Monthly Audition Contest Archive

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Contest ending Friday, January 29
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Contest ending Friday, November 5

Contest ending Friday, January 29

contest titles: Real Estate Video: Intro

Director's notes

This is a simulated audition for a Real Estate E-learning Module:  We are looking for a fun read, someone that makes you WANT to learn more about the modern real estate market. We want the voice of someone who can educate and inspire, and certainly avoid coming off as a condescending narrator. No slate.

Script:

Buying your first house? Hold on a sec; there are some not-so-smart things that people do without realizing it when they buy a house. Humor me for a short story before we get into the meat of this video.

Results

Edge Studio Tips and Feedback:

Congratulations to our winners, Beth-Green, Ian Grimley and Bill Anciaux. They were among many very good reads.

This E-learning contest required an educational tone with “fun” and “inspiring” qualities.  While the direction is clear, it’s also subjective, making it very possible to fall outside the spec, or go too far. Here are some tips on how to find the boundaries, avoid getting lost in the territory, and stand out from the crowd.

Edge Studio VO Tip #1

 

Submit your audition recording at the proper volume level.  Many entries were too low-volume, and some were too loud. When the eventual job will be recorded in your home studio, technical performance is as important as acting performance.  We listen to all entries regardless, but in an actual audition, when a screener hears that you don’t understand this basic technical element, they’re likely to click the “Next!” button.  The volume levels of even some of our finalists were a bit low, and they seem otherwise technically competent, so it points up two aspects in this matter:  1. Knowing how to adjust your levels, and 2) Remembering to do it.To cover all the details would take more space than we’ve allotted here. To learn all about setting your levels, and other technical insight, consider our Home Studio 101 course. But here are some fundamentals:

INPUT: Your audio interface and/or your mic, and your recording software have ways of indicating volume and allowing you to adjust it. It might be a meter, or a green/yellow/red pilot light, or both. Before you record, speak as you will when reading the script.  Your volume should never go into the red. If you have a meter, typically your volume should “peak” roughly between -10 and -5 dB. If you have only a light, adjust the volume control until the loudest parts (the peaks) are yellow – NEVER RED – then lower the volume a bit till you’re peaking green.  Then, follow the same procedure in your DAW software. Keep these parameters in mind anywhere else in your recording process where volume is adjustable.

OUTPUT:  Before creating your .mp3 file, check your overall levels again. You might want to boost the track’s volume to peak at -3 dB.  That is the default standard for audition and job submissions, unless your client specifies otherwise.

NOTES: When setting your recording levels, be sure you’re speaking the way you will when performing, and at the same distance from the mic.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software has various tools for processing volume. If you don’t know how to use them properly, then learn. Otherwise the casting team is likely to pass you up for jobs even if your vocal performance is the closest to what they seek.

Edge Studio VO Tip #2
Focus on the first line of the script.  (In this case, it was “Buying your first house?”) Of course it’s important that your listener understands all your words and thoughts, or you may confuse or lose them. In an audition, it’s critical that your first few words are clear because they’re the first thing an audition screener listens for. If you get it wrong, it will probably be the last.
Getting it right involves several concerns.  Here are some of them …
  • Slow down, but don’t be lethargic.  Many people read the first word so fast that we couldn’t understand a thing they said. NOTE that the first word may sound clear to you, but what about a listener who hasn’t read the script and doesn’t know what to listen for, who has no context, who has just one chance to hear you, and who is hears it mixed with music and sound effects.  Then how clear will the first word sound?  At the other extreme, many people read the first word too slowly. (Classic TV’s talking horse, Mr. Ed, came to mind.) Don’t “swallow” the first word, and, unless indicated, don’t pause after the first word.
  •  Here are some of the questionable “choices” some people made:
    • Speaking the first phrase as a statement, rather than a question –  see the question mark?
    • Overpowering – “inspiring” doesn’t mean to come off as a comically stereotypical motivational speaker.
    • Laughing through the entire sentence – a smile in your voice is good, but buying your first house isn’t inherently funny.
  • Some people emphasized the wrong word(s).  Choosing which words to hit isn’t always a cut-and-dried decision, so let context be your guide. Apparently this is not about buying vs. renting, so “buying” isn’t the key word. It’s not about buying a house vs. buying other things, so it’s not exactly “house,” is it?  The key point is actually two words, the compound thought of “first house.”
Edge Studio VO Tip #3
Relax, enunciate and smooth it out.  The voice of authority tends to be confident, not nervous, pushy, or artificially dramatic. So relax both your throat and your mind.  Avoid glottal stops (momentary closing of the throat before a vowel), as they cause a choppy sound.  And enunciate clearly.  By that, we don’t mean to sound artificial, just don’t be sloppy. Open your jaw a bit wider than you might, and use your tongue, lips and teeth to form your speech sounds fully.  If you’re not sure what we mean, or if you can’t get the hang of eliminating slurry, choppy reads, consider taking our Diction, Clarity, and Pacing class taught by Pen-Pen Chen.
Honorable Mention: Isaac Versaw.  He shared some of the qualities found in our winners — engaging, clear, educational, and a lot of variety in his quirky playfulness. Various pronunciation and technical issues detracted, but give him a listen in the All Entries section below. He conveys more personality than all our winners.  Although it may be a bit more than wanted in this job, a casting director might remember him for another one.

