Podcasts Mission Audition Landing Commercial Travel Voice Over Jobs with Shelly Shenoy
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Landing Commercial Travel Voice Over Jobs with Shelly Shenoy

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Stephanie Ciccarelli
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Ever dream of booking your voice for the world’s top brands? Then you’d better brush up on your technique for commercial voice over. In this episode, Stephanie is graced by the presence of vocal coach Shelly Shenoy. Together, they review auditions for a travel commercial spot, and Shenoy provides insights on style, authenticity, background music, and how each voice actorr interprets the artistic direction.

Hosts: Stephanie Ciccarelli, Julianna Lantz, with guest coach Shelly Shenoy. Starting as a non-union actor with dreams of being a voice over artist, Shelly is now the national campaign voice for numerous brands, Voice Directed a Netflix Original Animated Series, starring Oscar-winner Mark Rylance, and plays the supporting lead role of Kate Garcia in The Walking Dead Telltale Episodic Video Game Series.

Contact Shelly: https://www.nycvocoach.com/

Instagram/Twitter: @shellyshenoy

Facebook: voiceovercoach

Inspired? Get your practice on with Travel Commercial Sample Scripts: https://www.voices.com/blog/sample-scripts-travel-commercial/

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

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Hey, there. Welcome to another episode of 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’re so excited to be talking to you today about commercials. As we know, this is a category that is really exciting, but what’s even more exciting is that we have the Shelly Shenoy here in studio with us today over the line. So welcome, Shelly.

Shelly Shenoy:
Hi. Thank you so much.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Aw. Well, you’re fabulous. Well, first, let me just say that you are a career voiceover artist. You are a coach and you’re also a director.

Shelly Shenoy:
Yes.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
But what more can you tell us about yourself?

Shelly Shenoy:
Boy, I’ve been a voiceover artist for closer to 20 years than not. I started when I was really young, and started directing shortly after that. I was asked to start coaching years ago, when my voiceover reps asked me to start training the other talent. And so I was like, “I don’t know if I want to train my competition.” But then what ended up happening was, it just opened up every door for me as a director.

Shelly Shenoy:
So I’ve been coaching and directing professionally for the last eight years, and coaching … really, coaching every single week, every single day, is what opened up those doors for directing, and that’s what got me Netflix and that’s how I ended up working with the BBC and doing all of these other amazing directing projects.

Shelly Shenoy:
So when I coach in between directing, it keeps me laser sharp. They all sort of feed each other. And then as an artist, it makes me sharper as an artist when I work with other directors from around the world. So it’s a never-ending circle vortex, guys. That’s the answer.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Okay, that’s awesome. Wonderful. So today, for everybody, we have a casting call that was for a commercial. And in this case, it’s a travel commercial, so very exciting. And just again, take a moment here to break down the specs.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
So for this job, we were looking for both male and female to audition. It’s for English, North American, so far as our language and our accent. A general American accent, to be specific. We also are looking for some stylistic elements. Julianna, what about those?

Julianna Lantz:
Yeah, exactly. So, the artistic direction we gave talent in the job posting says, “The envisioned voice for this campaign is wise, calm, and resonant. Tap into your inner David Attenborough. Be inspirational, but not loud. The voiceover will accompany stunning visuals of the respective travel destinations.”

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
So essentially, just to put ourselves in that director’s chair or the client’s head space, what they’re looking for is to get people to go to Jamaica. They really want these Gen Xers, these Americans who’ve been working way too hard, prioritizing career over their life, basically, to go out and live it.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Everyone who auditioned, their mission, if they chose to do so, was to emphasize the tagline, “Make memories for your senses.” So, be sure that we’re listening for that.

Julianna Lantz:
Perfect, all right. Let’s get started with audience number one.

Audition 1:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Julianna Lantz:
All right, Shelly. What do you think?

Shelly Shenoy:
Okay, so we are going to go over seven auditions. I just want to preface something really quick. I use a lot of humor, and I’m certainly not teasing anybody, but as the talent, and I know that all of these talent will be listening, and so I’m here to educate, and so we’re going to talk about a couple of things with each one, all right?

Shelly Shenoy:
So for this lady … And so my hope is that I make you laugh, because if you laugh, you remember, okay? But that’s the most important thing is that you’re learning what’s going on with everybody. So, all seven of these people in a good place, but we’re going to break this down.

Shelly Shenoy:
So this first lady, she has the potential to tap into the velvety, calming tone of a Jamaican spot and the encouragement of getting people to go to Jamaica. However, she used a little bit of a character voice with this.

