Podcasts Mission Audition AI, Accents, and Your Competitive Edge with Toby Ricketts
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AI, Accents, and Your Competitive Edge with Toby Ricketts

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Geoff Bremner
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Join Vanessa, Tara, and accent connoisseur Toby Ricketts on this riveting episode of Mission Audition. We hold nothing back in this episode exploring AI voices, the ethics of AI, and how having a toolkit of accents will boost your your voice over journey. Every 2nd brief that comes along now is asking for ‘real people’, ‘not-announcer-y’, or non-retail. Toby Ricketts will explore what the direction ‘do less’ means, and how to apply it to your voiceover practice to win more work.

Have Toby be YOUR coach: https://www.tobyrickettsvoiceover.com/

Practice Script: https://www.voices.com/resources/scripts-for-radio-and-television-ads

Learn more from Voices: https://www.voices.com/blog/

Speaker 1 (00:00):
I'm thinking that's either a person doing an amazing impression of an AI voice or it is in fact an AI voice, which is probably much more likely. Yes.
Speaker 2 (00:10):
What's up everyone? Welcome back to Mission Audition. I hope everyone had an amazing holiday break. If you're new here, welcome. My name's Vanessa, and I'm here with my co-host, Tara. Hello. We invite one voiceover coach on the podcast every month to give their honest take on voiceover auditions. We see a lot of slipups in this industry, and so that's why we bring in the experts. This podcast is a safe space for all voice actors to join in, listen and learn, and we're starting off the month strong with one of voice's very own. Toby Ricketts. We're so thrilled about the coach lineup this year. Toby, thank you for starting the year off strong. Happy new year to you. How are you?
Speaker 1 (00:48):
Very well, thank you. It's nice and warm down here in New Zealand at the moment. Of course, we have our summer around Christmas new, so we have been going to the beach a lot recently. But it's a pleasure to be here with you on this podcast.
Speaker 2 (01:00):
It's such a dream. It is. I would love to go to the beach right now. It's windy, it's cold, it's snowy here
where we are just near Toronto. So Toby, before we jump in, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Speaker 1 (01:12):
Absolutely, yes. I'm a voiceover artist. I've been full-time professional for about the last 10 years, but I've been in audio since about the age of eight years old, so I won't tell you how long that is, but it's a long time. And yeah, I live here in New Zealand when I decided to become a voiceover artist, I moved to the middle of nowhere and the New Zealand bush, built myself a studio and then started working away at the online voiceover career. And it's really taken me some places over the years
Speaker 2 (01:40):
And we know how much you love to do accents. That's basically your wheelhouse. So we had to pick a really cool script for this episode. And let's just say that the auditions were very interesting. Oh, we're going to get into it. They were, but I could not be more excited to not only talk about the accents and so much more, but the artistic direction I really enjoyed for this script. So this online ad was designed to promote luxe lips, newest lipstick range. It aims to appeal to makeup enthusiasts and everyday users emphasizing the product's quality, long lasting nature and the confidence it can bring. The script should be delivered with a glamorous and empowering voice. So as always, we're going to start with audition number one, and then we're going to get some feedback from you. Toby, are you ready to jump in?
Speaker 1 (02:34): Absolutely.
Speaker 3 (02:35):
New Zealand American, A journey of colors, a symphony of beauty. Luxe lips introduces the art of the
unforgettable, bold in spirit, lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story. Lux lips define your legend, A
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journey of colors, a symphony of beauty. Luxe lips introduces the art of the unforgettable, bold in spirit,
lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story. Luxe lips define your legend.
Speaker 2 (03:19):
Okay, let's get right into this. So I feel like this one was such an intimate audition, very close to the mic. Loved that great recording environment. I thought it was a great audition. But Toby, you're the expert. So what are your thoughts?