1st place winner: Beth Green

Director's Notes

Her read is perfect in most every way:  engaging, clear, educational, and very playful on the informal words.  She has the best balance of spontaneous personality without overdoing it.   The “B” sound in her first word (“Buying”) is light and after being mixed with music, will likely be difficult to discern. The word “without” is a bit rushed, which shifts emphasis to “realizing” … the full key thought is “without realizing.”   And “when they buy a house” did not flow naturally. Studio quality is very good, but she almost demoted her placing because of the technical loss of her first word.

Recording submitted by Beth Green on 10 Jan 2021 - 17:28

2nd place winner: Ian Grimley

Director's Notes

Again, an excellent read; he has a good balance of spontaneity, personality, and engagement. His presentation is engaging, clear, educational, and very nice, with natural playfulness on the informal words. He’s one of the few who said “when they buy a house” naturally. That’s impressive, since the phrase isn’t written in a naturally spoken manner. But it’s there, and the writer may have left it in for good reason. By hitting the word “buy” he gave focus to the phrase.  Studio quality is very good, but the volume is a tad low.

Recording submitted by Ian Grimley on 6 Jan 2021 - 01:01

3rd place winner: Bill Anciaux

Director's Notes

Also perfect in most every way:  engaging, clear, educational, yet very spontaneous with some playfulness here and there.  But although he is very good, his vocal delivery style may not maintain listener engagement over the course of a long video. He could have put more emphasis on “without.” And “when they buy a house” did not flow naturally.  Very good studio quality.

Recording submitted by Bill Anciaux on 27 Jan 2021 - 19:10

All Entries: Contest ending Friday, January 29

To Find A Specific Entry:

On a PC, click “control” and “f” to search for a username

On a MAC, click “command” and “f” to search for a username

Justin Marcus's recording

Recording submitted by Justin Marcus on 29 Jan 2021 - 18:31

Dominic Carlos's recording

Recording submitted by Dominic Carlos on 29 Jan 2021 - 17:58

Isaac Versaw's recording

Recording submitted by Isaac Versaw on 29 Jan 2021 - 16:39

Will Eugene Smith's recording

Recording submitted by Will Eugene Smith on 29 Jan 2021 - 16:25

Nick Rosa's recording

Recording submitted by Nick Rosa on 29 Jan 2021 - 16:24

Thomas Flowers's recording

Recording submitted by Thomas Flowers on 29 Jan 2021 - 16:07

Michelle Laliberte's recording

Recording submitted by Michelle Laliberte on 29 Jan 2021 - 05:20

Debbie Randall's recording

Recording submitted by Debbie Randall on 29 Jan 2021 - 05:12

rich young's recording

Recording submitted by rich young on 29 Jan 2021 - 04:27

Richard Corcoran's recording

Recording submitted by Richard Corcoran on 29 Jan 2021 - 03:43

Tom Zimitsch's recording

Recording submitted by Tom Zimitsch on 29 Jan 2021 - 02:01

Selena Hernandez's recording

Recording submitted by Selena Hernandez on 28 Jan 2021 - 19:14

Andrea Clifford's recording

Recording submitted by Andrea Clifford on 28 Jan 2021 - 18:33

Rich Summers's recording

Recording submitted by Rich Summers on 28 Jan 2021 - 18:07

Jeff Guerrette's recording

Recording submitted by Jeff Guerrette on 28 Jan 2021 - 02:57

Ginger Spiehler's recording

Recording submitted by Ginger Spiehler on 28 Jan 2021 - 01:11

Adam Burns's recording

Recording submitted by Adam Burns on 27 Jan 2021 - 23:03

Bill Anciaux's recording

Recording submitted by Bill Anciaux on 27 Jan 2021 - 19:10

Nicole Johnson's recording

Recording submitted by Nicole Johnson on 27 Jan 2021 - 18:33

Gene Manning's recording

Recording submitted by Gene Manning on 27 Jan 2021 - 17:08

Bibi Mama's recording

Recording submitted by Bibi Mama on 27 Jan 2021 - 04:36

Pamela Castro's recording

Recording submitted by Pamela Castro on 27 Jan 2021 - 03:38

fred Jenkins's recording

Recording submitted by fred Jenkins on 27 Jan 2021 - 01:49

Sue Gill's recording

Recording submitted by Sue Gill on 26 Jan 2021 - 23:15

Richard Ellis's recording

Recording submitted by Richard Ellis on 26 Jan 2021 - 21:06

Tim Briggs's recording

Recording submitted by Tim Briggs on 26 Jan 2021 - 17:58

Michelle Vaccaro's recording

Recording submitted by Michelle Vaccaro on 26 Jan 2021 - 06:46

Candice Anderson's recording

Recording submitted by Candice Anderson on 25 Jan 2021 - 20:38

Tiffany Kieu's recording

Recording submitted by Tiffany Kieu on 25 Jan 2021 - 19:54

Eva Ramon's recording

Recording submitted by Eva Ramon on 25 Jan 2021 - 19:40

Ryan Duncan's recording

Recording submitted by Ryan Duncan on 25 Jan 2021 - 17:28

Kenneth Currier's recording

Recording submitted by Kenneth Currier on 25 Jan 2021 - 04:05

Marc MASON's recording

Recording submitted by Marc MASON on 25 Jan 2021 - 00:46

Sarah Lee's recording

Recording submitted by Sarah Lee on 24 Jan 2021 - 23:51

Marc MASON's recording

Recording submitted by Marc MASON on 24 Jan 2021 - 19:06

Donald Shenenberger's recording

Recording submitted by Donald Shenenberger on 24 Jan 2021 - 17:34

Barry Leibowitz's recording

Recording submitted by Barry Leibowitz on 24 Jan 2021 - 16:17

Ray Kallai's recording

Recording submitted by Ray Kallai on 23 Jan 2021 - 21:15

Nelson Jewell's recording

Recording submitted by Nelson Jewell on 23 Jan 2021 - 17:26

Logan Lorenz's recording

Recording submitted by Logan Lorenz on 23 Jan 2021 - 04:52

James Brasiel's recording

Recording submitted by James Brasiel on 23 Jan 2021 - 00:38

Mark Jenkins's recording

