Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

August 25, 2010

Another set of ears

Filed under: Auditioning, Business — connieterwilliger @ 9:52 pm

Interesting stuff happened in my class today. I teach one class a semester at a local community college – an introduction to voice acting class. The assignment was to listen to demos – I gave them voicebank.net and voice123.com as two places they could hear lots of “demos.”

I told them to listen primarily to commercial demos at this point in the class. And gave them a couple of things to be aware of with each site. Voicebank – depending on which agency you select – will have the “stars.” Many of whom don’t have real “demos” – well, because they don’t need no stinkn’ demos. And in fact, that is what some of the students discovered. Several well known actors didn’t have real demos – just a sample of a spot or two. Others found great demos from both the stars and the non-stars.

On Voice123, I told them that they would find the wonderful and the truly awful. And in fact that is what they reported. This is a great exercise in honing the “great – good – not-so-good” evaluation skills that are so necessary for a voice talent.

A couple of interesting things happened when we discussed the assignment in class this evening. The subjectiveness of this business was brought home a couple of times with some rather interesting critiques of people I happened to know. Things I didn’t expect.

I knew a lot of the people they had listened to! 22 of them were familiar. My virtual and personal friends demos were “critiqued” by the students.

  • One student heard the same copy in the demos of two people I actually know. I tried to point this out to each of them a minute ago, but Facebook was acting up. I’m wondering now if I should let them know.
  • One student heard Don LaFontaine’s demo and thought it was wonderful – he didn’t recognize the name.
  • One fine young voice talent with what I consider a pretty great demo was ripped by someone in the class with a completely different style voice. I listened to the demo because I was curious –  I hear none of what the student heard.
  • I saw comments such as – “cheesey, fairly boring, good technically, lots of variety, relied on a lot of sound effects, confusing, a shouter.” All different demos – and some from people I know.

This was an interesting exercise for the students and for me.  I listen as I have the time and occasionally try to “tag” demos on Voice123. Tagging is finding key words to add to a person’s profile. Words that describe the voice on the demo. I think I have been able to add one tag in a year of on and off listening. Most of the demos that pop randomly in the searh engines fall into the not-ready-for-Prime Time category.

Listening to what other people are doing is a wonderful way to keep your self-evaluation skills honed. If you can quickly figure out why something works or doesn’t work, you will be better equipped to listen to your own demos (and auditions) with a critical ear. 

Always keeping in mind that it is pretty easy to tell the good from the not-so-good, but defining what takes something from good to great is a bit more subjective.

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2 Comments »

  1. Thank you Connie!

    I really enjoyed this!

    One note on the ‘tagging’…It was supposed to be used in a new search feature that Voice123 scrapped. So, we never took it off the site because voice talent told us they enjoyed learning from anonymous opinions.

    All the best!
    Steven
    Voice123

    Comment by Steven — August 31, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  2. Fascinating! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that! :-)

    Comment by Amy Snively — October 19, 2010 @ 12:59 pm


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