Speaker 1 (03:32):
Fantastic. Well, I think you straight out of the gate, you knew that this was someone with, it sounded like quality. It sounded like confidence, and it did have that kind of glamorous edge to it. It had that sound of a high-end car commercial or something. It sounded expensive. It didn't sound like it was selling beds or food or something. It sounded like it was really something quality. I love the way she really took her time to get the words out because it's that classic thing of the slower you say something, the more people lean in and listen to you and feel it. It sounds more important when you say things slowly. So she did that. Absolutely. Well, again, really close mic to really intimate using that proximity effect to sound really warm on the microphone and really, yeah, just sounding. She knows the sound of a high-end commercial and she's imitating that with her voice and making it sound luxurious and syrupy and everything.
So yeah, lots of marks for me. The only rooms for improvement I'd say, would be to just tidy up the audition a little bit in between the speaking parts and just get rid of those little breaths, et cetera, because that has the sound that it's like whenever we hear really good audio, it almost sounds ethereal. It's almost like doesn't belong to a person. So if you can get rid of those little breaths and everything, it just sounds absolutely clean and perfect. Nothing needs to be done to it. So that would be the only room for improvement, I'd say.
Speaker 2 (04:56):
I would fully agree about feeling luxurious for this audition. When she said those first few words, I thought, you've already sold me on this lipstick. I personally don't wear red lipstick, but it could have been red lipstick and I would've bought it. She sold me on it. Her tone, her voice, the pace of how she said the words. I felt like she did the brand such justice, and I really appreciated that.
Speaker 1 (05:26):
Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't agree more,
Speaker 2 (05:28):
And I totally love the two takes too.
Speaker 1 (05:32):
Yeah, I really am a big fan of giving at least two options in auditions. Put your strongest stuff upfront. But if you do have another option, and I say with people that can do different accents, maybe a different accent is a good idea because perhaps it's been posted in the wrong category. Or perhaps sometimes people dunno what accent they want, so they'll put an accent, but like the heritage one. So if you've got a better idea than the brief shows and based on the script, then always another go at it.
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This transcript was exported on Jan 15, 2024 - view latest version here. Speaker 2 (05:58):
Interesting. So what accent do you think would've been a good option for a second take? Well,
Speaker 1 (06:04):
For her second take, putting in an American accent was an interesting version because we all know that that's the most popular accent by miles on voices.com as North American accent. So to have more potential of getting some of that market, I think as a shrew judge. And if you do have a very good American accent, then it makes sense to put it forward in this context.
Speaker 2 (06:27):
And so to bump off that, how would you say is the best way to learn accents in the voice of British?
Speaker 1 (06:37):
Yeah, learning accents, it's one of those things. Some people, for some reason they're just accent sponges and they find it easy to change the way that their mouth behaves and the way that their voice is. If you are that kind of person where you hang out with a person with a strong accent and you find yourself accidentally doing their accent and trying to be close to them, then chances are you are one of these people. And I'm not saying that the people that don't have that, it's impossible to learn an accent because it just takes a lot longer. So it's really one of those things where some people's brains are easier to change and manipulate the way they talk and others, it'll take a lot of work. But it is just repetition, repetition, repetition, recording yourself, listening back to it. Using lexical sets can really help to modify the way you say vowels and realize that there are other ways to say these vows interesting. And then this a case, there's a whole nother other idea, which is how to remember which accent you are in and stay consistent in an accent and then switch between accents. That's kind of like a whole nother topic on its own, but that's a really interesting field.
Speaker 2 (07:35):
Yeah, I love that, Tara. Yeah. So speaking of accents, you obviously have a New Zealand accent. Besides
your native tongue, what would your next favorite accent be that you would audition for
Speaker 1 (07:49):
Probably the next? Oh, it's tricky because at the moment, and it's funny, and I notice how things go in waves, there are trends and seasons for different accents At the moment, my Australian accent gets quite a lot of work, lots of people asking for me to switch into an Australian accent and start doing gigs on that. And then of course there's the standard American, which as I said before is the most popular accent on the internet. But a lot of people ask and they say, which American accent? I do a fairly good Matthew McConaughey impression down from the south there from Texas. So, and then there's my British accent, which is where I really found my feet on the internet. And then there's an accent that kind of incorporates all of these together, which is kind of like a global accent, which corporates quite like because it doesn't pin them to any one place in the world.
