Podcasts Mission Audition Engaging Voice Over Auditions for Elearning
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Engaging Voice Over Auditions for Elearning

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Stephanie Ciccarelli
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The elearning industry is booming, especially when it comes to voice over job opportunities! This exciting category of voice over work covers online courses, internal training, explainer videos, safety training and much more. Listen in as Stephanie and Julianna from Voices.com are joined by professional voice over coach, Rachel Alena. Together they dissect real elearning voice over auditions to illuminate the importance of pacing, pitch and physicality. They also give tips from the field on mic techniques, reducing sibilance, and how to avoid landmines that prevent you from booking work. Tune in to get the 411 on how to deliver educational and instructional content like a pro!

Hosts: Stephanie Ciccarelli, Julianna Lantz, with guest coach Rachel Alena. Rachel is a voice talent who specializes in eLearning, training and corporate communications. She has voiced for clients such as Microsoft, Disney, The Rockefeller Foundation, Old Navy, Harvard University and hundreds more. Contact Rachel: rachelalena.com [email protected]

Inspired? Get your practice on with Elearning Voice Over Sample Scripts: https://www.voices.com/blog/sample-voice-over-scripts-elearning/

Mission Audition is presented by Voices.com. Produced by Marc Raffa; Scripting by Niki Clark; Engineering by Shelley Bulmer.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Hi there. Welcome to Mission Audition. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli, co-founder of Voices.com and I’m joined by Julianna Lantz.

Julianna Lantz:

Hi everyone.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

We are so excited for this brand new podcast that you’re listening to. It’s called Mission Audition, and that’s exactly what it is intended to do. We are going to send you out and you are going to do awesome auditions because the tips on this show are going to educate, equip and empower you.

Julianna Lantz:

Can I say that our mission is to help you audition better? Because it is.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, you can say that. Absolutely. So what our hope is for this, is that we will have an archive, eventually, of all of these different areas of voice over. These applications that you can do to help you learn how to do a really great radio commercial read, how to be the voice of a phone system, be a talking toy, any number of wonderful skills that you can put in your voiceover tool belt.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah guys, we realize that auditioning is hard and you’re alone in your booth. And you don’t know if you’re doing a great job or if you’re doing a poor job. So we hope that by hearing talent and by learning from their mistakes, that we can help you to correct any issues and book some jobs.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So you might be wondering, who’s auditioning on this Mission Audition show? Well, these are actual voice talent. These are your peers. These are people who are subscribing to Voices.com and they’re choosing to put themselves out there. So give a little love, a little grace, a little patience and a little enthusiasm for all of them. But you know what? You could be one of these people. So one of our goals is to really invigorate our talent base and show you that there is so much that you can do with just a little extra this or changing a little bit of that.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So today Julianna and I, we have a special guest. Can’t wait to introduce her to you. Her name is Rachel Alena. She’s out of Boulder, Colorado, and she’s a voiceover artist who has done so much e-learning work. This is going to be a real treat for all of you are trying to learn this style. Not only has she worked for companies like Procter and Gamble, Old Navy, The Gap, Alliance Residential… She’s also done internal training for recruiters at Microsoft in videos and PetSmart all across the country and audio books, but the Microsoft bit, that is awesome because it’s just one example of how you can get longterm contract work as an e-learning narrator. And that’s exactly what we hope to teach you how to do today. So Rachel, welcome to the show.

Rachel Alena:

Thank you. I’m happy to be here. I appreciate it.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So why don’t we just get right into that job posting and see what it is that we’re looking for?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So, oh, this is going to be fun. We have a US general American accent. So that’s what we’ll be listening for. This is the role of the instructor. Very, very interesting. I believe this is open to both male and female voices, that’s right, Julia?

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). You got it.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Okay, awesome. And we’re looking for middle-aged voice and this category is the podcasting e-learning type material.