Shelly Shenoy:
Now, she might be thinking, “No, that’s my real voice.” The way that you applied it isn’t appropriate for this commercial, and I could hear that she has the velvety tone, but she didn’t use it. It’s, in fact, coming across a little bit intense. So if you play it again … Can you play just a couple seconds?

Audition 1:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below?

Shelly Shenoy:
What she’s doing is, she’s using the inner top back of her throat. “Do you remember parasailing” and the “Do you remember …” Instead of opening up her muscles and allowing for a more liquid tone, which I am fully confident this woman has the ability to do.

Shelly Shenoy:
But instead, she tensed it up just a little bit, and we got a little spunk here. And that’s the reason why her voice actually doesn’t apply to this commercial appropriately, and that’s why we would pass on this one.

Julianna Lantz:
I gotcha. So, how would she apply the velvetiness?

Shelly Shenoy:
She needs to open up and relax her vortex … Her vortex. Her larynx. I mean, “vortex” works. I would change the way she’s sitting, and the way that she’s applying her instrument towards the microphone.

Shelly Shenoy:
So we’ve got this: Hey, she’s like right here and she’s, oh, look at this. I’m just a little bit tense. I’m sitting here like this. But if she opens it up here, then she’s going to reach that tone with the proper adjustment in her muscles. Do you understand?

Julianna Lantz:
Yeah, absolutely. Your chin’s a little bit more forward. You’re closer to the mic. Your neck’s elongated.

Shelly Shenoy:
We’ll just say that her muscles are a little too tense for this, which actually lends her voice to be a little too intense for this. I was talking to a man yesterday. We were working long distance. He’s in Carolina or something, one of the Carolinas.

Shelly Shenoy:
I said, “Do you see how your shoulders are positioned?” And he goes, “Yeah.” And I go, “Okay. Can you tilt them back for me, please? And can you point them back towards the ceiling?” And he goes, “How did you see where my shoulders were positioned?” And it’s because you can hear it.

Shelly Shenoy:
You can hear what they’re doing with their body in the muscle of their voice. So I see these things as I’m listening, so I understand. And it’s not always, and it’s not always completely accurate. But it’s almost always right on the nose.

Julianna Lantz:
That’s amazing.

Shelly Shenoy:
But I can tell with this woman that the muscles in the back, the top and the back of her larynx are just strained enough that she’s not allowing for the tone to flow through with the more or less liquid musicality that they’re going for with the “calm, wise, velvety,” all of that. Right? She’s just using the wrong muscles.

Julianna Lantz:
And I loved the comparison that you did, where you did it when it was tight, and then it did it when it was relaxed and open, and you can really hear the contrast when you do the side by side. That was awesome.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
All right. Well, let’s move on to our next audition.

Julianna Lantz:
Yes.

Audition 2:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air, gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Shelly Shenoy:
Okay. There’s a couple things, and we’re going to touch down on this really importantly. In the next one, you’ll hear it as well. But in the world of animation, there is this massive monster category of the world of audio wallas.

Shelly Shenoy:
Now, “wallas” are non-verbal sound effects. You rarely ever use them in commercials, because commercials are written on and for the client, right? And what non-verbal sound effects do, is they create a bias in the narrative.

Shelly Shenoy:
So when this woman goes, “Do you remember the …” I know that she remembers, and I know that she misses it, and I know that she’s really wanting to get to Jamaica herself. But the commercial’s not about her.

Shelly Shenoy:
So, when she sighs with this non-verbal sound … with this, yeah, non-verbal sound effect, with this walla, it immediately distracts the attention from what the client would be aiming for, which is about you going on a vacation, not her going on a vacation.

Shelly Shenoy:
When you use wallas in commercials, it’s typically for a testimonial commercial. That’s the one, the one giveaway for … That’s the one freebie that you could use for using bias or walla in the commercial industry, would be for a first-person perspective, testimonial commercial.

Shelly Shenoy:
So that would be, “My husband and I, we didn’t know where to buy paint, but then a friend told us about Ben Moore. Oh, man. I wish that we …” Right? That’s a testimonial. It’s riddled with nuance and wallas. You got to be careful with them, or else you’re going to sound crazy.

Shelly Shenoy:
But in a commercial like this, that is not a testimonial spot, you are there to deliver for the client, to the people, not about yourself. Okay? So she biased it immediately, right off the bat.