Speaker 2 (08:41):
I would love to hear an Italian accent. I'm also Italian, that's why I'm asking. I want to hear it because I don't even speak or anything, but oh my gosh, I would love to hear someone else who is an Italian do an Italian accent. Your Nona be so proud right now. So proud.
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Well, I would do one except I have no idea how to, so I would insult an entire nation if I gave it even a tiny go. But of course then Italian is one of those accents where there's no right and wrong because it's, we're not speaking Italian, we're speaking English with an Italian accent. Right, that's true. So it's going to be different for every Italian person. Yes. Desire. So that's the other interesting thing. Yeah, exactly. Because you think there's Germans speaking English and there's that kind of German accented English, and then there's Colonel Clink, which is like Hogan. No, get away from there. And it's, that's not how German people speak buts. So there's almost comedy accents and then there's realism accents. Oh my gosh, that's too good. Yeah, once you start looking at accents, you realize, wow, really everyone on the earth speaks slightly differently. And it's fascinating to get into the gaps between that and see where things lead.
Speaker 2 (09:47):
Totally. Okay, I love that. Before we get into audition number two, do you have any other feedback for
audition Number one?
Speaker 1 (09:55):
Just that it's a really solid job and I feel like that will increasingly get more and more work, that kind of category of delivery, because with AI voices coming in, AI voices are still not good at doing intimate reads. They're very good at doing flat instructional kind of reads, but they don't have that personal connection and they're hard to command to do that. And they're also hard to get to read slowly convincingly. They've got one pace which they set out. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (10:30):
Okay. Alright, well let's get into audition number two.
Speaker 4 (10:36):
A journey of colors, A symphony of beauty. Lux lips introduces the art of the unforgettable, bold and
spirit lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story, luxe lives Define your legend.
Speaker 2 (10:52):
Cool. Okay, so for this one, I felt like the pacing was a bit awkward. It didn't really make me want to buy the lipstick, I just wasn't sold on it. I didn't really feel like the passion was there for me. It felt like from a brand perspective, she was just reading the words on a page. She wasn't really embodying what the product was.
Speaker 1 (11:16):
Absolutely. Yeah, I'd agree with that assessment. And almost like the exact things that we just talked about in the previous thing, pacing was the thing is straight out of the get was it sounded like she wanted to get the audition over with and get out of the booth.
Speaker 2 (11:28):
Yeah, it was a bit awkward.
Speaker 1 (11:29):
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Yeah, she wasn't enjoying it Like the first one, and I think this is a real key part of it, is that when you get one of those really creamy, glamorous scripts is to really enjoy the process of just lading it out and not just go straight through it and try and get to the end. So that was a really big thing for me was the pacing. What did you guys think the accent of that was out of interest?
Speaker 2 (11:53):
Well, I will admit I'm not great at accents, so I don't know, but it didn't sound very strong to me.
Speaker 1 (12:04):
Well, it was actually, oh, did you want to have No, go ahead. I guess Vanessa, I was
Speaker 2 (12:08): Going to say it only,
Speaker 1 (12:11):
It was an Australian doing a Kiwi accent. Oh,
Speaker 2 (12:14): Okay.
