Performing Live Announcements with Melissa Moats

    0
    457

    As a voice actor hailing from the convention capital of the United States, Melissa Moats has had the chance to rack up a lot of experience performing live announcements. While live events may have temporarily been put on hold, there are still plenty of opportunities to perform virtual live announcements: a genre of voice over that requires a specific skill set. 

    In this episode, Stephanie speaks with Las Vegas-based voice actor Melissa Moats to gain insight into what it takes to make it in live announcing. Melissa shares how to sufficiently prepare for a live announcing gig by packing what she’s dubbed her “first aid kit” (a studio bag complete with water, sour candies, and an overhead reading light), as well as doing advance research into how to pronounce names correctly. Melissa also highlights the fact that even when you’re tasked with repeating the same line over and over, you’ve got to keep it fresh for the new audience members who may be hearing your words for the first time. 

    About Melissa Moats

    As a full-time voice actor and founder of The Voice Actors Studio, Melissa Moats has been voicing for nearly two decades. You’ve heard her in everything from video games, to commercials for major household brands like Ashley Home Furniture, Best Western Hotels, Finishing Touch Flawless, and Proactive Worldwide. She takes great pride in giving the Las Vegas voice over community a home and a safe place to learn and grow creatively. Melissa recently opened The Voice Actors Studio’s virtual doors, offering voice over training globally. As both a mentor and a busy full-time voice actor, Melissa is equally fueled by her love of people and her love of voicing! Every step that Melissa has taken to make her own creative aspirations come true is one she generously shares to help others accomplish theirs.

    Hosts: Stephanie Ciccarelli, with special guest Melissa Moats.

    Links:

    Inspired by this episode? Get your practice on with our voice over sample scripts

    Connect with Melissa Moats on her website, Facebook, and Instagram, and hear her voice on Voices.com. 

    About Mission Audition: Mission Audition is presented by Voices.com. Produced and engineered by Randy Rektor. Script written by Oliver Skinner.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Hi there, I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli. Welcome to Mission Audition. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about a topic that not many people actually know much about but they all want to do. We’re talking about live announce and this particular spot happens to be about a film festival and we’re going to hear a lot of great auditions from both men and women. And in today’s episode, I am so grateful to have with me in the studio, Melissa Moats. Melissa Moats is a voice actress, she’s a coach, she’s a mentor, she’s done amazing things over her career. I’m going to share a little bit more about you before we bring her on, but let’s just hear, actually Melissa, say hello.

    Melissa Moats:

    Hey, hey, hey, thanks for having me on.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Oh my gosh.

    Melissa Moats:

    It’s so good to be here.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Wonderful to hear your voice and to see your face too. This is so great. Melissa, you and I met, I don’t even know. I don’t want to date as too much, but we met a long, long time ago and in the state of probably it was likely Nevada first, if you were at that first voice conference and in certainly in the ones that were held in California in Anaheim at Disneyland. That was a great one.

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. It’s been a long time.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    It has.

    Melissa Moats:

    It’s good to see your face again and hear your voice.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Oh, thank you. Absolutely. And so it’s you and I here in the studio. Randy is here too and we’re just going to make this an amazing show for everybody. As I said, we have Melissa Moats. Now, Melissa, as a voice actress, you’ve been on literally everything it seems like, Melissa. And you’ve been on everything from say video games, commercials for major household brands like Ashley Home Furniture, Best Western Hotels and Proactive Worldwide. I know that I’ve said an awful lot and I want to hear more of your voice because that’s why we’ve invited you to be here. Melissa, can you tell us more about your story, but also highlight the Voice Actors Studio and your other networking group that you have for talent in the Las Vegas area?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah, so I do a lot of commercial work. I’m still full time voice actor and before voice acting, I actually was a cruise director. That’s kind of a live announce and voice acting coming together and the best of both worlds, I guess. But I do still do a lot of commercial work and living in Las Vegas, I am able to do a lot of live announce because we are the convention capital of the world. Lucky me, cruise director background, voice acting and convention capital of the world. That’s a fun combination.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    And you also have a studio, correct?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. I opened the Voice Actors Studio back in 2015 here in Henderson, Nevada initially. We are now located in Las Vegas and it started in my living room. I just accidentally stumbled into mentoring people. I hadn’t set out to become a voiceover coach. I still don’t really consider myself a voiceover coach, which a lot of people laugh at me about that because I just feel like I help people and guide people and I’m just there for people because I was once them and trying to figure out how all of this voiceover stuff worked. And I felt so overwhelmed by it. But yeah, I opened the doors of the Voice Actors Studio after it was in my home for about five years, I guess. People were just coming to my house and having little groups gather. And I was talking a lot about the industry and just helping people find their voices.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    And you’ve always been generous with your time and also with your guidance. Melissa, that’s awesome. That’s wonderful. And there’s also a networking group if I’m not mistaken.

