June 2012 Highlights

Feature: Words and Voices, the Art of Persuasion

by Rod Schwartz

I create radio advertising campaigns for a living. Words are the tools of my trade. Words give wings to ideas and make them soar. Words move people, products, and services. Words turn strangers into customers, and customers into evangelists. But the words we speak convey only part of what we mean; how we speak them conveys a great deal more.

R.A.P. Interview: Jim Van Dusen, Creative/Production Director, Astral Radio, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

by Jerry Vigil

Each year, the R.A.P. Awards welcomes familiar names to the first place winners' table along with some new names. This year, Jim Van Dusen picked up his first Trophy with a promo in the Medium Market Promos category, and took it a step further and won the 1st Runner-up prize for that category as well. But these are hardly Jim's first awards. We've seen his name several times before in the R.A.P. Awards finals, and he also packs the trophy case with honors from the Crystal Awards, the Signature Awards, and grabbed the Standard Radio Presidents Award in 1999. Oh, did we mention an Olympic Gold Medal? We learn a bit more about Mr. Van Dusen, get the story on his winning promos, and pick his brain for some tips to success. Be sure to check out this month's R.A.P. CD for an encore presentation of Jim's two winning promos along with a few more prime cuts from Jim.

Production 212: Two Turntables... ables... ables... ables...

by Dave Foxx

(This is starting to sound like a broken record!) Finally, we wrap up "the list" – Ten Things You Need To Know About Music. We've done the first 6 items over the last few columns, leaving seven through ten. Last time I said these last four should be self-evident, but I realized later that they're not. In fact, they're pretty subtle points, which I need to explain. OK... for the last time, here is the list (to save you from digging for past issues): 1. Music is made up of parts, which can be disassembled and reassembled. 2. Tempo is ALWAYS flexible. 3. Rhythm is NEVER flexible. 4. Key is relative. 5. Musical phrasing is similar to spoken phrasing. 6. Placing voiceover over singing is very much like having two people talk at once. 7. Ending the music is like putting a period at the end of a sentence. 8. Sung vocals need to HELP the message if at all possible. 9. Effects need to support the musical phrasing. 10. Tracking your voiceover to the music can double its effectiveness.

Test Drive: TwistedWave Stereo Editor

by Steve Cunningham

Having spent last month's allotted column-inches examining yet another multitrack audio editor, it might serve to take a look at the current state of the art in the land of simple two-track recording and editing software. I've been thinking about this since last month, when I attended a voiceover-specific conference in Ventura, California, devoted to the art and business of voice acting. The attendees were all professional voice actors whose craft generates the lion's share of their annual incomes -- no wanna-be noobs were allowed. Since the majority record and produce their product in home studios rather than in commercial studios equipped with recording engineers, there were several sessions devoted to effective home recording, and to the hardware and software best suited to that activity.

Radio Hed: Ernest Hemingway on Writing Radio Commercials

by Jeffrey Hedquist

What can the author of The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bells Toll, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro teach us about writing radio commercials? A good commercial is a very short story with a specific purpose. Hemingway's style shows us how to tell a complete story in the fewest words. Hemingway's early work as a reporter at the Kansas City Star and later as a foreign correspondent helped develop his style, which has been characterized as stark, simple and austere with short declarative sentences and accessible language. A stylebook for young reporters advised: • Use short sentences • Use short first paragraphs • Use vigorous English, not forgetting to strive for smoothness • Be positive, not negative His iconic style is exemplified in this sentence from For Whom the Bell Tolls: "He was dead and that was all." From his short story A Clean, Well-Lighted Place: "It was late and every one had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light."

"...And Make It Real Creative!": The Truth About Perception

by Trent Rentcsh

Here's a bit of Reality that's based on truth, not perception... no matter how talented you are, no matter how much you learn, no matter how many years you Create, there's ALWAYS room for improvement! That's right, there's no finish line, even for those "on top of their game." It's simply one long, hard road of constant development and growth. Depressing? Hell NO! The journey is where all the fun is!

The Monday Morning Memo: High-Risk Writing a peek, a glimpse, a conclusion

by Roy H. Williams

It is dangerous to write sentences that require the reader to think. Frankly, you would be safer to blindfold yourself and walk in front of a Taliban firing squad wearing a Jesus Loves You T-shirt. Here's an example of dangerous writing: "Amnesia is not knowing who one is and wanting desperately to find out. Euphoria is not knowing who one is and not caring. Ecstasy is knowing exactly who one is - and still not caring." A surprising number of people will read those three sentences and say, "I don't get it," and then, rather than think about it for seven seconds, send a condescending email to the author.

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