Speaker 1 (12:15):
If anyone else picked that up. But lots of the Australian accent came through. But a few of the key vowel sounds in kiwi were, I would say, kind of faked, if I know what mean, they've taken the hallmarks of a kiwi accent and just put it on top of their accent without really thoroughly changing everything in the accent words like introduces in Australia, it be introduces as that E instead of the in the Kiwi accent. So in Kiwi it be introducing and not introducing subtle, it's very subtle, but it's like a wider mouth subtle and the same word for impact as opposed to impact for kiwi accent. And then the flattening of the E sound on legend in Australian, which in kiwi is legend, they swap the vows. Interesting. So instead of doing ease, we go and instead of eh, we do ease. It's very strange when you get into the Kiwi accent, it's one of the hardest accents to learn. They reckon in Hollywood and accent dialect coaches say it's a very difficult accent to learn, but the hallmarks of all that accent, the kind of background was pretty much all Australian. So I mean good on an Australian for sort of having a go and throwing their hat into the ring for a kiwi audition, but just need to work on the accent a little bit more in order to actually nail that brief of having a New Zealand accent. Because like Kiwi consumers would hear that and go, that's an Aussie voice.
Speaker 2 (13:36): Interesting.
Speaker 1 (13:37):
Which is kind of interesting. So if you were looking for market localization, then that wouldn't fit the bill. And I think a lot of companies do rely on sites like voices when they're localizing that only the people who can do the accents will go for the jobs. So sometimes it's like maybe the person hiring won't necessarily know the difference. So it's important to get someone who's local or really good in accents
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on board so that they can tell where they're missing the market a little bit. Otherwise it can be confusing
in the marketplace.
Speaker 2 (14:06):
Yeah, that's so interesting, especially from a client perspective. So for me, for instance, when I'm posting a job because I don't have the specialty of knowing accents, I would definitely lean on the platform to provide that accent. And it's really helpful to work with a coach like yourself, even again from a client perspective to just identify, yes, this is the accent you're looking for. No, this is not the accent you're looking for. Things like that are really key because it's true for localization. If I'm wanting to sell my US product in New Zealand, I need a true authentic New Zealand voice. And how bad for your brand if you don't do your research and you go and launch a product and then you get what is this? Then Vanessa, as the social media manager, is going to be dealing with the kickback on social media and it would just be a PR nightmare that you don't want to deal with.
Speaker 1 (15:03):
Exactly. Exactly. So accents, they can be really important in these campaigns because it does say, I'm
local, I'm your friend, you know me, kind of thing. And that's a big part of branding these days.
Speaker 2 (15:14):
And then it comes down to does that make me want to buy the product? It probably won't. If it's, for example, for this audition, I didn't really make me want to buy anything and I'm like, this is a lipstick, let's go sell me on lipstick. I'm just picturing walking into Ulta or Sephora and shopping for all the lipsticks and someone's selling me on it. I'm like, this is the best lipstick ever. You want to feel sexy, you want to feel feminine, give me that confidence in a little stick. That's what you want. That's it. So this one didn't sell it for me, but that's my last take on this one. We're hopeful for audition three. Audition number three, should we get right into it?
Speaker 1 (15:58): Let's do it.
Speaker 5 (15:59):
A journey of colors, a symphony of beauty. Luxe lips introduces the art of the unforgettable, bold in
spirit, lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story. Lux lips define your legend.
Speaker 2 (16:17):
So let's just point out the elephant in the room right now because what are you thinking?
Speaker 1 (16:25):
Well, I'm thinking that's either a person doing an amazing impression of an AI voice or it is in fact an AI voice, which is probably much more likely. Yes. So interesting that when I was listening to these auditions, basically within the first two seconds, I was like, this is an AI voice straight out. And it's interesting that it is that easy to sort pick them. Now I know this is as AI voices go, this isn't the worst one, but it's definitely not the best. It's sort of somewhere medium on the spectrum where you hear these under YouTube videos or very low impact, low budget sort of work generally on internet because it does the job of speaking the words, but in no way does it sound like a convincing human. There's no
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way to move someone with that voice to buying or to feel an emotion. So yeah, that's definitely an AI voice. It's not a New Zealand accent at all. That's 100% Australian accent. So that's the other interesting thing is that they've taken the model that is actually trained on a different accent than what the brief describes possibly someone just firing out as many auditions into the ether as possible to try and get any kind of work without actually having to do the voice work themselves potentially. I dunno, what do you guys think?