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. Our little private closed group is called Vegas Voicers and it’s just a lot of people who have studied with us. We’ve got thousands of voice actors in the Las Vegas voiceover community. We’re kind of underground. People think of LA, New York and Chicago, I think as huge voiceover community networking game, but Las Vegas is we’re pretty mighty.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Absolutely.

    Melissa Moats:

    I do have a top secret tip that I definitely want to share today with everybody. And that is prep, prep, prep. Mark your scripts, print them out, have them ready to go and have a pencil. And I always bring with me my own water, my own sour candy, my own pencils, my own highlighters, my own light and I have everything ready to go in a bag. It’s my live announce. It’s kind of a little first aid kit. I’m kidding here. It’s a little wink in my voice. Wink, wink. But it’s my little live announce bag that I have everything I need in it. And I highly recommend preparation.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That’s awesome. I would never have thought of a sour candy because we often hear about apples. Is this sour candy for you, Melissa, something that functions like a granny smith apple, why the sour candy?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. I love to have Jolly Rancher sour apple hard candy in my bag because a lot of times, we declick our voices when we’re cleaning up our audio. And when you’re in a live announced situation, when you get nervous and the adrenaline gets pumping, your mouth gets dry. And so being able to pop a sour piece of candy in your mouth, it’s not exactly convenient to be eating an apple in front of a group. That basically is a great substitute. Or apple juice is another one. Just sipping on apple juice to keep your mouth really well moistened.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    That’s fantastic. I think apple juice does the trick just without all the skin on the apple so you don’t get any like dental issues or anything after that. That’s fantastic. I love the bag. We’ll be sure to mention that in our show notes and have kind of a little ingredients list or what to pack in your bag. We’ll talk about that definitely for future listeners to have. With all that said, just so many great things and you’ve been such a community builder, I will say over the years, especially on the West Coast. What we’re going to do today though, is look at the state of Texas in certain ways. This script here, it does call for someone to possibly sound like they’re from that area, although they don’t have to be, but the Smithville Film Festival, of course this is fictitious, we all know this, is a virtual award ceremony and we’re going to listen to auditions about that.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Thanks for sharing a bit about your story there, Melissa. I’m just going to break down the specs so everybody get your pencils and your paper ready. We’re going to write down what you’re going to be listening for and we’ll see how the talent who have auditioned apply these criteria to their reads.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    All right, so for context, the Smithville Film Festival is a four day film festival held every summer in Smithville, Texas. Of course, this is something we made up so please do not try to go to the Smithville Film Festival because I don’t think you will find anyone there. Anyway, so for the talent who are reading for this, obviously this is an event that happens every year. They got to get in the head space of being the live announcer. They’ve got to have that community feel and that this is something that perhaps this is a returning announcer. I don’t know, but obviously you want to be the voice of this festival. The artistic direction is that this virtual award ceremony, we are living in the time of COVID, so yes, this is kind of a job that is posted with that in mind. We need the talent to sound like they are enthusiastic and capable of rousing the crowd, even though that crowd is watching from their home, most likely on their television screen or on their computer.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Given that no one can really come and be there in person to enjoy this award show, our ideal host won’t necessarily sound like they’re introducing a sporting event, but they will still exude the electric supportive spirit of the festival. With voiceover, I suppose less is more. Maybe this is where we’re going. All righty, we all know that this is a Texas based fictitious spot, however, any accent is welcome. We’re also open to hearing auditions for both men and women this. Be sure that you’re listening for that. And this is the young adult category and we’re looking at this being a broadcast style internet video. Of course, this is a quote unquote live announcer read. All right so without further ado, let’s listen to audition number one.

    Audition 1:

    We are known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon, we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent in our local filmmaking community and our first year hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    All right, well that was audition number one and I forgot to say that there are seven auditions. Melissa, what do you think?

