Mission Audition Live: Voice Over Client Casting Decisions Explained

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    Recorded live in New York City, in this episode of Mission Audition, Stephanie and Julianna sit down with Dale LaRue, Strategy Director at RAIN. Together, they explore how voice over clients make casting decisions. Learn about clients’ top considerations, who is involved in casting decisions, how heavily the ‘right’ voice over is weighed, and get answers to the golden question: why voice actors may not hear back right away (or at all) on their auditions. You’ll also hear real auditions from voice actors who are vying for a voice over job for an Amazon Alexa Skill, and learn whose audition takes the cake (and wins the job).

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

    Get voice over practice scripts used in this episode and more.

    About Dale LaRue and RAIN:
     
    Dale LaRue is a Strategy Director at RAIN, a digitally-native agency that specializes in developing strategies and activating campaigns in the voice and conversational AI space. At RAIN for 5 years, he has helped lead client partners Nike, BlackRock, American Express, Pfizer, Campell’s Soup Company, and more in building premium and award-winning voice experiences, in-line with longer term organizational roadmaps that RAIN has developed. In an agency environment his entire career prior to RAIN, he has played a leading role in evaluating talent for broadcast and on-air campaigns for over 8 years, and has been a partner with Voices.com for over 2 years.
     

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Hi there, welcome to Mission Audition. I’m Stephanie Ciccarelli.

    Julianna Jones:
    I am Juliana Jones.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Oh, this is so great. We are still on tour, Juliana. We are in the fourth city.

    Julianna Jones:
    New York.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    New York. Hey, New York how you doing tonight? New York, you are amazing, let me just say that. We are in the Canadian consulate on Lexington, which is beautiful. Oh my gosh, I love it. I just love the consulate. Thank you, Canadian consulate. Thank you very, very much, beautiful venue. But anyway, we are not just here in the venue to talk about the venue. We are here to talk about a job that was posted on Voices.com by one of our favorite clients, Dale LaRue from the RAIN agency. Welcome to the show, Dale.

    Dale LaRue:
    Thank you very much. Happy to be here.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Awesome. Thank you. That’s great. So Dale, there’s obviously a lot of stuff that you do and what your company does, but you’ve helped companies like Nike, BlackRock, American Express, Pfizer, Campbell soup company, and more to build their award-winning voice experiences, there’s so much that you do, but you know what? You are way better at explaining all of that than I am. So I’m going to turn it over to you, Dale, tell us about yourself and what you do at RAIN.

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah, absolutely. So RAIN is born from a digital advertising agency, and just like we all changed the way that we’re consuming mediums in terms of smartphones, connected devices, everything that the digital age has brought us, we are adapting as well as a company to meet those needs. RAIN agencies started as more of a traditional advertising agency, making everything from TV commercials, Super Bowl commercials, boring videos that you want to press skip to when you’re watching YouTube, down to radio ads and everything of the like in terms of the more traditional sense of creative. As the technology around us has become more connected, the internet of things has become more of a driving force. We’ve really started to gravitate more towards voice technology and conversational experiences.

    Dale LaRue:
    When we think about voice technology and conversation experiences, we’re thinking, probably a lot of you’re thinking, Amazon Alexa and Google assistant, and you’d be right. A lot of those are really the entry points that we’re seeing a lot of people interact with brands whether it’s through just traditional search, need to know questions, figuring out how to find your favorite local business, hours of operation. Very simple utilitarian tasks, all the way up to really creating engaging brand experiences with the brands that we support. So where we come in as a company is to look at what their objectives are, what are their challenges? What are the consumer pain points where a conversation or spinning up something that’s more two way dialogue, and actually benefit them. That’s the new type of creative that we’re really often producing versus more of the broadcast, really creating more of a one to one relationship with the customers and brands this way.

