and tends to be vocally free. But he is also too loud at times. If a kid were listening on headphones, it could be too powerful. Actually, the final file is not entirely too loud, but some parts are much louder than others, to the point of being louder than 0 dB -- on the words “dog,” “back,” and when the goose is speaking. (This is apparent in software’s graphic representation, where the peaks are flattened, not pointy, or go off the chart.) What’s more, going “into the red” causes distortion that remains even when the overall volume is later lowered. The solution? After your first real take or two, check to be sure your recording levels are correct. Except for these overmodulated peaks and possible overprocessing, recording quality is good. We’ll presume that a director will advise him to lower his vocal and/or recording volume.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/DanIsgro_December_EdgeContest01.mp3

3rd place winner: Laurie Lane Voice

196 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Laurie Lane Voice's recording

The characters sound more like characters, rather than the narrator speaking, but not at all outside the bounds of direction. She has good pacing to differentiate them, and where the narrator herself was speaking (e.g., “said the dog”) she was consistently in her unaffected voice. In fact, she might have used a bit more exaggeration, the way a parent might read to a small child in bed. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/LaurieLaneAcrossTheRiverAuditionContestDec2018.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, December 28 click below

Contest ending Friday, November 30

Contest Title:

Truck Line

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a promotional video about a new, heavy-duty, 4WD pickup truck. Slate with only your username, before the script.

Script:

Welcome to reality. For once in your life, you’re gonna welcome a rocky future. Bring ‘em on! If you can find the line, this partner can make the way. Yep, sometimes a good line actually works.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- “Ken Young,” “kondaguey ” and “Melissaharlowvo” -- for bringing it on!  This month’s contest called for, well, it’s hard to tell exactly what it called for, because the Director’s Notes didn’t go into detail.  So that was both a challenge and an opportunity for our contestants. To take advantage of challenges such as this, it often helps to come up with good answers for some standard questions:
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
Before you record, decide what you’ll record. What’s the situation described by the script?  Who are you in that situation? (An observer? A driver? An engineer? An owner?) Who are you talking to? What’s your emotion (or emotions)? These are useful questions even if the script or client just calls for a “narrator” or for you to “just be yourself.”  
 
By all means, in most voice-over situations, being yourself and talking naturally is good advice. You’ll sound more genuine (thus more believable) and there’s nobody else in the world who sounds exactly like you (possibly one of the reasons they cast you!).  By answering questions such as these (to yourself), you help avoid the trap of reading stereotypically.  And thus you won't sound like everybody else (one of the reasons they might cast you!).  
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
Let’s focus on “What’s your emotion?”, because many people didn’t get that part right.  The Director’s Notes didn’t specify the emotion, style, or anything like that. All we know about this video is what we find in the script: apparently it’s a pickup truck driving over challenging rocky terrain.  It’s a promotional video, so you can probably also assume that it calls for “confidence” to be expressed in some way.  
 
But some people had no emotion. They sounded like they were reading with a blank stare. Others sounded like they had a big, constant smile on their face. That’s a start. In fact, you might even expect the narrator of this demonstration to be wearing what’s sometimes described as a “sh**-eatin’ grin.”  But smiling throughout, without knowing “why,” can be boring, or artificial, even insipid. What caused that grin, really?  Decide on reason and go with it.
 
Pick the specific emotion you want to express. It might differ with each sentence.  Or even with each phrase.  Satisfaction? Smugness?  Nervous concern? Surprise? Pride? All of these emotions, and others, could describe various statements in the script. 
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
Being natural is easier said than done.  Sometimes it’s hard to forget there’s a mic in front of you and imagine you’re actually talking to an individual.  Coaches and directors will sometimes advise, “Pick a person, someone you know, and talk to them as you normally would.” That’s excellent advice, but it can be hard to follow. The person is NOT in front of you. Mentally, how do you get around that?  
 
Two ways:
 
a) Trust your natural voice. Many people tried to sound like the burly truck VO guy that is typically associated with this category and setting. But if you don’t sound like that, don’t stretch to fake it. You’ll probably just sound artificial or even weird. The “sell” and reality is to be found in whatever emotion and tone you project via your natural voice.   
 
b) When you record, hold the phone, literally. Instead of “visualizing” your friend, brother or sister, “talk to them” while holding a handset.  They’re not on the other end, but it will help get you out of announcer-land and into personal, one-to-one communication.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #4
When slating instructions are given, slate exactly as instructed.  The Director’s Notes said to slate “using only username.” Almost a dozen people used their real name. Some added words, such as “Hi, this is ...”, or their phone number.   So here’s another question to ask yourself:  “Did I read and follow instructions precisely?”  Before you send off your recording (in fact, before you even start editing and processing), ask yourself this, every time.  

