Common Killers of the Conversational Read with Andrea Collins

    6
    2238

    More and more, we see marketers, casting directors, and big brands (like WeWork, AirBnB, and Uber) moving towards truly real, conversational reads. But how do you sound like you’re not reading when you’re reading?

    In this episode, you’ll learn what uber successful voice over actress and coach, Andrea Collins does to book commercial jobs (add that shrug!) and what she doesn’t do.

    We’ll go over how to read lists and still sound conversational, what to keep in mind when tackling commercial scripts, how to stand out in auditions, how to find your conversational read and more.

    Mission Audition is presented by Voices.com. Produced and Engineered by Cameron Pocock.

    About Andrea Collins
    Andrea Collins is a voice over artist and coach who helps you grow and develop your skills for exactly what brands and clients are looking for today. She has her finger on the pulse of commercial, AI, Smart Speaker skills, tech, narration and is the leading coach of the conversational read. She specializes in finding your money making VO sweet spot, mastering the modern ‘conversational read,’ entering the world of Smart Speakers (Alexa, Google Home, etc), and overcoming the VO challenges that are holding you back. Check out her two viral courses: How to Earn More on Voices.com and the Voiceover Profit Project which helps artists build modern VO careers from home, without an agent. She also hosts the Voiceover Profit Podcast.

    Learn more at: https://www.andreacollins.ca/

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Hey there. Welcome to Mission Audition. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli.

    Julianna Jones:
    And I’m Julianna Jones.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    This is a great episode, as are all our episodes, I think you would agree.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. And first and foremost, I do want to say thank you to our special guest today, Andrea Collins, who is joining us. She is in Toronto and just really, really going the extra mile for us here today. We’re so excited to talk to you, Andrea. We’ve been talking to each other over the phone a bit, and we’ve had other kinds of podcasts interviews before on your own podcast, but it is such a treat to have you here on Mission Audition today, so welcome to the show.

    Andrea Collins:
    Thank you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Andrea, can you tell us about how you got started in voiceover and why you’re so passionate about these kinds of reads these wonderful commercial truly authentic reads?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, for sure. So I started in TV and radio. I was doing TV and radio for about 15 years and I’ve been doing voiceover for 10 of those years. I’ve voiced for a lot of big brands like Google Home, and Spotify, and Diet Pepsi, iHeartRadio and the reads that I was always asked to do were just sort of like the conversational girl next door read or delivery. And now I see how popular that read is, especially on Voices.com, so many times we’re seeing now a no announcer read. It’s like the day of the anti-announcer, so it’s changed so much. Even since I got into voiceover about 10 years ago, that this is the sound that marketers and casting directors and brands are really looking for.

    Andrea Collins:
    Now I also am a voiceover coach and I really help people kind of strip away what they think they need to sound like in voiceover and show them that now it’s really, it’s about authenticity. I mean, I know that word is thrown around a lot, but it’s about truly asking yourself, “Okay, do I actually sound conversational as I’m reading this spot?” and helping people find that sort of tone in their voice.

    Julianna Jones:
    It’s such a sound that we see requested, so I’m really excited for you to give everyone some actionable tips because like you said, this is a pretty big sound on our site.

    Andrea Collins:
    Now, people don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah.

    Andrea Collins:
    So that’s really changed what the sound of commercials is. And also, if you need some good examples of what exactly it is that I’m talking about, if you go to sort of the tech brand commercials. Go online and watch some of them on YouTube or something, Google, for instance, or WeWork or Airbnb, Uber. We tend to hear a lot of these conversational reads with these younger, fresher brands.

    Julianna Jones:
    Well, and even a previous episode with Kim Handysides and the medical narration, she was saying that the conversational read even spills into her genre. Nobody wants to be talked to. We’ve been talked at our whole life. We want to have a conversation with someone as we’re learning something.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    We’re looking at a TV retail spot, so looking for a chipper, easygoing, conversational person who’s speaking English North American, as is the norm, minus our episode with Toby Ricketts, which of course we had the Australian flare. But yeah, this is a great one. We’ve got male and female voice artists who are auditioning and the product is this really cool made up, completely made up product that helps people to reduce their carbon footprint by cleaning their home in a more economical and environmentally friendly manner. The product in question is called Dream Steam Machine, like who doesn’t want one of these, right?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    So it’s a washable mop and these pads offer an alternative, as we mentioned before, this is an environmentally friendly cleaning product with no disposable wipes, all of that stuff. This is all like reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s going to be a lot of fun to hear these reads, I have a feeling, so what do we need them to do?

