Animation

They Keep Asking for that Chase Spot

I think I actually know it by heart by know “Your bank could be here, or here.” I hear the words over and over again, and in truth I can’t tell you if it’s because I’ve seen this well placed and clever add so many times on tv or if it’s because it seems to be the go to spec of the summer when I book tv spots. That Chase ad seems to be the trend. I book a spot and the clients sends me this Chase ad and wants me to match it in tone, pace, vibe-basically every way possible. Now, if the script is written in a way that lends itself to that- great. But the catch is that not every script is written to the formula of the Chase script. So let’s look at this formula and talk about what they are asking for in current television commercial voiceovers and what is the current trend during the covid pandemic. And if the client wants this but can’t have it, there are some similar millennial, conversational commercial reads that are out there.

Impact of the Pandemic

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room: why the sudden shift to animation? While everyone is quarantining in place, and stock footage or footage filmed before the pandemic can only go so far, people can create unlimited amounts of new animation. This trend of increasing amounts of animated commercial content will be with us throughout the pandemic. My old friend from home and brilliant award-winning producer Ira Rosensweig has created a product called Crew in a Box  which is “the world’s first plug-and-play, remote production solution,” but until this is more universally adopted or the studios reopen, we are looking at a lot more animation content on television.

Dissecting the Chase Spot

The voice over in the Chase spot is as au currant as it gets. This is the quintessential millennial read. First of all, she (the voice over actor) is talking directly to the viewer. It’s very intimate. She is clear and concise and to the point. She has great energy and she is relatable. As the Chase VO gal explains that when down loading the app “here’s  my bank or here’s my bank” we are right there with her because we feel like we know her. It’s youthful and believable and the ease with which she does demonstrates it all instills us with the confidence that we too can use the app on the go. The upbeat, conversational, relatable, authentic pace is what producers want when they ask for this read. This read draws viewers in. This read helps viewers connect to the voice and more importantly connect to the product.

Recent TV Spot Like the Chase Spot

This month I was sent a television campaign for a retirement community and they wanted the read to be like the Chase spot. The scripts were all well-written and could easily be adapted in tone and cadence. Unlike the Chase commercial, my audience was different. My audience was the children and family members of the retirement community who would choose to place their loved ones in this residence. I needed the same upbeat, relatable, trustworthy tone. I needed to draw folks in and make them feel comfortable and like they knew me. I needed to make them feel like this home was their home. I needed them to trust that their parents would be happy. For me, this message hit home as my beloved grandparents had to live in a place like this when my parents could no longer support their needs, so I understood on every level what I was being asked to convey. Like the Chase spot, because of Covid, this spot is also an animation. Here is one of the four recent commercials I did for this client:

Variations On This Read

Last month I was cast in a TV campaign for a bank in Montana that wanted a different variation on the millennial, conversational read. Even though this was done during the pandemic, these spots used video footage! This producer wanted a sound that fit the video and the music, and it was less upbeat, and more every day real. Sometimes in real life we are not bubbling over with enthusiasm, we just need something that meets our needs, and this is conversational in a different tone. It is more detached and less intimate, casting a broader net. You still trust this voice to be your voice, but the scrip is a different kind of script and it elicits a very different read.

Current Trends in TV Commercial VO Reads

In sum, I am cast in projects because clients still want that very millennial, conversational voice over read. Some reads are more intimate and connected than others. Some reads are more authentic. Some are more personal. Some are to video footage while others are set to animation at present. The trend, though, is to sound conversational and I think always, always believable.

Hey… What’s the Best….

Last night we were out to dinner with my folks and my husband’s folks. We were at one of our favorite places, Dough, in Caldwell, NJ and it was particularly fun because we were at a big, square table. The kids were asking my dad stories about law school, and it doesn’t take much to get him going. But this is not uncommon, a lot of times people ask my dad about his “craziest case.” Or we’ll be out with a friend who’s a doctor and we’ll ask them about their wild cases and boy, without violating HIPAA, can they tell some unreal stories. So I never feel put on the spot when people ask me about my craziest job or my best recent casting. But in case you’re curious, here are some, and these are not in order of favorites, just how they came to mind:

WWII Foundation Narration

I was so excited when this project came in. I was actually sitting at the Encore hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where I was staying right before WoVo Con 19 started when Brian, the producer called me. Both of my grandfathers served in the Pacific Campaign in World War II. I went to graduate school for History. My son is at present obsessed with World War II History. So, what could be more fun than voicing a project that would help draw high school students in and educate them about such an important period in time? The script was so well-written and Brian was so easy to work with, which always makes projects better! Being cast in this meant so much to me on so many levels.

Climate Change Narration for PBS and Chrysler Museum

PBS WHROI always hate to overtly give away my age, but when I was a kid we did not have cable tv, we had the networks, PBS, and maybe two other channels. So, when they animation project came in for PBS, a channel I grew up glued to, as did my kids, my heart went all-aflutter! I think I was so enthusiastic both because it was PBS and because it addressed climate change, something I am so profoundly concerned about. It means a lot to me to have an opportunity to voice projects with an impact. I have also always loved taking my kids to museums too, so when I learned that this was tied in to the Chrysler Museum it was even better. In this animation, I used a kids voice. Like the WWII project, my goal was to draw kids in and keep them interested. As a working mom and a former educator, I feel like I bring all of this with my into the booth for these projects.  When I have an opportunity like this, I am left feeling instilled with hope that change will come.

UK Tampax Spot

As an American who grew up in a Philly suburb and resides in a New York suburb, I was cast by a London ad agency in a UK tampax spot for their UK tampax channel? How, you may ask? Well, my nephews have grown up in a posh sloan square neighborhood so I just had their little voices in my head when I auditioned and I guess that booked it! I cannot do a range of UK accents, I can specifically do central London as that is what I hear in my head. I can sometimes do slight cochney, but that’s it. Anyway, for this project we had a live session with a European creative team. It was not 10 minutes and done. I remember it going about 40 minutes, which is long for me. But the spot is cute and I am pleased with it. And since we all get out monthly visitor, we not have something that is relevant for girls and women, right? This was a fun one for sure!

 

IMRC Commercials

Well, who doesn’t love a good tv campaign? And when the hospital that you are voicing the campaign for is bought out by Cleveland Clinic, it gets even better! And when your Aunt and Uncle have a home in the viewing area? It feels like a home run! In truth, anytime I have an opportunity to work with clients on a repeat nature I am delighted, but I love doing campaigns because I enjoy the continuity. It is nice to have the project to look forward to, and I am always so sad when they end. I loved these spots and hope there are more down the line. I think these resonated with me so much because the real life stories they used were just so touching. Also, even though the hospital is based in Florida, the Alan, the producer, is a Jersey guy, and that just makes everything better.

Cosmo Prof Training

I may have been born in Philly, but I’ve been here 15 years and I’d say that’s long enough to call myself a Jersey girl- gel nails and supah blond hair and all! So, when an eLearning came my way that was all about training for hair products, let’s just say I didn’t have to act to sound upbeat and enthusiastic! I was so so excited to do this module for CosmoProf and Sally Beaty. From brushes to straighteners to curling irons, it’s like they had me in mind when they wrote the content!