Speaker 2 (17:37):
Well, I think for me, this audition frustrated me quite a bit because from a brand perspective, I was really frustrated that nowhere in the script, nowhere in the job posting did we call for an AI voice. And I think there is a place for AI voice, this is not it. I do believe that the human voice still wins. But let's say you're in an airport and you terminal changes, of course an AI voice makes sense there. When I am selling a product such as a luxurious lipstick and the job posting doesn't say AI voice accepted and I hear an AI voice, it's a bit of a slap in the face. So right away I was frustrated and I didn't even think I listened to the entire audition, to be honest. When I listened to the first few words I could tell, like you said, Toby, it was either someone who does a really good impression of a semi robot or it's an AI voice and I figured it was an AI voice. Yeah, it's probably the second one. Yeah, it's probably the second one. So again, I think there's a time and place for an AI voice. This was definitely not it.
Speaker 1 (18:48):
Absolutely. Yeah, no, I'd a hundred percent agree because you can hear it doesn't repetition in there. That's what we call patterning where every sentence ends the same and it sounds very monotonous very quickly because people talk like that when they're giving a PowerPoint presentation to the company and they really don't want to be there and they're kind of just getting it out the way as fast as they can, or they're really nervous or something is quite wrong with the situation that is unfolding. It doesn't sound like someone that is comfortable when someone does so much sort of patterning. And even in there there was a sentence that end in each brand tells a story or something, and the way that it put the spacing in between the words was everything tells a story and it disconnected the whole meaning of the sentence. Like the flow wasn't there.
So yeah, it gets very fatiguing listening to AI voices very quickly, which is, I think what people are finding out with audio books is that if everything sounds, if everything is only one of two or three ways to end a sentence, then your brain is looking for all of the interesting things. It's like listening to AI music that's completely perfect. That's not what we're looking for in music. We are looking for the flaws, we're looking for the things that make it interesting, the things that make it human a little bit like diamonds. It's like we can make diamonds that are completely 100% perfect with clarity, but those are industrial diamonds and they cost almost nothing compared to the ones that have these interesting flaws in them, which is what makes them interesting and valuable. So I feel like it's the same with the human voice, the extra humanness that you cannot predict that makes the voice worth so much more than an AI voice.
Speaker 2 (20:22):
Yeah, it's those pauses. It's the punctuation and fluctuations. It's the pacing. And if I was a consumer listening to this read, I wouldn't take the lipstick if it was free. Exactly. They didn't sell me on it whatsoever.
Speaker 1 (20:43):
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This transcript was exported on Jan 15, 2024 - view latest version here. Yeah, it sounds cheap.
Speaker 2 (20:44):
Yeah, it does. It is. Yeah, totally. It lacks that imagination. The visuals, even like you were just saying, if music was produced in the terms of ai, I would just kind of just be like, okay, I don't have any visual to this. It's not giving me the feeling I need to feel, especially different genres. But yeah, this one was definitely, I could tell it was AI voice in the first three seconds.
Speaker 1 (21:13):
It just ends up sounding like meh, doesn't it? Yeah, very. It's just meh.
Speaker 2 (21:17):
Yeah. And I have a question for you, Toby, because obviously in the near future with AI voices getting unquote better as a coach, and I think you touched on this a little bit, but if we could go a little bit deeper into it, how would you decipher what's real and what is ai?
Speaker 1 (21:36):
It's tricky. I mean, these days it is, like you say, it's getting better and better for text that has no emotional quality at all. So you're really not looking to tell a story. It doesn't have a narrative quality or an emotional subtext. So this is instructions for cutting out a piece of paper or something. I think it's going to be tricky to tell those apart still. Where AI seems to be having trouble is to really add convincing emotion to reads and know when that's appropriate. Because if you've got a narrative script or everything, it makes it so much easier for us readers to hear if the emotion of what we're talking about is injected into the way we're talking about it. And AI still doesn't do that. It's great at reading words, but it doesn't read the context and the narrative of those words and then add that emotional flavor to the script.
