Monthly Audition Contest Archive

Check out our previous contests and their winners. Looking for this month’s contest? Click Here

Contest ending Friday, October 30

Contest ending Friday, October 30

contest titles: McDonald’s Chicken McGrill

Director's notes

This is a simulated audition for a McDonalds TV Spot: We are looking for a straight-forward, no-nonsense read. This is the best chicken sandwich. Period. We want a clear, authoritative delivery. One take only, slate first initial and last name OR username at the end. Submission deadline: Wednesday, October 20th, 11:59pm ET.

Script:

When I open my sandwich I like knowing what's inside is for real. Nothing but 100% marinated chicken breast in every Chicken McGrill. Want to know more? Visit www.mcdonalds.com. McDonalds. I'm lovin' it.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners, ChrisB, ljmaza, and William Carmichael.   They came across with reads that were authoritative and no-nonsense, yet authentic and friendly.  How hard can that be?  After all, who isn’t an “authority” on the McDonald’s menu, even if they haven’t visited a McDonald’s restaurant recently?   Well, as is often the case in voice acting, knowing it in your head and getting it into your recording are two different things.  Here are some tips to convey authority more authoritatively … without artificiality or nonsense.

Edge Studio VO Tip #1: 

Heed the direction.  If it says “straightforward, no-nonsense,” this is probably not the time for you to be “quirky.”  Nevertheless, some of our entrants went for a bouncy, smiley read.  At the other extreme, some people apparently figured that “authoritative” calls for sounding harsh, even a bit “stern.”
Here’s how to find the middle ground between sounding like a drill sergeant and sounding like a happyface, and yet not be boring:  Be yourself.  There are plenty of times in conversation when you simply state the facts. Make this one of those times. Imagine you’re talking with a friend. A specific friend.  Imagine they’re standing right in front of you, a normal distance away. Now – wait!
Don’t start yet, because, in addition to imagining them in your mind, you need to imagine yourself in your mind.  What’s the situation? Why are you saying this to them?  Hmmm.  Maybe they joked that they like artificial stuff in a sandwich? What would your own actual friend have said?  Set that in your mind, and … now … simply respond.

 

Edge Studio VO Tip #2:

Be aware of small auditory cues as to your “personality.” Although some people might think that any spot for McDonald’s should be loosey-goosey and familiar, that’s not what the Director’s Notes asked for.  Yet, it is a commercial for McDonald’s,  so it needs to be appealing.  What nuances can you use in your delivery that signal authority, without sounding harsh or pompous?  Here you go:
  •  Be precise.   Speak naturally, but don’t slur words.  Don’t mumble.  Say “real” not “rill.”  This advice applies to most voice-over work.  It’s especially the case in this commercial.  Don’t overdo it.  Just sound as if you always speak with precision. Many people do.
  •  Pronounce correctly.  Say “nothing,” not “nothin’.”  Say “want to” rather than “wanna.”  And say “double-you” not “dubya.” Just because the McDonald’s slogan is “Lovin’ it,” not “Loving it,” that doesn’t mean you have to drop sounds in your pitch.  Authoritative people tend to respect details.
    (Oh, and practice saying “www” quickly and smoothly, without pausing before or after. It’s not even needed with most websites these days, but you’ll still encounter it in many scripts.)
  •  Be proud.  Exude confidence. We don’t mean you should sound like an announcer or be bombastic. It’s simply that this little speech is what you believe.  So believe it! If you’re not a fan of fast food yourself, get past that for now. Remember, this is acting.

Edge Studio VO Tip #3:

Don’t pause unnecessarily, and do identify the most interesting, persuasive words and phrases. In the first sentence, almost everybody paused after the word “sandwich.” Why? There isn’t even a comma there. And you sure don’t need a breath. If you click on all the samples, you’ll hear that almost everybody has this same “song.”  Imagine how boring that sounds to a casting professional!

We’re pretty sure they paused there because it seems to be “dramatic.”  But what is “dramatic” about opening a sandwich? In fact, if you think about it (or if you let the listener think about it), does it mean “unwrap” or “lift the bread” or what? And what image should they have in mind? A Chicken McSandwich is actually on a burger bun, not slices of bread.  This is TV, so maybe there’s a visual to clear all that up.  Regardless, that’s yet another reason to keep moving, rather than pause on “sandwich.” Let the visual do that work.

Don’t rush, but do get to the really interesting part, the point of this commercial —  what’s inside, and that it’s real.  Our Second Place winner did this nicely.