Julianna Lantz:

On Voices.com, business, internet and education make up 60% of the work that we see. So e-learning is a huge chunk of the projects that you’re going to see when you’re a premium member. Can you give us some examples of what those projects would be like Stephanie?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Sure. So e-learning could be anything from a module based learning. So maybe there are 12, 15, 20, who knows how many, modules that you might have to go through when you are in training for something.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

And this is HR departments love this, curriculum designers, they love e-learning. There’s a huge area that you could be reading for. So it could be internal to a company. You could be actually voicing e-learning for customers of a company. So maybe they’re they’re training you on how to use their product, or it could actually be a patient doctor relationship where you’re learning about what you need to do for your treatment or a plan that you might be on. But e-learning is awesome because it can accompany a video or it could accompany animation. Your voice is there to guide. You’re really that friend, that trusted person. You’re setting the tone and helping that individual, whoever’s listening, to better understand something vital, something that they need to know to pass a course, something that they need to know to live another day perhaps. You don’t know.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So when you are in that chair, you have to be thinking about “How do I communicate that message in a meaningful way over this marathon?” because it could literally be hours of e-learning material that you’re recording. Julianna, I know that you are really, really excited about this project in particular, and there’s a kind of voice style that we’re looking for. Would you mind going into that?

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. So we’re looking for someone who’s conversational and energetic. We’re trying to talk to new hires. So think of someone who’s straight out of school. We want to keep their attention. We want someone who is engaging and informative and someone who will liven up some dry material, which means no robot voice, no monotone voice.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

We’re really looking forward to hearing what Rachel has to say, because this is an area of expertise for her. So without any further ado, let’s roll that first audition.

Audition 1:

Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.

Julianna Lantz:

Ooh, so Rachel, what do you think?

Rachel Alena:

Well, first of all, she has a beautiful voice.

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rachel Alena:

I love the range that it’s in. The range is perfect for new hires, straight out of school, that description. And it’s also a nice range to be a peer, which I really appreciate. And she does have a little bit of an element of authority that I think is wonderful. Now she could do this the way that she’s doing it, but there’s a little bit of choppiness in that last sentence. The sentence of in this module, the one that goes at the end there. A lot of her words end on the same pitches. For example, module, measures, hazards, process. And there are some stops, very brief, almost unnoticeable stops, but when she reads it, it’s almost like “In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.”

Rachel Alena:

That was a little more extreme, but I don’t know if you heard the dip down and the choppiness.

Julianna Lantz:

Oh. Yeah. Yeah.

Rachel Alena:

And that can be smoothed out by varying the pitch at the end of those words and smoothing it so there’s not those breaks in between. A little bit more like “In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.”

Julianna Lantz:

Huh.

Rachel Alena:

So it’s a more smooth read. And the second thing is, is I would love it if she could develop more of a relationship. I think that is the number one, take home message for anybody that’s listening to this podcast, the relationship between the narrator and the listener, as far as e-learnings go, is just as important as it would be in commercial reading. In fact, some can say that it could be more important because for example, with Microsoft, the people that are listening to those trainings, those are people that are interested in that topic.

Rachel Alena:

Therefore, I want to know more from what I hear about the relationship between this narrator and the person. Is she a peer who’s maybe two years older, who’s in a slightly elevated position or is she an equal? I want to know that from the way she’s speaking.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Interesting. I don’t know if anyone’s ever thought of themselves as a mentor, or someone who is just a little bit ahead of another person and not just the expert in general. So, that’s really great insight.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah.

Rachel Alena:

That changes the dynamic. Yeah, very much so.

Julianna Lantz:

I really liked the tip about just varying the pitch on the end and having different pauses. And I would have never been able to say that, but now that I’m listening back, I absolutely hear that. And it’s such an easy change. It’s just something you have to think about.

Rachel Alena:

Right, it is a beautiful read.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Rachel Alena:

Absolutely beautiful read.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah, right? Oh, lovely voice.

Rachel Alena:

It’s just those small tweaks can make a big, big difference.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

Well, and that’s the difference between being good and booking the job.

Rachel Alena:

True. And also the difference between booking the job and having longterm contracts.

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rachel Alena:

And that, for me as a voice talent is always my goal. Longterm relationships. Because that’s what you have, you can build a business that way.

