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Tuesday June 25

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Monthly Audition Contest!

Archived contests

Contest ending Friday, May 31

Contest Title:

Dry Skin

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a TV commercial about a skin moisturizer aimed at older people. But it could be voiced by someone of any age. If you clearly sound younger, it will take on an extra meaning, which we might like. If you sound older, that’s fine, too. But don’t fake an old voice unless it’s totally realistic, and not too old. We stress that sounding old is not important, one way or another. What’s important is that you sound real and sincere. Slate with only your username, before the script.

Script:

As you get older, your skin gets dryer. And your body doesn’t always know how to handle that. Bloshim Cream does. It moisturizes and protects dry skin, more effectively than some other products. I’ll remember 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:

Congratulations to our winners -- billanciaux, lindalee, and Milena24. Their deliveries and interpretations were significantly different, but they were all “correct” and interesting.  This simulated commercial pitch itself is interesting because it allowed for a range of talent, and the sub-message would be affected by the client’s VO choice. Who says a moisturizer pitched at older people can’t be sold by a young person?  It adds an interesting extra angle to the last sentence (“I’ll remember that”). That’s meaningful if spoken by a mature person, but from a younger person, there’s a “remember years from now” subtext. That’s quite an endorsement!  Here are some tips that will help you choose a viewpoint and make the most of the distinctive qualities you offer.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1:
 
Pay attention to technical matters. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!  We usually overlook things like low recording volume, but maybe it’s time we focus on it up-front.  A lot of entries were so low in volume that we had to don headphones and constantly adjust the volume between recordings. On speakers, some could barely be heard above average room noise.  There are several reasons this is important: 
  1. With mainstream VO recording software, the volume is easily adjusted before sending. It’s best to check your levels at all stages of recording, processing and saving your audio. Granted, in digital recording a bit too low level is far better than too loud, and clients' dB preferences differ. But for an audition, unless otherwise requested, bring your final peak setting to about -5 dB, or -10 dB at the quietest.
  2. Although audio professionals know to take volume into account when judging a VO performance, we are nevertheless people.  And in most situations, everything else being equal, a louder recording seems to have more energy and makes a greater psychological impact. Just don’t compress it too much, and never go into the red (greater than 0 dB).
  3. In our contest, and especially in real audition situations, the client might figure “This person would be a contender, just needing a bit of direction or maybe some coaching and practice if there is time.”  But that assumes the contender is a professional, able to vary their performance, take direction, and respond well to coaching.  When you make a simple mistake like including a long silence before or after your cut or failing to slate as directed, or recording way too low, or misreading the client’s brand name, that kills that assumption. 
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1: 
 
Before you record, as you rehearse, think about who you are, where you are, and who is your listener? This will help build the energy and enthusiasm that many entries were missing. In particular, in this script (as we’ve noted above), it will explain what you mean by “I’ll remember that.” Many people read that last line as just a tack-on, in the same voice and tone as the rest of the script. In contrast, some people set it off in some way -- with a short pause or an ad-libbed non-verbal expression (such as “Hmm).  That very short delay gave rationale to a slight change of voice.  Even if they had been sounding like a spokesperson (a “professional voice”), the change-up made that last line seem like personal thought, something not in the script. That makes it stronger.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2 
 
Many commercials have what ad people call a "concept," an underlying subtext. Understanding it can help you define your character, voice, and manner.  For example, if the client casts a young person for a spot aimed at older folk, what are they saying?  Maybe you, the speaker, are showing respect for elders? Or confidently planning for your future? Or you’re a compassionate young physician? Or it’s a “family” thing? Wow! Suddenly this script is more interesting than dry skin!! It may not come out explicitly in your voice, but you may speak with more energy and naturalness if you have this in your mind.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3:
In addition to technical details (discussed above), watch those script and direction details, too.  One of our finalists did not slate. This didn’t disqualify her, but it did complicate our screening process because her identity wasn’t attached to her recording. This could be awkward in a  real-world casting situation. Or it might be just the opposite; for various reasons, the casting crew might want NO slate or a certain type of slate. And they may not be so tolerant. Failure to follow directions might cause them to consider you less than a fully qualified professional -- even a risk -- and they’ll move on. When slating instructions are given, slate as instructed.

