Monthly Audition Contest Archive

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Contest ending Friday, September 24
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Contest ending Friday, May 28
Contest ending Friday, April 30

Contest ending Friday, September 24

contest titles: IDI Distributors

Director's notes

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.

Script:

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.

Results

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.

Edge Studio VO Tip #1 

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?

Edge Studio VO Tip #2

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.

 
Edge Studio VO Tip #3
Rather than read the script, speak it.  In the VO industry, we say “read,” but that’s not what your listener should hear.  Your listener should hear you simply speaking.  This shift in mindset helps fix many ills.  It helps you convey genuine emotion.  It prevents you from thinking about your performance, rather than just doing it. (When we can “hear you thinking” about your performance, it is inherently artificial, probably why some entrants sounded robotic.) Speaking lets the real you come through.  Consider this: “warm and friendly reading” is an artificial situation.  But hearing someone speak warmly and friendly is something we have all experienced.
Edge Studio VO Tip #4
If you slate, slate professionally.  This month’s Director’s Notes didn’t mention slating, so whether or not to slate at all was up to the talent. Situations and preferences vary, but many people prefer not to slate. After all, the audition screener may have to go through hundreds of submissions.  He or she already sees your name in their software, or attached to the file, and knows what script you’re reading, so for them, slates cost them time.  Some talent, if only to play it safe, slate at the end of their read.
One thing definitely NOT to do is get verbose.  Some people included the title, date, and other unnecessary information, even the time of day, which sounds simply amateurish.  BOTTOM LINE: If no slating instructions are given, consider the situation and slate if doing so makes sense.  If instructed not to slate, do not slate. And if slating instructions are given, slate exactly as instructed.

1st place winner: Lyle Narrator

Director's Notes

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.

Recording submitted by Lyle Narrator on 23 Sep 2021 - 11:17

2nd place winner: Kat Bryant Flaherty

Director's Notes

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.

Recording submitted by Kat Bryant Flaherty on 24 Sep 2021 - 07:24

3rd place winner: Amy Speck

Director's Notes

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.

Recording submitted by Amy Speck on 22 Sep 2021 - 01:18

All Entries: Contest ending Friday, September 24

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Shelly Marckini's recording

Recording submitted by Shelly Marckini on 25 Sep 2021 - 00:11

Felicia Guess's recording

Recording submitted by Felicia Guess on 24 Sep 2021 - 15:29

Steven Blair's recording

Recording submitted by Steven Blair on 24 Sep 2021 - 15:10

Kat Bryant Flaherty's recording

Recording submitted by Kat Bryant Flaherty on 24 Sep 2021 - 07:24

Victoria Vahedy's recording

Recording submitted by Victoria Vahedy on 24 Sep 2021 - 03:03

Scott McFarlin's recording

Recording submitted by Scott McFarlin on 24 Sep 2021 - 00:52

Stacey Scarff's recording

Recording submitted by Stacey Scarff on 23 Sep 2021 - 17:13

Kevin Scott's recording

Recording submitted by Kevin Scott on 23 Sep 2021 - 13:00

Lyle Narrator's recording

Recording submitted by Lyle Narrator on 23 Sep 2021 - 11:17

Noah Andress's recording

Recording submitted by Noah Andress on 22 Sep 2021 - 23:50

Timothy D Kietzman's recording

Recording submitted by Timothy D Kietzman on 22 Sep 2021 - 22:36

Margaret Kraus's recording

Recording submitted by Margaret Kraus on 22 Sep 2021 - 20:38

Gene Manning's recording

Recording submitted by Gene Manning on 22 Sep 2021 - 19:52

Saiyonna Bryant's recording

Recording submitted by Saiyonna Bryant on 22 Sep 2021 - 14:57

Natasha Halovanic's recording

Recording submitted by Natasha Halovanic on 22 Sep 2021 - 14:07

Suzanne Ellis's recording

Recording submitted by Suzanne Ellis on 22 Sep 2021 - 10:51

Bailey Binczewski's recording

Recording submitted by Bailey Binczewski on 22 Sep 2021 - 01:36

Dave Cavallaro's recording

Recording submitted by Dave Cavallaro on 22 Sep 2021 - 01:33

Amy Speck's recording

Recording submitted by Amy Speck on 22 Sep 2021 - 01:18

Corinne Hughes's recording

Recording submitted by Corinne Hughes on 21 Sep 2021 - 21:45

Tatiana Kushner's recording

Recording submitted by Tatiana Kushner on 21 Sep 2021 - 21:01

Bruce McCready's recording

Recording submitted by Bruce McCready on 21 Sep 2021 - 20:45

Tom Ewing's recording

Recording submitted by Tom Ewing on 21 Sep 2021 - 18:35

DESTRY BOURKE's recording

Recording submitted by DESTRY BOURKE on 21 Sep 2021 - 16:54

Donald Sack's recording

Recording submitted by Donald Sack on 21 Sep 2021 - 15:26

Andrew Jones's recording

Recording submitted by Andrew Jones on 21 Sep 2021 - 01:56

Donald Geddis's recording

Recording submitted by Donald Geddis on 20 Sep 2021 - 23:05

kirsten andelman's recording

Recording submitted by kirsten andelman on 19 Sep 2021 - 22:52

Angel Stracener's recording

Recording submitted by Angel Stracener on 17 Sep 2021 - 19:42

Angel Stracener's recording

Recording submitted by Angel Stracener on 17 Sep 2021 - 19:41

Angel Stracener's recording

Recording submitted by Angel Stracener on 17 Sep 2021 - 19:41

Ron Bauer's recording

Recording submitted by Ron Bauer on 17 Sep 2021 - 03:09

Timothy Sullivan's recording

Recording submitted by Timothy Sullivan on 15 Sep 2021 - 22:37

Margaret Rakus's recording

Recording submitted by Margaret Rakus on 15 Sep 2021 - 14:24

Stan Sadusky's recording

Recording submitted by Stan Sadusky on 15 Sep 2021 - 04:07

Ryan Benes's recording

Recording submitted by Ryan Benes on 14 Sep 2021 - 23:03

Renee Frank's recording

Recording submitted by Renee Frank on 14 Sep 2021 - 18:56

Lauren Maza's recording

Recording submitted by Lauren Maza on 13 Sep 2021 - 12:40

Miriam Edwards's recording

Recording submitted by Miriam Edwards on 11 Sep 2021 - 00:22

Christopher Reed's recording

Recording submitted by Christopher Reed on 10 Sep 2021 - 18:27

Marc Mason's recording

Recording submitted by Marc Mason on 9 Sep 2021 - 15:22

Marc Mason's recording

Recording submitted by Marc Mason on 9 Sep 2021 - 15:17

Sharon Council's recording

Recording submitted by Sharon Council on 8 Sep 2021 - 18:20

Ron Bauer's recording

Recording submitted by Ron Bauer on 7 Sep 2021 - 02:50

Sarah Arbuckle's recording

Recording submitted by Sarah Arbuckle on 6 Sep 2021 - 20:20