    Dale LaRue:
    Voice is a very unique space right now being so new, even relatively to the digital age, but it’s something that we’re finding a lot of traction and a lot of great creativity of our clients in the talent that we’re working with, and the way customers are engaging with them.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah, and it says here, oh my goodness, you have over eight years of experience evaluating talent for broadcast. Obviously, you’re quite skilled at this, and wonderful. You’ve been working with Voices.com for a while now, why don’t you talk a little bit about that?

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah. So with Voices now, we are constantly looking, when you’re interacting with smart speakers, like we’re doing with the Amazon Alexa and Google assistant on an ongoing basis, and even chat instances, we’re trying to find a voice, for a brand to have a voice in these spaces. If you interact with any of those devices, now you’re getting something that’s robotic. You’re not necessarily getting somebody that’s true to that brand. When we are operating in this space, we’re always pushing for high fidelity. How can we make sure that your brand comes to life through sound? A lot of the way that happens is through a really natural voiceover talent. We find that Voices is a really, really strong partner and able to allow us to move quickly, really evaluate a wide swath of talent, of candidates, and do so with a really great supporting team.

    Dale LaRue:
    The way that this platform operates is really, really user friendly for us. Where we used to in a traditional model, in some of my previous advertising agency life, we work with casting directors. The process can be sometimes a little bit more drawn out. Voices makes it a really efficient, really super lean way to work and find the right type of a voice, and the right type of experience that we’re trying to create. So it’s a really great platform, not just from the candidates that are out there, but the way that we’re able to just include you guys turnkey into our process.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Nice, love being part of your workflow, but better to be here in person and talking to you today. Wow, this is amazing. So unlike other episodes of Mission Audition, we are actually going to talk about a real job as you’ve probably guessed by now, because we have Dale here and he’s going to discuss that. Generally, as you know, on Mission Audition, there are scripts that we are posting and we wrote them, our marketing department writes them, and you audition for those and someone else, maybe a coach might evaluate, but today you actually get to hear directly from the person whose ears were on the actual auditions, why they chose to move ahead with someone, and then what might have been lacking in a read for why they didn’t choose someone else.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That’s really interesting feedback. Who has ever had an opportunity to hear feedback from a client, ever? Hands up. There are maybe six hands and there’s this room of over 150 people, about that, 140. I don’t know. I can’t count right now, Lindsay.

    Audience:
    3,000.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    3,000, thank you. There’s 3000 people in spirit are here. Okay. Yeah, we know.

    Dale LaRue:
    How many future listeners as well?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    In the future, yes. So anyway, just to kind of push the point home here, this is extremely rare. You do not get this access normally to people. You don’t even necessarily know if they liked what you did. You might know if they listened because you’ll see that. Or maybe, you know if they liked you, but honestly, you really don’t get to see behind the curtain like this. I’m really, really grateful to you, Dale, for bringing us behind the curtain today.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    So the job that we’re talking about is one that you posted here for your client BlackRock, right? As we always do, we talk a bit about what the job requires. So I’m going to ask you some questions in between here, Dale, because you know better than we do. Even though I’ve got these details in front of me, what it is that you’re looking for, but the industry was finance. We have an Alexa or Google home type virtual assistant, or voice that you might hear through your smart speaker role. It’s just very, very quickly, these new scripts is what it says here, job description will be aired via Google Home and Alexa subscribers as their daily financial news. What can you tell us about this job and why was it so important to you to find the right voice? What were you looking for?

    Dale LaRue:
    BlackRock was really about this repositioning of their brand to better connect with people like us in this room, that are not financial professionals, or people that are just taking a better posture towards wealth and their overall wellbeing. In order to do that, they wanted to think about these new entry points, these new digital streams, and new types of content that they could kind of break down the stigma of complicated topics, and industry news to just be more accessible.

    Dale LaRue:
    When we thought about these voice channels, we obviously did not want to lean into some of the more robotic nature of these more naturally. We wanted to bring in a personality and somebody who will get into some of the characteristics of what we were looking for that really embodied the way that they were trying to embrace. Not just yes, their core audience of the financial advisors and financial professionals, but people like us that are just more about wanting to take care of their wealth, and learn a little bit more about how to plan for the future. That was kind of the way we tried to go in about it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Awesome. So it sounds like, and we’ve talked a lot about this Julianna, in other episodes, but maybe, and correct us if we’re wrong, Dale, but you were looking for someone who is relatable. Like a real person, conversational, but it’s so important that people sound relatable and that they come across as authentic.