Recording submitted by Mark Jenkins on 22 Jan 2021 - 20:31

Katelyn Dawn's recording

Recording submitted by Katelyn Dawn on 22 Jan 2021 - 17:47

Christy Spadafore's recording

Recording submitted by Christy Spadafore on 21 Jan 2021 - 03:12

Lauren Cupples's recording

Recording submitted by Lauren Cupples on 21 Jan 2021 - 02:13

Nikola Hamilton's recording

Recording submitted by Nikola Hamilton on 20 Jan 2021 - 20:52

Timothy D Kietzman's recording

Recording submitted by Timothy D Kietzman on 20 Jan 2021 - 19:25

Jennifer Henry's recording

Recording submitted by Jennifer Henry on 20 Jan 2021 - 19:00

Julianne Treadwell's recording

Recording submitted by Julianne Treadwell on 19 Jan 2021 - 16:36

DESTRY BOURKE's recording

Recording submitted by DESTRY BOURKE on 19 Jan 2021 - 00:23

Bill Brobeck's recording

Recording submitted by Bill Brobeck on 19 Jan 2021 - 00:08

Stephanie Schneider's recording

Recording submitted by Stephanie Schneider on 18 Jan 2021 - 20:31

Richard Garifo's recording

Recording submitted by Richard Garifo on 18 Jan 2021 - 16:37

Alexis Pellek's recording

Recording submitted by Alexis Pellek on 18 Jan 2021 - 02:25

Theron Wells's recording

Recording submitted by Theron Wells on 17 Jan 2021 - 01:15

Josh Ausfahl's recording

Recording submitted by Josh Ausfahl on 16 Jan 2021 - 22:08

Elizabeth Schreiber's recording

Recording submitted by Elizabeth Schreiber on 15 Jan 2021 - 20:50

Bryan Blasingame's recording

Recording submitted by Bryan Blasingame on 15 Jan 2021 - 20:27

Ron Bauer's recording

Recording submitted by Ron Bauer on 15 Jan 2021 - 02:43

Kasmosis Gibides's recording

Recording submitted by Kasmosis Gibides on 14 Jan 2021 - 22:41

Dylan Gregory's recording

Recording submitted by Dylan Gregory on 14 Jan 2021 - 22:02

Mark Koncz's recording

Recording submitted by Mark Koncz on 14 Jan 2021 - 14:06

Moose Warywoda's recording

Recording submitted by Moose Warywoda on 13 Jan 2021 - 16:23

Jose Berrios's recording

Recording submitted by Jose Berrios on 13 Jan 2021 - 13:55

Marguerite Krippel's recording

Recording submitted by Marguerite Krippel on 12 Jan 2021 - 04:26

Andrea Jones's recording

Recording submitted by Andrea Jones on 11 Jan 2021 - 02:59

Beth Green's recording

Recording submitted by Beth Green on 10 Jan 2021 - 17:28

Don Jacob's recording

Recording submitted by Don Jacob on 9 Jan 2021 - 19:36

Tyler Pirrung's recording

Recording submitted by Tyler Pirrung on 8 Jan 2021 - 22:24

Edward Power's recording

Recording submitted by Edward Power on 8 Jan 2021 - 18:13

Troy Speck's recording

Recording submitted by Troy Speck on 6 Jan 2021 - 21:33

Dee McSweeney's recording

Recording submitted by Dee McSweeney on 6 Jan 2021 - 15:40

Ian Grimley's recording

Recording submitted by Ian Grimley on 6 Jan 2021 - 01:01

Michael Mooney's recording

Recording submitted by Michael Mooney on 5 Jan 2021 - 22:05

Mike Tarnow's recording

Recording submitted by Mike Tarnow on 5 Jan 2021 - 17:21

Moose Warywoda's recording

Recording submitted by Moose Warywoda on 5 Jan 2021 - 16:35

Judah Andrews's recording

Recording submitted by Judah Andrews on 5 Jan 2021 - 06:18

Jenna James's recording

Recording submitted by Jenna James on 5 Jan 2021 - 04:18

Steven Blair's recording

Recording submitted by Steven Blair on 4 Jan 2021 - 19:30

Brian Wiggins's recording

Recording submitted by Brian Wiggins on 4 Jan 2021 - 18:13

Timothy David's recording

Recording submitted by Timothy David on 4 Jan 2021 - 07:14

Mary Baladad's recording

Recording submitted by Mary Baladad on 3 Jan 2021 - 21:33

Steve Charboneau's recording

Recording submitted by Steve Charboneau on 2 Jan 2021 - 22:30

Adam Trupp's recording

Recording submitted by Adam Trupp on 2 Jan 2021 - 21:35