Shelly Shenoy:
“I wish I was on vacation.” Right? Because that’s what that says. And then the only other thing is that the tone of voice that she’s using is, she’s doing what I call the “lean-in whisper,” or the, “I’m by myself at my studio.” And if this woman had used a little bit more of a fuller voice, she would have been right on track, because she is very nuanced and I like what she’s doing.

Shelly Shenoy:
And she got there, and she did it. She projected. She opened that up, on the very last line. But until then, “Do you remember what it’s …” This is a little bit too quiet, because I’m not using my full voice, and I’m … But then she opens it up on the very last line and she’s like, “Let’s go to Jamaica.” And it’s like, “Oh, there she is.”

Shelly Shenoy:
So she’s just using a couple different muscles here. I would have liked to have it been a little bit more consistent from start to finish, and I would not have had her use this, sort of this little whisper here, “Do you remember?” Because wise, calm, resonant and velvety, is not like a little, like this tiny little whisper. Do you hear what I mean?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Julianna Lantz:
Yes. And with that voice of that whisper that you’re talking about, would that also be straining the vocal folds? It doesn’t sound like it would be helping them to relax.

Shelly Shenoy:
It’s not that it’s a strain. I mean, yeah, whispering technically is a strain. It’s just that, it really just comes down to the simplicity of, girlfriend, just put … Sit with your chest a little bit more forward, get right on the mic and don’t be afraid to use your voice. Right?

Shelly Shenoy:
I don’t get in front of the voice and whisper unless I’m being asked to, right? We’re not asking you to whisper. We want you to tell us where we’re going. Do you understand, right? The difference there with just opening that up.

Shelly Shenoy:
And she chose, so it’s not necessarily a strain. I mean, it is a whisper, so technically it’s a strain. And it’s not that. It’s that I heard her go into that velvety tone towards the very end of the commercial. What was she saving it for? A lot of producers wouldn’t sit around and wait for her to get to the end of the 18 seconds. You know?

Julianna Lantz:
And that’s a huge process tip for auditioning on voices.com, is you have seconds to capture the client’s attention, so you got to come out of the gate with your best, your A-game. You can’t wait until the end to bring it, or else, like you said, you won’t get listened to.

Shelly Shenoy:
You have three seconds. Well, so I know for a fact that this one right here, I would have clipped it on the sigh. And, “Bye. Okay. The commercial’s not about you. We got to go. Next.”

Julianna Lantz:
That’s a great insight, yeah.

Shelly Shenoy:
That’s how quickly … because this is nothing against this fine lady, but when I’m casting, and I have 36 of these to go through, I already know that she doesn’t … not to assume she doesn’t know enough about the commercial industry, but what I do know is that she didn’t think enough about this spot to not make it about herself. She made a choice. It was the wrong choice, and that’s why she gets skipped.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
A great tip there is to think about, really think about who your audience is, and who you are in relation to that, especially in these commercial spaces. This is not about testimonials.

Shelly Shenoy:
This is also, just to say, this is the second lady that I heard could have done it. But in the world of casting, when you’re waiting for the last line to get there, you just don’t have the time. So I heard she could have done it. Good voice, but wrong application. Okay, we can move on.

Audition 3:
So, do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Well, do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Wow, more walla. We could definitely all hear that, I think, at this point. But what do you think, Shelly?

Shelly Shenoy:
So, I have so many pen marks on it. Okay, so again, she immediately made it about herself. “Do you remember?” You know, it’s just that … It’s the like, party girl vibe. And I’m using extreme examples. I love this girl. She’s a fun little button.

Shelly Shenoy:
However, I wouldn’t hire her for this commercial, because she made very strong choices and they were the wrong choices. She made the entire thing about herself, so the giggles, and also lady number one, if she is still listening … We may have lost her completely. She’s like, “I’m over this. Bye.”

Shelly Shenoy:
But she also giggled at the very, very end. She laughed on the last, “No?” Or something like that. She laughed at the last one. “Do you remember? No?” You have to be so cautious. When you’re working in the world of commercial, you are asked to emulate joy. Most of the time, for classic commercials, you’re asked to emulate joy.

Shelly Shenoy:
And the artist’s body has to get to a place where they are feeling so much joy, authentically, their instinct is to giggle. You cannot do it, because what that does, believe it or not … I mean, aside from biasing the commercial to be about yourself and how you’re feeling, you more often than not, are actually being condescending to the listener.