1st place winner: billanciaux

161 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear billanciaux's recording

Drumroll, please, because he managed to move away from his stereotypical radio-guy slate to sound like a real-life person, with a sincere, natural delivery. We love the smile, chuckle and variety in his voice. He still has a “spokesman” quality -- rather than an “average-person testimonial” image -- but before the last sentence, he shakes up even that: An adlibbed “hmm” rationalizes a change-up as he says “I’ll remember that.” Another “real” touch is the tiny dramatic pause between "than" and "some other" -- it sounds like he's speaking extemporaneously, thinking twice before deciding not to name the competition. A few things we’d want to hear in a retake: he voiced the product-name sentence as a question ... that is, "does" is up-spoken. (It works, but some clients might want an alternative where their brand name is concerned.) Without a “T” sound, the word "doesn't" sounds like "dozen," and there’s no need to pause after "moisturizes." Recording quality is good.

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

2nd place winner: lindalee

129 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear lindalee's recording

For the most part, she has a nice, natural delivery -- a personable mature sound, nicely modulated. The last line is well delivered -- a slight pause, then given extra energy but not overacted. We’d like a bit more variety, and more attention to clarity. (Both instances of "that" sound like "tha.") And there's no need to pause after "moisturizes" As for recording quality, the volume is good, but there’s some resonance.

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

3rd place winner: milena24

117 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear milena24's recording

Nice personality and very natural sounding. It doesn't sound like she's reading. That's good. Her voice has more than a bit of fry, but it’s not annoying and is appropriate to what appears to be her generation. As discussed above, that younger sound confirms the extra meaning in “I’ll remember that.” (Her “Valley Teen” sound is interesting because it defines her age, but it could limit her appeal for some jobs, so she should be able to turn it on and off.) But there are some important things that need fixing. One, the product name. Spoken too quickly and without clarity, the all-important name “Bloshim Cream” could as easily be heard as “Wash ‘n’ Clean.” Also, a few words jump out too abruptly (such as "effectively"), perhaps merely because her sing-song manner happened to hit on that word. But luckily, “effectively” is an important word, and the “song” is varied, so that’s a trade-off. Technically, her audio level is good, but there’s some resonance in her recording booth.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Edge studio Auditon for Milen 5.17.19 .mp3

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

Contest ending Tuesday, April 30

Contest Title:

Parks Department

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an animated series (still in development) about a family who is always traveling because the father or mother is a park inspector The other parent has some related job, too. As a result, the whole family travels and learns lots of interesting and fun things about nature, management, people, etc. The audience is kids, but there will be a coordinated online guide for parents and teachers to use in supplementing the program. This audition is open to everyone, since the line could be delivered by a parent or child (we’re casting the whole family). Sound happy, excited, even exuberant. No slate.

Script:

It’s spring! There’s still some snow, but Yellowstone is definitely warming up to visitors and totally changing. All kinds of colorful flowers are coming out. And so are the bears!

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:

EDGE STUDIO TIP #2:
 
Follow direction, and before you do, think about what it means. Envision the characters in the scene.  In this case, the Director’s Notes said to “sound happy, excited, even exuberant.”  Yet, many people sounded low-key. Or even bored or boring. (One generally leads to the other).  At the other extreme, some people’s excitement sounded forced. (That’s hard to define, but suffice it to say their excitement somehow did not sound natural.)  If you think about the possible reason for the direction, you’ll often find it easier to hit the zone that’s “just right.” And even more importantly, you’ll find ways to envision the scene, helping you to sound more real.  For example, why would a child be “excited, even exuberant”?  Maybe he or she just jumped out of the parked car, ran to the edge of the road or scenic overlook and is thrilled by the view.  If you’re portraying a parent (who, you’ll recall, is said to be a park inspector or such), you probably love your job and are showing these sights to your child for the first time.   And in either case, maybe the child didn’t notice the bears right away.  That last sentence is a wonderful chance to use a slight delay and display your sense of timing.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3:
 
Make it flow and give it variety.  In this tidy little script, one thought flows nicely to another, but some people made it sound disjointed.  Others spoke much too quickly. By rushing through it, they didn’t let the emotions and visual aspects sink into the viewer.  And whether from haste or inattention, many people slurred words, which pretty much killed their chances right there. At a reasonable speed, every word can be pronounced clearly yet naturally, and be understood.  A reasonable speed also facilitates changes of emotion, which adds to the variety.  For example, consider the back-and-forth, up-and-down (and back again) emotional nature of the words: 
 
“It’s spring!    [up emotion] 
There’s still some snow    [a bit of a downer emotion, cautious]
but Yellowstone is definitely warming up    [up again] 
to visitors   [no pause, after "up" but add a smile – because of the double meaning .... you noticed that, right?].”
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #4:
 