Julianna Lantz:

Yep. And we were just talking about that before the show. That those longterm relationships, although maybe some people might say that e-learning, isn’t as exciting as commercial work, but when you can count on it to pay your bills, oh, that is exciting.

Rachel Alena:

Yeah, and you’re working from your own studio. I mean, I wake up some mornings and I have no work and I wake up other mornings and I’m like, “Whoa, there’s a lot in my inbox today.” So it just depends, but it’s exciting. It’s always like, “Okay, what’s next?” You know?

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Wonderful. Well, thank you for all of that. A lot of learnings there, hope you were listening. So let’s listen to our second audition.

Audition 2:

Up to now, you learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the workplace altogether.

Julianna Lantz:

Before the podcast, I sat down with one of our audio engineers and I got his take on this read. And so I’ll give you the feedback that he gave me. There are three things that we can talk about here. Two are easy issues to fix, and Rachel, you can let me know if you would agree, or any input you have from our audio engineers. First are plosives. Specifically the P.

Rachel Alena:

Yep.

Julianna Lantz:

You’re nodding your head. Perfect.

Julianna Lantz:

Those P plosives can be avoided just by having a better pop filter or by turning the mic off axis, which means instead of being perpendicular to you, it’s just tilted a little bit away from you and that can help your air not hit the mic so hard and that “puh” sound happen. Second issue that’s easy to fix is the sibilance. You can try de S-ing the file again, or just again, touch of turning the mic off axis to prevent that. Would you agree, Rachel?

Rachel Alena:

Yeah, for me, when my students send me back… I always say, once they’ve gotten through some training, and they’re starting to audition, I always have them send me a little snippet, a sample, so we can check quality.

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rachel Alena:

And one thing I’ll say about quality, to me, is sometimes you don’t hear from your computer speakers, the same thing that somebody hears remotely.

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rachel Alena:

So it’s always a really good idea, like you were just saying, this gentlemen who did a really lovely read I think, I really did like his read. He might not hear that from where he is. So, that’s another thing to think about. But an interface often is that hissing sound. I’ve had a number of students, it’s been… They needed an interface to process their voice a little bit and smooth it out.

Julianna Lantz:

Yep, definitely. Yeah, because if anybody doesn’t know, a USB mic houses all the components of a studio microphone in the mic instead of in different components. And so by separating it out, you then can have more control and then decrease that hiss from happening.

Rachel Alena:

Mm, excellent news. Yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. So now onto his voice, which again, it was a lovely read.

Rachel Alena:

Can I just, real fast go back to a couple of things there?

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. Please, no. Oh, yeah absolutely.

Rachel Alena:

So, only because I… And this is why I really wanted to talk about this gentlemen. There’s a couple of things in technique that you can do beyond your recording equipment that you talked about, moving your mic, tilting it slightly. The P’s out of the side of the mouth with a “puh” you can soften them that way in your technique, and then you don’t have to deal with that when you go back to editing. Another thing is, is you can go, if you do wind up with your P’s popping, you can slightly lower them a little bit in your recording, so then they’re not coming off as loud. So those are just two things. And the other thing is with the S’s same thing,. These e-learnings, this is a huge thing with e-learnings beyond commercial, because they are long. I’ve had 8,600 words in a day from Microsoft before. It was a very long day, but we were on a crunch to get that done.

Rachel Alena:

And those P’s, those S’s, when you’re at the end of a sentence, instead of “Sentence”, “Sentence”. You just can shorten it just a little bit, and if you really hone in on your technique, because this is an hourly kind of a rate job when you’re doing these e-learnings your rate goes up because you’re not spending all that time having to edit this stuff out, you’re using your technique. So I just wanted to kind of mention that a little bit.

Julianna Lantz:

That’s a great tip.

Rachel Alena:

That there are some technique things you can do. Yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

Awesome.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Well, I think that we need to move on to our third audition.

Rachel Alena:

Okay. Great. Perfect.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

How about that?

Audition 3:

Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the workplace altogether.