Shelly Shenoy:
So, you got to be really careful. You’re distracting from the actual … The client will hear that and be like, “What is going on?” So many actors will be like, “I have the cutest little thing here.” And the producers are like, “No. Please, don’t do that.” Emulate the joy, but don’t take the level where you are then a distraction from the product you’re selling. Does that make sense?

Shelly Shenoy:
The other thing is that, so she giggles, and then she sighs? Okay, and so that just … It just hurts my soul, because I can tell. I know why she’s in voiceover. She’s absolutely adorable. Absolutely adorable, and she has an adorable voice. It’s so cute.

Shelly Shenoy:
But when I listen to this whole thing, I go, “This actor, this artist is not actually paying attention. She’s performing.” There is a difference. If she was paying attention, she would notice that … Now, spec adjectives are general. You get the idea from them. You can’t take them literally, because all the women out there, they’re like, “Really? You want me to tap into my inner David Attenborough? Oh, yes.”

Shelly Shenoy:
How are they going to do that, right? Like I walk into a commercial for … Shoot, I can’t say. But they were like, “Can you bring a little bit more Matt Damon?”

Julianna Lantz:
Sure. What?

Shelly Shenoy:
Okay. Yeah, like what does that mean, right?

Julianna Lantz:
Yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Yeah.

Shelly Shenoy:
Yeah, sure. You know what? Yeah. I’m Matt Damon all over the place. Right? So it’s just like, what are you going to do, right? So the ladies out there, they get the spec “David Attenborough.” There is no parallel female spec for them.

Shelly Shenoy:
But you have to take the, “This is for a travel spot. Wise, calm, resonant,” and the one male spec adjective you get, and you have to reflect that from your own artistry and go, “Oh. What would that mean for me in my artist sense?”

Shelly Shenoy:
And she’s like, “Everybody! Let’s go on vacation!” I think because she primarily paid attention to the fact that this is for Gen Xers that work too hard.

Julianna Lantz:
Okay, so how would you advise people to stay mindful in their recordings?

Shelly Shenoy:
After you’re done with the recording and you’re like, “This is the best one yet,” walk out of your studio, turn on the television, absolve yourself in audio distractions, turn on the news for a couple minutes, anything, so that you can free your ears of what you’ve been honed in on.

Shelly Shenoy:
Come back, look at the specs, look at what they’re asking for, look at what this commercial is aiming to do, and listen to your best record, and ask yourself if you hit it.

Julianna Lantz:
Be objective.

Shelly Shenoy:
You have to listen from the ears of a producer.

Julianna Lantz:
Well, and you’re helping us to think like a producer, which is really helpful.

Shelly Shenoy:
The thing is, is that unless voiceover artists have gone into intense training, like really trained, not just like, “I’ve got a good voice. I’m going to give this a shot.” Right? If they’ve actually trained, those are the ones that stand out in the crowd. Those are the ones whose careers will skyrocket.

Shelly Shenoy:
So what I’m saying is, there’s no way for these artists to know this. You just hope that all seven of these lovely people take something and go, “Oh, snap. I never realized that.” I mean, I’m assuming more than seven people listen to your podcast, but I know that these actors are listening, and I want to high five all of them and say, “Look, I get why you’re here, but you’ve got a little more learning to do.” Right?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Awesome. All right. Well, let’s hear the next one.

Shelly Shenoy:
Okay.

Audition 4:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Julianna Lantz:
What do you think, Shelly?

Shelly Shenoy:
So, all right. So, here’s the deal. He sounds so unnatural, it’s as if he just learned how to talk. Then I say to this artist, if he sat down anywhere, and someone walked in a room to pitch him this commercial, and sat down across from him, and spoke to him like that, how he would feel.

Shelly Shenoy:
“Do you remember going to Jamaica, with the art of the parasail?” It’s like, what? What is happening here, buddy? No. No, no, no. You have to understand how you sound. So I love him. I know he’s new. It’s okay. This happens to everybody.

Shelly Shenoy:
But with this man, and we’re going to talk about the next man as well, pacing will make or break everything you ever do. So if he were to actually sit back … The intensity comes from leaning forward. “Do you remember?” Right? That’s the intensity, is the strain forward.

Shelly Shenoy:
If he were to sit back, sit straight up, and I would like for him to put his hands in his lap and just kind of like, even hunch over for the ultimate comfort. “Do you remember?” And to talk at a person. He needs to imagine that he’s talking to a real person.

