Podcasts Mission Audition A Year of Auditions and Top Voice Over Tips of 2022
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A Year of Auditions and Top Voice Over Tips of 2022

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Geoff Bremner
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On this special episode, we explore Mission Audition’s editor and producer Geoff Bremner’s top moments of the year. We will learn everything voice over – from audio editing and mixing to conversational reads, to mindset. Join eleven hand-picked voice over industry masters on this must-listen episode of Mission Audition.

This year’s coaches:

Tommy Griffiths
Rachel Alena
Bruce Kronenberg
Andrea Collins
Bradford Hastings
Kim Handysides
Bill DeWees
Gina Scarpa
Anthony Reece
Shelly Shenoy
Melissa Moats

Participant #1:
Hello, everyone, and welcome to a very special episode of Mission Audition. On this episode, we will go over eleven handpicked segments from yours truly, Geoff Bremner, the producer and editor of the show. We'll be going over key pieces of advice from each one of of this year's coaches. Without further ado, let's get into it. Tommy Griffiths so what is it that makes them successful? What makes them the most marketable? Why is it you see these names that always are getting the work, whether it's voices.com or any other agency? For example, what is it that they do that makes them successful? And one of the keys is the audition. Quite often, the clients, they don't know what they want until they hear it. And it's your job as a voice actor to figure that out by using context clues, by finding the intent of the writer, by understanding what the message is. And as Kyle said in describing the direction, sound like you're smiling, sound upbeat and all that, that's wrong. You don't want to sound upbeat. You want to be upbeat. You don't want to sound like you're buying into all of this. You truly want to buy into it. The audience, the general public, their BS meters are so sensitive, they peg into the red when they hear something that is not genuine. And to try to sound like you're smiling as opposed to really feeling it and smiling is so key to the difference between being genuine and just trying to sound like you're genuine. Zone is an augmented reality app that is changing the way people work remotely. Here's how it works. First, install the app and connect it with your VR headset. Open flow Zone and your physical surroundings will instantly be transformed into a workspace that will help you focus when you need to connect with colleagues and blur out the distractions of home toggle between calming and otherworldly landscapes. Okay, I got it. Sorry. Erica so many breathing issues. There seems to be a lot of processing issues as well, but the number one thing that I hear is breathing, and that's key. Often scripts are not written well. Sometimes there are run on sentences. They go on and on and on and on. But it's your job as a voiceover professional to figure that out. Start with a full tank of air breathe in those opportune moments. If you listen back, she takes breath before, like the word and or wherever she needs a breath, and it calls attention to itself and it sounds unprofessional. There's a lot of mouth noise, and it's clear that that's something that needs a little bit of work. Rachel Olina hi, and welcome to our OnDemand video series. From pitch to close. Designed to help you win new business, this course provides you with realworld selling strategies right across the sales cycle. Equipped with video modules including Cleveland Objection, Handling, qualifying Opportunities, negotiating best practices, and more, this is the perfect training program for anyone selling businesstobusiness products or services. So, Rachel, what do you think? Well, this particular voice is super sellable in today's market. I will tell you that right now. It is a really nice, rich tone, and she skirts the edge between being professional and being casual in a nice way. Although I have some suggestion there. She's got really nice studio quality, which you will hear me say a gazillion times over and over during this session that we're doing here today. Without it, don't bother. I know you can have okay studio quality, and that's for the really lower level jobs. But if you don't have it, you're just not going to compete in the marketplace, no matter how good your voice is. I will tell you that in my experience, I believe the client will really like this, and they may like it as is. Chances are very high that they will hire her for this job and say, we would like it to be slightly more relatable and casual. Because you told me in the beginning when I looked at these specs, we want persuasive and authentic. So those two things have to be paired. And she's very articulate and she's not a drill sergeant, but there is a level of lack of connection that I think in today's elearnings, people get really lost here. Connection matters in almost all of your Elearnings or any voiceover, unless you're doing a promo piece. So that would be what I would save her. A lot of people get stuck in working on how to compress and how to equalize and how to do these noise directions and all that. And to be honest, when I do my recordings, the better your equipment, the better the sound. But I take out my breaths and make sure I don't have room tone. And then unless the client asks for something else, my technique on the mic should be good enough to get rid of those peas and to handle mouth noise and all of that stuff. Bruce Croninburg Nailing the audition in three takes has a lot to do with that because it has a lot to do with the fact that they want one take. So I try to work with students to get them to trust their instincts within those three takes and don't, like, spend all night trying to figure it out. You got three takes within those three