1st place winner: Ken Young

273 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Ken Young's recording

Good! He’s consistent, but that’s both good and not-so-good. While the “personality” and energy in his read are sustained (that's good), it would be nice to hear more emotional variety from line to line. Also, although he nicely values virtually every word, he's a bit sloppy at the ends of some words. In particular, he exhales an "uh" sound when he slates ("ken young-uh") and says "bring 'em on-uh." This is easy to fix, so he should be aware of it and correct it, either in his performance or in post, rather than giving the engineer more work. The recording quality is generally good, except for a tiny bit of resonance and a tiny hollow quality in the recording.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Ken Young - Truck Line.mp3

2nd place winner: kondaguey

231 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear kondaguey's recording

He’s consistent and values most words. We very much like the chuckle at the end, on "actually." But he's a bit stiff-sounding in the first half. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Contest_10.mp3

3rd place winner: Melissaharlowvo

232 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Melissaharlowvo's recording

We like her playfulness. Also, unlike our other two winners, she adds some emotional variety throughout her audition. However, she speaks way too fast. Slowing down would help the viewer take in the message and demonstration, and help synchronize her read with the visual. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Truck Line Melissa HarlowVO.mp3

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

Contest ending Friday, November 2

Contest Title:

Animated Animals

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a children’s video about the varied lives of animals. Among the voices we need are: a goose, a horse, and a dog. We haven’t yet decided which animal will get some lines. Choose one of these three animals only, and do the line in character. They’re talking about something that another animal has just done. First slate in your real voice, giving your name or username, plus which animal you've chosen ("goose", "horse" or "dog").

Script:

I’ve seen that trick so often, I bet I know how to do it. You just stand here on the edge, and, well, you put your feet together, and then – okay watch me – you do this. Well, I could do it if I wanted.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- “MikeinGA,” “sfleming1” and “Suzanne” -- for giving us extra-creative reads among a very creative bunch.  This month’s contest was both a challenge and an opportunity, because it let everyone choose which one of three characters they wanted to do, and the script allowed a lot of latitude in its interpretation.  From the sound of things, interpretations varied widely.  What’s actually going on in this scene?  Neither the Director’s Notes nor the script says exactly.  So a lot depended on what our voice actors saw in their “mind’s eye.”   Some people might consider the phrase “in the mind’s eye” as redundant (“in the mind” will suffice), but to a voice actor, it helps to have that visual focus. Here are some tips on setting the stage in the “theater of the mind.”
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
When given the opportunity to show creativity, take it.  And this script is a terrific time to do so.  Envisioning the scene will help you make it more interesting to you, thus helping to make you (or in this case, your character) more interesting to your listener.  This script is a great example.  The Director’s notes say only that your character has viewed another character doing “something” but the Notes don’t say what that action was. It involves standing “on the edge.” But is it the edge of a stream? A broad jump? A cliff? Is it something difficult? Dangerous? Easy? A disappearing magic trick? Your own character’s attitude and behavior will vary accordingly.  So, before you read,  first “see” the scene unfold. Use your imagination to think of an interesting situation within the context of the lines ... one that will let you show off the personality of the character you choose to do. For the purposes of this audition, it doesn’t matter what is actually happening in the overall story (ultimately it will matter, but this client has intentionally been vague), as long as what’s happening in your mind is interesting or fun, and it comes out in your voice.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
In many cartoons these days, the actors use their “real” voices. But when asked to do a character, do a character.  This is a big opportunity!   In case there was any doubt here, note that the slating instructions say to “slate in your real voice.” Clearly, the client wants you to perform in a character voice.  It doesn’t need to be an extreme character, but it should be interesting, real (even if unusual or quirky), and not obnoxious (there are many obnoxious characters in voice acting, but for obvious reason, no producer wants theirs to have a completely repellent voice).  Here’s a tip: Develop and practice an assorted collection of stock characters that you can call forth on short notice. Grow them from their various personalities and situations. Some voice actors even give their characters back stories. Then, when you need a special voice, you can quickly call one of your characters to life, perhaps changing him or her (or it) slightly to match the character in the script at hand.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
When asked to slate in one voice and audition in another, recognize that the casting team may be considering you for multiple voices: so follow their slating directions.  Slate as directed.  Really, it’s important anytime, but especially in an audition.  When specific slating instructions are given, it’s for a reason. You don’t need to know that reason, only that there probably is one.  In this case, by being told which animal you’re portraying, the listener can envision your character, and -- more importantly – they may learn something about your ability to give your character certain relevant qualities. Remember:  slating as instructed won’t get you the job, but – everything else being equal  -- improper slating could lose you the job, with the client thinking maybe you’re inattentive or unable to follow direction. 
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP # 4 
Let the scene play out.  When you watch great screen and stage actors, sometimes you’ll hear rapid-fire dialog, even overlapping lines, but often you’ll hear significant pauses. That’s their character reacting, thinking about what to say. In most voice acting, with only your voice to hold attention, long pauses are a terrific way of allowing the listener time to watch what is happening, but don't over-do it. And be sure not to let the copy drag.  Nevertheless, don’t rush it (as many of our contestants did). You should allow your character time to think. And hey, not so coincidentally, that also gives your listener time to think and react to what you’ve said. Listeners need to “see” the scene, too!