Don’t let bad audio kill a good performance.  A bunch of recordings was so low in volume that we could barely hear them.  Some were noisy, or not recorded on professional equipment.  This contest is a learning experience, and we know that students who are just starting out don’t always have even a basic home studio in place yet. So we’re very tolerant of some technical deficiencies.  But that’s no reason not to make the best effort you can at the technical quality.  Free software is available for recording on computer, tablet or smartphone.  A condenser microphone suitable for training (and even for some actual work) may cost as little as $100.  An audio interface, if needed, can also be inexpensive. And you can improve the sound of your room with blankets and pillows, and proper mic usage and placement.  Here’s a tip: Listen to a professional recording on your computer. It could be a professional’s demo, or maybe the audio from a TV cartoon show (recorded directly, not through a speaker).  Then listen to your recording, with the same settings.  Do you hear a difference in overall volume?  In the speed of your voicing?  In the sound quality?  If so, those are areas where your recording method and/or performance should be improved. (Important note: By increasing volume, we mean the audio volume, not the volume in which you speak.)

1st place winner: Suzanne

219 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Suzanne's recording

Overall, she has a nice happy, excited, and exuberant tone that is nicely maintained. There’s wonderful variety in the beginning and end -- very good. But in the middle (from "but" through "changing") she could use more variety. Her editing is good. By that, we mean that there are no awkward noises and such (like mouth clicks), and if there were any edits, they were not noticeable. Recording quality was also good, except for a bit of resonance. A bit more padding in her recording booth would be helpful.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Its spring final for Auphonic.mp3

2nd place winner: Bhart0206

210 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Bhart0206's recording

Overall, she infuses her recording with nice variety and personality. As requested, she is generally happy, excited, and exuberant ... except around the words "totally changing.” There, she lost a bit of her zest. Then again, maybe that was a conscious decision, to add variety? Also, "colorful flowers" is a bit slurry. Her recording does have mouth clicks, loud breaths, and noises that should be unnoticeably edited out or re-recorded. Some of these noises are loud. In fact, our first impression is a loud noise; the very first words’ volume is 100% -- possibly more when as she was recording, which causes distortion. Another faux pas – her audio, which was otherwise good except as noted, is on only the left channel. An audition should be monaural, but with the audio on both channels.

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Tuesday, April 30 click below

Contest ending Sunday, March 31

Contest Title:

Postie

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for a voice-over introduction at the start of a movie. The story is about young kids, but it’s narrated now and then by an adult -- one of the children now grown and thinking back. Sound like you’re just talking, thinking of what to say as you speak, not reading a script. Slate your name or username after the script.

Script:

Lots of kids have dogs. And, mostly, kids love dogs, right? Not so much with our Postie. He was in our family, but not really a member of our family. Until the day he ran away.

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 -- “ChrisB,” “JTsVoice.com” and “FredVO.” They won by sounding natural. That’s what the Director’s Notes asked for: “just talking, thinking of what to say as you speak, not reading a script.” And clearly a lot of people made a conscious effort to sound “natural,” not announcery or theatrical. But in most VO genres, that’s only part of the assignment. As usual, the performance also needed energy and authentic emotion. (Hey, this is a build-up, the start of a movie about a missing dog!) Here are some tips for getting those and other important qualities into your auditions.

EDGE STUDIO TIP #1:

Have and maintain appropriate energy. Many people lacked it. Maybe they were trying to sound sad? Or serious? Or “natural.” Those first two emotions might not have been necessary. (After all, the Notes don’t say how the story plays out. Maybe it’s hopeful, or about a joyous return.) And “natural” does not necessarily mean “low-energy” or “subdued” at all! After all, excitement, curiosity, and encouragement are all potentially high-energy emotions or actions. And all might apply in this introduction. Even sadness (crying or not) and worry involve energy. So ... start with energy (in addition to establishing authenticity, it catches the audition reviewer’s ear), sustain that energy (perhaps at varying levels), and retain the energy through your final words.

EDGE STUDIO TIP #2:

Incorporate a natural variety. One way to think about this is to use a variety of emotions. As real people, when we’re conversing, we rarely say every phrase the same way. Our words are a series of thoughts – thoughts that usually emerge even as we are talking. This often accounts for changes in our pace, an occasional pause, and for a change of emotion. For example:

“What do you think happened? I was worried, but right away I found it!”

That’s at least three distinct thoughts. With the first, you’re talking to someone, probably looking at them, and with your eyes as well as your voice, you are encouraging them to listen, think and answer. Energy. Then you’re recalling your own emotion. (This is a change of emotion, but it’s a past emotion, so be careful -- don’t overact.) And then you’re happy, astonished or proud ... whatever.