takes, figure out which one you feel the best about, and go ahead and send it. It's a hard decision, but I think you have to trust your instincts because you don't really, really know what they want. I mean, you've been given some specs, you have some idea, but ultimately it comes down to being able to coach yourself and be objective enough to send the take that you like the best. I said, what brings you here? And they're like, well, everybody at work tells me I have a great voice and I should be doing voiceovers. And I'll say to them, well, you know, it's really not about your voice. And they're like, what do you mean? It's really not. It has a lot more to do with your ability to interpret coffee and make it sound real. So this person has a great voice and a great quality, but I think he was relying too much on that. I think that if another audition, for instance, with someone else where they were leaning more into the character would have been a lot more interesting and a lot more closer to getting booked than this guy would, even though he's got a great voice. Let's listen to audition number four. Oh, boy, this does not look good. The infamous oneeyed bear from the campground dump has conquered your campsite and is really going to town on your station wagon. Well, I guess you now know why Cathy and Leanne call that oneeyed bear the cyclops. You have insurance. You need mines. All right, so, yeah, that's a pretty great audition, in my opinion. First of all, his sound quality, he's got a great mic, obviously sounds like he's got annoying 103, but I could be wrong, but it sounds like one. He's in a booth, obviously, he's acoustically treated perfectly, and he's got a great voice, but unlike the other audition, he goes for the humor, and it's subtle. It's not over the top. It's implied in there. He is responding to what's going on in the visual, but he's doing it almost like a funny narrator or something. And I really like that. I really think that's right for the spot. I mean, I know that they say they want an every man like a real guy. He still sounds like a real guy, even though he has a great voice. And the reason why he sounds real is because he's leaning into the humor a lot more, but doing it with subtleties. This is what I'm talking about when I said earlier about the other folks, how they went over the top. He's exactly in the right place as far as I'm concerned. Sweet spot. I really love his audition. Andrea Collins, we need your help. While we want to save every puppy kitten we come across, we don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started. All right, Andrea, so what do you think? Okay, so what I would say is this feels like classic announcer to me, and we're going for conversational relatable. And so I can't imagine this voice fitting in with this spot with those particular specs they had asked for. Let me reread the artistic direction. The voice should be upbeat, conversational, yet authoritative in the message they're delivering, but it should also be useful and hip. So I wouldn't say this delivery is necessarily hip or useful. He's got a great movie trailer voice here. But as far as being conversational, it misses the mark. And so this is where I would return to your favorite saved links of what is conversational and just sort of check yourself before you're hopping in to an audition with this sort of conversational request. I found his pacing was very smooth, like it had almost a repeatable pattern that was very soothing. Is there something different in a conversational read that we should be looking at, pattern wise? Great question. I get into this a little bit more. I have 20 tips for mastering the conversational. Read on my website. Andreacolensconsulting.com, and this is one of the ones on the list, is that it's almost like you want to follow a flow where the end of every sentence isn't the same. There's some classic technique moves. You go up, you land down, you go up, you hit the period in a bold way. That's what this talent is doing here. Whereas this conversational let me find the script here. You might say, okay, we need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help. So each sentence, it's got a different ending to it. If you want to adopt or foster one of our pets you see on our Instagram page, or you want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started. So I try to switch up the ends a little bit. One end of the sentence is going up, the next one ends a little bit in the middle. Maybe the next one goes down. And I feel like when you do that, you fall into a little bit of a more normal cadence. I've heard people use the tip of record yourself having a conversation in a coffee shop and let it play out long enough that you don't remember that you're recording your conversation so that you can listen back and hear those natural ups and downs in the flow. So it's really interesting to hear that same tip being resonated here, just a different way to get to it. Bradford Hastings what a low pass filter does is you pick a frequency, say ten K high frequencies, right? It's allowing the low frequencies to pass. It's the worst naming of any device I've ever heard in my life, because you think it should be the other way around. But it is. A low pass filter cuts highs, and a high pass filter cuts lows. And it allows the high pass allows the highs to pass, and the low pass allows the lows to pass to keep going through. And you can set it at an X decibels per octave, because when you're talking about frequencies on an EQ, you're talking about notes on a piano. This is how you can look at it. When you tune a guitar, you tune a guitar to a 440, which is 440 Hz. Well, if you look at an EQ, you can pick 440, cut 440 Hz. There's a note attached to that. There's a sine wave attached to that. So when you start looking at your EQ, you'll see that things are decibels