All it's doing is reading the script maybe in, I dunno, five years, it'll be able to do that potentially. But I still think at this point it's easier to get a human to do that job and to do it well, especially if it's for a commercial purpose. Also, like I say, the patterning is a dead giveaway when you hear something over and over again, the way the AI started each of those sentence, it just seems to be sort of on repeat, that sort of music. And the other thing is to just go to a lot of these websites, I dunno there's a bunch of them out there, and listen to the AI voices there and just make yourself familiar with them because they pop up all over the place and it's very easy to sort of cache those and be like, oh, that's that AI voice, that's that AI voice.
And there's some that are incredibly common on the internet now. So as soon as you hear it, you're like, that's an AI voice. And I feel like that will potentially be, its undoing because as soon as you hear a video that's got that AI voice on it and you're like, oh, it's the AI voice, it instantly cheapens the video to be, oh, they've just got an AI voice to do it. As opposed to, oh, they've hired a human to do it, which is the human voice is now the kind of the premium, the signature thing that you want. So that adds its own value to it now because the AI voices, everyone knows how cheap they're, because they've seen all the adverts popping up saying, 1499 gets you a lifetimes membership and this unlimited voiceover as much as you want. And it's like, well, no one, that just doesn't feel good or seem good.
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This transcript was exported on Jan 15, 2024 - view latest version here. Speaker 2 (23:54):
And this audition too, again, didn't sell me on it. So it was just like, I don't even think we really even, I don't think we finished even listening to the full thing. No, we didn't when we were shortlist it. So it's like, I mean, you can take the risk, but we didn't even listen to the full thing. Sorry, sorry, not sorry.
Speaker 1 (24:14): Yeah, exactly.
Speaker 2 (24:15):
Oh my gosh. And I know AI couldn't do accents as good as you Toby, so no AI could not do accents as
good as you.
Speaker 1 (24:22): Oh, well, thank you.
Speaker 2 (24:24):
Okay, let's get into our last audition.
Speaker 6 (24:28):
A journey of colors, A symphony of beauty. Lux slips introduces the out of the unforgettable, bold in
spirit, lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story. Lux lips define your legend.
Speaker 2 (24:43):
So I felt very happy listening to this audition and I liked that part. I thought that it was fun. I could hear her smiling as she was reading, but it didn't sell me on the luxurious part. I felt like this was probably a lower drugstore end product that maybe little girls would buy. It would be their first lip gloss or their first lipstick. It's not for the mature working woman who's going to spend $40 on a lipstick. I didn't even think about it like that. That's a good way to think about it. Yeah. Thank you. I agree. I just have lipstick
Speaker 1 (25:18):
On the mind. Yeah, I a hundred percent agree with that assessment in that this had a very retail sound to it. That was the word that kind of popped up for me when hearing this was that it sounded like very radio commercial and very much had that sound of like you say, like a discount drugstore or something where price is the most important thing, not that you're getting the best lipstick in the world. And it's interesting, I differentiate between the two kinds of reads from our first audition and this audition as hard sell versus soft sell, which is kind of an old term in the industry, but the fact that hard sell is always driven by features, benefits, price, something tangible about it. It's like, I want it for this reason. It's on special this week. It's only 10 99, it's got three different colors. Whereas if you're selling a soft sell commercial, none of that matters.