    Melissa Moats:

    Well, I think audition number one was really great. I loved the energy. I loved the enthusiasm. One thing that I would definitely point out is pace is really important in live announce. And sometimes if you move along a little too quickly, things can be missed. And when you’re listening to an announcer for a long period of time, you just want to think about the way that the audience is going to be receiving it. I really liked the quality of the voice, the enthusiasm, the smile, the likeability, but for a little bit of constructive feedback, I would definitely suggest just slowing the pace down a touch.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Absolutely. Those are great tips and you’ve done a lot of live announce so this isn’t just somebody off the street saying this to you. Great, great tips indeed. As we’re sitting here, just wondering what sort of live announce have you done? Is there a favorite gig that you had?

    Melissa Moats:

    Probably one of my favorite gigs was for Snapchat and they had me in for five days for a pretty extensive internal show that they were doing for their entire executive team and everyone that was involved in various top secret things that were to come at Snapchat. And it was kind of fun to know all of that. I was like, ooh, I know some intel, but I’ll never tell. My lips were sealed except for when I was on mic of course. But it was a lot of fun and that was probably one of my favorite live announce gigs. I do a lot of stuff for different tech companies, different entertainment businesses. There’s so many different businesses that come to Las Vegas for convention work so it really does vary quite a bit.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Some great thoughts there. Thank you for sharing.

    Melissa Moats:

    You’re welcome. I have hundreds of them.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    And we will hear them. Many, many of them today. Here we go, audition number two.

    Audition 2:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year of hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    All right. We get to hear from one of the gentlemen now. What do you think?

    Melissa Moats:

    Wow, great read. I wrote a few notes down that included energy plus plus, great classic announce sound, strong, bold, confident, lots of authority and experience. You can tell this read did not have any fear in it, any uncertainty in it. Really took ownership of the read.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    So many times we’re told to avoid sounding like an announcer or too announcery. And we know that the voice of the announcer, there’s kind of an archetype, a stereotype people get in their heads of what they think the announcer is. And Melissa, what is the difference between sounding like that archetype of the announcer that people sometimes try to avoid sounding like and how one would sound if they’re doing live announce?

    Melissa Moats:

    I think there’s a time and a place for everything. And I know people want to avoid the word announcer because we see so much direction that says conversational and non-announcery, but in live announce, there are a lot of announcer qualities that do need to show up. Clean enunciation, clarity of voice, polished diction. It is important to show up and sound clean and polished and professional. I don’t think that being afraid of sounding announcery really applies as much in live announce. I think that it depends on the audience and it depends on who’s directing you and how they want your reads to feel, because sometimes they’ll say, “We want it to be professional and polished, but we still want you to feel relatable and warm and inviting.”

    Melissa Moats:

    It just comes back to really listening to the person who’s directing you and what they’re asking for and also assessing the audience and assessing the type of content you’re reading. Is this a real corporate type of a gig? Or is this a more relaxed, younger, more playful type of an audience? I think that that will really lend itself to figuring out which way to go.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, we’re learning so much here. I really, really hope you’re all writing this down, especially if you want to get into live announce. Let’s listen now to audition number three.

    Melissa Moats:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year of hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, I could definitely hear a nice announcer voice in there. What do you think, Melissa?

    Melissa Moats:

    Definitely. I wrote down a couple of notes. I thought that this had a nice amount of energy, but it wasn’t over the top and definitely a likable read. And one of the things that I always find to be tricky in specs when auditioning for live announce, is when I see the word enthusiasm, because as the voice actor we’re thinking, well, how much enthusiasm is just enough enthusiasm to them? Because that can really vary a lot. One of my little tricks is oftentimes I’ll do a couple of different reads at a couple of different energy levels.

    Melissa Moats:

    This particular read I’ve found to have a little less energy and enthusiasm than the other two that we’ve heard so far, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because we’re not sure how much enthusiasm this client is looking for. I would just suggest thinking about enthusiasm in terms of applying it in a way that feels authentic to you. Don’t go too over the top. Don’t feel like it’s a put on so much so that you don’t feel like you’re being yourself. In this particular audition, I heard some really nice stuff. Really liked it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I liked how his voice sounded at the end of his phrases. It was just very settling. You felt like, oh, this feels safe. As a listener, it was a pleasing sound. I think that all that you said and more. A great read. But now we need to move on to our next read, so this is audition number four.

    Audition 4:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon, we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Wow. We’ve got the appearance of our very first accent.

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I spent part of my time trying to figure out if it was native or not, but I know this is not what the audition is meant to determine. That being said, obviously took the opportunity to do an accent and try to do it, if he’s not native to that area himself. Did you find that that accent helped you to get more into what he was saying, given this is meant for a Texan audience?