    Julianna Jones:
    Person to person.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Absolutely. So we are going to listen to four auditions tonight. So Cameron, can we hear audition number one please?

    Dale LaRue:
    Cameron, before you go on, I just want to get a little bit of sense too as we’re going to start to evaluate the scripts that we’re going to hear. I want to give you guys a sense of the… she started talking a little bit about the job that we posted, but really some of the specific traits that we were looking for, so that way you guys can also be listening in to hear about what we were really trying to evaluate. The first thing is what we talked about was authenticity and conversational. Are we actually finding that this person, though not an expert in the field of financial analysis, actually feels that way. Are we actually getting that they’re an authentic personality in the space.

    Dale LaRue:
    Inviting, we don’t want this to be, we talked about the repositioning of the brand in general. We don’t want this to be something that feels that it’s unattainable or inaccessible, and so how inviting are they making this topic and this subject matter feel. And then precision as almost a complete 180 to being inviting and making this stuff accessible, is we also need to make sure that this is a precise delivery, about a very important topic, where people are listening around really sensitive subject matter, and that really does require expertise. So precision, are we seeing that come through?

    Dale LaRue:
    Then when it comes to engaging, are you still listening after 15, 60, 65 seconds? Are we really seeing as this video does continue, are we still there and following along with all the beats that they’re introducing, and that’s also important when we don’t really give any kind of coaching, we’re just right off the bat saying how they’re doing it as a natural reader, just things to keep in mind for us as we’re evaluating.

    Dale LaRue:
    Then the last thing is just provoking intrigue. One of the calls to action that we introduced at the end of each of these briefings is to investigate more along this topic where BlackRock’s main investing insights lives. Do we feel that we are keeping this person through this enough to actually want to go visit the site at the end of this briefing? Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but over time are we instilling that? Those are the five areas, authenticity, inviting, precision, engaging, and are they provoking intrigue? So I just wanted to set that up as we get into them all.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Beautiful, and that is a tall order, don’t you think? That you need to be all of those things in order to appeal, and then to book this job. These four auditioners are going to show us how it’s done. Thank you very much Dale for that because oftentimes we don’t know what’s inside the client’s head when they’re thinking about it. Sometimes it’s a matter of, “I’ll know it when I hear it,” but it sounds like you have a playbook actually for exactly what you were looking for.

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah, absolutely. I think this goes from client to client as well. It’s really about, that’s not going to be the same for every single client that we work with. It’s a matter of understanding what their objectives are and what the messaging is, the lane that they want to operate within, and then helping develop that criteria. So that way, when we post the job, we’re getting as accurate of a field of candidates as we are. When we got our initial list, I was astounded by how difficult it was to pick between how many great options we had because of what we’re able to be was just really specific, and Voice was able to deliver that. So it was a great process, and I’m excited to hear them again.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Fantastic. Okay. This time for real Cam, let’s roll audition number one.

    Audition 1:
    Good morning, and this is your weekly commentary from BlackRock Investment Institute. First up, let’s explore how recent policy changes in Japan will affect the US yield curve. After a period of persistent flattening, the recent US yield curve is steepening, reminding us that the spread between two and 10 year treasury yields reflects much more than the state of the US economy. Global interest rates, and monetary policy also play a role in shaping the curve. With a recent tweak in the Bank of Japan or BOJ policy, helping drive the mild steepening. Here’s the top line, the BOJ announced it would allow ten-year bonds to move in a wider range. Why would this affect the US yield curve?

    Julianna Jones:
    He definitely sounded like he knew what he was talking about. What’d you guys think of the audition?