All that matters with soft sell is how you feel about it. And you see, this is why I talked about car commercials with that first audition because car commercials are almost always mostly soft sell because especially luxury car commercials, because all the cars do exactly the same thing. There's nothing to differentiate them. They all go fast, they all look nice, they all got comfy seats. You'd expect all of that in
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a luxury car. The only thing that it differs in the advertising is what kind of club you are joining, how it makes you feel when you drive it. Oh yeah, true. And that is the thing that they're selling. It's not the actual car, it's the experience of being in that club. So that's kind of a useful thing when your voiceover artist is to look at a script and go, what am I being sold on here? Is it the fact that it's available in 10 different colors, it's sold 10 99 this week, or it's got one of those commercial tangible hooks in it? Or is it just talking about the emotion and how it makes you feel and how it makes you react Exactly, et cetera. Sometimes it's a mix of both, but usually it does fall into one of those camps. It's either about emotion or it's about facts and it's about those sort of hard factors.
Speaker 2 (27:17):
It's so interesting how the soft cell hard sell sounds so different too, and how that can really just change the whole product that you're trying to convince someone to buy or whatever the case is. Right. But yeah, I just think that's really interesting. Yeah, we do this at voices all the time where we lean away from the hard sell because really we talk about the benefits of our platform and we try to have the buyer envision what their life would be like using our platform. So we want creative producers to understand that they may have a very complex project, they can come to us and we can make it so easy for them. All they need to do is tell us about the project and basically wipe their hands of it. Same for voice actors. We want voice actors to know that if you put in the time and effort, if you follow our recommendations, you get a coach, you have good equipment, you focus on your audio, you can make a living from this. But it's our platform and the benefits that we sell, it's not a come here, sign up today, 9 99, get it today or lose it. It's not that whatsoever. We really just want, we're selling a lifestyle.
Speaker 1 (28:31):
And it's interesting how we talked earlier about how accents go in and out of style and deliveries definitely go in and out of style. And you would've seen definitely over the last, well six or seven or eight years, so many scripts come through saying not an answer non-commercial. Like I want this sounding like a real human and not someone saying 10 99 this week only. And it is really profound how the industry has really drifted towards soft sell and conversational. The tricky thing is though, is that when there are clients who I want that really compelling, slow, beautiful delivery, but I also want you to mention that it's on special this week and that you get 10 different colors and it's like the script has to match the delivery. So it's very interesting when you get a script that's got all this, it's a hard sell script and they want it in a soft sell delivery.
And it's tricky as a voice artist to deliver that convincingly because it doesn't add up in the listener's head someone they're trying to engage emotionally, but without using any emotional terms at all. So that's something to keep in mind. Also, I'll say as well that especially here in New Zealand, like radio went through a big phase 10, 20 years ago when every commercial was pretty much hard sell and even the soft sell ones would have this kind of hard edge to it. And people that have come through either radio channels or have done a lot of hard sell announcing deliveries, it's very hard to lose that sound in your voice if you've read lots of scripts in that. It's one of the hardest things to do to unpick that and get this more emotional unobvious kind of tone to the voice. So if someone is coming from a background where they have done lots of hard sell reads or commercial stuff, then getting training to unpick that sound in your voice is quite important because it's difficult to do on your own. Yeah, that's all I'd say about that.
Speaker 2 (30:25):
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This transcript was exported on Jan 15, 2024 - view latest version here.
Great feedback overall. I love that. Such good feedback. Yeah, it's been great. So Toby, when you have voice actors coming to you and you're their coach, if someone were to come to you and say, I have this audition. I would like to try an AI voice with the audition, what advice would you give to them?
Speaker 1 (30:43):
I'd say I think the people that are going after AI voices are going straight to AI voice companies. They won't come to voice actors looking for their AI voice. When someone gets approached as a human, you expect 'em to give them a human delivery back. And also it's problematic to make an AI model of your voice and then send it out into the wild potentially. I don't know too many voice actors actually who are sort of doing, putting an AI voice model together and then using that to audition. I feel like it defeats the purpose. You've got your voice. It works perfectly well. And the thing about the AI voice stuff for auditions is that the AI doesn't know what the product is. They dunno what it's meant to do. They don't know what emotion it's meant to have. It'll literally just read the words, which if that is the point of the job that you're going for, then they don't need a voice actor.