 

1st place winner: MikeinGA

307 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear MikeinGA's recording
He’s great, moving through the material quickly ENOUGH THAT IT DOESN'T DRAG, BUT STILL WITH TIME FOR THE LISTENER TO IMAGE WHAT IS HAPPENING. but not too fast.  That is, his read has energy and doesn’t drag.  His choice of voice is creative and the character has nice variety. Recording quality is good, except it distorts on "You do this."   
/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/MikeinGA dog.mp3

2nd place winner: sfleming1

243 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear sfleming1's recording
Another creative read, with nice variety. We like the squeaky quality in her voice, which obviously she exaggerated and repeated to sound like a goose.  However she missed some pronunciations.  In particular, she pronounced the “T” in “often, yet, ironically, skipped over the T sound in “wanted.”  (Standard American English pronunciation of “often” omits the T.   Depending on the role, it might be in character to pronounce it. However, in an audition, we recommend not letting the screener think you don’t know the difference.)  Recording quality is good.
/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Animated animals contest - unknown album - 00 - 102118, 11.46 AM.mp3

3rd place winner: Suzanne

225 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Suzanne's recording
She was very creative.  If this were an actual audition for a job to be recorded in our studio, where we could direct her, we’d certainly consider HER for the role.  But her creativity went too far in one way, and fell short in another.   There are too many different voices for one character: valley girl, vocal fry girl, and squeaky girl.  Rather than making it more interesting, it becomes confusing and hard to follow.  What’s more (or less), the changes in vocal qualities are the only variety.  The whole read has the same over-the-top bubbly cutesy tone, eventually becoming monotonous.  She rescued it with her last sentence.  THAT SAID, SHE'S VERY CREATIVE, AND WE LIKE THAT STORY-TELLING QUALITY.  It’s apparent from her read that her character tried to do whatever action is involved, but did not succeed. That extra bit of “story,” showed she was thinking (as was her character), and the last line is nicely delivered, interesting but not over-the-top. By the way, she extended the slate by including the words “as the”, but that would still be in line with the Director’s Notes, because they didn't give an exact example.   As for recording quality, her studio is a bit resonant, and there’s some noise between the slate and audition.  
/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Suzanne.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Friday, November 2 click below

Contest ending Monday, October 1

Contest Title:

Typical Day

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a corporate video used in recruitment. Slate your name or username first. The script is excerpted from a video used our recruitment process, describing our account executives’ typical day. At punctuation, make clean breaks, where we’ll add time if necessary to synchronize to the video.

Script:

Grab some coffee and get settled in by 9. When there’s a gap in incoming calls, you’ll make outgoing cold calls. You love those, right? Actually, no call is cold when you’ve warmed to our proven technique.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- DanielGreenberg, gmura, and JasonArnold! This script describes an office job that to some people might seem unusually demanding. For example, it’s not a “9-to-5” job. It’s a “get here before 9 so you’re actually producing by 9” job.  Yet, the employer seems to have a sense of humor, judging by the script’s bit of irony and a play on words.  How to merge these qualities in your voicing?  Some people successfully traversed that narrow path, even having fun in their read while maintaining a businesslike tone.  Here are some tips to help hit your mark next time.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
Use the humor, but keep it real. One fun part of the script is where it plays on the words “cold” and “warmed.”  It's important to hit both these words, so the listener hears the comparison and gets the joke.  Yet it's also important to not hit either word too hard, or you'll focus the listener’s attention on the joke, rather than on the thought you’re expressing. So this is one of those times when the best way to deliver a funny line may be to play it straight.  That still works, because most humor is based in reality. The humor should emerge from the statement itself and/or the situation. The actor’s task is to make both of those factors clear, yet “painfully real.” That doesn’t necessarily mean you should deliver every humorous line deadpan. Have fun. Done subtly, a little hit can be great.  But a verbal elbow in the ribs is not the kind of “pain” we mean. 
(We recently explored this topic in our 3-part series, “What makes something funny?”)
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
Think about what the script really means to say to your listener.  Another humorous moment in this script is the sentence about cold calls: “You love those, right?”  It’s ironic, because actually, probably most people don’t.  If you play the line so straight that it seems the employer assumes the listener does love cold calling, many listeners might cool off with regard to this job.  Remember, the script is a recruitment video.  So take your cue from the script and its objective. Look at the next line. It explains that this employer makes cold-calling unscary. Setting up that thought, by hitting the word “love” just right, can greatly improve the impact of this statement.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
Don’t rush your delivery. Speak at a natural pace. But what is a “natural pace,” anyway? After all, in real life some people talk quickly, others talk more slowly. The difference is this: When voice-acting, many people speed up, reading faster than they would normally speak. In some cases, it was probably not a conscious decision – it’s just the pace they fell into.  In other cases, it comes from a sense of “energy.”  Either way, remember to give your listener time to comprehend. 
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #4
Speak clearly, but naturally.  Energy is good, but if it comes at the expense of clarity and listener comprehension, that’s bad.  But don’t over-enunciate. That’s unnatural, too.  Just be sure you pronounce all the syllables, without unnecessary pausing or making everything “too crisp.”

1st place winner: DanielGreenberg

343 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear DanielGreenberg's recording

Very good: His voice is steady and tension-free, and the words are clearly spoken. He sounds interesting without sounding theatrical. We would caution, though, that he’s very close to that line. Hitting a few words is good. Hitting as many as he did in the last sentence (“warmed,” “our” and “proven”) begins to sound artificial.  However, he rushes the first word of most phrases (especially "when" and "you'll" and "You..."). A listener, without the benefit  of the script, and with music mixed in, might find these words a challenge to discern ... especially if English is not their native language.  The recording quality is okay, except for being too resonant, and equalized to emphasize mid tones. The result sounds rather hollow.  

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Greenberg - Edge Studio Sept 18 Contest.mp3

2nd place winner: gmura

273 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear gmura's recording

A solid read with nice variety.  However, he’s trying too hard, with too much vocal tension. The tension is apparent in factors such as glottal stops (that is, a momentary closing of the throat before initial vowel sounds, as with "incoming" and outgoing").  This choppiness may have resulted from an obvious effort to enunciate.  It sounds forced, resulting in style that’s harsh, not friendly. Despite this special effort, he missed the "t" on "right?" Not a major flaw, given the way he said it. But ironic. And more important in this case, because this is an audition, where screeners listen for such details. He could have included a bit of T sound without sounding unnatural or “British.”   Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/EdgeContestSep18_GMura_2.mp3

3rd place winner: JasonArnold

217 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JasonArnold's recording

Through most of his read, he goes too fast, but at the end he slows down.  Although he overplayed the “cold/warm” thing just a bit, it did serve to slow him down to the pace he should have throughout.  A pace that’s slightly more deliberate and conversational would also give him an opportunity to include more variety.  Recording quality is good, except the volume level is much too low on his first name. This won’t prevent him from being considered, but does sell his first impression a bit short. The volume then comes up to just a few dB shy of a good level for the rest of his audition.

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

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

Contest ending Friday, September 7

Contest Title:

Model Club

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a TV commercial about a combination health club and camp. In the commercial, a model is speaking to camera, but instead of using their voice, we will substitute ADR talent (automated dialog replacement). The campaign has a wide variety of commercials, so we’re looking for male and female, and a variety of ages, voice types and accents. Give us just one read, in a natural voice that you do can do again and again. No slate.

Script:

This is my favorite place. And this is my favorite way to enjoy it. Would you like to join me? Maybe that can be arranged. Call this number now, and let’s get healthy.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- SaraSounds, RandoVO, and Solwondervo! Sounds like they would find Automated Dialog Replacement (ADR) interesting. Producers use ADR for many reasons. Sometimes the location has background noise, so the voice needs to be re-recorded. Or the on-camera actor looks perfect for the role but doesn’t have the voice for it. Or speaks with an accent. Sometimes in a short commercial it’s just easier and more economical to cast and record the voice(s) separately.  The Director’s Notes for this simulated audition didn’t give the reason, but no matter.  Follow good VO principles and follow direction, and you’re off to a good start. Here are some tips to help you finish better.

EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
When directed to sound natural, use a natural delivery.  This seemed difficult for many people, as most sounded too salesy, too polished, or announcery. Natural means your unaffected, regular voice – using whatever emotion you would use in a particular conversation.  Further, the clue in this case is that the on-camera talent is in a real-world situation.  He or she seems to be a trainer, camp counselor, or coach.  So – as is often the case – it was better to sound like you’re “just talking” to a friend, rather than “just selling” to a prospect.

 

EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
There's rarely a reason to sound sexy – and the few times there is, the Director will typically ask for it.  Yet a lot of people tried to sound sultry or flirty.  Why? The Director Notes said the client is casting various ages, voice types and accents. What’s more, this client is a “camp” – which could be anything from campfires and cabins, to paramilitary training or weight loss. So where did “sexy” come from?  Perhaps from the coy statement, “Maybe that can be arranged”? Or because no specific visual or activity is mentioned?  Whatever the reason, the tip here is that sexy double-entendre was not a unique approach.  So either these people stood out in the wrong way ... as inappropriate, or not “natural” or just unimaginative. Instead, think about fresh, relevant ways to stand out from the crowd.  For example, almost no one “played” with the enigmatic “that can be arranged” line by saying it with a big smile or sense of irony.

 

EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
Natural also means to speak without much precision.  Yet quite a few people were too precise.  Few people naturally speak with the level of precision we sometimes hear in voice-overs. But there’s another reason this hurts your performance.  Such caution can be heard in your voice.  In trying to sound “perfect,” you’re focusing on your read instead of what you’re saying. In addition to making you sound artificial, it distracts you from incorporating expressive possibilities, whether serendipitous or planned.

1st place winner: SaraSounds

376 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear SaraSounds's recording

 Recording quality is good. She was one of the few people to add a bit of variety throughout the spot, just a touch to keep it interesting.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Studio Monthly Audition Contest_TV_Commercial_August18_Sara Sheckells.mp3

2nd place winner: RandoVO

346 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear RandoVO's recording

He’s right at the intersection of natural and too perfect.  His young voice is matched by a young sort of energy, but speed also makes him sloppy at points: "enjoy it" sounds like "enjoy'ih" and "would you" sounds like a very fast "woo-joo". Technically, the recording is good, except it’s a bit low in level and there’s some mouth noise (mostly after the first two phrases).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/RandoVO.August.Contest.mp3

3rd place winner: Solwondervo@gmail.com

294 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Solwondervo@gmail.com's recording

Mostly good, except that she starts in a sensual manner that’s somewhat slow but the speed picks up toward the end. If she had a touch of smile or other emotion in her voice, she would have the requested “natural” quality. The recording’s technical quality is mostly good, but there’s a hint of reverb, it’s a bit low in audio level, and it’s a bit sibilant.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/edge831contest - 8_30_18.mp3

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

Contest ending Tuesday, July 31

Contest Title:

A/C Rebates

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for Telephone Messaging for an electric utility. Customers will hear this message while they are waiting on hold. Be friendly and confident. Don’t add any music. Slate your username at the end.

Script:

A representative will be with you shortly. Meanwhile, summer is already here at L.G. Energy! If it’s time to enjoy a new air conditioner, you’ll also enjoy knowing about our money-saving rebates. Ask your representative about them.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners -- Ad-onvoice, Claire Gresham, and (tied for Third) jtaylor379 and cas367! Their auditions made a potentially impersonal (and hypothetical) electric utility sound friendly and interesting. That was the goal when the Director’s Notes said to be “friendly and confident.” We had many good reads. Here are some things to be learned from them..

EDGE STUDIO TIP #1

Add personality to your delivery. Your personality. You can't do this on every script. But you can on most. And scripts such as this, where your client's customer base is the public, are a good place to add it. Consider that casting teams hear endless candidates who make the "safe," stereotypical "happytalk" choice. By the end of audition screening, those become rather boring. Clients usually prefer to hire candidates who trust their own voice and let their own personality come through. When you come across as a special, interesting sort of person, the client is more likely to choose you, the fresh-sounding personality who also has the specified qualities. Auditioners like that are relatively rare.