per octaves, these high and low pass filters, and an octave is simply doubling. So 440, an octave below 440 is 220. An octave above is 880. So you know that if you cut something from twelve decibels per octave at ten K, then what that means is by 20K, it will have reduced by twelve decibels, right? And you can shape it. You can make it six decibels per octave. So from ten K to 20K, it'll reduce by six decibels and be a softer shoulder, if you will, a more gradual rolloff. But then as it continues, it will get quieter and quieter. Obviously, if you do it too sharply, it can become aggressive and you can start to hear it. And my general rule with tools, either at a compressor EQ gate, if you can hear it, you're using it wrong. I don't want to be able to hear it. I just want it to do what it needs to do. The one thing it needs to do, which is manage my high ends. I don't want to hear it affecting Teas, DS, PS, SS, that sort of thing. It just needs to affect those supersonic frequencies that are getting in the way. Kim Handicides helping a client through their accident claim can be a difficult process. Not only is the client still in shock from their experience, they may also be awaiting their funds or payout. If a client calls and wants to know when their claim will be processed and when they will receive their funds, here are the steps you should take. Wow. I feel like that was a good one, but that's just me. What did you think? I really liked that one too. That was really nice. In fact, my first list and I went, wow, I love that. That's it. It's interesting. Is this true? When you're going through a list of like, 60 auditions or whatever, I've heard very often, get it in as quickly as you can because you're listening for the first one that you love, and that becomes your benchmark. And then that is the one that you compare everything else to. He would be our benchmark of like, oh, that's really great, because he's friendly, he's professional, he's informative. So he would be like, okay, now I'd have to listen again. What was wrong? The pacing was pretty good with that. It was premier of fact, which is another way of saying millennial read. My daughter and I argue about that all the time. That's millennial to me. And she says, mom, it's not millennial. Stop that. That's awesome. Yeah, exactly. This one really, like, set the foundation for you. Yeah, it was good. This is very much, I find, being a creative performer. A voiceover artist is very much like being an athlete, because there are times when it's like a professional athlete is a hockey player. For example, how many games do they win? How many games do they win? How many goals do they score, and how much do they practice beforehand? Yeah, it's like, yeah, you got to put the time in, you got to put the love in. And then every once in a while, you do get the wins, and then you get more wins, and then you get more. And it's like it becomes cumulative. Yeah. Build the wease tired of sifting through classified ads and online directories to find your new home rental. Did you know you can hire a real estate agent to help pinpoint the most suitable units for you and your family? Relieve the stress of finding units and setting up viewings. Connect with one of our trusted real estate agents that specializes in finding rental homes. Visit Specializedrealty.com to learn more. Amazing. All right, Bill, lead us off here. What are your thoughts? Well, first of all, let me just say kudos on the audio. That's solid audio. It's quiet, it's well treated. There's no sound reflections, everything. There's a little bit of compression in there and enough to give it a little pop and presence, but it's not over baked, as we like to say. It a little what is it? Less is more. That's the philosophy on audio processing. Again, that's another discussion. But audio is good. The only other thing I was here's my big critique on this particular read. He's operating in one gear the entire time, and the paradigm is control. And so what I mean by control is everything. He's working very hard to make sure everything is paced evenly. And that's very common. I mean, and we all do it to some degree, and if you're aware of it, you can kind of get out of it. But that's presentation mode is control. I want everything to sound, and it goes back to sound. I want to sound good. We don't care if you sound good. We want you to feel something. Make this a personal experience to you. And everything becomes it's very one dimensional. There's not even an acknowledgment of problem and solution. You have to acknowledge what's going on, even if it's slight. If there's a little bit you should exhibit with this script, I think a little bit of frustration. Have you ever felt this before? But if you do this, your life is going to be so much better. It's going to be amazing. And so that's me. I'd living without a script. And there was no words from the actual script in that, by the way. But that's the idea. Frustration. Oh, and solution and hope. And I didn't get any sense of that. He just sounded nice, but it was very one dimensional. Acknowledge what's going on. Yeah. So do you feel since it was like in the same gear in the same space. In that sense, it's tough to be what it's supposed to be, proud and professional for this. Right. It becomes unfortunately and I don't say this to be cruel, but it was boring. Not because there's a lack of ability there not that at all. It's just that the focus was on the wrong thing. Right. You mentioned proud. Okay, well, what if you felt proud? What's the thing you've done that made you feel the most proud and come from that? But don't focus on trying to sound good, because what happens is you get some people might call it a flat read, but it is very one dimensional. You just tune out after three or 4 seconds because it's not going anywhere. It's just plowing straight ahead