Julianna Lantz:

Ooh, Stephanie, what’d you think?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Well, yeah, when I’m listening, I liked his voice, but I was thinking, “Is this someone that I can listen to for a long time?” And as you were just saying, this can be a marathon and there could be hours upon hours of training. And unless someone has the cadence and a way of carrying themselves that makes you feel comfortable and you can kind of settle into hearing them speak to you, then it will be more difficult to engage with the voice. To retain what it’s saying, and to be convinced that you need to do whatever it is that they are telling you to do. So just for me, I thought, this could be a marathon and I need to hear… Maybe these auditions are short, and we don’t have the benefit of hearing someone read a paragraph let’s say, but my question would be is, can this voice in the way that it’s being read right now, is that sustainable?

Rachel Alena:

I absolutely agree with you 100%, and the answer I would say is probably not. So average rate of speaking is 150 words a minute. So e-learnings, you tend, unless you have a really young audience, you tend to want to keep it 125 or 150, somewhere around that rate. And this is faster. So it’s requiring the listener to listen more quickly. And also I hear no smile in this voice. I liked the read. I thought it was a great read, but where’s the relationship? Again, back to that relationship. He’s very quick with what he’s saying. It’s almost as if the words don’t have the importance enough to have in a fluidity to be told to the people that are listening.

Julianna Lantz:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Does it almost feel like he’s talking at you instead of with you?

Rachel Alena:

Exactly. Yes.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah, yeah, totally. I felt that as well.

Rachel Alena:

And that comes from if you can develop that relationship in your mind of who you’re talking to.

Rachel Alena:

And I always look at it, this may sound crazy, but every e-learning from doctors to anything, how am I being helpful as a teacher? Because ultimately e-learning and all of that, you’re helping somebody on the other end. And even if you’re authoritative, you still want to have, I think, that connection makes people want to listen to you. Yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

So, I mean, you’ve done this for years. Can you help us understand how you build that relationship? How you make that connection? Some tips that you use?

Rachel Alena:

Well, for me, here’s an example. I narrate often for doctors and I was given the script called “COPIC 101″ that’s a script about insurance, right? That’s a very dry, straightforward topic. And with no description, the same company also gave me a script called “Low Apgar Scores.” And I went and did some research and discovered, babies that are born with low Apgar scores, they can possibly die.

Rachel Alena:

So the tone of who I’m talking to then changes. This company hires me to do lots of narrations for their doctors. However, every script I get is the same me, it’s the same voice speaking, but the tone and the way I deliver it in a relationship style depends on what the outcome is and what the story is. Even though I’m not telling a big story, I’m teaching, what it is I’m trying to tell you. So that’s where the relationship comes from, because there’s not a disconnect where I’m shoving information down your throat. I’m listening to what I’m saying. Yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. So the relationship is really based upon who that audience is.

Rachel Alena:

100%.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

You really do need to understand who that person is so that you can direct the flow of the conversation to them in a meaningful way.

Rachel Alena:

Exactly.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

To build that relationship, yes.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. So we’re saying do a little bit of research or create the persona in your head when you’re doing the audition if you can’t do that research because you don’t have enough info yet, right?

Rachel Alena:

Create it.

Julianna Lantz:

Cool. Yeah.

Rachel Alena:

Exactly. Yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. Cool. All right. I think that sounds awesome. And then lastly, as well, there’s a little bit of reflection. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that as well, Rachel.

Rachel Alena:

Mm-mm (negative).

Julianna Lantz:

Reflection in this guy’s recording, you can kind of hear it, like it could use some soundproofing. So either some heavy blankets on the wall, or maybe the reflection is coming up from the desk that his microphone is sitting on. So just something soft covering the desk, covering the walls, even a rug on the floor can make a huge difference dampening the sound.

Rachel Alena:

Yeah, I agree.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Okay.

Rachel Alena:

Yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

That’s wonderful. So I think we’re ready to hear our fourth audition.

Audition 4:

Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the workplace altogether.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

There was a definite smile in there.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah, I really liked this one.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

You can hear that. Yeah. And again, part of me is like, “Oh, that’s so happy. And so wonderful.” And then part of me was also like, “Am I listening to a commercial?” And I thought, “Oh wow, she’s going to have to keep that up for a long time.” So just kind of wondering here Rachel, how can you maintain a very cheerful demeanor with your voice, but not give it all away at once? How can you kind of let that build over time or establish some kind of an equilibrium so that we’re not worrying that she’s going to have a sore face by the end of this recording?