EDGE STUDIO TIP #2

Be precise and correct in the way you speak, the way you record, and the way you follow instructions. For example, on half a dozen of this month’s recordings, the volume was way too low. (Optimal for most auditions is to have your volume peak at about -3 dB.) And, four people did not slate. (Yet another person slated with his email address, not his username.) And a lot of people slurred their words together. The good news is that correcting things like these is relatively easy. To do so, listen back critically to your recording before you choose your take, and before you send it. Does it conform fully to the instructions? Is it similar in volume to known-professional recordings you play back on the same system with the same settings? And, if you were someone else without the script in front of you, would you easily understand every word?

EDGE STUDIO TIP #3

Practice reading smoothly. “Smoothness” includes many factors. One of them is easily corrected – too many pauses. An unnecessary pause breaks the flow of thought, and thus the listener’s attention. Sometimes it even changes the meaning. For example, in “Meanwhile, summer is already here,” many people paused after the word “meanwhile,” as if it had a dash or an ellipsis (...) after it, not just a comma. So it came across as “Meanwhile, here’s the mandatory message, which I must read but you can ignore.” They were thinking of the script as a phone message. Instead, think of it as “real thoughts from a friend.”

1st place winner: ad-onvoice

539 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear ad-onvoice's recording

This one stood out for her happy yet authoritative manner.  We especially like the proud, upbeat tone she gave to the company name. (More on that in a moment.)  She is smooth and moves us along without having us feel rushed. Her recording is also solid from a technical standpoint, being consistent in volume, and absent of noise and distortion.

Now, about the company name ("L.G. Energy"): She read it as simply “L.G.,” and said the word “Energy!” as an exclamation.  In fact, looking at the script’s punctuation, that’s a logical interpretation. In a real-world audition, she would probably know (or could look up) the client's name. Regardless, we like the “joy” in her voice, and trust she can keep that quality after being corrected.

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

2nd place winner: Claire Gresham

382 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Claire Gresham's recording

Very nice.  Friendly and confident.  She infuses a lovely personality and like our First Place winner, she also moves us along without having us feel rushed .... except a few words were a tad fast, such as rushing the beginning of the client name. (The "L" sound will be hard to hear once mixed with music.)  The recording quality was good, and it sounded optimally equalized for use over a phone line, which emphasizes mid-range frequencies.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge Monthly Contest July - Claire Gersham.mp3

3rd place winner: cas367

328 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear cas367's recording

He, too, sounds friendly yet confident and authoritative, very much like a "traditional" spokesperson. The read is a hair fast at times, and occasionally slurred. And there’s no reason to have paused so long after "meanwhile," for reasons explained above.  From a technical standpoint, it’s good, except that he’s too close to the mic.  That makes his sound a bit distorted and sibilant, and makes him seem too "in your face."  Complicating this effect, the recording is overly “gated,” which makes his phrases start and end very abruptly – a sort of “electronic glottal stop.”

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Tuesday, July 31 click below

Contest ending Monday, July 9

Contest Title:

Home Inspection

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a radio commercial for a real estate brokerage company. You are the company's spokesperson. In this excerpt, you are outdoors at the beginning, and as you speak you come indoors. So outdoors, as people usually do, you'll need to talk a little louder. Slate your name or username before.

DO NOT ADD SOUND EFFECTS OF ANY KIND. Make the transition smooth, without a long pause. It doesn't need to be exactly where indicated. If we need time for the sound effects, we'll add it in post.

Script:

(OUTDOORS. SFX: Outdoor ambiance, birds, etc.)

That’s trouble. But our 50-point Home Inspection spotted it right off.

(SFX: DOOR LATCH)

(INDOORS. SFX: Indoor ambiance.)

So buyer and seller could work out a price to fix it. Now, it really will be the home of their dreams. Instead of a nightmare.

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners AWBVoice, jorgensenvocals, and jtaylor379! There was great competition from the rest of the field in this month's contest. Here are a few takeaways to help improve your auditions!

EDGE STUDIO TIP #1
In conversations, people speak in a loose and unscripted manner. We instinctively say what comes to mind. We respond to both the context and emotional undertone of a conversation. As we move from sentence to sentence, our emotional inflections change. As an exercise, before beginning a read try to map out the script’s emotional journey. Where you can find subtle moments of fear, trust, surprise, and joy?

EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
The energy of a read is a important component that can send you to the top of a client’s shortlist. It can be hard to find the connection to an audition script because they are often excerpts of a larger script taken out of context. Staying aware of your energy level as you read will help you to convey a sense of enthusiasm and belief in what your saying that will come across as genuine.

