Podcasts Mission Audition How to Master the Modern Conversational Read with Andrea Collins
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How to Master the Modern Conversational Read with Andrea Collins

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We’re talking about the conversation read. Start the process by thinking about how you would talk to a friend in a coffee shop. Today on Mission Audition, we welcome Andrea Collins. Andrea is an award-winning voiceover artist working with some of the largest brands in the world like Google, Facebook, Dove, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartRadio, People, Lego, Mattel, Burt’s Bees, the list goes on. She’s also had an incredible career in radio, working her way up to the top of her industry, which is something that we can attest to on the voiceover side as well as Andrea has been a top talent on voices for many years. Tuning in today, listeners will hear 8 audition examples and Andrea shares her expert opinion on each one. We also hear some take-home advice and tips from her on how you can improve your vocal technique and audition technique! Don’t miss out!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Kyle takes us through the job posting details and directions.
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 1 [00:02:39].
  • Things you can do to sound more trustworthy.
  • The importance of matching the level of the audience you are speaking to; study the specs of the job and the script.
  • How often you should listen back to yourself: every audition.
  • Andrea shares more about how her audition process has progressed since starting out. 
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 2 [00:07:33].
  • Catching yourself when you are overacting, pay attention to specs, and acoustics.
  • Andrea shares her main tip in regards to tapping into more conversational reads: being hyper-aware and referencing previous links.
  • Specific tips for audition 2: figure out space and don’t overact.
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 3 [00:13:12].
  • Whether there is something different in a conversational read that we should be looking at pattern-wise.
  • The difference with conversational reads when it comes to sound or audio (post-production).
  • Andrea’s tips on keeping track of how you end your sentences.
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 4 [00:20:14].
  • Tips specific to the modern conversational read around pacing.
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 5 [00:24:21].
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 6 [00:26:16].
  • Tightening up gaps: Andrea’s tips for talents needing a bit more practice.
  • Advice for people looking to make voiceover their full-time career: get in as many auditions as you can every day!
  • Andrea shares a personal story about her journey on the voices platform and her auditioning technique.
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 7 [00:35:54].
  • Andrea shares what her ears heard from audition number 8 [00:37:48].
  • The issue with too must production or after-effects and how they can affect your audition.
  • Andrea shares the winner for this particular job and its specs!

EPISODE 31

“AC: We're talking about the conversational read. Would you really be talking to a friend like that in a coffee shop?”

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:11] JJ: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Mission Audition. I'm your special guest host, Julianna Jones. This is my co-host –

[00:00:20] KF: Kyle Flynn.

[00:00:22] JJ: We are so excited, as always, to be back with another episode today. We are going to be going over how to master the modern conversational read. Before we get into the auditions, let us introduce you to our guests and featured coach, Andrea Collins.

[00:00:38] AC: Hi, everybody. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:39] JJ: Good to have you. Andrea is an award-winning voiceover artist working with some of the largest brands in the world like Google, Facebook, Dove, Amazon, Spotify, iHeartRadio, People, Lego, Mattel, Burt's Bees, the list goes on. She's also had an incredible career in radio, working her way up to the top of her industry, which is something that we can attest to on the voice over side as well as well as Andrea has been a top talent on voices for many years. Welcome to the show.

[00:01:11] AC: Thanks, guys. Great to be here. Thanks for having me back.

[00:01:14] KF: It's so great to do these with you, Andrea. I'm sure everybody listening here has hopefully checked out the previous webinar we did with Andrea. I'm really excited to be able to dive into these auditions with you.

[00:01:26] JJ: Yeah. Nothing like giving people feedback, right? Especially when you just talk to yourself for a living. All right, so before we get into the auditions, Kyle is going to take us through the job posting details and direction.

[00:01:38] KF: Awesome. So to help talent get into character, here is some background information about the posting. This posting is about a company, Fairbank. It's an organization based in Aruba that rescues injured and stray animals who have been abandoned. The organization is trying to appeal to potential donors and volunteers to adopt and become foster parents or to donate supplies. The video will feature playful puppies and kittens, as well as before and after shots of the rescues.

The video campaign will run on social media, and the ad is a black screen at first, which then switches to pet photo pop-ups after 2 seconds into the script. Our ads will be playing on some of the common stresses of our classical customer profiles and for the artistic direction of today's posting. The voice should be upbeat, yet conversational in the message of their delivering a little bit useful and hip while making sure that they really grab the essence of the copy.

[00:02:34] JJ: All right, now that we know what we're listening for, let's get into audition number one.

[00:02:39] AUDITION 1: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see in our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:02:57] JJ: All right, expert. What is your ears here?

