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Recording of K&K Staying Healthy Script

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  • Cat Lookabaugh #805592233

    Hey Stephen,  

    I'm a VB talent. I listened to your sample a couple of times, and here are some of my thoughts.

    1) You've chosen a commercial (as opposed to other genres) so some of my comments relate to that style in particular and others apply more generally.

    2) General comment: The first thing I hear listening to you audio is a very distinct hum.  This alone would pretty guarantee a rejection (or maybe a revision request) from VB QC.

    3) Commercial-specific: Because commercials are usually a lot of content squeezed into 30 or 60 seconds, it is common practice to edit out the breaths and tighten the gaps.  Other genres, like audiobook or e-learning, will leave some breaths in (to sound more natural or to express emotion), but often, even then, we remove some breaths and tame the remaining breaths down so they are not at all distracting. I your case, some of the breaths interrupted the flow of the narrative (like the breath between "products" and "allow you", for example).

    4) General: In this case, you picked some copy to read without accompanying instructions from the client, so it's a bit hard to say whether a client would have liked the style you chose. If the client really wanted the  beloved "natural/conversational" read, I think they would not have liked the delivery.  You really "pounced" on some words (like "green"), stressing them, to my mind, unnaturally. Certainly you will stress some words more than others to tell the story, but the key to the conversational read is to avoid that "pouncing" or over-stressing of certain words.

    5) General: Your inflection (up and down pitch) and rhythm seems a bit artificial or forced in places (like "most delectable pecan and chocolate pecan pies").  It's like you're trying too hard to vary inflection and not have all the phrases sound the same.  The goal is sound, but it's not quite working.

    6) Commercial:  Bottom line, I just don't believe you. The narrator voice sounds to careful, too planned, too something.  It doesn't ring true.  If I'm a customer listening and considering this product, I'm just not buying it.

    7) Suggestion:  Try recording yourself as if you're just talking to a buddy for at least 15 minutes.  Imagine your buddy dropped over to have some pizza and watch a game.  You're eating and waiting for game start and your buddy says "So, hey, what are you serving when your in-laws come over next weekend? Bar-be-queing again?" Swallow a bite of pizza and give a casual answer about what you really would serve them (assuming you have in-laws of course). Let the conversation flow, imagining your buddies responses and how the conversation might naturally progress, but maybe get excited about how you've been experimenting with a new twist to your usual BBQ sauce or about the brisket from the local grocery store that is to die for! Keep imagining your buddy's comments, jibes, suggestions, and random interjections and respond to them.  When you listen back, pay attention where you really stress words when speaking in conversation and how you sound when you get excited or passionate about something.  If BBQ and food-prep isn't your thing, pick something else, like doing puzzles, robotics, muscle cars, or floral arrangements.  Topic should be something you know about and something you care about :)  The point is to have an actual, authentic, uncensored, and unscripted conversation.

    Conversational reads are notoriously difficult to do, when they should be the easiest things in the world!  I keep thinking that I need to sell the product, when I don't...I just need to believe in it and talk about it (hence "conversational" ::rim shot::).

    8) Suggestion: It's tough to invest in a business with money you haven't earned yet, but I promise you, the best thing you can do is pay for some coaching. Not only will coaches be able to help with the tech side (room treatment, acoustics, equipment, mic technique, post-processing), but they will guide you on delivery styles, responding to direction, the business, genres, accents, character voices, all of it.  In fact, get coaching before you spend a ton of money on your studio or equipment.

    BTW, if you're like me, you'll never stop learning or getting coaching.  I'm over four years into voice acting part time.  It took three years to turn a profit at all.  I just finished a course of audiobook narration lessons and am starting  another round on e-learning and the business-side of VO.  And I'm seriously considering looking for someone to work with on commercial/conversational reads. I continue to get dinged for the same things I called you out on, so I need to learn to listen to myself better and to make the right decisions when I read copy.

    Stephen, it's a journey - trite but true.  No need to get discouraged, and feel free to take all my comments with as many grains of salt (or sodium-free substitute) as needed!  Keep doing what you're doing - read, voice, get feedback.  Be as specific as possible.  Write down exactly what the imaginary client is asking for and share that when you share your interpretation of the copy with those directions in mind.  Also, there are a ton of Facebook and linked-in groups for voice-over.  Take advantage of all the on-line resources and communities to listen and learn and ask and share.

    Good luck (and skill!).  -- Cat


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  • Carel F. Cronje #4597167478

    Hello, Stephen! I don't think anyone can give you more sensible and comprehensive feedback than Cat Lookabaugh has. Do what she has suggested and you may just end up with a happy twinkle in your eye!

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