Shelly Shenoy:
So these are basics. These are basic VO 101s, right? And what he needs to do, I would recommend for this man, I want him to call his best friend, sit down with his friend, take his smartphone, hit “record,” and talk to his friend until they don’t even remember that there’s a record button anymore.

Shelly Shenoy:
So it might be 20 minutes. It might be an hour. I want him to record the entire thing. And then he needs to go back to that recorder the next day, and go from the middle, and listen from the middle to the end. Ignore everything that happens in the first 20 minutes. I mean, or listen to the entire thing, but truly to understand what someone sounds when they’re speaking conversationally? He needs to first understand how he sounds conversationally.

Shelly Shenoy:
Because when people sit down on the mic, and they are presenting something that is not themselves, that’s the first detachment. So this is what I would flag as a little bit of red light syndrome. He sits down in front of a mic. It’s recording, and something else takes over.

Shelly Shenoy:
“I am now recording.” Okay. If we never talked about this audition and he didn’t remember it, and in three months, I sat him down in a room and I pressed play on that, and I asked him how he made himself feel, he would know. He’d be like, “Oh, yeah. I don’t really talk like that.” I bet he’s so lovely, and he’s just like, “Yeah, so I just wanted to get into voiceover.”

Shelly Shenoy:
But then that red light syndrome, where all you know is that the mic is live. It does something and it flips a switch. And on this one, it’s not the same for everybody, but on this one, it deeply affected his pacing and delivery, and it alienized it.

Julianna Lantz:
You know what? From listening to auditions from struggling talent, it happens more often than I think people realize.

Shelly Shenoy:
Yeah, all the time. It’s a 101 thing. I’m working with a voiceover artist named Ron, and he came over. He’s, let’s say, 26 years old, African-American. Rich, velvety voice. Tons of charisma.

Shelly Shenoy:
So he sits down and he’s like, “Yeah. You know, I just have talked about it with my family. There’s my dad, and we, dah dah dah dah.” We’re starting his 10-day intensive. So this was the first day of his intensive, where we walk over everything.

Shelly Shenoy:
And I was like, “Great. So we’re going to go over some cold copy right now for you to go home with, because we’re going to be working on this for the next 10 days straight.” And we sat down and I pulled up cold copy, and the very first thing that happened was, he took on a voiceover persona.

Shelly Shenoy:
Now, the cold copy was for a grocery store, was really casual. An everyday, next-door neighbor kind of voice. You know, “Hey, this is the stuff we have here.” And it’s just really casual, and it even says, “really casual.”

Shelly Shenoy:
And he sat down and he was like, “We sell pomegranates. We also sell flowers, and there’s a couple of other …” And I stopped him immediately and I said, “Hey, bud? Quick question. Who’s that guy?”

Julianna Lantz:
Because that’s not you.

Shelly Shenoy:
I was hoping that Ron would read this. And it was a red light thing, because he’s sitting down doing cold copy for me, and I see this every single week, because I see the different effect that nervousness or performance can take over on your voice.

Shelly Shenoy:
And you want to ask this guy, “Is this really you? Is this how you talk to your girlfriend? Are you a hypnotist?” Right? So, just a couple of things. Just a couple of basic things for people to take into consideration. Anyway, we can move on to the next one, because it is very similar, if you don’t mind.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Absolutely. Let’s play the next file.

Julianna Lantz:
Okay.

Audition 5:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Shelly Shenoy:
So I just wanted people … because we could have skipped over this person, but I wanted him to also know, and I wanted the general listeners, like just everybody who’s paying attention to this podcast, how frequently it does happen. And my note for voiceover artist number five is, “Same.”

Shelly Shenoy:
Because it’s red light syndrome. He sits down. He does not sound like he’s talking to a human, let alone a talking human. He sounds quite robotic. He sounds like he himself has been hypnotized.

Shelly Shenoy:
And I hear, it’s the back of the nasal, and it’s a little bit … It’s not an impediment, but it will come if you are not paying attention, and if you don’t have clear sinuses, it will sneak up on you.

Shelly Shenoy:
So I heard a little bit of that, but overall, it’s the total detachment of just the basic understanding of connecting, human connection. And I just wrote out “pacing” in huge letters next to number four and number five, because those are the strongest examples.

Shelly Shenoy:
I bet you if I called that lovely person on the phone, and we were chatting, he would not be like, “Hi. Am I speaking to Shelly Shenoy?” No. That wouldn’t happen, because that’s not how she speaks. So he did himself a disservice by just … I would say, just really not paying attention or thinking too much about it, or thinking that that was okay without really diving in and asking, “Is this okay?” You know what I mean?