[00:03:01] AC: Okay, so I thought this was a really great one to start off on. She took the direction really well, because a lot of people might look at this script and think like, “Oh, that's so sad.” We're going to lean into our sad read, but the artistic direction was really important. It said upbeat. I thought she embraced an upbeat, caring, conversational delivery and it didn't sound forced or overacted. She sounded fairly real and caring, friendly, and trustworthy. I thought it was a pretty stand out natural delivery.

[00:03:36] JJ: Are there things that you can do to sound more trustworthy?

[00:03:40] AC: Well, I think one of the best tips I can give in terms of the conversational read is you got to be a human and you've got to relate to the script. You got to say, “Who am I trying to connect with? What is this script trying to do?” Then speak to the person. Don't read to them.
Don't announce to them. She really got down to the level of trying to source donations for this charity in a non-announcery way. I thought she just attacked us like human to human, which was really nice.

[00:04:12] KF: It brings up a really good point that you lightly touched on there. Actually my colleague and Evan and I were discussing this the other day, and it's playing to the hierarchy of voiceover. You have to match the level of the audience that you're speaking to, right? If it's too upper class sounding, it's not going to serve the demographic you might be speaking to and much to the reverse. So would you say that's something you are very mindful of when delivering conversationally?

[00:04:37] AC: Oh, I got 100%. You got to look at very carefully the specs of the job and then also the script. I feel the script tells you a lot of things that the artistic direction won't even tell you. Is it one of these like, “Meet John? John works at an office, but he's having trouble.” You can start just imagine what that commercial would sound like in your head and almost try to mimic it. I do feel when you do see those points of conversational, relatable, you really just got to tap into getting hyper self-aware and say, “Okay, am I really being conversational?” That takes a lot of listening back to yourself and then listening to others who are doing a really good job at it.

[00:05:19] JJ: How often do you listen back to yourself?

[00:05:23] AC: Oh, I mean, every audition I do the way I do it, and everybody has their own technique, but I record the audition and then I go through and I fix the mistakes or I take out any large breaths, and I do that in a very quick way. Most of my auditions, I get done in two minutes or less. As I am editing it, I'm listening to myself. Sometimes I'll finish editing it, and then I'll go, “You know what? I think I can do better.” Then I'll rerecord it. I try not to do that very often, because I know a lot of people, you can get to in your head, but if you think you can deliver a better performance, go for it. I'm listening to myself every audition that I do.

[00:06:03] JJ: Wow. Now it takes you two minutes as a pro to do an audition. When you were first starting out, how long did it take you to do an audition?

[00:06:11] AC: I think when I mean, with just with the background I've had with editing and working in production and radio and voiceover for a while, I've been fairly fast at it. Don't hear my two minutes and take that as, “Oh my God, I'm taking five.” That's totally fine and that's completely normal, but you should have a goal of getting faster. That's going to be, just record on the same track or open a new track really fast, hop right in, start recording, don't overthink it, don't do 20 takes, clean it up really fast, save it as the MP3 and upload it. Some will take longer. Some are pretty straightforward and it's in your wheelhouse and you know what you're going to do. Other ones you might have to think about it or possibly give a couple of takes if you're not sure which direction you want to go.

[00:07:04] JJ: Absolutely. As always, one of our favorite tips is if you are going to do multiple takes, make sure that you say that at the beginning of your audition so that clients know to listen all the way through.

[00:07:15] KF: Far too often will clients not realize there's a second take and not get the chance to hear it, so definitely best practice there. Otherwise, what could be your best take will go completely unlistened.

[00:07:26] JJ: Yeah. Okay. Well, I think those are really great tips to get us started. Let's move on to audition number two.

[00:07:33] AUDITION 2: We need your help, while we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:07:53] JJ: Okay, Andrea, take us through this one.

[00:07:55] AC: Okay, so a couple of things happening here. She obviously cares about the animals and is trying to create that urgency, but it comes off as a bit overacted and a bit frazzled. You want to catch yourself when you feel you're overreacting, so part of being conversational and part of the artistic direction for this job posting is to be hip and easygoing about it, not too in your face. So this felt to in your face. Also, you have to pay attention to what the specs are so you're not wasting your time. If I see a spot that's asking for somebody who's in their late fifties, maybe it's for a life insurance product. I'm probably just not going to go for it, because I know that my voice does not sound like it's in that age range.