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. That’s what I was thinking. Those poor cheeks.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah.

Rachel Alena:

Well, and this actually, and I’ll answer that question. I just want to say it’s a little intense for me. If I were working in a job and gathering this information, I might be a little bit… I loved this read. It was very enthusiastic. I would suggest for her to lay back a little bit in her para linguistics and her cadence, the way that she’s forming her words. The other thing is for me, longterm, I’m all about physicality, which means doing something to lift your physical body, moving your hands around, lifting the back soft pallet kind of area. Those kinds of things can help to lift your voice so that you’re not pushing the air through your vocal chords, without some support of your breathing and all of that. That will really help her long time, and to plan paragraph by paragraph, using her physicality will help her sustain longer.

Julianna Lantz:

And when you think about it, it makes so much sense. Just bring your arms up and it’ll help your breathing, and you don’t have to then use that effort.

Rachel Alena:

Because you don’t want to go up to it, you know?

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah.

Rachel Alena:

You want to be within it, then that’s helpful.

Julianna Lantz:

It’s just amazing, the tips that you’re giving, they’re such common sense but when you’re first time going through something like this, you don’t know these things.

Rachel Alena:

Right.

Julianna Lantz:

And then you know them and you’re like, “Where has this tip been all my life?”

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. And just to build on all of what you’ve just shared Julianna and Rachel. The physicality, we have to remember that as an actor, and a voice actor, or a singer, or whatever you happen to be doing, your entire body is your instrument.

Rachel Alena:

100%.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

You have to be able to, from the top of your head to your toes, you’ve got your breath support. You’ve got the freedom to move around. And there are a number of voice artists out there who could not breathe or live without moving their hands in a wild way as they read. They would have no… I think it was George DelHoyo, he has said that if he didn’t have use of his hands, he might not actually be able to do the voice over work. So yeah, it’s interesting just how much we rely upon our voices to embody and convey so much more information than one would ever think of.

Rachel Alena:

Yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

When you’re on camera, people can see you. There’s that connection, the physical way that you’re moving around and in the setting and everything is there, but with your voice, you have to create that for people.

Rachel Alena:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So, yeah. Are there any tips that you have that help to bring out that physicality for you and when might it be too much?

Rachel Alena:

Well, it’s too much when you’re already up, for this woman who read it would be too much for her to add this lifting along with what she’s doing. She would need to lay back in her speech, which would take some of the pressure off of her and then lift her physicality. And yes, some tips, if you do study at all some diaphragm breathing, you’re able to push that air out. You can lift, it’s hard to describe this way, but you can lift on the top of your… Lift your soft palate while you relax the rest of your body to create a laid back sound in the lower portion of your physicality, but still have energy and a small smile up in here. I know that’s hard to describe if you can’t see me, but that’s a trick that I use a lot.

Rachel Alena:

So for example, if I were going to take this script, let me pull it up here, and read it a similar style that that last audition was reading it. It was a bit like, “Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.” So it’s very animated and a suggestion would be to relax your whole body. However, lift up in the area of your soft palate, so you’re a little bit more laid back, but still you have energy. It would be more like this, “Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.” So it’s a laid back attitude.

Julianna Lantz:

And ladies and gentlemen, that’s how it’s done.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah, I see it.

Julianna Lantz:

For real. That was awesome.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. Great example.

Rachel Alena:

Oh, thanks.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

And I think we could all hear the difference between something that was just hitting the top end all the time and not in a bad, bad way or anything. But just in a way that wouldn’t be able to be sustained, if we’re a listener or a performer, but I really do love how you suggested… And for anyone who is not a vocalist, you didn’t grow up singing, you don’t know what your soft palate is, it’s just inside your mouth, it’s soft. It’s not your hard palate. It’s the other one. And so when you lift it, it’s almost like you can teach yourself how to do little exercises, right? Like you have to almost work it a bit. And then you’re like, “Oh, that’s where the soft palate is. And, ah, that’s what it sounds like when I stretch it.” You know?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So it might be worthwhile to study just even placement with a coach like, “Okay, well you said, use my soft palate. What does that mean?” So just how important for voice people in general, is it Rachel, that they understand how to control their tongue and the placement within their mouth?