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Sounds like we’ve all got a lot of homework. Anyone who’s listening, if you are afraid that that might describe you, just go home, do what Shelly said. Have a conversation with a friend, play it through for an hour. Only listen at the halfway point and further.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
But that’s really something no one would be aware of unless they were made to be aware of, I think. It’s a very subconscious thing. Thank you for your feedback on those auditions and for finding those similarities, and we’re going to move on to our next audition.

Shelly Shenoy:
Yes. Great.

Audition 6:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Julianna Lantz:
He makes me feel calm.

Shelly Shenoy:
It was well done, and I wrote that he nailed almost all of it. And so there were two things, because everybody’s at a different level. There were two things that I would ask him to be aware of. One is nuanced hesitation, which leans itself to being biased.

Shelly Shenoy:
So, when he … I forget which word he does it on. “Do you remember?” It’s like, are we … Is this about me? Am I quizzing you? Right? So you’ve got to be very careful with the nuance of like, “Do you remember?” Because that’s not what the producers are going to be going for, because it then biases it if he’s going too far in that direction.

Shelly Shenoy:
And he just dipped his toe in, for biasing the commercial about his questions as opposed to what the commercial is going for, which would have been just a little bit cleaner. And then, I would want him to just be aware of his pacing at the end, because the pacing at the end was where he lost me in the, “So, if you don’t remember …” Right?

Shelly Shenoy:
And it’s just like, “No! Ah, you were right there.” It’s the button. You got to close the commercial and keep speaking at your … He’s got to trust himself just a tiny bit more. Overall, absolutely beautiful. Those would be the two things where he would have gone from like, “Oh, is he getting a callback or is he getting booked?” Right?

Shelly Shenoy:
So if he can take a great audition … If he can take a really good audition, a really audition and make it great, those would be the two differentiators.

Julianna Lantz:
How would you like the pacing to have gone at the end?

Shelly Shenoy:
He needed to smooth that out. So, go ahead and play … Can you play back the last line?

Audition 6:
Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Shelly Shenoy:
Right? So, there’s a little bit there where he’s being a little overtly like, “No?” Right? So that’s a little bit of bias there, because it becomes … He’s using this smooth, velvety tone. He’s got to tiptoe around it becoming sexual.

Shelly Shenoy:
Really, there’s this little, finite little thing there where he could just straighten that out just a little bit. “No?” As opposed to, “No?” That little nuanced drag at the end, that’s what that is. He knows he’s got the sexy tone. He’s got to be careful with it. He’s got to apply it appropriately.

Shelly Shenoy:
And then the other is, “You don’t remember?” That pacing, I would have just smoothed that out. So, it comes down to just getting it just a tiny bit cleaner, with a little bit less on those drags, and then just smoothing out the end, and he would have booked it on the spot.

Shelly Shenoy:
So, really good. So again, this is the difference, you guys, between like … Okay, so if I’m here to educate, you would listen to it and you would be like, “Yeah, that’s really good.” And then story’s over.

Shelly Shenoy:
But if he wants to know how can make this, “Oh, yeah. That’s really good,” to, “Oh, he booked it,” that would be the difference. So he is right on the right track. He’s just got to be careful with these tiny little nuances, and he’s got it.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
All right. Let’s play the next one.

Audition 7:
Do you remember parasailing off the coast of Jamaica? The way the water sparkled below? The sound of the air gliding against the silken canopy of your sail? Do you remember? No? Make memories for your senses. Travel.

Julianna Lantz:
Ooh, can I jump in here and get something out real quick? All right, music. What happens if your music is different than what the client had pictured for this project? You can really throw someone off on how your read sounds if your music choice isn’t their music choice. So, it’s not something that we would recommend, really isn’t. What do you think, Shelly?

Shelly Shenoy:
Guys, so here’s the deal. So, I want to give this voiceover artist a really, really big hug, because I am about to destroy him. Okay, so here’s the deal. This guy would be dismissed so fast, because he has no idea how the commercial industry works in the world of auditions, production, what your job is. Okay?

Shelly Shenoy:
So, I’m a producer and I’m a director, and I’ve created over 500 commercials in the last couple of years. More than that. More than that. 500 in the last three years or last. I’m making like, 300 a year now. I can’t do math, also.

Shelly Shenoy:
But this kid, I love this man. I love this man. He’s got a lovely voice, and he is so sure of it, he made his own commercial. Well, homeboy, what are you doing as a voiceover artist when you really want to be a producer and audio engineer, a designer and a director? Get out.