Here’s an exercise: Parse the Postie script and identify where emotions change. How does each change affect the way you feel about what you’re saying. And that’s a tip, too ... do this thinking before you record. Don’t think about these changes while you read. You should simply feel them as you speak.

EDGE STUDIO TIP #3:

Pause are useful. But don’t overdo them. In Tip #2, we mentioned pausing for thought. Yes, people do that. But not for every thought. Often, we are thinking while the other person is talking. Often we don’t think consciously at all – for better or worse, we just say what comes to mind (“stream of consciousness”). And, as VO professionals, we have to recognize that the situation we’re in is not entirely natural: we have no eye contact with our listener, they can’t see our body language, and they are often easily distracted by any number of things. So pausing too long or too often will, ironically, sound unnatural. Instead, speaking at a reasonable pace -- not motormouth-fast, not sleepy-lethargic -- will let you sound natural with barely any pauses at all, just your natural breaths.

EDGE STUDIO TIP #4:

Read and follow directions! This contest is a learning experience, so we tolerate amateurish mistakes, like failing to slate as instructed or saying “Pastie” instead of “Postie.” However, a professional casting screener will not be so understanding. In fact, although we’re far more tolerant, we’re not sure even we quite understand. What is so difficult about reading and following explicit directions? Please ... don’t make us ask this again!

1st place winner: ChrisB

260 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear ChrisB's recording

Nice. He sounds natural and spontaneous, with lots of natural variety that nicely holds our interest. But the first few words (“Lots of kids have dogs.”) are too fast, causing the listener to fall behind for a moment. Especially the very first word ... On a cold start, without benefit of script, the listener might think, “What did he say? ‘Otsa’? ‘It’s a’?” They’ll eventually catch up in a moment or two, once they have the next few words for context. (“Oh. ‘Lots of kids...’”) But rather than establishing a mental and emotional bond, he’s started out by confusing them. Ironically, also a couple of the pauses between phrases could be a bit shorter, to sound even more natural. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/March 2019.mp3

2nd place winner: JTsVoice.com

211 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JTsVoice.com's recording

He sounds natural and believable, with some good variety. However, at times he is a little too theatrical, and his pauses are waaaay too long. Even a “dramatic pause,” which he places well, can be shorter than these. (If a pause or space between phrases happens to be too long on an otherwise perfect read, it can easily be shortened and sound much more natural.) Some people might consider his repeated uptalk to be annoying, but the tension that it raises is released when he comes down on the final words. His slate, on the other hand, is too announcery (trying to sound cool, maybe?), so our closing impression is not a good one. It’s usually better to slate in character. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/March edge studio By Jonathan Thompson.mp3

3rd place winner: FredVO

192 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear FredVO's recording

Good read. He sounds natural and spontaneous. But he could use a tad more variety. And his pronunciation is too informal for this narration. He says "Lotsa kids have dogs." It’s very common among American English speakers, but he should have cleaned it up for this story. Some pauses between phrases are a bit long, which make it sound less authentic. (Same situation as Second Place.) The last sentence is a tad too theatrical. Recording quality is good.

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Sunday, March 31 click below

Contest ending Thursday, February 28

Contest Title:

First Seconds

Director's Notes:

This is a simulated audition for an industrial video about worker safety. The point of this script is to remind workers to don their safety equipment. Slate your name or username and the words "for Safety" after the read.

Script:

It only takes a second for tragedy to happen. But it takes only a few seconds to prevent it. Remember – always put on your safety glasses. Spending that little extra bit of time is a smart investment.

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 -- “jennifercooknice”, “brettbender” and “polarqueen” – for passing along some good advice.  The Director’s Notes didn’t specify what tone to take in this read (Expert authority? Friendly advice? A boss or manager? Other?), but most people tended to make it conversational, as if from a friend.  That’s good.  Although the script and instructions did not indicate what the rest of this industrial video is like, you seldom go wrong in this situation by making it conversational.  But, just as the choice of tone offers various options, so does “conversation.” What kind of conversation? Some people went a bit overboard in trying to be informal; some others tried too hard to be dramatic. Here are some tips for sounding natural, yet still standing out from the crowd.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #1: 
Decide who you are, where you are, and who you’re talking to. Then put your head in that place.  As we’ve noted, there are many different conversational situations.  For example, a chat between you and your boss (or a subordinate) is different from, say, a conversation in the living room of an old school chum. And talking to your spouse in the car is different still. 
 