    Julianna Jones:
    The commercial should pique the listener’s curiosity about a truly versatile floor mopping product. The voice can take on a Generation X spokesperson role, but be cautious about sounding authoritative. The goal is to inform and be conversational, not to push. This product is being sold at select retailers along the East Coast of the USA, so listeners are being prompted to visit the website for details. Emphasizing the website is critical. The product is being sold at select retailers along the East Coast of the US. So listeners are being prompted to visit the website for details.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Without further ado, I think we’re going to listen to audition number one.

    Audition 1:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Julianna Jones:
    Oh, how interesting. Okay. What do you think Andrea?

    Andrea Collins:
    So my initial thoughts were if there was a crime detective floor mopping pads commercial-

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yes, yes.

    Andrea Collins:
    … he would be perfect.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Absolutely. I had the Law and Order thing going on in my head too.

    Andrea Collins:
    Now, I did think he had a nice tone, but a little stiff. He didn’t really bring the script to life. He could work on being a bit more believable because that’s one thing that’s so important with the conversational read, so a lot of people sound like they’re reading a script and that’s kind of the opposite that you want to achieve with a conversational read. I think in his case, a little smile might make this one a bit more conversational, loosening up the shoulders as he’s talking. And I found he didn’t seemed that he was pleased enough with the product and recommending it to a friend, which is also what you’re trying to achieve with this sort of commercial.

    Julianna Jones:
    Kind of like you’re being the product hype person. You have to believe in it and like it yourself to sell it to somebody.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    It’s like, “Is it a brand fit?” I was trying to picture him using the product and it was really hard. I don’t know why, maybe it was just the voice type. I’m not sure maybe it was the fact that it did feel more like I was listening to an audio book narrator, if that makes any sense, that I could totally feel that there is a certain texture to his voice, which was very pleasing. I just had trouble thinking of him pushing the mop around his apartment. I don’t know. It could totally happen, but for the voice that’s living in the head of someone who is in a casting role, they may not see that either. I don’t know. What do you think, Andrea?

    Andrea Collins:
    What were the specs for that read? The age range, I think, was it 18 to 35?

    Julianna Jones:
    It’s pretty much young adult. Yep. You got it.

    Andrea Collins:
    I think that it’s so tempting to want to audition for everything, but sometimes you have to look at a script and you have to look at what they’re looking for and ask yourself honestly, “Does this sound like me?” In some cases, it doesn’t and you just got to let it go.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah. Great advice.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right, so we’ll listen to audition number two.

    Audition 2:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Julianna Jones:
    Oh, I really liked this one. I liked the pausing, especially around, “That’s asking a lot, I know.” I thought that was really nice. What about you guys?

    Andrea Collins:
    I thought that it was a nice read. It was warm, calming, but not necessarily conversational. She didn’t get too loud, which was great because that’s one thing about a conversational read is you want it to not be too in your face. You don’t want too many peaks and valleys or over annunciation or projecting. That’s when you kind of lose that believability, so I thought it was nice, but I don’t know if I would call it a conversational read. It still was about 65% announcer read to me.

    Julianna Jones:
    What could she have done to take it more conversational?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, I think that again, I heard a bit of reading in this one. So at the beginning, she says she’s been looking for something that she could use on everything. The line is, “I’ve been looking for something I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors.” It’s too flat. For me, it would be like, “I’ve been looking for something I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors,” like something that was a solution for all of those three things and it’s just been so hard to find. In this auditions case, I feel like it was just too much of a list.

    Julianna Jones:
    Not like she’s thinking, recalling saying …

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, it’s sort of saying like, “It’s been tough to find this. That’s something I could use on everything,” so that was one thing that I thought she could work on.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    There was a fluctuation in the tone and the pitch that you were using when you were showing us what you were thinking about, Andrea. And I think that that shows that there’s a little more range in the feeling of … And sometimes, talents are told, “Don’t get personally involved with the script. This is not about you.” For this read, should there have been more of that?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah. That’s a really good question because you don’t want to overact it, because then it loses. It just becomes too much. It’s not believable, but if you think of like, “How would I really be feeling about this product? If I was talking to my friend …” And you have to think, “What are the points of the script?” First you start with, “This was my problem. And then this was my solution.” That’s the end of the script. So if you just add a bit of that tone to your delivery and keep that in mind, when it comes to the words that you’re using or the inflections, that should really help make it a bit more conversational.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Good lessons for us all along the way, regardless of what genre you’re reading for. Well, let’s listen to audition number three.