to nowhere and it comes back to that belief. Right. So that's all what it gears back to, for sure. Absolutely. Gina Scarpa work life balance. Impossible. Not anymore. Introducing a productivity app that seamlessly brings together your personal and professional goals into a streamlined schedule that puts your dreams within reach. Download it for [email protected] today. What do you think? Okay, so I liked this one. First of all, I liked the laugh. Not anymore, right? That's conversational. And I know we kind of use some of us, we use the laugh a lot, but in this case, I really liked it. They may say in the final version of it, I don't need to laugh here, but I kind of like that it's there because it made it feel light and bright and positive. I would personally give a little more space in between work life balance and basically all the sentences because pacingwise, it felt a little rushed, but overall, I felt this person sounded friendly, knowledgeable, approachable, and it fit very well with what the client would be looking for. Amazing. And really good audio, as I'm sure listeners can tell. Really strong audio read was great. Is there any tips at all that you would have for this audition besides pacing? Anything that stands out from you or would you give a one across the board? Honestly, I thought it was a very good read. If that's the only thing I have to say, that's something that can be fixed. That's something that if they book him on the job, they can say, just give a little more space in between. The reason why I like to give just a little bit of breathing room is a so that the listener can process what's happening. And it gives me a chance to maybe shift my energy and tone. And the other thing is to think about what it looks like from a video perspective, because if it's a video narration, there's animations, there's text, and if we're just rushing into the next sentence, there's no time on the video side to be transitioning. So we don't want to leave a lot of space, but we don't want to leave too little space. And that's what I'm saying. It's a very fine line. It's something that I learned a lot in theater as well. Someone would go see maybe a community theater show. I remember someone went to go see a show and the show is typically very long. It's like 3 hours long, maybe even longer than permission, but ended up being over four. And they were like, the show was terrible. I'm like, I bet it wasn't that terrible. I bet their pacing was deadly slow. I bet their set changes took too long. And now we've increased the show length by 30 to 45 minutes. And it feels bad when it wasn't really probably that bad at all. So pacing really, really matters. And it's just like I don't know, it's like intuitive. It's something that you need to learn. However, in this case, I just felt like it was just like slightly rushed and I'm being picky, but overall, very, very strong read. Anthony Reese. Like many other philosophers who significantly extended our knowledge of nature, galileo had a remarkable aptitude for inventing instruments designed for philosophical research to facilitate his practical work. We find that in 1099 he had engaged a skill workman to live in his house and be constantly at hand to try devices that were forever springing from Galileo's fertile brain. What's the first thing that comes into mind for that one, Anthony? It's funny. People are probably going to say, what is that guy out of his mind? Is the same thing, same old song and dance. The reality is, again, I happen to know this talent. And again, just too quick. It's too fast. It's just like Speedy Gonzales syndrome. It's just too fast from the standpoint of the consumer. Doesn't have time to stay in your shadow. You're pulled away and they are literally falling further and further behind. In order for you to retain them and keep them locked in, we have to create that rhythm and the cadence, but at the same time, we have to create basically an environment where they can stay with us. When I talk to a lot of my lectures and keynote speakers and authors that go out of book tours and stuff and tell them how to engage your audience, work the stage and all that, the reality is if you've got a room full of people's face split up with the phone, you've lost them. If you got a room full of people who are following is facing you and you want them over. And the way the key to that is exactly what we're talking about here. Allow them time to stay with you and get into a conversation with you and feel what you're saying. If you're rambling on, you're too quick. Like that read was a little bit too fast. You're going to basically just blow through and you're going to pull away and they're going to fall behind and not to pay attention. I felt this was a little bit musically alive, too. They wanted to be engaging and they wanted to be bright and they wanted to be kind of leaning towards the series, which I kind of think is a contrasting input. Talk about confusing the talent sometimes, but the reality is it was a little bit musical or singsongy, I'd call it. It had a little bit too much going on. When I coached talent on, my color lesson that I work with talent on, I teach in concept of yellow. And the yellow color is an animated or a nonanimate use of the yellow color. Like when we build a soundscape, yellow is musically alive. It allows us the freedom to use the entire vocal register, lower, middle and upper, and go all over the place. And the reality is, it had a little bit I felt too much singsong and musicalness going on. I understood what the talent was trying to do, but there is a time where less is more. And this is one of those cases where in this particular project, it would be a little bit more sustained within a step, two step, three step area of musical scale without going all over the place, up and down too quick. So that comes to being