For this particular posting, I think it’s said young and hip and upbeat and I don't know if this voice – it necessarily lands in that category, but that's okay, could land in other categories. You can't be in every category. Then acoustically speaking, I thought that she could benefit from some acoustic paneling. I heard echo in the room, so maybe moved to a smaller space like your comfy closet. Cozy up beside your winter sweaters, whatever it takes to just bring that room noise down, because when you're listening to a bunch of auditions and some of them have just are rooms that are treated acoustically or they're in their closet and it just sounds really good. When you hear one that's a bit tinny or a bit echoey that will stand out in a bad way.

[00:09:25] KF: Quick question for you, because something that definitely stood out to me was, as you mentioned, just a little bit of overacting in regards to looking for something believable, conversational. What is a tip that you typically give your students? Because it is something that can be very easy to get sucked into. What is your main tip that that you provide to students in regards to just laying them back and allowing them to tap into that more conversational?

[00:09:52] AC: Yeah, good question. Is comes back to that being hyper or aware. We're talking about the conversational read. Would you really be talking to a friend like that in a coffee shop? Now, a lot of people say, “Yeah, but I'm really chill when I'm talking to my friend at a coffee shop.” It's like you want to find that middle ground where you're chill. I don't want to say you're being too cool, but you're just not overly projecting. You want to ease back a little bit. This might mean dropping your shoulders. This might mean adding some conversational mannerisms as you're recording. Just make sure your clothes don't make sounds as you're moving around. Then one of my favorite things that I even do to get in the zone, because one day you can just be hitting it just right with the conversational delivery.

Then another day, you're like, “I don't know, something feels a little off.” I'll go back to links that I've saved. I'm always saving new ones of just really good examples that I hear in spots of conversational deliveries. I'll save those and I'll return to them. One of the best ways I have found is it's so amazing when clients reference a link in a job posting of what they're going for, because if it's a good example and you like it, it's worth saving, because these are the people that are doing the hiring and they're saying, “This is what we're looking for.” So those links are gold.

[00:11:15] KF: I love the tip that you had mentioned in regards to going back and resurfacing jobs that you particularly liked. I know this is something that you and I have actually spoke about in our one-on-one conversations, and I know it's something that you practice and I recommend to everybody. On Voices, you have your different tabs there with all of the job postings that you've responded to and hired for. It's really a great tool and dataset for you to use on an ongoing basis to be able to reference okay —

|What audition did I get hired on? Are there commonalities between these auditions that seem to continuously results in me being hired?” Then you can really pick out those trends and really allow yourself to get rid of – sometimes you can get whitewashed in regards to just hearing your voice over and over and over again, and it really allows you to tap back into that space in which clients where we're clearly enjoying.

[00:12:07] AC: It's a great way to determine your niche and find the style that's working for you.

[00:12:12] KF: Completely.

[00:12:12] JJ: Absolutely. I mean, heck, that is a tip for life too. They say, remember the good moments and when you need an anchor to pull you back into or pull you out of a negative time, you go to your anchoring moment and it's very similar, right? What are the auditions that you did really well? What are the jobs you did really well? Go back to your anchoring moments. Okay, now that you've reset, go back into your auditions.

[00:12:35] AC: I love that.

[00:12:36] JJ: This is as much a mental game sometimes as it is like a performance, physical game, right?

[00:12:40] KF: 100%.

[00:12:41] AC: Oh, my gosh. Totally, yeah.

[00:12:44] KF: I love how we all resonated with that.

[00:12:47] AC: Yeah.

[00:12:48] JJ: Okay. So if you were to give audition number two, any tips for performing well in the future, what would your top tip be?

[00:12:57] AC: I would think it would be figure out the space that you're recording in and also don't overreact.

[00:13:05] JJ: Yeah. Sounds good. All right, well then let's move on to audition number three.

[00:13:12] AUDITION 3: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help, if you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started. We need your help. While we want to save every pup and kitten we come across, we don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:13:44] JJ: All right, Andrea. What do you think?

[00:13:47] AC: Okay, so what I would say is this feels like classic announcer to me, and we're going for conversational, relatable. So I can't imagine this voice fitting in with this spot with those particular specs. They had asked for – let me re-read the artistic direction. The voice should be upbeat conversational, yet authoritative in the message they're delivering, but it should also be youthful and hip.

I wouldn't say this delivery is necessarily hip or youthful. He's got a great movie trailer voice here, but as far as being conversational it misses the mark. So this is where I would return to your favorite saved links of what is conversational and just check yourself before you're hopping in to an audition with this conversational request.

[00:14:38] JJ: I found his pacing was very smooth. It had almost a repeatable pattern that was very soothing. Is there something different in a conversational read that we should looking at pattern wise?