    Melissa Moats:

    I definitely liked the fact that he applied some interesting regionalism to his read because it’ll make him stand out for sure. He took a chance. Again, I might do an A and a B take and do one with and one without an accent just to offer some options. I liked the subtle smile. It wasn’t over the top. It wasn’t a big cheesy grin, but it was a nice, warm smile that peeked through. And there was some real interesting texture to his voice that seemed sprinkled in. It wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t too textured or too raspy, but it added some interest. I liked it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Whenever someone does an accent, it’s always a risk. We know that that might or might not be what they’re looking for even if they are saying they want to hear someone from Texas, it could be, what part of Texas? Certainly not everyone sounds the same, I wouldn’t think. There’s likely some differences. But again, just like we’ve talked about in previous Mission Audition episodes, that music is a risk. Putting on a voice that they’re not expecting, that’s a risk and that sort of thing. But I did really like the way he approached all of this. And I think that that is really cool.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    As everyone may or may not know, I listen to these auditions for the first time during the show. Melissa’s done her preparation and everything, but I love the reaction and just hearing things right then and there. Yeah, I think that this is really cool. I don’t know if anyone else has done accents, but we’re about to find out. Here’s audition number five.

    Audition 5:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon, we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year of hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Wow. He definitely sounded like he could be an announcer for just about any live announce show. Just really full, lovely sound, very resonant. What do you think, Melissa?

    Melissa Moats:

    Oh yeah, definitely. My notes included very consistent all the way through. There was a nice measured cadence about it. Clean, relaxed in energy where it counts. I think when you’re listening to a live announcer and they’re really big on energy all the way through it can get a little tiring to listen to an announcer for a long period of time who’s just, “Hey,” over the top. And this particular read I found I could listen to for a really long period of time, but also the energy was there when it was most needed. I like that a lot. Also age range wise, not too old, not too young, just a really nice sweet spot.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Right. And he didn’t have an accent, which is, I think all the reads have been great regardless, but it kind of made this film festival feel more accessible in a way too. I was just thinking, as you go through and you see sometimes the audience, you really do need to have an accent that is close to what the people in that region have because it’s for a different purpose or a different time and place. And other times it makes sense to have one that anyone in say the United States in this case, can relate to. As a rule of thumb, Melissa, would you say that there is a time and place for where someone might throw in the accent? If they see a spec like this, oh well you can do an accent or not do an accent. How should they decide whether or not they should do the accent?

    Melissa Moats:

    Well, I think if you feel comfortable with the accent and you feel like it’s believable and you can do it well, throw in an option where you showcase that accent. But if you’re second guessing yourself and you haven’t even done the read yet, you’re like, oh, I don’t know. Then I would just read it in your accent. That is, your natural speaking voice and where you’re from. Only do it if you know you’re going to nail it and you know you can do it for a long period of time. It’s one thing to read a few short lines in an audition with an accent and feel like you can pull it off, it’s another thing to have pages and pages and pages of content, where you have to be consistent all the way through.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    There’s nothing worse than booking something that you can do as a sprinter and then realize you have to do it for the marathon. In audio books or a long form narration or a character voice, that it’s something that isn’t just you can sort of do it for a short period of time, but that it actually is a voice you could pull out at any point in time, whether you’re tired or you’re having a good day or a bad day or anything.

    Melissa Moats:

    Sustainable and believable. Those are definitely two things you want to pay attention to.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    All right, well let’s listen to audition number six.

    Audition 6:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year of hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners and each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    All right. We have some interesting pacing there. Anything you want to add?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. I just said precise, polished, measured, no nonsense. Definitely friendly too, but there was more of a no nonsense quality about the read to me than a smiley, bright, happy read, but it worked. It was great.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I really like the read, but I kept getting caught up in the gaps between the next phrase. I think that’s what I meant by it’s more the pacing of it, not necessarily how he phrased things. How can you make sure that that read is flowing in such a way that they want to listen to all the way to the end and wish that there was more?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah, well, I would just say that if you’re going to stress over any one part of your audition, make sure that the first seven seconds are awesome. The first sentence. Don’t worry about how you end, worry about how you start. Of course, you want to do a good job on the ending too. I’m kind of teasing, but I think that it depends on if you’re what they’re looking for. If you’ve got some vocal qualities and energy and script interpretation that is really working for them, they’re going to want to keep listening, but really pay attention to how your audition starts.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    And that would be really important for someone who’s doing live announce, I would think. Because the very first thing that you say is going to be the first thing that people hear, at the entire show. How can someone make sure that they’re opening, welcome to whatever it is, how can they make sure that that statement or that sentence, the greeting, what have you, is something that will make the audience feel that they’re at the right place? This is the right award show. We’re all sitting down, hear the right thing, but also kind of just set the tone for the entire show.