    Audition 3:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Julianna Jones:
    I don’t know about you guys, but did you hear the audio hiss?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    It’s sad actually, to hear something like that-

    Julianna Jones:
    A good read.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    … from a good read that has some kind of audio issue. We have the awesome privilege of having Cameron actually engineering for us today, and he’s our talent success specialist, as many of you know and that must’ve really hurt your heart, Cam. I don’t know. But anyway, yes, he’s nodding his head yes. That’s just something that we can fix and it’s really easy. It just takes away from the read and it’s sad. What do you think, Andrea?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, I thought that it’s one of those things that maybe she couldn’t hear on her end, which is why having someone like Cam who can listen to your auditions is so helpful. I mean, I just messaged Cam this past week for some feedback on something, because sometimes you just never know. And it can sound okay on your end, but then maybe not the same for the person listening to it. One thing was, I thought it was a nice read, so beyond the hiss I thought it was a nice read. I liked how she owned certain words, so that’s something that really helps talent stand out when a client is listening to so many auditions and there’s someone who just adds a bit of flair to certain words.

    Andrea Collins:
    In hers she said, “It takes years to break down in landfills.” And I thought that was nice because it just showed she cared about the fact that it takes years for this to break down in landfills. So it didn’t feel like overacting, but it felt like she cared about those words. Now the one thing that I would warn people about is in this, she did the little laugh.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, yes.

    Andrea Collins:
    Do you know what I’m talking about by the little laugh?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yes, yes. It sounded a bit forced.

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, so the little laugh is a risk because it’s borderline cheesy but some people could really like it, or it could be a make or break. I like to avoid, I would say avoid the little laugh unless it’s truly something you thought was funny.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Totally. If it’s not a natural response, then it will sound contrived.

    Julianna Jones:
    But I can see how she would think that that would help to make it sound conversational for sure. Yeah, definitely. I even remember hearing from another episode where the gentleman was, I think it was Eric Wibbelsmann, was saying that sometimes he’ll do a little preamble before he gets into the script so that it helps him to keep that conversational flow, but I can see the laugh on the opposite end of that, where if it’s not natural for it, just leave it out.

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah. That’s really good advice actually. And another thing I would say is that if people want to find what their conversational read is, I find that kind of a neat exercise is to do a delivery where you’re announcery and then do a delivery where you are super casual and your perfect conversational read is probably somewhere in the middle of that. So if you have recording software at home, do that exercise and then just sort of listen to what the variations are in your tone. Maybe you find, “Oh, there’s not much of a difference,” which means you’re probably not doing it quite right. And then you want to just find that middle spot where you’re relaxed, but you’re not trying too hard.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    People are just really trying to hit the mark and they think that … So how do you know if you’re trying too hard? I think that would be a good point to pause on.

    Andrea Collins:
    These are some of the most common killers of the conversational read. It’s performing. If you feel like you’re performing, you sort of wind up when you’re about to start reading that script, chances are it’s not going to sound right. It’s going to sound as though you’re putting too many acting skills into it, so performing is a conversational read killer. Speaking louder than normal, now of course you want to have energy behind what you’re reading, but lots of times, just a bit of smile and moving your body a little bit can add to that energy without projecting too much. Over pausing can ruin a conversational read, too much drama, annunciation or inflection, and then stiffness as well, which we’ve heard in a couple of these auditions so far. So it’s okay to move your body. It really, really helps as long as your microphone doesn’t pick those sounds up

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And moving around is important because your whole body is your instrument. You have to make use of everything to access your air and just to even have an expression on your face. People don’t think about it, but if you do have a smile, then it comes out so differently when you speak and just being able to move around. Some of us, we can’t honestly talk without using our hands. I’m doing it right now. It’s probably really annoying to people like you, Julianna.

    Julianna Jones:
    Nope.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Okay. You okay? You’re fine?