[00:14:50] AC: Great question. I get into this a little bit more. I have 20 tips for mastering the conversational read on my website andreacollinsconsulting.com. This is one of the ones on the list is that it's almost you want to follow a flow where the end of every sentence isn’t the same. There's some classic technique moves. You go up, you land down. You go up, you hit the period in a bold way. That's what this talent is doing here. Where is this conversational, let me find the script here. You might say, “Okay, we need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help.”

Each sentence it's got a different ending to it. “If you want to adopt or foster one of our pets you see on our Instagram page or you want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.” I try to switch up the ends a little bit. One end of the sentence is going up. The next one ends a little bit in the middle. The next one goes down and if you when you do that, you fall into a little bit of a more normal cadence.

[00:16:00] JJ: I’ve heard people use the tip of record yourself having a conversation in the coffee shop and let it play out long enough that you don't remember that you're recording your conversation so that you can listen back and hear those natural ups and downs in the flow. So it's really interesting to hear that same tip being resonated here. Just a different way to get to it.

[00:16:23] KF: Andrea, one thing that I heard in this that I would love to get your opinion on is, do you find that from an audio standpoint, from a sound standpoint, there is definitely a difference between a conversational and say more of that and now it's re post-production. Because I do find that this does sound very polished and edited in that way. Do you find that conversational is a little bit more natural in its sound?

[00:16:50] AC: I'm going to say that in that old school delivery, with that comes old school post-production, which old school back in the day, announcer was going for boomy and so if someone really resonates with that type of delivery, they will put those sorts of effects on themselves in post-production.

[00:17:15] KF: Definitely. You can hear the slight difference when we're going through these auditions here that did just bring that question forward. As listeners, if you guys wanted to dive into that and notice those little nuances in the post-production side of a more processed almost and polished sound, you can likely hear those minor nuances.

[00:17:38] AC: Yeah. You want to get – there's a lot of YouTube videos you might see where they're giving you all of this direction on how to make your audio sound amazing. I don't know, it comes down to the voice. If you can somehow get a hold of an audio engineer to just listen to your stuff they can give you a lot of perspective. It's worth the whatever it would cost for the half an hour for them to listen to you and maybe give you some tips on your setup, because overproduction can really ruin a delivery and you just want enough mustard on there to make it sound a bit rounder, but not like rich and boomy like you're in a movie theater.

[00:18:16] JJ: Definitely. My second question was, how do you keep track of – if you did up the first time in the middle the second time, down the third time, are you just keeping track in your head because you've done it for so long or do you mark up the script in a certain way? Are there things that you would say to beginners to do to make sure that they keeping track of how they're ending their sentences?

[00:18:39] AC: Yeah. That's a good question. I think that once you've been doing it for a long time, it comes naturally. That's probably one reason why I look so well in that category is just because after doing it for so long, you get it in your subconscious, but if you're just starting out, have little voiceover coaching sessions with yourself and do what you said, mark up a script, see what it just feels like to record a sentence in five different ways.

Turn on your audio recording software and do an ABC of each line, but you have to tell yourself each time I do this, I'm going to do it differently. I'm going to end it differently or I'm going to start it differently, or I'm going to highlight a different word and see how that feels. I think you'll end up teaching yourself a lot.

[00:19:23] JJ: Love it. That's a great tip. I remember from previous ones always make sure that you're emphasizing the right things. The action words and the company name.

[00:19:31] KF: Definitely.

[00:19:32] AC: Yeah.

[00:19:34] KF: I do think it's worth mentioning for our listeners out there in regards to this audition, this is a very high performing talent. He does have a very, very good sound just for this particular project. In it being a social add on social media, might not fit the specs the best. So there's lots of things that you can learn from this talent, but for this particular conversational modern read, the alignment there with the specs just isn't complete.

[00:20:02] AC: I think that's the case for a lot of the artists here today. What we're talking about is the modern conversational read, so yes, exactly.

[00:20:09] KF: Definitely.

[00:20:10] JJ: Cool. All right, let's move on to audition number four.

[00:20:14] AUDITION 4: We need your help. Well, we want is save every pup in kitten we come across, we don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:20:35] KF: All right, Andrea, what are your thoughts on this audition?

[00:20:39] AC: Yeah. So this one would lean in to announcer again, we’re talking about the arc of a sentence and how announcer reads, follow a certain arc. I heard that one and almost every sentence. This talent said, I think he has a really nice voice and great technique. His studio sounds awesome, but I would refer back to just getting real with yourself. Is this conversational?

He probably benefit from looking for some of those really big brands who are doing some really modern conversational work. Anything like a Google or Wix or Instagram or Facebook, these modern brands are just doing an incredible conversational reads lately in their commercials. I might tell them to search out some of those. Then it comes down to the coffee chat test again, we keep referring to, would you really talk to somebody like that, if they were your friend?