Shelly Shenoy:
You are taking responsibility for jobs we did not ask you to do. You are stepping on everyone’s toes. That’s what happens when voiceover artists add anything to their commercials. Your job is to deliver the copy. You are the voiceover artist. You don’t overstep your bounds and do jobs you’re not asked to do.

Shelly Shenoy:
So what this guy did was, he jumped in the driver’s seat and took this care on a joyride, and I can’t use any of it. So, do you understand that the process of auditions is, you send in the raw file, because after I get all these auditions … So say for example, I like two or three of these auditions, I then take the raw audio and I make a mock spot or a demo.

Shelly Shenoy:
That’s my job, because I’m testing out how your voice works. But what this guy did, was he completely debilitated his own audition, because I can’t remove his voice from the audio production he made.

Shelly Shenoy:
So I’m left here going, “Okay. So you’re so clever that you just took the reins and did all of the jobs that weren’t yours, and also, I will never work with you because you don’t understand the job of a voiceover artist. What are you doing here? If you want to be a production designer, if you want to be an audio technician, if you want to be a producer, go do those things. Don’t do them here. I need your voice.”

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
A lot of people come from a background where they do have production. They’ve come from radio. And they think, “You know what? I’m going to make myself stand a bit, or this could be a little more interesting.” And they don’t necessarily see that what they’re doing is overstepping. They’re certainly not doing it intentionally, I would expect.

Shelly Shenoy:
I know.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
So, how can we define those boundaries? Because we know they exist, and we know that when a talent goes in, they do an audition, and then you leave. Your job’s done. You don’t need to be worrying about, “Oh, am I in the right voice, and who are they going to pick?”

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
All of that is someone else’s job to be thinking about. But so far as the audition itself, where do talent most overstep the boundaries, where you would expect them to just be a voice artist, and not something else?

Shelly Shenoy:
Okay. Quick answer to that is, you’re never anything else besides the voiceover artist. Period, end of story. You are not the technician, but it is your job to make sure you sound clean. That’s it. Period, end of story.

Shelly Shenoy:
If you do anything else, anything at all, you’ve overstepped your bounds. You’ve taken yourself out of the game. And I want to hug him again, because I know that I’m very, very, really direct. I’m not personally angry from this, but I’m just like, “No!”

Shelly Shenoy:
Because he’s charming and he’s got charisma, and he’s got great ideas. I don’t care. I just want to hear his voice, and he took himself out of the game. So you’re not getting a callback, because I can’t do anything with this.

Shelly Shenoy:
And also, there’s this tiny part of me, as a director and a producer, that goes, “How else would he try to take the reins and take over my job?” So when a voiceover artist … And so, big, big hugs. When a voiceover artist books a job, booking any job is like … So if you are an ingredient on the shelf of a grocery store, let’s say you are a peppered lime.

Shelly Shenoy:
And the producer is going through and they’re finding the right ingredients for their salad, they’re either going to be looking for a peppered lime or not. And if you’re not the peppered lime, you’re just going to be passed by.

Shelly Shenoy:
And those are going to be the questions you’re not asked. “Ah, this person sounded a little too young.” That’s out of your hands, you know? Your delivery, I’m sure you can make yourself sound a little older, but then you’re going to detach a little bit from what you’re going after. You know what I mean?

Shelly Shenoy:
They’re going for super organic. The modern day, as an industry, the modern day advertising industry is going for real. So, if your realest self isn’t the one they’re looking for, that’s okay. They’re going to pass on you, and you move on.

Shelly Shenoy:
You just stand there being the greatest peppered lime you’ve ever been, and somebody’s going to come along and you’re going to be the ingredient they need. My whole summery there is just, if you’re the peppered lime and you’re standing there and you’re grabbing other ingredients and throwing everything and making your own salad, the producer’s going to be like, “I was making a salad over here. What? Your salad’s done.”

Julianna Lantz:
“What are you doing?”

Shelly Shenoy:
Yeah. Like, “Oh, I wasn’t going to use 20 of those ingredients, but you threw them all in the pot, man. I can’t have that salad.”

Julianna Lantz:
Yeah. Well, and if we continue your analogy, if a client isn’t looking for peppered lime on this job, there is going to be a job that’s looking for peppered lime.

Shelly Shenoy:
Of course.