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. Well, I put myself when I’m auditioning for it, I put myself in the head space of being there and I try to really imagine the scene in my mind, the amount of people, what I would assume that the energy level is going to be, how I’m going to feel. I jump up and down. I’m real physical before I do auditions. I’ll take in some really big, deep breaths, jump up and down. Ladies and gentlemen. I’ll do a nice little lead in, some kind of a phrase that I can springboard off of and then I leave a beat and then I go into the scripted content so I can edit away my lead in, my little springboard phrase, if you would, and then start with what they had scripted.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Cool. The lead in phrase is great because it’s almost like a little warmup and no one’s ever going to hear it, as you said, but what happens when you’re at an actual event? Say it’s not an audition and you’ve got to be on, how do you prepare to be on?

    Melissa Moats:

    Well, you’ll be on because your heart’s going to be beating very quickly because it gets very real when you walk into a room. For me, one of my first live announce events in Las Vegas, I did not realize how many people were going to be at this event and I had pictured in my mind, a couple 100 people. And I went in for the sound check and they opened up the double doors and I walked into a room that didn’t seem possible that there were going to be this many people in it. 5,500 people were at this event. And just seeing all of the tables laid out and it was a fine dining experience prior to the live announce part of it. I think my heart skipped a beat and I’m pretty comfortable being in front of big, big groups, but I was like, oh my gosh.

    Melissa Moats:

    Your adrenaline will kick in. You don’t have to do anything extra, if anything. You have to learn how to control the adrenaline and work the adrenaline to your advantage. Not for your nerves to get thrown off, to throw off your performance. And that takes some practice, learning how to channel your nerves, channel your energy and it all comes down to one thing, breath control. If you can control your breathing, you’ll be able to control your voice. But if you can’t get a hold of your breathing, your voice is going to crack, you’re not going to be able to take your voice where you want to take it. Those are some things to think about.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Breathing is important. I was just thinking about diaphragmatic support and the various things that a singer might have right away that it’s just all part of technique for them. But are there any exercises that you do at home or any ways that you can ensure that you’ve got enough air in the tank?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah, definitely. Make sure you’re breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not breathing shallowly from the top part of your chest. When you’re nervous and your adrenaline kicks in, you will breathe very quickly and it does not fill up your tank at all. It’s you’re just breathing in from under your collar bones, if you would. And anyone who’s ever been nervous will be able to relate to that statement. I think it’s just shifting the focus down to placing your hand on your belly and blowing all of your air out and then taking in a nice, big, deep breath and really feeling yourself physically filling up and expanding your diaphragm and then doing some deep breathing exercises right before I do live announce work really helps me find my center right before kickoff time.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    We know that script, there are no names that we really need to mention. There is the name of the film festival and the region where the festival is airing, but there aren’t any winners. That’s something that we’re used to hearing at an award show. How do you deal with names? And how do you end up finding out how to pronounce them if you’re unsure?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. That’s a great question. I take pronouncing names very seriously. And the reason why is because this is someone’s very special moment, they’re being celebrated and honored and I really want to make sure that I get the name right. And I really care. I am really big in thorough prep and almost to the point where I’ll spend two or three hours sometimes prepping for a live announce gig, especially the names portion. And that might sound like a lot of time but if you’re reading 400 names at an event, you want to make sure that you go through and phonetically break every name down and don’t assume. Don’t assume you know how someone’s name is said.

    Melissa Moats:

    I normally will get ahold of whoever hired me for the job, ask them if they have an HR person or a department head that I could schedule a call with and go through all the names and write them down phonetically. And people really appreciate it. They’re like, wow, thank you for caring. No one ever gets my name right. And I’m like, I am going to get your name right. You are going to shine and you’re going to feel like a rock star when I say your name. It’s really important.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    I couldn’t agree more. And I actually had an experience where that was the case for me at my own convocation and the announcer, the orator as he was called that day, what he did is he said, “So how do you say your last name?” Because the first name seemed pretty obvious, but the last name is a little trickier and we’ve heard everything from Ciccarelli to Cheesarelli, to anything. And so I said, “Ciccarelli.” And it’s not what you would think if you were hoping to say a really big Italian sort of way of saying it. But you’re right, you can’t take anything for granted. Just because you think that something should sound a certain way, maybe they put the emphasis on a different syllable than you normally would. You just don’t know. It’s really great that you do take the time when you’re able and have found that those tips work for you.

