Contest ending Friday, January 29
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.
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.
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:
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.
- 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.”
1st place winner: Beth Green
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.
2nd place winner: Ian Grimley
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.
3rd place winner: Bill Anciaux
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.