singers. On the overall, though, again, I heard a few of the same kind of enunciation problems. Right? Again, on the word constantly. It's constantly and I heard constantly. If you go back and wherever you are and listen to your audition, you're going to hear it too. Shelley, Shannon, if that's not our friends rearing their ugly heads, then I'm not a lieutenant. All right, boys, strap up. We gotta move. Quadrant 760, we're making our way to the battleground. Eyes on the horizon. Peters, what of you? Get down, all of you. Now. Turn that thing off. Peters, what are you trying to do, get us all killed? Naaaaa. Oh, no. Peters. Uh. You shot me, you donkey. No, no, you sit yourself down. I'm going to handle this myself. Yeah, so this guy, what a delight. First of all, what a delight. The missing element here. You guys all know what the secret to comedy is, right? Go on, enlighten us being funny. It's timing. Okay? So you notice that the gaffed out. So it was so spaced out that he missed the beat, right? You missed the punchline, you missed the beat, you missed the rhythm of the scene, right? Like I said earlier, it's not voice reading, it's voice acting. And so therefore, the misnomer, like I said, is that it's voice reading and not voice acting. It's not true. You've got to understand and know your beats, your objective, your pacing, what the stakes are. And above all else, be honest and truthful. Now, there were so many good elements to this guy's voice and his performance, but because of the way that he spaced it out, he missed the joke or jokes, right? It was just hanging in there. I was waiting for it. I wrote down, I would have loved to have heard really different choices and Take two. But take Two has a slightly different vocal timber. There were a few other choices, but for example, there's a line. You shot me, you donkey. Right? Right. In the original script, it's bleeping idiot. But we put donkey for us, a lot more fun to say e for everyone, right? A lot more fun to say the first version. But you shot me. A donkey can be really, really funny and, you know, emphasis, right, in any certain word. Like, my favorite game is how dare you, sir? Where you choose one word to emphasize each time you say how dare you, sir? And you just go back and forth between two people. How dare you, sir? Right? How dare you, sir? Right? How dare you, sir? The emphasis really, really matters. And I got you shot me, you donkey. Both times. I would have loved to have heard this guy really hit the joke with like, donkey, right? And then the recovery. I mean, there's so many like we'll get into a lot of these vocal performances and just a lot of opportunities missed. Nobody got electrocuted, not really. I mean, there's one hint of electrocution. You'll see it coming up, but man, so many miscommunic opportunities here. Yeah. Melissa Moates. Work life balance. Three tiny words. An impossible equation that humankind has tried to solve for centuries. What would it mean to your life if you could achieve all of your goals? If family fitness and personal finance could come together with career progression and big promotions. Introducing We Collaborium, a productivity app that seamlessly brings together your personal and professional goals into a streamlined schedule that puts your dreams within reach. Download it for [email protected] today. Alright, kick us off, Melissa. Okay, so I have this voice in my ear is youthful young mom. She sounds like an elementary teacher. She's just so sweet and comforting, but not too saccharine, right? And we see that a lot in direction where you're sweet, but it's not too sweet. Right? She cares about the listener, she cares about us. And the melody of the open opening triplet the way she kicked off those three, those first little words. Work Life Balance felt melodically just a hair off. It didn't have like a landing point, right? It didn't land quite right. But her voice though was so welcoming and sweet that I was like, whatever, I can see past that. I want to hear what else she has to say. So I did hear that she established a problem and she definitely had an opinion about it. So going back to hear a problem sounding like a problem, a solution sounding like a solution, great job there. And then sometimes hitting a pronoun can make a listener feel like it's a little bit more personal. So the question, what would it mean to your life? Right. I haven't heard any talent do that yet in the reads. And in this particular case, I was waiting for that just because of that sweet, comforting undertone to the performance productivity app. Again, it could have been cleaner into a streamlined schedule, felt a little disconnected from the rest of the thought before it. And then your goals are within reach. That line to me, I'm sorry, I'm giving love to this talent, but I have to say it was a little bit too precious. Dreams within reach. It just felt a little too contrived. Again, little too manufactured. So the rest of it was so sincere and genuine that that line to me just felt overdone. And I will say that the last line was really nice and not too pushed. So being very specific with my notes here, because this is the way a lot of casting directors and clients are going to listen and that can make or break whether or not they're going to put a book, a read, a talent sometimes.

Participant #1:
Thanks so much for listening. We hope you enjoyed this special episode of Mission Audition from Voices. Wishing you a very happy holiday and happy auditioning.

Geoff Bremner
Hi! I'm Geoff. I'm passionate about audio. Giving people the platform for their voice, music, or film to be heard is what gets me up in the morning. I love removing technical, logistical, and emotional barriers for my clients to allow their creative expression to be fully realized.
Connect with Geoff on:
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