[00:21:35] KF: I find even just something as simple as pace in this. Definitely, there are plenty of improvements that we can say on the read itself, but something just as simple as pace. I feel like plays a big part in the conversational and especially this script where it asks for a little more upbeat and conversational. I find just the pace alone was enough to step back a little bit and be like, “Oh, wait a minute.” Would you agree with that?

[00:22:02] AC: Yeah, because the topic can be a bit heavy of these are animals in need. We gravitate where it's sad and serious, but we'll hear out of some of these favorites today is that they still get in touch with the upbeat, adding a bit of smile side to the delivery, even though it can be a heavy topic. We're saying like, “Okay, everybody, you can help. Let's all do this together. Here's how.” Rather than, “We need your help.” The sad delivery.

[00:22:31] JJ: Yes. Two very different styles, that's a good point. I can see this audition, reading me asleep story, because the pacing was very comforting. Maybe not the youthful and hip call to action that the client was looking for, but nonetheless, a smooth read and good audio which is always a plus.

[00:22:47] AC: Totally.

[00:22:48] KF: Do you have tips specific to the modern conversational read around pacing, or is that something that you take on a per project basis? What are your thoughts and tips that you chat with students?

[00:23:01] AC: Yeah. You know, follow a normal delivery. You want to keep things generally. Is this the 32nd spot? Is this a 15 second social media tag? So you have to keep that in mind. You want to fit that all within the time provided, that is so important. If it's in an animation or an explainer, okay. You've got this 300 word script that's generally 2 minutes. It’s usually at a normal pace, 150 words per minute.

Whatever that pace is, that falls into 2 minutes, you know you're good. Always, if they send you the scratch track and the video for reference, maybe they've already completed the video ish and then now they're just waiting for your voice. Watch that. That's going to give you a lot of context for the delivery and pauses or where there are pauses, but for the most part just keep it conversational as I'm talking now. Don't talk too fast. Try not to leave really big gaps between sentences. Sometimes when I hear people's conversational reads, they slow it down a bit too much. They think that conversational means slower I would just be mindful of taking it back up right after that period.

[00:24:14] JJ: Yeah. Love it. Thanks for sharing. Okay, well then, let's take a listened to audition number five.

[00:24:21] AUDITION 5: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on her Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:24:38] JJ: If I didn't already have three cats, I would definitely be looking at animal shelters after this. I'll take one home. Okay. Andrea, what do you think?

[00:24:47] AC: I thought it was really good. I thought it was an example of a polished conversational read. It's not necessarily young and hip, but it's conversational in the sense that it doesn't hit me in the face with announcer. It's conversational. He's not forcing the delivery, which I love. I feel like he's leaning back in his chair a little bit. His delivery is quite natural. I can hear a little bit of smile in his voice, which is nice. This would definitely be a top audition for me.

[00:25:18] JJ: Yeah, I agree. I could really hear the smile in his voice. I think that's what made me think of my own cats and then get to that place where I'm like, “Oh, I'm going to go look on their page.” Which is exactly what the writers of the script are hoping for.

[00:25:30] AC: He feels very approachable. You're just like, “Oh, yeah, okay. Yeah, I'll check this out. He sounds nice.”

[00:25:39] KF: Definitely. Then really good quality audio is obviously, as we all know, a make or break. His audio was very clean and crisp, which really put an emphasis on a really great read that he performed. I agree. I think he did a good job in having some little upbeat smile in his tone. We’ll still capturing the essence of like you said, can be a harder topic or a darker topic or whatever you may want to call it there. But I feel like he did a good job at keeping it a little bit light while still capturing the essence.

[00:26:08] AC: Agreed.

[00:26:09] JJ: Yeah. Nicely done. All right, well then, guys. Let's listen to the next one. This is audition number six.

[00:26:16] AUDITION 6: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across, we don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:26:32] JJ: All right, Andrea. Expert take. Hit us.

[00:26:34] AC: Okay. I think he's trying to be conversational, but it's just maybe not landing. I like his voice and the reason I like it is because there is a huge demand for real Voices. You see a lot of specs that say like we want to voice the sounds real. We don't want an announcer. We don't want any spec of announcer. Kick the announcer out of the room. Some of them are so, like ah when you read the specs. So this voice would fall into that category, super natural. I just think he needs a bit more practice. I would tell him to tighten up his read a bit more, a bit more confidence in what he's saying.

There were some gaps in there like we talked about. I tighten that up, and I would work on his ending of the last line, because even though it's supposed to be conversational, you want that last line to land, because that's the direct call to action. So the last part of the last sentence is, “Send us a direct message to get started.” That's where you're like, boom, telling the person what to do, so he needs to own that a little bit more. Whereas I feel in his audition it just trailed off a little bit at the end. I'd work on that.