    Julianna Jones:
    I’m used to it. I do it too.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. So when we talk with our hands, then you have more freedom as well. And not everyone does that, but for those of you who do, this is absolutely a time when you can do this. You are alone in your home studio. No one can see you, but what they do know is that they can hear the effects of that. It does make a difference when you are able to freely emote and to freely speak.

    Julianna Jones:
    I also find that when I’m using my hands, my pauses are in more natural.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. Well, you got to do what you got to do. If you need to use your hands, use them because if you don’t, you will feel so constricted and it will not come across naturally. We have for us right now, audition number four.

    Audition 4:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Julianna Jones:
    What a nice voice.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. I believe him.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah. How about the read?

    Andrea Collins:
    I would put him on the short list. That was a really great read and his audio sounded so nice. I thought one thing, and this is kind of a tip for everybody listening. One thing that made his read so believable was that a lot of times, we have the habit of either going up at the end of a sentence or down at the end of the sentence. And when you do that, that becomes more of an announcer read. A conversational read, your sentence inflection at the end is somewhere right in between those. It’s in the middle. So he would say, this would be upward, “It’s the best floor mop on the market.” This would be downward, “It’s the best floor mop on the market.” And his was like this, “It’s the best floor mop on the market,” right in the middle. And so that makes it more believable right there and he was really good at that.

    Julianna Jones:
    How you can hear everyone’s pens just scribbling away, writing that tip down.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I really liked his read. There was one … If there was anything that I had to be picky about, it was the amount of silence … Sorry, the amount of silence that there was between some of those phrases, it just felt too long. That could just be me. We’ve all got different ears and different ways of hearing things, but would that be something that you would correct, Andrea, or was that effective for you?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, sometimes the pause is nice and it’s funny how it’s just a millisecond more of pausing than necessary can make you feel that way, like it’s too slow, so that is something I would notice. It wouldn’t be make or break for me in choosing him. One thing I would say though, when it comes to a con in his audition, was that he did that list again that we said at the beginning. He said, “I’ve been looking for something that I could use on laminate, hardwood, and,” I forget what the other one was. But again, he didn’t sound like it had been challenging enough. Do you know what I mean? It still sounded like he was reading the script a little bit, so that would be some feedback there.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    His voice was, I think, in the right age range. He had the right kind of delivery, trusted him and felt like I was talking to a guy next door, but there was a little something lacking in the pain. He didn’t feel enough of the pain to be so happy to have found this product.

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah. There was a believability that was missing.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah. Hey Andrea, how often would you say clients will coach you through something like that versus skip on your audition?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, so I think that he would be somebody that I would say, “Let’s approve him. Let’s give him this job, but let’s have a live session with him.” In my case, I know that I’ve had people who say, “Hey, we really liked your read. It’s just maybe we need a bit more energy,” because sometimes the conversational read, you don’t know how … You never know what exactly what people want, but if you use your intuition and you can even say, when you’re uploading that audition and you’re putting in your bid for that job, you can say something along the lines of, “This was my interpretation of the script, but just so you know, I’m a flexible artist. And if you have some feedback on how you’d like me to change it, I can very easily do that for you,” just letting them know that this is what this sounds like, but if you need some tweaks, I can provide that to you for sure.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    So would you say you’re a generous producer? Because I don’t know if everyone’s got that kind of altruistic, “I’m going to help them reshape something,” bone in their body, but is that a fairly common thing that you’ve come across? Are there jobs even that you’ve booked, Andrea, where you’re like, “People hired me, but then the coached me differently once I got in the session.”

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah. I’d say it’s rare when that happens, but that has happened where you give them something in your audition, then they say they want it done a little bit differently. They work with you through it. And then in the end, it sounds like what it did in your audition. That can sometimes happen. But for the most part, I think that you want to try to get as close as you can to what you think the client wants when you’re doing your audition. And I don’t do this too often, but sometimes if I’m really not quite sure what they want out of the job, what sound they’re going for, I’ll provide two takes, not of the complete script, but just of parts of it. And at the beginning I’ll say … And this is very rare, I wouldn’t say people should do it very often, but you say, “Hey, I’ve given you guys two takes,” and then you hop right into it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right. So we didn’t mention it at the top, but we’re going to do seven auditions. We’re on number five now, so let’s give it a listen.