1st place winner: AWBVoice

487 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear AWBVoice's recording

He has a strong start to the read with a clear and un-rushed slate. The read has great pacing. He provides a nice touch of personality with the “Oh” at the top and the emotional change on the phrase “could work out a price”. The recording quality is slightly tinny but overall is very good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/AWBVoice - EdgeStudios Home Inspection.mp3

2nd place winner: jorgensenvocals

372 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jorgensenvocals's recording

He takes the read in an interesting direction, towards that of an announcer rather than a conversationalist. While the read sounds bold and authoritative, the addition of a chuckle in the last sentence is a nice touch. Introducing his natural personality brings another layer to the character in those moments, it would be great to get more of that through out the entire read.

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

3rd place winner: jtaylor379

331 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear jtaylor379's recording

Her slate was clear but a little rushed. It contrasted well with the tone of her voice at the top of the read. She had a good feel for the assignment and smoothly transitioned from the higher volume outdoors portion of the script to the lower volume indoor portion. Similar to our second place winner, incorporating more personality and a more dynamic emotional range would add another layer to the read.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Taylor, Jessica - Home Inspection.mp3

To view all entries from
Contest ending Monday, July 9 click below

Contest ending Monday, June 4

Contest Title:

Country Doctor

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an audiobook about a doctor who has begun serving a rural community. The doctor is female. The patient in this scene is male. Although the book is written in a traditional narrative style, in this passage there is no attribution. That is, no "he said"/"she said." So you must make clear which character is speaking by your voice and manner. The patient is by nature used to getting his way, but currently is somewhat scared. The doctor is professional, but knows she needs to avoid offending patients in this small town. Slate your first name or username after.

Script:

"I've never had a cold last this long. I know I need an antibiotic! Now!"

"Mr. Prentice, it’s a virus. There is no antibiotic for it. But I could prescribe some codeine —

"Oh, no ... not that!"

Remember to check Archived Contests at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

This month’s simulated audition is a snippet of an audiobook audition. (Typical audiobook auditions are usually many minutes long.) In our tale of a small-town doctor, a patient doesn’t want to mess with an opiate, even one so often prescribed as codeine. We can’t judge the medical advice, but we did judge the voice acting. Here’s why some people didn’t win ... and tips on improving:

-------------------------------

Being an audiobook novel, its characters are voiced by the book’s narrator, and in this passage, the only way for the listener to know which character is speaking is through the narrator’s changes in voice quality, pitch, and manner. (The writer didn’t include the usual “He said, she said” clues.) Although many people clearly worked at establishing characters and differentiating their voices (with varying degrees of success), there was a lot of what we can only call bad acting. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: We hope you’ll stay well, but next time you’re ill, try to remember not just how you feel physically, but also how you sound. In fact, take note of how you sound in various physical states, so that you're able to convey that in any character VO that may come your way.

In some cases, people overacted. One or both characters didn’t sound real, as if they were really talking to each other. Some people seemed focused on an accent or vocal quality, rather than emotion and real feelings. The problem with that? The exaggerated character can inconsistent or tiresome – especially over the course of an entire book. It might be a good voice for a cartoon, but for a real person, maybe pull it back a bit. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: It’s hard to nail a consistent character when you have only a couple of lines. So, before you record, read some other dialog – or anything – in each character’s voice, until it starts to feel like second nature to you. Heck, you can even read your junk mail, until it no longer feels (and sounds) like you reading your mail out loud, but rather, like the character is. Then record the script. In yet other cases, people didn’t sound like they were making any special effort at all ... they were just reading. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: No one tip will make you an actor. But a tip can get you started: To at least understand what acting is about and set your own goals as a voice actor, talk to your coach about introductory acting lessons. (Acting classes come in many forms, in many venues.)

Some people faked a cold nicely – not too much, just enough. But they missed the even bigger factor in the passage, which is that Mr. Prentice fears taking codeine. In saying, “Not that!”, he even interrupts the doctor. (And note the exclamation point!) As the Director’s Notes said, he is scared – maybe of taking an opiate, maybe by the severity of his cold, maybe both. We didn’t hear any of that that in some reads. In some other reads, the two characters sounded too much alike. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Differentiating these two characters should be more than a matter of pitch range (women’s voices being higher than men’s). They also differ in their manner, which emerges from their attitudes toward each other and their entire view of life. The small-town-native patient is a very different person than the professional-but-compassionate transplanted doctor. These genuine qualities make them real characters, rather than caricatures.