[00:27:40] JJ: I definitely thought he met the specs, the youthful, conversational aspect, and he was really nice to listen to. I just think he was a little bit more on the sad side.

[00:27:53] KF: I think he had a really strong foundation like you said, Andrea. I think in regards to having the tools, he just needs to tighten them up like you had mentioned. What would be the first tip that would stand out to yourself when listening to this talent?

[00:28:08] AC: Yeah. I would say like we mentioned, tighten it up a bit, add a bit more confidence, get a little bit more practice, because there's those gaps. You want to tighten those up and you want to land that last sentence. It just felt like he just needed a bit more practice, but I like his voice. I think that it's certainly young and hip and I could see that in a PlayStation ad or a Facebook ad, all these brands we keep referring to. It's just one of those real modern millennial Gen Z voices.

[00:28:44] JJ: Definitely. Are there certain scripts that you find are really great practice for people that are looking to make voice their full time career?

[00:28:52] AC: I think the best thing you can do is get in as many auditions as you can every day. Every type of script you practice, every type of audition you do is the best practice you can get. So make a goal that you're going to do a certain amount every day, ten to 20 if you can.

[00:29:14] JJ: Yeah. Some of the best feedback that you're going to get is those short list, those little thumbs up besides your auditions, because that's a client saying, “Oh, you're really good. You're in my shortlist running for who I'm going to pick for the job.” Even if you're practicing and practicing and not getting a job, if you're getting short lists, it says you're on the right path. Keep going. Don't give up. Continue to look at the tags of the jobs that you're being shortlisted for and use that as motivation. Okay, this is where I'm getting some traction. Keep go and put those kinds of demos on your profiles. Make sure that those tags are on your profile so that you can be invited to more of those jobs.

There are so many things that you can be doing just by practicing every day. It's crazy the amount of change like positive change you'll notice, if you listen to yourself six months after auditioning every day.

[00:30:02] AC: Oh yeah.

[00:30:02] JJ: That can help to get better.

[00:30:04] AC: A lot of people would say, “Yeah, but I'm not getting like, so how do I know what I'm doing wrong?” What I recommend is go back to finding those great – when you're watching television, my husband's voice is like, “What are you doing?” — When you're watching television and the commercials are on almost notice and almost say the lines back to the television, because for the most part, I would say 75% of the commercials that’s seen on television right now they're conversational reads, so mimic. Not to say you're not trying to be yourself, but mimic the flow of these voiceover artists that are obviously booking jobs and doing well. Same for finding some of the top talent on voices, figure out who some of those artists are. Listen to their stuff. Everyone usually has a conversational demo on their profile page. Go and listen to them and see what they're doing.

[00:31:01] KF: One part that I really picked that I would love to connect the dots to is one of the main pieces of feedback you had was around having confidence on the mic. Then something that you had mentioned was doing auditions every day and getting that practice. I feel like those two things are so connected in regards to building that comfortability in front of your mic and understanding your voice and being able to lean in and really be yourself and come through in that confident presence. Talking about numbers and auditions, you had mentioned ten to 20 auditions a day, your level of the game, is that still something you commit yourself to?

[00:31:38] AC: Yes, absolutely. I will sit down in the morning and do ten, maybe depending on how many are there. I won't do – generally, I won't audition on ones where there's a whole bunch of auditions already, unless it's a repeat client or it's a big budget that falls in my wheelhouse. Let's say there's, there's ten auditions that in the morning and then there's some fresh ones, however many there. Then throughout the day I'll pop in a couple of times. Usually my longest sit down for auditions is in the morning. I'll do about 45 minutes and then maybe around noon and then maybe around four. So really, it's like, as many as I can do in a day where I'm not feeling burnt out or I'm not having fun doing it. Some days are busier than others where I might be busy with jobs and other things, so I don't do as many auditions, but on average I would say I'm doing 15 to 20 auditions a day, sometimes one.

[00:32:36] JJ: That's awesome. Another interesting tidbit that I always lean on whenever I have to do anything really is remembering that motivation follows action. You're not always going to feel motivated when you’re like, “Oh, I got to go audition.” But once you sit down and start doing it, that's the motivation starts coming. You just got to sit down and do it and then you'll be so surprised, hopefully happily surprised at the good work that comes out.