It’s not just about your tone of voice. It’s about pacing, confidence, or searching for words, smiling (or not smiling, or grinning) and more.  The subject matter, the situation, and everything (supposedly) around you affects your speech, your thinking, and your manner. Is there a point where your character is searching for the next thought? Or is this a story you’ve told other people a dozen times? Are you watching your friends face for reactions? Are you trying to get a reaction? If so, what? All these things can affect your delivery.  And, note that we didn’t say “can affect your read.”  It’s not about reading. It’s about speaking. Naturally. In conversation.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #2
 
If only for practice, memorize the script.  In many genres, you can’t memorize the entire script, and shouldn’t try. That’s a nice thing about voice acting – you always have the script to refer to.  In fact, the script is often too long, or the timeframe too short, to digest the script fully, let alone memorize it word-for-word.  
 
But in a home-studio audition, you have a bit more leeway to put your best mouth forward. (As long as you will be able to replicate the performance when you land the job!) So read each sentence aloud once or twice, then close your eyes or cover the script and say it. This helps in two ways: 
(1) It encourages you to speak “thoughts,” not “words.” People naturally speak in thoughts.  
(2) It helps you pace yourself naturally.  You might even find yourself pausing or inflecting (very slightly) as you think of what to say. After you’ve tightened up your recording, be sure the sentences sound like they were recorded in a single take. 
 
One other caution: Some novice actors who have not yet got the hang of memorizing lines will pause unnaturally as they try to remember the next line, learned by rote.  That’s exactly opposite to what this is about. If you find yourself preoccupied with the memorizing, try a simpler approach instead: Pre-sentence.  Make up a lead-in to the script, to get yourself in character.  For example, ...
     “Look, I’ve seen someone lose an eye on the job, faster than you can blink.” 
When done, edit out the lead-in sentence.  And “proof listen” to your recording to be sure it agrees exactly with the script.
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #3
 
Be accurate, but “don’t try too hard.”  Some people sounded too serious, others sounded too informal.  Both pose hazards.  
 
If you sound super-serious, you could lose the conversational quality and hit words unnaturally. There’s often a fine line between “announcery” and “serious friendly advice.”  
 
At the other extreme, when you get too informal, you can find yourself slurring words, losing energy at the end of sentences, dropping consonants (e.g., a trailing T sound), getting sloppy with vowels (e.g., “vurry” instead of “very”) or making other common VO errors.  
 
The solution to these errors?  Practice.  Make clear, correct pronunciation second nature in your own personality. Then, when you choose an appropriate personality for the character you are voicing, that character will tend to have these characteristics, too. 
 
EDGE STUDIO TIP #4
 
Pay attention to detail.  Some people did not slate as instructed; either they didn’t slate, or forgot to say their name (and/or the words “for safety” as directed), or slated incorrectly. Some people didn’t notice that the two occurrences of the word “only” are different: “it only takes a second” vs. “it takes only a few seconds”. Each should be read as written.  
 

1st place winner: JENNIFERCOOKNICE

311 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear JENNIFERCOOKNICE's recording

Parts of the beginning are a little bit stilted, robotic. Yet as she gets into it, she sounds more and more human, and that’s great. The hint of gravel and the hint of smile toward the end are nice touches that humanize her recording. Considering how she perked up further in, maybe pre-sentencing will help (see Edge Studio Tip #2 above). The read could stand a bit more space between “it” and “Remember,” but it’s a clean break, so it could easily be extended. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/for safety Jennifer Nice.mp3

2nd place winner: brettbender

277 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear brettbender's recording

Good voice and solid performance. But he is inconsistent with his trailing "T" sounds. Some he pronounces, some he skips (or rather, uses a glottal stop or a “d” sound, or breathiness). For example, the last word (“investment”) ends with breath, not a T. It’s not egregious, but over a long script, it could become sloppy. He says words too quickly, so it would help to slow down just a bit, and have more space between phrases. Recording quality is good.

/sites/default/files/script-recordings/user-[uid]/Brett Bender - For Safety.mp3

3rd place winner: Polarqueen

259 people have played this

Recording:

Click to hear Polarqueen's recording

A nice and pleasant voice. But her delivery is a bit stilted, robotic, making her sound sort of like an automated voice (artificial, computer-generated). The actual job might be a long video, and unless she brings more conversationality to it, listeners will tune out after a while. It sounds like she may have had a cold (her voice is a bit nasal, we hear stuffed-up sounds, and the word “time” is missing it’s “M” sound). This being a simulated audition, we didn’t count this against her. The pause between "time" and "is a" is too long. Becoming more conversational will help with things like that, too. Recording quality is good.

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

To view all entries from
Contest ending Thursday, February 28 click below

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

250 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

287 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

333 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

264 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

241 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

320 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

262 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

266 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

342 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

273 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

257 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

366 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

289 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

230 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

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