Rachel Alena:

Well, I think that that’s the difference between a voice talent who has more range, than a voice talent that would be more flat, with the abilities of what you’re able to do. And I do think there’s a level of ear development. It’s the relationship between your ear, you probably know this, between your ear and your vocal chords and the placement of everything. For example, if you wanted to narrate, when I did Old Navy, I was a teenager, an 18 year old teenager. That’s a totally different placement. And so I have that understanding and relationship developed, so that’s helpful. So I think it’s important, I think you can still do the work, but if you really want to be great at what you do, having an understanding of that is extremely helpful.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. Just to build on that one quick question. So do you have a mental, muscle memory of where those voices live? Let’s say you’re doing a teenage voice, you know that, “Oh, I put it up here. It’s a bit above the bridge of my nose or I shoot it out my eyes” or, how do you do that?

Rachel Alena:

100%. Yes, exactly. That’s exactly what I do. Yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Fabulous. No, that’s great. Okay. So we are now going to hear our last and final audition.

Rachel Alena:

Great.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

So let’s let it roll.

Audition 5:

Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Oh, to me, that sounded like he just wanted to get this over with. It was really fast. I don’t think I could have kept up with him, but he has a nice voice. It’s just trying to get the rhythm there and to pace it a little differently. What do you think Rachel?

Rachel Alena:

I 100% agree. I think there’s also a bit of an announcer style here and that is fine for an announcer style read. More often than not though in e-learnings, and that sort of things today, that’s really not in style. Voice acting does change with the styles and the trends. So my suggestion would be, again, to soften and I don’t mean soften the volume. I mean soften the attack on the words and understand who you’re speaking to. Kind of like we talked about before.

Julianna Lantz:

Do you find in e-learning there is a certain style that’s hired a lot these days?

Rachel Alena:

Yeah. Well, I will tell you that this style where you’re talking like this is much more out of style now then it used to be. So conversational, this key, exactly the things that you all put in this script are the majority, because it’s relationships, that’s the way things are. And so, you’re absolutely right. That’s the style that’s more in style. Yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

Well, and if you just look at what the brief said, it said to be enthusiastic. And I agree with Stephanie that I felt like he couldn’t get through this fast enough and onto something else. You can tell this man has talent.

Rachel Alena:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Julianna Lantz:

He sounds, his vocal, it’s rich. He sounds like he’s been doing this for a long time. I really liked the second sentence. I think there were more pregnant pauses. He had inflection, it sounded like he cared, but the first one just turned me off.

Julianna Lantz:

And from a client’s point of view, they listen to hear the voice match what’s in their head. So you have seconds to give them their best work. And if you don’t, they don’t continue to listen on. So probably this client would have not listened to the rest of this talents audition because it wasn’t what they were asking for in the brief, right off the bat.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Yeah. And just to build on what you were saying, Julianna, how often would it be that a talent should include a second read? Because obviously you’ve got one audio file for your audition. You could say, “Oh, I’m doing two reads. First one’s like this, second one’s like that.” So he could have said, “I’m reading in this style and then…” I don’t know, but it just seems like you like the second half, right? And so what if you never get to the second half and you can’t hear that richness and the way he was able to communicate there. Is it ever a good idea, Rachel, that someone would include more than one read in their audition file, and if they do, how should they communicate that in advance?

Rachel Alena:

I really wish I knew the answer to that question. I don’t know. I tend to tell my students just to do one and try to follow the directions. And so you might know more than that. And when I do my auditions, I only send one. And the reason being is, I’ve often been told in the directions, please only send one audition. So I just assumed that’s what the listener… I think they can tell pretty quickly, and they really are not going to get to that second audition anyway. But I’m not 100% certain, but that’s my best guess.