    Audition 5:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Andrea Collins:
    I really liked this one because, and I don’t think it’s perfect, but I feel like it’s the closest we’ve gotten in the sense that he was really believable. He felt like a friend. He had some real authenticity in his voice. The problem was he was a bit hushed, like maybe he was doing auditions at work or hiding from his family and there was a baby sleeping in the next room. I don’t know. He was a little hushed, but he brought a lot of love to certain words and a lot of believability. Again, when he went through that list off the top, he did say it like, “I’ve been looking for something that I could use on all three of these locations in my house. And I found it.” So I thought that he did a really good job at that.

    Julianna Jones:
    And I could also hear him, because I’m listening for the tips that you’ve given from previous ones and I could hear him end neutral on the ends of his sentences. And I’ve been looking for how do they give, like you’ve been saying, love to certain words and I could hear it on, “Years to break down.” And I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m ticking off all the boxes.”

    Andrea Collins:
    And did you notice how he wasn’t over projecting either? He was a bit too hushed, but he wasn’t overacting it. It just felt like he was talking naturally like this like, “I discovered something and it’s really great,” like that. I like to say, sometimes adding a bit of shrug to your read can make it sound more conversational. I don’t know if that makes sense, but you’re kind of just moving your shoulders and you’re like, “Hey, this is awesome. This really works for me. You should try it.” When you start adding a little bit of shoulder movement to your delivery, it can make it sound more conversational.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I think that physicality does play an enormous role in authenticity. And likewise, I think that you can hear what people are doing without seeing them, which is so cool. I think that that’s a really neat thing for a coach to be able to do, especially when you coach remotely, just makes such a big difference to be able to spot that sort of thing from far away. We’re now going to listen to audition number six.

    Audition 6:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I don’t know, that felt kind of audio drama, like a kid show maybe.

    Andrea Collins:
    I think that you’re totally right there. There was a lot of personality in that one. And there were moments where it was like, “Good for her. She’s really taken that.” And she sounds like maybe she just is that type of person. She’s very animated. But in this case, it would be a bit too much, a bit too much overacting. And there were two of those little laughs in it, two of the … so I would be cautious of the little laugh. That would be a pass. Individuality is a good thing, but that one was a bit too much.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    The little laugh, is there a group of talent that would lean more toward putting the laugh in there like, “Oh, I’m in animation. So I just love to put these extra utterances in wherever I can.”

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, it’s funny because I was thinking about that. As I was listening to a lot of these auditions, I found that the guys were having an easier time with the conversational delivery. And I thought, “Why is that?” Is it because as women, we feel like we need to over animate because that’s just sometimes how we are in regular life. Do we feel like we need to overact, overemphasize? I think that in this case, it’s that people are trying to add just that little bit of extra flare when it’s not necessary and it can feel weird bringing it down a notch. It’s definitely people who are used to doing the announcer read. They are used to selling cat food and being very, very cat foodie about it. They’re used to …

    Julianna Jones:
    Buy, buy, buy.

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, really selly, a lot of selling, a lot of acting, a lot of just showiness on words. It can feel unnatural to tone it down sometimes.

    Julianna Jones:
    Would you say that at most times, when you see that the script is for a young adult audience, that you can pull it back or would you say you want to bring it forward?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah. That’s really interesting that you say that because I would say you should pull it back if it says young adult. When it says 35, 54, is that the other demographic?

    Julianna Jones:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

    Andrea Collins:
    Is that the middle age demographic?

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah.

    Andrea Collins:
    I, as someone auditioning think to myself, “Huh. Okay. It can have a little bit more showmanship to it.” Now this isn’t always, it depends on the script, but I do find if it says young adult, chill it out. Make it as conversational as you can. Try to hit the middle point in the end of those words, at the end of those sentences, as I was talking about before. And then also, you don’t want too many peaks and valleys, not too many ups and downs, just the right amount.

    Julianna Jones:
    I know other guests on this show have told us that they’ll have almost vocal archetypes in their head, where there are certain characters that they’ll have that they can reach into. Do you have something similar?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, there’s definitely girl next door millennial read, there’s easy going tech person who works at a startup. You know what I mean?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I have never heard of that one. Oh my gosh. Easy going tech person. How many of you are going to go make a demo called easy going tech person? Just wow, love it.

    Andrea Collins:
    Right? And that read is very common with learning modules, but not necessarily serious ones, if it was a service that you might use like WordPress or Wix or Squarespace. And when you see all those tutorial videos, they tend to be a younger kind of guy and he’s just in his jeans and he just put down his cup of coffee. That’s the tech read and it’s very common now, and people love it in commercials too.