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah, I mean, absolutely. From the second that we heard this candidate, there’s a real sense of academia, which wasn’t necessarily what we were looking for, but when you do hear that kind of tone come through, it stands out as something that, “I’m listening to this person, they show some mastery of the subject matter.” I think it comes through with the way that they’re inflicting on the parts of the sentence of, “We heard about the yield curve is steepening.” That’s something that in the financial world, listening to that we know that’s an impactful statement. He was able to take that read, and really make us feel like we knew where to hit those points. That was just one thing that really stood out to us is his tone, his pace was a really strong aspect of it.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow. What do you all think? How did you like that read? Was it good? Give him a round of applause, that was a good audition. Yeah, I know, that sounded so effortless, really.

    Julianna Jones:
    I have to say, I really liked the way he didn’t do the announcer read. He didn’t end too high, too low at the end of his sentences. He kept it really in the middle, which helps to keep that conversational style. Actually I picked up that tip from one of our other coaches on another episode. So listen to the other episodes, especially the one with Andrea Collins.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah, oh my goodness.

    Julianna Jones:
    His audio quality was fantastic, it was crystal clear. Is that a big contributor to whether or not you work with someone?

    Dale LaRue:
    It definitely, when it comes down to, if for instance, this is something that is repeatable in every single week. We have to get back into the studio and we’re on a cadence of when things need to be live. So at some point in time we do evaluate, how does this person record? Is this something where studio time is needed, or is there a home set up? Then if it is home set up, how does that sound and how does it come through?

    Dale LaRue:
    It’s definitely not the first thing that we evaluate, but at some point it does become part of the whole process when it is a weekly, repetitive thing like this. It definitely is a factor because we need to maintain some efficiencies, but when it’s a bulk record, there’s a little bit more time to plan into something. If you’re capturing a hundred different takes on something, you can sit in a studio for a day and plan that out versus needing to know exactly where they’re recording, and all that setup. It definitely depends on what you need from the talent.

    Julianna Jones:
    Is there generally an average amount of time between when you post the job and when you hire a job, or are there other factors that come into play?

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah, there’s definitely factors, not everything is cut from the same cloth, but typically we do like to have a few rounds where I think if we ask, “Hey, we need, here’s the job we posted in three days time, if you have some options,” you guys are typically faster than that, but if we do give that deadline we’ll get up to about 20 or so, and then we’ll listen to those. Internally we’ll take them down to six to 10, and then from there we’ll potentially meet with our clients, and so then our clients get a chance to weigh on our short list. Then sometimes in order to actually make the final read, we’ll take a short list and we’ll actually start to edit in some music on our end or sound effects that kind of help with whatever creative direction that we need to go in.

    Dale LaRue:
    So there definitely between job posting, and the booking can be anywhere from, we’ve done it as fast as about three days to getting it approved, all the way up to a couple of weeks. It definitely is variant, depending on what you need the voice for.

    Julianna Jones:
    Has there ever been a time where you posted a job and it didn’t go to completion? What happened with the client?

    Dale LaRue:
    Every time that we’ve posted it so far, we’ve ended up using a Voice. Right now, I’ll knock on marble here to say that we’re in the middle of one right now, so hopefully we don’t jinx ourselves. Everything that we have ever posted we’ve ended up using, and it’s been a really seamless process, and they haven’t followed the same example either. We’ve used them successfully for Campbell soup, as you mentioned in the beginning, for BlackRock now, and a new project with Nike, that is coming has also been Voices.

    Julianna Jones:
    Awesome, okay. Well that was our first audition, we do have four. Cam, can we listen to audition number two, please.

    Audition 2:
    Good morning, and this is your weekly commentary from BlackRock Investment Institute. First up, let’s explore how recent policy changes in Japan will affect the US yield curve. After a period of persistent flattening, the recent US yield curve is steepening, reminding us that the spread between two and 10 year treasury yields reflects much more than the state of the US economy. Global interest rates and monetary policy also play a role in shaping the curve with a recent tweak in Bank of Japan, DOJ policy, helping drive the mild steepening. Here’s the top line.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    So really good read, but really different than the last one.

