Homework for Mon., Feb. 6, 2012

For those of you who were in the class on Wednesday, January 25, this should not be new. For those of you who missed the class, read this CAREFULLY! It is not a hard assignment, but there are several elements – all of which are detailed in your Workbook.

However, it has been brought to my attention that the bookstore is out of the workbooks (or were on Wednesday), so I will cut and paste from the workbook here to this page.

Reading Assignment: Read Chapters 1-4 of your Textbook, “There’s Money Where Your Mouth Is.”

Listening/Writing Assignment 1 – Page 2 of your Workbook.

Where Do You Hear Voiceover Artists?

This is a critical thinking exercise. Identify where voiceovers are being used. Start to listen: listen, listen, listen. You will hear voices everywhere — voices of every quality, skill, talent. Open up those ears and absorb it all. Name at least a dozen distinct areas where voiceover talent will be paid for their services. There are more than that, but fill in at LEAST 12 areas. Also think about who might be writing the checks for these voices. This will be helpful when you start to think about marketing your voice. Write down at least a few places/people who would be the people writing the checks!

We discussed LOTS of these areas in class on Monday and Wednesday, so I hope to see that you are able to name at least a dozen.

Listening/Writing Assignment 2: Page 5 of your Workbook

Describe your voice

You need to know your basic sound, patterns and tendencies when you speak. So, your first recording exercise is to record a conversation with someone. It could be a telephone call, or a casual conversation with someone. Just start the recorder and then forget about it. Just talk. A telephone conversation would be good, because you can simply record your side of the call.

You will actually do this exercise twice – once on your own after doing the recording exercise and then again in class with a partner. After recording your voice, play it back and critique your voice answering these questions. I would prefer you use the form in the workbook.

  1. Voice Quality – smooth, raspy, quirky, powerful, rich, thin, breathy, weak, old, young?
  2. Voice Pitch – high, low, medium pitch? Do you speak in the correct register?
  3. Voice Placement – throat, front of mouth? Where is your sound coming from in your head?
  4. Voice Inflection? Monotone or modulated? Lots of energy? No energy?
  5. Vocal Pattern – your voice has a natural rhythm or pattern of inflection. Describe it.
  6. Speed – do you speak quickly or deliberately? Many people speak very rapidly.
  7. Pronunciation – mush mouth, over articulator, do you have an accent?
  8. Breathing – do you tire easily when you are talking? Do you take lots of breaths when you speak?
  9. Facial Talk – How much do you move (or not move) your jaw, lips, tongue? Are you great at raising your eyebrows?
  10. Body Language – do you use your hands when you talk or do you keep your arms locked in one position?

Listening and Recording Exercise 3: Pages 8 and 9 in your Workbook

Read the Script of Your Choice

This exercise will help you understand if you are hearing your own “voice” and have at least a little understanding of where it might fit.

Record a few commercial breaks off the TV – either using a video or audio recorder. You need about 4 to 8 minutes of commercials so that you can find one that seems “right” for your voice. Pick something with a voiceover part of between 30 and 60 seconds. (20 seconds at the LEAST)

What you are trying to get is the audio from a bunch of commercials from which you will pick one to transcribe. That’s why you need to record the commercials – on an audio or video format. You need to be able to play the one you select over and over until you get the words written down correctly. (Even when you think it is correct, there may be mistakes in the script, so be sure to read it aloud before you record it for “real” to be sure that your script is accurate.)

 

Select one spot from what you have recorded for which you think your voice might be suited. Pick a fairly straight forward spot. Do not go for a broad character for this exercise. Also, be aware that while this is a subjective business, some products are more likely to be voiced by one gender or the other. BUT, if you are a male, this doesn’t necessarily eliminate spots that were voiced by females, or vice versa.

What spot you pick will say a lot about how you hear your own voice and capabilities – which is part of the goal of this class.

Transcribe the words for this spot onto a separate piece of paper – DOUBLE SPACE the copy which will allow you to make notes. Use at least 1” margins. Use upper and lower case font. Answer these questions.

  1. Why did you select this particular spot as being suited to your voice?
  2. What kind of spot is this? Hard sell? Soft sell? Conversational?
  3. Is the spot a local spot or a national spot?
  4. Is this a TV spot or a radio spot?

Now, read through the spot aloud at least once, then record yourself reading the spot. Please don’t record over and over trying to “get it right.” You need to evaluate yourself early and often. So, record it once and then fill out the evaluation on the next page. After evaluating yourself, you can THEN go back and re-record it to see how you have improved.

Evaluate Your Delivery

  1. Listen to the recorded spot and think about the work you did when “Describing Your Voice.” Now that you are hearing your recorded voice, does your earlier description still hold true? You may notice some new things, or change your mind about other things. Some people sound very different when recorded – especially if using character voices – or if the copy is very traditional announcing copy. Did you hear anything different?
  2. Did you stumble on any words? Which words and why?
  3. Did you hesitate before saying certain words? Which words and why?
  4. Did you say all the words? If not, what did you leave out?
  5. Did you add or change words? What did you add or change?
  6. Did you breathe in the middle of a sentence instead of at a period or a comma? If so, was it an appropriate breath?
  7. Did your recording sound flat (monotone) or lacking in energy?
  8. Did your recording sound “sing-song”?
  9. How did the words you stressed compare to the words stressed on the original recording off the TV? Did you emphasize many of the same words that the announcer punched? Did the words stand out too much on your recording?
  10. Is the length of your recording significantly longer or shorter than the one you recorded?
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