    Julianna Jones:
    Kind of like smart but accessible.

    Andrea Collins:
    Very much.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I like it. I really like it. We’re going to have to do something on the site about this easy going tech read. I like it a lot anyway. Anyway, so obviously we can only like it for so much longer because we need to go to our next read. So this is audition number seven.

    Audition 7:
    I’ve been looking for reusable, environmentally friendly floor mopping pads that I can use on laminate, hardwood, and ceramic floors. That’s asking a lot, I know, or so I thought. Enter Dream Steam Floor Mopping Pads. These machine washable pads are a game changer. They fit any popular floor mop on the market today. No more expensive refills or disposables that take years to break down in our landfills. Visit our website to find a retailer near you.

    Julianna Jones:
    If you were coaching this guy, Andrea, what would you say?

    Andrea Collins:
    I really like this one and I really like this one because he used his intuition with the script and he made it very believable. No one has said the word game changer the way he did. And game changer is really the pivot in this entire script. He said, “These machine washable pads are a game changer,” because yeah, they were the solution. That line is like, “And boom. Then I found the solution.” And so he really massaged that word nicely. And he said, “They fit into any popular floor map on the market today.” And he also, at the beginning of the script, he went through that list really nicely. He said, “I can use it on laminate, hardwood and ceramic floors.” And he did that list while making us understand that it was hard to find a product that could do all three things and then at the end of that, he didn’t go up. He didn’t go down. He perfectly sat somewhere in the middle, so I really liked this one.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow. It sounds like he hit all the right notes. He landed well.

    Julianna Jones:
    Honestly, I didn’t think that you were going to like that one. I was really surprised. And I mean, that just goes to show you how subjective voiceover is, but after I listened to you go through it, I was like, “Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now I hear it.” It’s just so interesting, kind of seeing inside the brain of a coach and what you like and what you don’t like and why.

    Andrea Collins:
    What would be the reasons that you didn’t like it?

    Julianna Jones:
    I think I was just thinking where the tone was more like, “Huh.” I don’t know how to put words into that, but it was way more straightforward.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    There was a bit of force at first. It seemed a little bit. I was watching you move, so you can see this kind of like … I don’t know, it’s not like Rocky Balboa going up the steps, but it’s kind of like there’s a little bit of a one, two, but then he kind of chilled out a bit. I don’t know.

    Julianna Jones:
    Now that you take it apart for me, I’m like, “Oh wow. Yeah, he did really pull out all the stops for it. And it is a good read,” kind of like an older brother telling you about something.

    Andrea Collins:
    He may not have had the voice that you would imagine would be a super successful landing all these jobs type artist, but sometimes those are the best ones. They’re kind of unexpected and they stand out. And so if you’re a company and you’re like, “Ah, I want to have somebody talk about this mop and I want it to be believable and I want him to sound like just a regular guy, maybe that is the winner right there.” It’s pretty subjective.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah. It’s the regular guy. Huh. Yeah, that was a good one.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    And it is really hard to sound regular. Let me just put that out there. That is a skill.

    Julianna Jones:
    Hey, how long do you think it took you to perfect the conversational read?

    Andrea Collins:
    A few months, for sure. And a big part of that was doing a lot of auditions and really being real with myself of, “Oh man, I thought I would have gotten that one.” And then you don’t and then you go, “Okay, what could I change?” And also just really listening to what the winning reads sound like, so going online and listening to people. I found that that is one of the most valuable tools is just going on YouTube, finding, watching those commercials that air before what you actually want to watch and then listening to what they sound like and trying to pick up on those little tiny details that had them land the job as opposed to what you or I might have been doing in that same audition, so that’s always kind of interesting.

    Julianna Jones:
    I’m really glad to hear that everyone’s kind of saying the same thing to new voice actors is, “Go listen to the pros and don’t copy it, but take the best parts and bring that to your read.”

    Andrea Collins:
    Well, and also I was in radio for so long and we were trained as the old way of doing voiceover, lots of inflection, lots of ups and downs and peaks and valleys. And now, it’s honestly having a lot of training is kind of a disadvantage because like you said, it’s so hard to just sound regular. What I would say to people just starting out is, “Don’t feel like you need to put on an act. Probably your voice just as you is really great. You might just need a bit of coaching to bring out the energy and the shine behind it.”