They need just to do an AI thing. And the budget's probably so low that you probably don't want to get near it anyway. So yeah, I feel like two distinct worlds are evolving with voice and they will both be a part of our future and that there'll be the human side of voice, which is to deal directly with humans and try and motivate some kind of change in their lives or their behaviors. And then there's other purely instructional reads which have no future kind of benefit. I'm thinking stuff like if you are inducted into a new company, it tells you where the fire escapes are and all that really procedural stuff that doesn't need emotion. It is just purely information Tory, and there's no profit to be made from it. It just has to be done and as cheaply as possible. Then that will be the realm of a lot of AI stuff.
We still dunno where the technology is going to evolve too, because it really exceeded our expectations, I think in 2023, and it might still go on to do that, but I feel like the economic incentives of that are running out in that it will cost a lot of money to get it to the next stage. It's a bit like buying Hi-Fi stereo systems. It's like you can get a terrible stereo system for like a hundred dollars. You can get a pretty good one for a thousand dollars, but then to get double that again probably costs you $10,000. It's law of diminishing returns. And I hope, I feel like with the industry that to get to that point where it's starting to fool us on an emotional level will cost so much money that it's still cheaper to get voice actors to do it because we are still here, we're still doing it.
It's not like voice actors have gone away. And often, I've definitely had the experience where clients are using AI voice as a scratch read just to get the timing right and to get the kind of vibe of the commercial. And then there's all these words they want to fix and add emotion to it. And to get a computer to do that and get a software engineer involved to make all those changes, it's easier just to get a voice actor to do it. So I think the economic incentives for ai, for advanced AI, voice development are kind of running out and that there will still be a big place for us human voices in the future.
Speaker 2 (33:46):
Yes. I feel like those are really some really good points and hopefully the audience feels a little bit of relief listening to that maybe. I definitely did. So it's nice to hear it from a voice coach or a voice actor themselves as well. So yeah, thank you for those points. I love that.
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This transcript was exported on Jan 15, 2024 - view latest version here. Speaker 1 (34:04):
Speaker 2 (34:04):
Worries. Okay, it's time. Alright, we're going to pick a winner, Toby, so we're going to let you pick the
winner for this job. Yeah. So Toby, what audition are you picking to book this job?
Speaker 1 (34:20):
I'm going to pick audition number one.
Speaker 2 (34:23):
Audition. Audition number one. Such a great choice. It was a very good audition. So good. So
congratulations to that talent for booking that job. Let's listen to that winning audition one more time.
Speaker 3 (34:36):
New Zealand American, a journey of colors, a symphony of beauty. Luxe lips introduces the art of the unforgettable, bold in spirit, lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story. Luxe lips define your legend. A journey of colors, a symphony of beauty. Luxe lips introduces the art of the unforgettable, bold in spirit, lasting in impact. Every hue tells a story. Lux lips define your legend.
Speaker 2 (35:20):
Okay, so we're going to wrap up this episode. Thank you all so much for tuning into mission audition. We hope this episode has really helped you learn valuable voiceover tips from Toby. Toby, before we sign off, how can talent get in touch with you?
Speaker 1 (35:33):
Well, I have many guises on the internet, but toby ricketts voiceover.com is my main website for talent interesting and attending course here in New Zealand. You can check out voice academy.co nz and you can always find me at the Worldwide Voice Organization Gravy for the Brain. That's at oceania dot gravy for the brain.com, and looking forward to connecting with people around the world.
Speaker 2 (35:57):
Amazing. Thank you for all of that. Voice actors. If you're looking to start taking your voiceover career more seriously, we offer a wide range of scripts for you to practice, including today's. They're all [email protected] slash blog. If you need any more resources from Toby, please feel free to reach out to him and connect. Thank you so much for joining us, Toby. This was a great episode to start off the new year. We're so happy to have you. It really was
Speaker 1 (36:22):
Cool. Thank you so much guys.
Speaker 2 (36:23):
We will see you in the next episode. And happy auditioning. 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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