Contest ending Friday, September 24
IDI is seeking a voice to be the voice of our company for one calendar year, with the possibility of renewing additional years. Narrations throughout the year will include: Intros and outros for a weekly Contractor Podcast, bi-monthly “How To Tutorials,” and a slew of random presentations (trade show videos, sales videos, new-employee videos, and so on). The voice must feel comfortable, relatable, like the on-camera host of a “build it yourself” reality TV show. We’re open to any gender, any age — what’s important to us is a charismatic tone that is friendly and can provide application instructions in an easy-to-understand delivery.
Welcome to IDI Distributors, America’s Insulation Source. Since 1979, we’ve helped thousands of insulation contractors across the country keep their businesses running strong. From insulation materials to accessories, IDI is the one-stop shop for all leading brands.
Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:
Congratulations to our winners, Lyle Blaker, Kat Bryant Flaherty, and Amy Speck. Wow, what an opportunity! This hypothetical audition encompassed a wide range of genres including Commercial, Corporate Narration, Explainer, and more. Typically, these types of scripts vary somewhat in style and subject matter. Yet, as the Director’s Notes explained, in this case the talent needs to convey a consistent brand personality for the client company in all these contexts. All our finalists seem capable of that. They were professional yet friendly, and seem like they would be capable of consistently reproducing their manner in various VO situations. Here are some tips to help you, too, cover the field as required in your next audition.
Acquire, practice, and remember to use basic voiceover skills. This would seem to go without saying, except that every month we hear a large number of people who either have not learned the basics, or they got so absorbed in the performance that they forgot.
For example, enunciation. Do you pronounce every syllable (that is supposed to be pronounced), the way it is supposed to be pronounced? Or instead do you mumble, or have “lazy mouth” (closing your mouth unnecessarily, resulting in an “mm” sound before words), or “swallow” some sounds?
Correct pronunciation is also essential. In this script, many people struggled with the word “distributors.” That immediately took them out of the running, because it’s in the name of the company! Also, lots of people said “installation” rather than “insulation” (a word that occurs three times), or they sloppily said “insolation,” which is not a word at all. Our tip? A qualified voiceover coach will spot sloppiness that you might not catch even with careful listening. Then they can work with you on accuracy and enunciation without you sounding artificial. Meanwhile, record yourself, listen to yourself analytically, or have a candid friend listen with you. It sometimes helps to record some VO professionals reading actual scripts, type up those scripts, then record yourself and listen back. How do you differ from them?
Read and faithfully convey the requested emotion. In this case, note the requested qualities: “comfortable, relatable, host, charismatic, friendly, easy-to-understand.” How do you encompass all that and still sound natural? And how do you sound unique? Well, you already know someone who is natural and unique, someone who has those qualities — it’s you!
That personability will help you bridge the various genres that this client requires. This script, like most, may not let you fully show your entire emotional range. But that’s fine, since the casting team didn’t request your full range. Give them what they’re looking for, above all.
Conversely many entrants in this Monthly Audition Contest conveyed other emotions. Others incorrectly thought this audition was an opportunity to demonstrate A to Z and their emotional range was all over the place. All this did was put them out of the running.
1st place winner: Lyle Narrator
He has the personable tone the casting director asked for: clear, comfortable, authoritative yet friendly, a voice we feel we’ve known already, but entirely his own. However, he is a bit sloppy at points. For example, instead of “Welcome to” he said “Welcome duh”. And his read was sometimes choppy, especially the last phrase, where he said, “IDI / is the one-stop shop / for all leading brands.” Recording quality is good.
2nd place winner: Kat Bryant Flaherty
Good tone of voice, and we hear her smile, but that smile could be even more effective if she slowed down a bit. It would make her sound more friendly. She is sometimes sloppy – for example, “Welcome duh” and “running shrong.” Recording quality is good, but it has lots of high-pitched mouth noise and clicks.
3rd place winner: Amy Speck
A pleasant voice, but she does sound too “salesy” to be perceived as natural. Accentuating the artifice, she often paused unnecessarily. This choppy manner disrupts the listener’s thoughts, and is generally not the way people talk. By focusing her attention on her thoughts (the thoughts in the script), and speaking those thoughts rather than reading and/or selling, she’ll probably come across as more friendly. Recording quality is okay.