    Dale LaRue:
    Very much, and actually, I know we’re shortening for time, but we actually on this clip had two reads that were submitted as part of this entry. He delivered one in this, and then he actually delivered one that was quite a departure. I think the intention behind that was to show his range, and I think that was a really smart thing to do. Just as you were talking about, this was a strong read but very different, there were some elements of his, I think, pacing that we started to really zero in on after hearing some of the other reads, where he was more doing finishing sentences on a down note and then kind of picking back up, and finishing on a down note. I think for that reason, we actually favored some of the second aspect of his other read, which is a little bit more high tempo.

    Dale LaRue:
    That gave us a really strong inclination to say, “Hey, if you have a couple different styles to read, and that you think fit this bill, then definitely give those to us. Because we realize that there is a range, that you’re coachable, that you can work within different skillsets.” And so we didn’t obviously get a chance to listen to that one, but remembering from this read, that was something that we actually really found unique and stood out to us about the audition is finding a couple of ranges that both kind of hit on where we’re looking at.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. That’s something you talk about a lot, Julianna is the two takes if you’re going to do more than one read. So what you’re saying Dale, is that you actually welcome that. That’s not frustrating for you, “Oh man, I’ve got to listen to more than one read.” If every talent did that, let’s just pretend, if everyone did that in their auditions, would that become an, “I don’t like this so much anymore, but when it’s the odd talent who does it, I don’t mind.”

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah. That’s a really good hypothetical because I haven’t, it’s not a common practice for everyone to do that. I think it obviously adds time to the reviews, but it also, if we are uncertain, it definitely helps us see more reads from a smaller talent pool versus 10 subjects that have two reads, is the same as 20 that have one, and we’ve worked well within the 20 that have one. I do think if a client is posting to Voices, and there’s a relationship working, we work with Ian in fielding those subjects and reviewing them. If there’s a good dialogue between that team, about how to best structure the jobs in the submissions, I do think it’s worthwhile if there’s that communication. And maybe it’s something that on your guys’ end is a, “Hey, would you like to have people post multiples, and how many would you be looking for?” That workflow could really be client dependent.

    Julianna Jones:
    If you do two auditions or two takes in one audition, just give us a heads up and say two takes.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    What’d everyone think of that audition? It was very different, any thoughts?

    Julianna Jones:
    I almost thought that because he sounded a little bit older, it maybe was less of the job posting, at least that I’ve gotten from you, it wasn’t that same direction. Do you ever get frustrated if somebody isn’t exactly the specs that you’ve asked for in the audition for a job?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    It’s not about necessarily frustration. I think we evaluate it with, “Do we think that this person could be coachable?” We look at how they sound and the way that they approached the take is to say, “Does this feel overly contrived or manufactured to hit this? Or does this feel like they are working a persona, so to speak.” I think that way that people interpret the job, which is why we love to give you guys as much description as we can to really hope that people see one that would work for them and submit that. But we would never really say that we get frustrated as much as we sometimes we’ll see a take that’s a little bit off, it’s just missing interpretation, I think that’s just the creative process. We do evaluate, “Do we think we could work with this sample if we had to get in studio time, kind of direct them a little bit?”

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    That’s always something that if we feel it’s a yes, then there’s no worse for the wear, but obviously it is an interpretation thing that, I mean, we all are going to look at a brief and interpret it somewhat differently. I think it’s a symptom of that.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    We all have different ears, and we’re all listening for different things.

    Dale LaRue:
    Absolutely, and I think especially, and I can’t say this is true in every industry that evaluates voice talent for their needs, but ours is never a single solitary person that says, “This is the one.” It’s definitely conversation. Some of the things that we’ve talked about like, “How authentic did you think that they were?” And it’s like, “Well, I thought this was a little more inviting.” So there definitely is a little bit of a, I would say group think, but really just evaluation of the criteria together. The subjectivity is definitely something that comes from a feeling of knowing, from the fact that we’ve created the brief in the job posting itself.