Many people didn’t transition well from one character to the other. Sometimes, the character’s first words still had the vocal quality of the other character. Sometimes there was too long a pause between the characters, which causes confusion as the listener’s mind is allowed to wander. (It’s also not the way real people converse.) EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Play back your recording and listen carefully to the transitions. Do you hear these errors? Using any dialog from a novel or short story, practice transitioning from one character to the other, until your changes are clean and quick.

Some people either didn’t catch the statement that this was an audiobook, or they didn’t realize what an audiobook is -- because in one case two people read the lines, and in other cases, the talent read only one of the characters. Although some audiobooks are recorded with multiple actors (like a radio drama), the vast majority of fiction audiobooks are voiced by one person, a narrator. If there are characters in the book, their lines are read by the narrator, who varies his or her voice usually just enough to differentiate one character from another and convey their personalities. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: The world of voice-over spans many genres. Some are similar (for example, some cartoons and video games), some are very different (for example medical videos and radio imaging), and, maybe surprisingly, many have qualities in common (for example, a medical video meant to educate kids). To be ready for your next challenge and to help decide what type of VO work seems most interesting and suited to you, check our list of genres. Also peruse our Archived Contests (and the rest of EdgeStudio.com) to learn more about the various types.

Some people pronounced the word “antibiotic” as “anti bee otic” instead of the much more common pronunciation, “anti by otic.” So we looked it up. These days, there are an increasing number of authoritative websites where you can not only see how a word is pronounced, but hear it. (For example, see links below.) We found none that said “bee” instead of “by”. It might be a regionalism, maybe even common in our story’s small town, but from this passage we can’t tell where it is (not even what country). We DID find (as expected) differences in the first part of the word. Some people – and some sources – say “an tigh,” others say “an tee.” Some sources give only one option. Where sources give British and American pronunciations, in this case they’re the same. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: So how to say it? For an audition, it would be safer to go with a mainstream pronunciation from one of these authorities. But each character says it once. You could differentiate their personalities a bit (and show your creativity) by having him say it one way, her say it the other.

http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=antibiotic https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/pronunciation/english/antibiotic https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antibiotic

Some recordings had very poor audio quality. Some people sounded like they were speaking into a phone or tablet on the table. Others sounded like they used professional equipment, but used it badly, or in a noisy space. (Some people hit the mic, or worked at different distances from it, or too close to it, or recorded the characters separately and at different volume levels.) In some cases, the reads were so low in volume that they were hard to hear. Some recording spaces were reverberant. And sometimes we heard edits. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: In recording an actual audiobook, you’re unlikely to record the characters separately and then stitch it all together. Learn to read a passage such as this in a single take, making the transitions in real time. In this case, you might tighten the words a bit where he interrupts her, but it should still sound as if naturally read.

Slating was a sloppy situation. Most people slated as requested (“first name or username after.”), but half a dozen didn’t slate at all. Some slated before their read, not after. Some slated before and after. And some extended the slate, drawing it out beyond what was specified. EDGE STUDIO VOICE-OVER TIP: Opinions differ as to how to slate, what to say, and even whether to slate at all. We have summarized the various situations and considerations in our Edge Studio Slating Guide. But one thing is sure: If slating instructions are included, then slate exactly as they direct.

NOTE: This week, there is no Third Place winner. Only two entries rose to podium level.

1st place winner: Dr Bev

501 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Dr Bev's recording

Nice job, just what the doctor ordered. Her regionalism works well for the male patient. She comfortably switches characters and infuses each with personality. The coughs and hacking sounds real. (A word of warning, though: we hope her microphone survived the recording.) The recording quality, on the other hand, was not so good. It was a bit low in level, with underlying hiss, and much too reverberant. Her poor audio quality would likely prevent her from being hired (unless the client was going to have her record at a commercial studio).

Free One-Hour Audition-Workout with David Goldberg

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by June 22, 2018 by calling you Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Beverly L Boyarsky.mp3

2nd place winner: lewisch516

296 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lewisch516's recording

Good characters. They sound genuine. From the standpoint of recording quality, generally good. But he was a bit too close to the mic, causing him to sound too "in our face." Stepping back from the mic would be helpful.

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

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

See prize details below.

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

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

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

Claim your prize by June 22, 2018 by calling your Education Advisor at 888-321-EDGE (3343).

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Chris Lewis Media - Contest - Country Doctor.mp3

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

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 at the beginning of each month to see the winners as well as feedback and tips from Edge Studio instructors.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

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

677 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

479 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

426 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

341 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

How to Reach Us

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

Click for Edge location information...

Meet Your Coaches

Edge Alumni Work Everyday

Get free educational
voice over newsletters!

Get free, educational voice over newsletters

Where should we send them?