[00:33:00] AC: Yeah. You got to be willing to put in the work. I mean, you have to think of the auditions as being part of your job. Every paid job you get. Part of that money was for all the auditions that you did. So you can't get bogged down with feeling like, “Oh, I got to crank out more auditions.” Have fun with it, and you never know which one's going to be the one that lands you the gig. Then people that I've worked with, they'll say, “Just not booking jobs, Andrea.” I’m like, “Well, how many auditions are you doing?” “Oh, like ten a week.” “Ten a week? You should be doing ten before lunch.” So try to double or triple your volume if you're not doing a lot already.

[00:33:39] JJ: Yes, absolutely. If you're booking 10% and you do that in a day versus a week, you're going to have very different – you can make a different amount of money at the end of the year.

[00:33:49] AC: I think that's probably something a lot of us top booking talent on voices have in common is that we're doing a lot of auditions. It's not that –

[00:33:59] JJ: Yeah. Work ethic.

[00:33:59] AC: Right. It's not that we have these voices that people are just like, “I must work with him or her.” It's that we're doing a heck of a lot of auditions.

[00:34:10] KF: Incredibly true. Even like a step, we have at Voices. I'm pretty sure if it's and correct me if I'm wrong, Juls, it's something like, if you're doing more than seven auditions on average every day, your success on the platform is exponentially higher than anybody doing less than seven a day. Just a start as simple as that can paint the picture and what that effort and that daily commitment can translate too.

[00:34:34] JJ: Yeah. Daily commitment, that's just it, right. So many people get started and do it for a month and don't see success and stop. That's not really fair to you. You just spend all this time getting yourself set up on voices. You got your mike, you're ready to go. If you give up after a month, you're not giving yourself a fair shot. You got to be doing this for at least six months to a year, doing it every day. That's when you're really going to see, the results. That's the kind of work that we're talking about here. That's really what we're trying to say is possible, but you just got to be disciplined and sit down and do it, but you can.

[00:35:04] AC: Let me tell you a story. I joined Voices in 2012 and it was that exact thing. I got set up, did a few auditions, did a few jobs, but then I was like, “You know.” You just don't keep it up. I didn't do as many auditions as I should have. So when I returned to the platform in 2017 and 2018, I came at it with a completely different approach and it totally changed the game, so same person, same voice, different auditioning and technique.

[00:35:38] JJ: Yeah, that's awesome. I'm glad to hear it. Well, yeah. Now look at you, top ten talent, top five talent. Number one in our hearts, though. All right, well, guys, let's listen to the next one then. This is audition number seven.

[00:35:54] AUDITION 7: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across, we don't have enough hands. We need your help, if you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:36:09] KF: All right. I think we've heard something somewhat similar here, but I'll lean on you, Andrea, what's your take?

[00:36:17] AC: Yes. This one was really, really great. There were some moments where I was like, “Oh, announcer.” He said like, “If you want to adopt.” There was a bit of a adopt, like announcer that came in to it. If you want to adopt a pet, but at the end, I don't know if we can replay the way he ended it, but it's really good. The way he ended the sentence was friendly, wasn't too announcery, it was like, give us a call to get started.

[00:36:48] KF: Let's let's play back the last 7 seconds.

[00:36:50] AUDITION 7: Or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:36:54] KF: There we go.

[00:36:55] AC: Right. It was like, it was friendly. It was like, okay, nice. Whereas some other artists have said, “Send us a direct message to get started.” Where he kept it bouncier, I would say so. I really thought this was a great audition and would definitely consider it a finalist.

[00:37:14] KF: Definitely. I think you can hear it in the quality. It's just a very high quality sound. The same thing that we had mentioned about one of the previous auditions is, that smile in his voice. He definitely was firm and you could hear him strongly and confidently, but he had that nice little bouncy smiley tone to him that really makes it approachable and believable. Some might say, based on the specs that we commonly see. So I really enjoyed this audition as well.

[00:37:44] JJ: Good stuff. Let's listen to our next one. Audition number eight.

[00:37:48] AUDITION 8: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on our Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:38:04] JJ: All right. What's your take on our last one, Andrea?

[00:38:07] AC: Okay, I loved his delivery, but too much production, too much something on there in the after effects and really in his throat. Some people would call it vocal fry, which I don't that term. I actually think is quite sexist, but a really in his throat at the end of sentences so big gravelly and it was only more obvious with the production he was putting on to his voice at the end, but this would be a very much a frontrunner for me if it wasn't for those two things, because I thought his delivery was very natural, not forced, maybe not upbeat enough for the specs, but really, really good. What did you guys think?

[00:38:51] JJ: Agreed, wasn't quite upbeat enough for the specs, but I thought he hit everything else. Pretty conversational, pretty hip, sounded really well done, but yeah, that processing was just a little hard to listen to, I guess, in my opinion.