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Excellent words to finish here on, so as we do every single time, we need to pick a winner and that we actually means you Andrea. If you would do us the great honor of finding out who you’ve chosen to win Mission Audition, that would be fantastic.

    Andrea Collins:
    I’m going to start with the runner-up. The runner-up was the last audition that we heard and it is because he did such a great job at keeping it real. He made it conversational. His inflection was right at the end of the sentences. He wasn’t too exaggerated about anything. He just owned the words. He made it easy going and believable. And he just sounded like the guy next door who really found this great mop. That being said, the winner today is number four.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right.

    Julianna Jones:
    Nice.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Awesome. And why is that? Let us in on what you’re thinking.

    Andrea Collins:
    Okay. So he wasn’t perfect, but he was great. And he is somebody that you could just coach along through the live session and say, “Can you give me a little bit more emphasis on this word and a little bit less on this one?” So this was the one where we thought there was a little bit too much pausing sometimes. That could easily be eliminated with editing or just telling him to speed it up a bit. I thought his audio was so good. It was conversational. He was chilled out. He had that nice middle of the road zone. His voice was very rich. He sounded professional, but also guy next door. And so he kind of hit all of those notes. And like we said, that perfect end of the sentence inflection, he really had it and that’s the hardest part to achieve with the conversational read.

    Julianna Jones:
    Absolutely. And it just kind of goes to show that how difficult of a time you had picking a winner that there’s so many good options and there’s literally talent for every client. There really is.

    Andrea Collins:
    Exactly. It was tough. It was tough.

    Julianna Jones:
    Yeah. That was a good episode.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Well, bravo. Bravo number four. That was fantastic. So Andrea, obviously you coach and you are a fantabulous talent and I will, I know it’s not a real word, but I will use it because I think you are fantabulous. Now, if someone would like to study with you, how can they get ahold of you?

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah, so you can go to andreacollinsconsulting.com. I actually have a tip sheet, which is 20 Ways to Master Your Modern Conversational Read. So that’s totally free. It’s just a download if you go to andreacollinsconsulting.com and I do one on one coaching. I also have two courses. One of my big specialties is trying to get people to realize that this day and age, you don’t really need all the things you thought you did. You probably don’t need an agent. You probably don’t need the fanciest equipment. So I really help people realize their full potential in building an online voiceover career, so you can reach out to me for that too.

    Julianna Jones:
    Given your success, I can see why you’d be a great person for someone to train with who’s looking to master the modern online casting sphere for sure.

    Andrea Collins:
    Thanks guys. I really, I love Voices.com and it’s really changed my voiceover career. It truly has and it’s something that now I’ve been able to focus on being a full-time voiceover artist and coach. And I don’t think I could have done it without Voices.com, so thank you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, thank you.

    Julianna Jones:
    We’re glad to hear it.

    Andrea Collins:
    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, that’s so sweet. Well, feeling’s mutual. We love you too. And it’s awesome to be here with you and to have this time together. Now, if anyone would like to talk about this episode online, you’re more than welcome to go on social media. The hashtag is MissionAudition. As with every other script that you’ve heard on our show, you can find it on the Voices.com blog and that is voices.com/blog. Tons of fun there, just go have a ball. That’s it for the show. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli.

    Julianna Jones:
    And I’m Julianna Jones. We hope you have so much fun taking these tips into your studio. Happy auditioning, guys.

    SHARE
    Previous articleMission Audition Live: Commercial Reads with Mary Van De Velde
    Next articleMission Audition Live: Commercial Reads with John Kubin
    Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

    6 COMMENTS

    1. Dear Stephanie
      Thank you so much for this amazing podcast. Stephanie you are such a warm, enthusiastic and kind sounding person…. I could listen to your voice all day it oozes warmth and positivity.
      Wow Andrea Collins is so on the ball with her comments, and I have learnt so much from her in this podcast…. and without spending a dollar!
      The end of the sentence, forward reaching non inflected tone is a gold dust lesson. It’s such a joy when you find a key of this value…. I hope it opens many new doors for me.

      Thank you
      Eliza

      • Dear Eliza,

        Thanks for your comment! We’re so happy you’re learning from Mission Audition.

        Wishing you all the best on your voice acting journey,
        Oliver

    2. you should have played the winner! I was dying! and the runner up would have been good as well. Love the podcast.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here