    Dale LaRue:
    As I mentioned too, in the interpretation of a posting for somebody doing a read, it really is subjective in the way that you feel is the right tone for that. There’s no magic formula, but I think you start to see that the things that we talk about with the coaching, the ranges, and the group evaluation, it helps us really narrow in. Then in studio, when we’re able to direct, that really gets us to the final spot that we’re happy with.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Awesome. Just a little segue now into our third audition. Why don’t we listen to that one?

    Audition 3:
    Good morning, this is your weekly commentary from BlackRock Investment Institute. First up, let’s explore how recent policy changes in Japan will affect the US yield curve. After a period of persistent flattening, the recent US yield curve is steepening reminding us that the spread between two and 10 year treasury yields reflects much more than the state of the US economy. Global interest rates and monetary policy also play a role in shaping the curve. The recent tweak in Bank of Japan, BOJ policy, helping drive the mild steepening. Here’s the top line, BOJ announced it would allow 10 year bonds to move in a wider range.

    Julianna Jones:
    So I’m looking at the job posting, and I can hear him on the precise. I can hear him on the expert, but I don’t know if I get the curious, or the empathetic, or the human aspect on this one.

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah. I mean, from a tone, it is very, I think, inviting, but I think the things you’re just hitting on are, the voice itself is a very soothing voice to listen to. You almost want it to read a book on tape, it is very nice and pleasing in that way, but I do think, in addition to some of the… We’ve mentioned he’s precise, but in terms of like, “Are you really finding that curiosity? Is he really showing that mastery?” I think that’s where he’s a little bit off in this one is that there is, and that’s again, this is someone we felt like we could direct, so including them on the short list is saying, “This is a very great tone, even the speed or the pace is a little bit slow,” but again, when you just get undirected reads, you have to also just consider the things that you haven’t had a chance to really say or evaluate. But yeah, I think those are the right points on that. For a book on tape, we would probably have never listened to anybody else.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Sometimes these projects may also be delayed, and it’s not even something you can control.

    Dale LaRue:
    Absolutely, and one of the ones I mentioned that I knocked earlier on wood, is that we’re actually in the middle of a delay, and it’s not that it’s not moving forward, but that is just, we understand that at the other end of this is somebody that’s saying, “They said they wanted me.” And now we’re saying, “Well, actually just not yet.” We understand that can be a little bit of a delay, but I wouldn’t, that’s just probably the nature of the business a little bit, sometimes things don’t always continue as according to plan.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    All right. Someone write that down, take that home to the bank, do not worry about your auditions, send them and forget them. There’s no use worrying over something like this, because if you are the right voice, you will be picked for the job. All right, let’s listen to audition number four.

    Audition 4:
    Good morning, this is your weekly commentary from BlackRock Investment Institute. First up, let’s explore how recent policy changes in Japan will affect the US yield curve. After a period of persistent flattening, the recent US yield curve is steepening reminding us that the spread between two and 10 year treasury yields reflects much more than the state of the US economy. Global interest rates and monetary policy also play a role in shaping the curve. With a recent tweak in Bank of Japan, BOJ policy, helping drive the mild steepening. Here’s the top line.

    Julianna Jones:
    I felt like if I wasn’t reading the script, and I was just listening to him, I would have an easy time digesting what he was saying because of his pacing.

    Dale LaRue:
    Yeah, actually my notes are that the inflection points were great. I think you never really got lost in what he was saying, and you’re able to follow, and to carry that along. I think the one area that also we felt with this was that it felt very news desk, it felt very lead anchor, the headline after headline. Again, that’s not something that we didn’t feel like we could direct in a setting, but it was something that we noted at the start of this, really great tone, really great mastery of the subject matter, but the delivery felt a little bit out of context given the posture of news desk, anchor style delivery.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah. Oh my gosh. It’s all good. These gentlemen have done a wonderful job. I think we should all recognize them now before we move on to the next part of the show, can we all give them a round of applause?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Yeah, it’s really cool because the people who do audition for these shows, including the gentlemen that you are hearing tonight, they are going to listen to this later. We want to make sure that they know we appreciated what they did, and of course you did for sure, and have had those conversations. This feedback is so valuable, you don’t generally hear this sort of thing and just really grateful to you, Dale, for making the time to come out with us tonight in New York. It’s a busy city and a busy place, you’re a busy guy, so thank you for that.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Now that we’ve heard all four of the auditions that we’re reviewing tonight, it’s time to find out who actually booked this job. So which audition?