[00:39:04] KF: You can hear it, it's so grainy. That takes away the natural sound. He does have a very good natural read in there, but it really distracts in sounds really processed with that grainy audio there. I do like his read. I agree with you, Andrea. I don't think it carried that same smile that some of the others have, but a very natural, great conversational read in total, just in comparison to the others. I think they had a slight edge on them for those reasons.

[00:39:31] AC: Yeah.

[00:39:32] JJ: Put yourself in the client's shoes. They don't want audio that they're going to have to do anything, too. In this case, I think there's a little bit too much, which means that the client would have to take it back and that's also work, just like there are issues and they have to fix that work. Anything you can do to be easy to work with that makes you stand out in client's book. A little bit, I think what we're saying is less is more in this situation when it comes to delivering just a clean file.

[00:39:57] AC: Yeah. On the production side, it's easier for them to add effects than it is to take it away. That's why you'll see a lot of jobs asking for your raw audio, please don't do anything to it.

[00:40:08] JJ: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:40:10] KF: Completely agree. This is something that I'm sure you can attest to is definitely in no way do you not want to do any post-production, because you want to have very, very good, good audio specifically speaking background noise, echo, all that type of stuff, but like you said, it's less is more in the conversational read, because having to pull back is much harder than adding something in addition to you. So definitely agree with you and that's something we see a lot of out there.

[00:40:36] JJ: Well, and I'm sure our audio producer in the room and everyone listening would want us to say it starts at the source, right? You need to make sure that your room is clean and that you're close enough to the mic and all that good stuff is happening before you even get to the post-production issues. Well, guys, this has been a really fun episode, but now we get to the best part of it all. Andrea, can you pick a winner for us? The person that you thought did the best job being upbeat and conversational at youthful and hip and yet authoritative.

[00:41:06] AC: Oh, my God. So many things to check out the list. I feel like I understand now why they shortlist talent and choose the top five, because it really comes down to like, “Okay, there's several great auditions for every job it's just a matter of what the client wants to go with.” So that's why you're shortlisted sometimes and maybe you don't get the gig, doesn't mean you're bad, this doesn't mean you didn't fit exactly what they were looking for. I had a couple in here that I would be totally down for booking for this job. I'm still looking at the two top ones right now, and I can't decide, but I would say my top choice is this one.

[00:41:45] AUDITION 5: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across. We don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see on her Instagram page or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:42:01] AC: If I could use a second, it would be this one.

[00:42:05] AUDITION 1: We need your help. Well, we want to save every pup and kitten we come across, we don't have enough hands. We need your help. If you want to adopt or foster one of the pets you see in our Instagram page, or want to donate supplies, send us a direct message to get started.

[00:42:23] JJ: Well done, everybody. Again, thank you to everybody who participates in Mission Audition, because you are brave enough to submit an audition. We are able to teach and educate and lift each other up through this learning experience. Thank you so much everyone for your participation and thank you, Andrea, for all your expert tips. It was so great hearing from you. How can talent get in touch with you in the future?

[00:42:45] AC: Well, thanks for having me on, guys. Let's do this again. So you can get a hold of me for coaching at andreacollinsconsulting.com. You have a couple of options. I'm excited because I just released the updated version of the Voiceover Profit Master Class, and this includes video coaching from me, my formula that I use to become one of voices in other platforms, highest earners, finding your VO sweet spot that'll make you all that money, insider sessions with industry pros giving you top tips. You get $100 off your voice membership and other major discounts plus for a limited time just for everybody listening you're also going to get for free how to dominate on voices.com which is another course of mine.

I also do one-on-ones where it's 90 minutes and we do a complete overhaul of things. I'm going to critique your delivery. I'm going to look over your voices profile. I'm going to look at your website, all of that stuff. Do a complete business audit and voiceover coaching session in 90 minutes, one and done, sets you off on the right foot so you can find both of those things at andreacollinsconsulting.com.

[00:43:55] JJ: That's wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing that, Andrea.

[00:43:59] AC: Thanks for having me.

[00:44:00] KF: Such a joy to do this with you and we hope that the community can take something out of this and put forward in their auditions. Also free to check out voices.com/coaches where you'll see Andrea is the featured coach of the month, so you can connect with her there as well if you'd like.

[00:44:18] JJ: All right, ladies and gentlemen, remember to subscribe to Mission Audition wherever you listen to your podcasts and you can find the scripts that we use on the blog, so great talking to everybody. I'm Julianna Jones.

[00:44:30] KF: I'm Kyle Flynn.

[00:44:31] JJ: Happy auditioning.

[END]

Geoff Bremner

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