Julianna Lantz:
And one of the reasons that VoiceMatch is out there is, the matching algorithm is so that you can set your profile up to say, “I’m a peppered lime,” so that all the peppered lime jobs come to you. And when you see that those 100% voice match, that’s how you know, “Oh, these are the ones where I get to be my real, authentic self.”

Julianna Lantz:
And just like Shelly said, forming an emotional connection, when we surveyed clients, they said that is the top factor when they’re hiring voiceover artists. So, be true to yourself, and if you’re not a peppered lime or a cilantro honey, I don’t know, it’s okay. Just be who you are and be the best that you can be at that. Wonderful thoughts.

Shelly Shenoy:
That’s right. I want to try some cilantro honey.

Julianna Lantz:
Yeah.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Now we’re all getting hungry, Shelly. Thanks so much.

Shelly Shenoy:
I know, sorry. I can’t direct without being hungry.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
We will eat something after the show is done. Now, that said, all of our auditions are also done. So, we’re going to take a moment here just to let us all sit and think. There were seven people. They’ve all auditioned. They’ve read the copy in various ways, but there can only be one person who does win this audition. So Shelly, we’re leaving that to you. Who is the winner of Mission Audition?

Shelly Shenoy:
100%, number six. 100%.

Julianna Lantz:
Nice. Yay. The one you liked, yeah.

Shelly Shenoy:
Of course. I mean, but everybody listening is like, “Oh, he hit all the specs. He’s got the right tone. He did the wise, calm, resonant David Attenborough. And he makes me want to go to Jamaica. Good job.” Right?

Shelly Shenoy:
So it’s really clear. As you’re going through and you’re like, “Well, I would have done this and this to make him super obvious,” but I think he was already obviously the winner. And simply because, when you’re going through the grocery store and you see the clearest ingredient that you need, and that was it, you know you can work with that.

Shelly Shenoy:
So, that’s how simple it is, too. If you listen to the first two and a half seconds of each audition, you know that he booked it.

Julianna Lantz:
Yup.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Absolutely. Well, Shelly, I know someone out there is definitely going to want to study with you. So, how do they get ahold of you?

Shelly Shenoy:
Oh. No, no, no. They are afraid. I’m sorry. In a good way.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
Well, not if they love for who you are, Shelly. You warned them. You will knock them down, but give them a big hug.

Shelly Shenoy:
You guys, I am the best hugger. I swear. I have so much love and I have so many cuddles. But yeah, no. I’m sure that I frightened many, many actors. Sorry about that. But yeah, it’s all done with love, guys.

Julianna Lantz:
It’s all good stuff. Yeah, it’s all good stuff.

Shelly Shenoy:
So, yeah. So if you find me … I mean, you can find me a couple different places. I mean, I primarily put a lot of my career on the Instagram. Instagram follows my personal career, and the television and films and the voiceover and the directing and the producing, so all of that is what you’re going to get. And then a couple pictures of my puppy, and that’s it. My Instagram is @shellyshenoy. If they then want to learn more, everything is at nycvocoach.com.

Shelly Shenoy:
And if you get prompted to sign up for the newsletter, you should. I don’t send out very many because I’m way too busy, sorry. But I have educational videos, free stuff on YouTube. I’m @shellyshenoy basically everywhere. On Facebook, it’s @shellyshenoyofficial, that’s for me personally. Or on Facebook it’s also @voiceovercoach.

Shelly Shenoy:
So you can look up @voiceovercoach, or @shellyshenoyofficial on Facebook, @shellyshenoy on Instagram and Twitter, and nycvocoach.com to get right to the juice.

Julianna Lantz:
To the good stuff.

Stephanie Ciccarelli:
All right. Well, thank you again for tuning in, everybody. Big hugs to everyone. Good job.

Julianna Lantz:
Yeah, thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Shelly Shenoy:
Thanks so much, you guys.

Julianna Lantz:
Thanks for being a part of the voiceover community, guys. We love being on this journey with you. Happy auditioning.

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, 7:51 pm

    Great Advice Shelly !
    I love to hear these podcasts ! 😉

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

    Thank you for your comment, Joanna! Great to hear from you. I’m so glad that you are enjoying the show.

    Reply
  • Bonnie
    April 19, 2019, 4:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this podcast!!
    What I learned is invaluable for my auditions! I’ve been struggling getting jobs on this site, but with this podcast now better understand where the problems may be. I will immediately start applying what I’ve learned.
    Looking forward to listening to the next one, and any more that you may do in the future.

    Thank you!!!

    Reply