Julianna Lantz:

Yeah. From a site perspective, if you want to do two takes, you need to let the client know upfront by slating two takes, 10 seconds of your first read, pause, 10 seconds of your second read. Without that two takes at the beginning, they won’t know to listen all the way through.

Rachel Alena:

Hmm. Interesting. Okay.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, because it used to be something that people did a lot. In the past years, talent would try to get more than one read into the audition to, “Oh, well this is what else I can do” you know?

Rachel Alena:

Right.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

But perhaps now, and we would have to start looking at this more deeply ourselves, are people submitting more than one read anymore? Is that just something that was a trend before, right?

Rachel Alena:

Right, yeah.

Julianna Lantz:

My gut feeling is that for script’s that could use some interpretation, like it’s an animation or a commercial script where a fresh take on it might be fun, okay, do it as your second take. But if it’s business, or e-learning, or medical narration, there is no need for interpretation. Do it the way it was asked. One take.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Well, we’ve come to the end of all of our auditions and I want to thank, right now, everyone who made it to this stage and did audition for this project. But we can only move ahead with one choice here. So, if you’re in the seat of the client there Rachel, and you had to pick a voice for your brand to narrate this e-learning module, who would it be?

Rachel Alena:

You know I would probably go with voice one, and provide some further direction as far as making it a little less robotic and monotone.

Julianna Lantz:

Ooh, I like it. Let’s listen one more time.

Audition 1:

Up to now, you’ve learned how to identify workplace hazards and how to report them to your supervisor. In this module, we’ll discuss the hierarchy of control measures that can be used to eliminate hazards from the work process altogether.

Rachel Alena:

She had a lovely range. She was very approachable. She sounded age appropriate. Some of the other reads, I really did like some of the other reads, but when you have issues with P’s popping and that sort of thing, you just can’t use that. Or if it’s too fast, it just eliminates it automatically. So my personal feeling would be number one.

Julianna Lantz:

And with a little bit of coaching, you can, the tips that we talked about in here, you can take that from good to great. And that would be an awesome voice. Yeah, absolutely. I also think that a good client, someone who’s experienced, would be able to coach this talent to get there, or you as a good talent now know these tips so that you can coach yourself to be that way. Self-identify. Yeah. Self-improve.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Absolutely. So Rachel, how can people get ahold of you if they’d like to learn more about what you do or how to study with you?

Rachel Alena:

Well, they can go to my website, Rachelalena.com. That’s R-A-C-H-E-L-A-L-E-N-A. Or they can email me at [email protected], I think it is. So they can get ahold of me that way. But the best thing to do is to go to my website because there’s a form on there that you can fill out, and then what I like to do is get on the phone and chat and hear your voice and find out what your goals are so that we can go from there.

Julianna Lantz:

Well, thank you so much for all the advice.

Rachel Alena:

Thank you ladies for including me.

Julianna Lantz:

Really happy to share it with everyone.

Rachel Alena:

What a blast. What a great thing to do, so much fun.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:

Well, thank you so much, Rachel. And when someone listens to this episode, my hope is that they will be able to take at least one to three tips away, that they can apply immediately to help them do a better audition the next time they walk up to the mic.

Julianna Lantz:

Absolutely. And so take a listen, go sit in your studio, put these tips into place and happy auditioning guys.

Stephanie Ciccarelli
Stephanie Ciccarelli is a Co-Founder of Voices. Classically trained in voice 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. For over 25 years, Stephanie has used her voice to communicate what is most important to her through the spoken and written word. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, Stephanie has been a contributor to The Huffington Post, Backstage magazine, Stage 32 and the Voices.com blog. 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®.
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Comments

  • JOANNA RUBIO
    March 30, 2019, 7:36 pm

    Very Useful and Interesting 😉

    thank you
    Jo

    Reply
  • Stephanie Ciccarelli
    April 1, 2019, 7:52 pm

    Great to hear you enjoyed this episode! Thank you for commenting, Joanna.

    Reply
  • ปั้มไลค์
    June 2, 2020, 6:34 am

    Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.

    Reply