    Melissa Moats:

    You bet.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Awesome. Okay. Let’s listen to our last audition. This is audition number seven.

    Melissa Moats:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astonishing work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year of hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Oh I liked the way he started and the way he finished, really. I think he had a very nice voice. And again, depending on what the audience and the age of that audience is, this read could be very well quite suitable for the film festival. What do you think, Melissa?

    Melissa Moats:

    Definitely. He did have some interesting inflection choices and they worked well with his sound. I had written down, laid back, warm, sincere. There was some maturity to his sound too, but it was like a voice hug. It was like a big vocal hug. I liked it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Yeah. He was very warm. And it’s funny that you thought of the word hug because that came to my mind too. It felt like his voice was, it felt like it represented the community, if that makes any sense. He’s talking about this local and he did stress the local part and yeah, I don’t know. There was a different feeling. Certainly all the auditions brought various things, different ways of expressing the exact same script. But this one did feel more, I don’t know, it would almost feel like this person had been the voice of the festival before.

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah. There was a, it was comfortable. He felt really comfortable and familiar.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Wow. All right. Well that’s all we’ve got. Those are our seven auditions. As the time has come, because we knew it would, Melissa, which of these seven auditioners is the winner of today’s Mission Audition.

    Melissa Moats:

    All right. I have to tell you it was a tough call because I do want to say that I really felt like every person who read for this definitely was in tune with a really clean, solid announcer read. Everyone was hitting the right notes, placing the emphasis on the right adjectives and the right buzzwords, if you would. But one read stood out to me. This is the tricky part. It’s always about selection. It’s never rejection in this business. It’s always selection. It’s subjective. It was a tough call. But my personal select has to go to number five.

    Audition 5:

    We’re known as the film friendly capital of Texas and this afternoon we’re gathering with friends and colleagues to celebrate the astounding work screened at this year’s Smithville Film Festival. The 2020 festival marks our seventh year spotlighting the talent of our local filmmaking community and our first year of hosting our hotly anticipated award ceremony remotely. Buckle up as we get ready to announce the winners in each category, including best first film.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Wow. Melissa, I know that there are more tips. More tips than we could ever put in one episode but if you had a couple more things that you’d like to say to everybody, what would they be?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah, I would definitely just say, be yourself, do a little bit of research on the event and see if there’s any info on YouTube or a website you can visit to kind of gather the vibe, the mood, the attitude of that particular event so that you can really tailor your read and customize your read for that audience. And at the end of the day, be confident. Just own your audition because if you can be confident in your audition, they’re going to know that you’ll be confident in the live moment when you’ve got thousands of people staring at you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    All these questions keep coming to me and I know we got to end the show. It’s getting to the end. But clearly, there are other people who are just as curious and want to get in touch with you and understand how you can help them in their voice over career. What is the best way that someone can get a hold of you?

    Melissa Moats:

    Yeah, we just recently opened up our platform to the entire world, which is so fun. I’ve been serving the Las Vegas community for five years and now we are all about making friends everywhere. Check it out at thevoiceactorstudio.com is our website, or you can email us at info@thevoiceactorstudio.com if you’d like more information. All of our workshops and services and private study, all those details are available on our website.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, fantastic. It has been just a complete pleasure to have you on, Melissa. Thank you very much for being our guest on Mission Audition today.

    Melissa Moats:

    Well, it has been a pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me and man, I feel like we could have done a four hour episode. I just feel like there’s so much more we could have talked about.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Well, you’ll have to come back next time then.

    Melissa Moats:

    Part two coming soon.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:

    Absolutely. Well, everyone just subscribe to the podcast. Thank you again, Melissa, for being here. And as we know, every script that is written for this show is available on the voices.com blog. All you need to do is go to voices.com/blog and you’ll find all the wonderful scripts there. And if you want to join the conversation that we’re having around these episodes, you can use the hashtag Mission Audition. Again, from all of us here at voices.com, I want to thank you for listening to the show, for subscribing. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli, we’ll see you next time.

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

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here