    Dale LaRue:
    I get to break the news?

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    I think you do.

    Dale LaRue:
    The winning audition and the one that we’re actually actively recording with on a weekly basis was read number one.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Number one. All right, so that we all remember what read number one sounded like, Cameron’s going to cue him up. All right, let’s hear it.

    Audition 1:
    Good morning, this is your weekly commentary from BlackRock Investment Institute. First up let’s explore how recent policy changes in Japan will affect the US yield curve. After a period of persistent flattening, the recent US yield curve is steepening reminding us that the spread between two and 10 year treasury yields reflects much more than the state of the US economy. Global interest rates and monetary policy also play a role in shaping the curve. With a recent tweak in the Bank of Japan or BOJ policy, helping drive the mild steepening. Here’s the top line, the BOJ announced it would allow ten-year bonds to move in a wider range.

    Julianna Jones:
    Especially after listening to the last three and then his again, he’s the most human.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Everyone agrees here, it sounds like. It’s awesome. Fun to work with. Yes, he sounds like he’d be fun to work with.

    Dale LaRue:
    Absolutely, I think one of the things I want to make clear too, if you see a posting that you want to respond to, that maybe you don’t feel like the subject matter expert in, he self admittedly has said it, he goes, “I don’t know what I was talking about at first.” I think that should inspire a little bit of confidence to say that this may not be my fast ball, but it’s definitely something that if I just give it a couple of reps, I’m going to potentially find that I can do this. He’s gotten to a point where we really trust working with him. Our process has gotten to a very efficient manner throughout the year in having him record this.

    Dale LaRue:
    I think just as a sense of the way you approach certain job postings, and the way that you feel about them is… just inject some of those things you’ve talked about, the willingness to be directed, show your personality off, and all of those things really help us as we evaluate this and hear it. I think he’s a good example of that.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow. So this has been over a year, you’ve been doing this with him?

    Dale LaRue:
    It’s been about 10 months.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    10 months, that’s awesome. And just because I think people here might be wondering too, obviously he’s that good that he’s kept his job, right? He’s still the voice that is coming through that weekly briefing from Alexa. So continuity, being able to tap into the audience, and being that voice that they trust. What kind of feedback has BlackRock received on this voice, and is that why they’ve decided to continue?

    Dale LaRue:
    Well, the feedback has been from day one is that it’s really hit the brief in terms of what we developed, and the feedback I think that we’ve gotten has been not so much from the client, but actually from the listener base. That over the course of the year, we’ve seen that the listenership has risen steadily over the course of the year. We’ve moved from once a week update on Tuesday mornings, to now here we are Q4, and we’re actually looking at four days a week of new updated content. That has been a little bit of a process to get to, but when you see that listenership has risen along with this throughout the year, I think that’s the good feedback that you get is that this is actually resonating. We’re seeing people come back on a weekly basis, and not just listen to it, and say, “Not for me.” So I think that’s what we look for is, “Is this really hitting the mark?” And we were seeing that it is.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Wow, well, that’s the proof is in the pudding, right? If you do a great job, it’s going to bring results for the company. Congratulations to auditioner number one.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    How did you enjoy this episode of Mission Audition? Yeah? Good, sweet. Okay, perfect. I think we can now wrap up the show. Thank you New York for having us here. Thank you, Dale.

    Dale LaRue:
    Absolutely, thank you.

    Stephanie Ciccarelli:
    Awesome, and we’re looking forward to joining you in another episode of Mission Audition.

    Julianna Jones:
    We hope you enjoy taking these tips back into your studio. Happy auditioning guys.

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    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®.

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