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Mike Russell: Hi, I'm Mike Russell from Music Radio Creative. Welcome to the Adobe Audition Podcast were I'm interviewing power users of Adobe Audition. We'll reminisce back to Cool Edit Pro and take you right up to date with Adobe Audition CC. If you'd like to learn about audio production – everything from vocal effects to radio imaging, commercial production to music mixing – join my next audio production course at mrc dot fm slash learn. That's mrc dot fm slash l e a r n, learn.
Mike Russell: My guest today is Amie. She's from a small town where great talent is raised. That's Charleston in West Virginia. Yep the Jennifer Garner home and Sam Trammell's hometown too. She grabbed her B.A. in speech broadcasting from Marshall University in 94 and then in 99 began her voiceover journey. She's a powerhouse voice over talent and you can hear her on local, regional and national radio and TV commercials promos, corporate e-learning, training videos, character voices, video games, on hold messaging plus she continues to study with top voice over talents and casting directors from New York and Los Angeles. And has also been a finalist in That's Voiceover twice that's a lot to have under your belt. In August of 2017 Amy also became the voice of the Target store self checkouts across the United States. It is a great honor and pleasure Amy to welcome you to the Adobe Audition podcast.
Amie Breedlove: Thank you Mike I'm so excited to be here.
Mike Russell: Well it's wonderful to have you. So let's get started straight off as a voiceover. How are you using Adobe Audition?
Amie Breedlove: Well it is my main editing software it's what I use every single day.
Mike Russell: So obviously Adobe Audition has tons of features and I'm really excited to maybe explore some of the features you're using the most as a voiceover artist later on in this podcast but maybe let's start off by focusing on some of your career and some of the projects you're working on and have worked on and hope to work on so I'm first of all very interested in the kind of advice that maybe you've received throughout your time as a voiceover artist you say you've been in the industry since 1999 and you train with many casting directors from coast to coast in the US. So what's the best if you could maybe pick out one piece of really good advice you've received in your voice over career so far. What would it be?
Amie Breedlove: You know the best to me is the most simple and it was from a casting director in New York. Great guy. And he told me to simply just read. That's all I needed to do just read. And then the producer director is going to direct you where to go.
Mike Russell: I like that. So tell me a little bit more about what you mean by just read.
Amie Breedlove: Well I took a class with him actually a couple of classes and the second class that I took is where this came up and I looked at the script and I was kind of looking through it and I'm like Okay ready to go. And he goes Why are you doing that and I'm like I you know make sure I can feel it out. Get the feel for it and he goes Just read like OK. And so I just read. And he goes how that feel and I'm like good he goes you want to change it up we can change it up but just read.
Mike Russell: That's really cool. And would you Amie go along the school of thought that actually some of the best deliveries and best scripts are read as if you're speaking or you're telling them to your best friend as opposed to really trying to put some energy in and make it sound like a voiceover What's your opinion on that?
Amie Breedlove: That's for sure. That is the gosh that almost seems industry standard now doesn't it. It seems like almost every job that I do now is we just want you to sound very conversational and you're in a coffee shop talking to your best friend. However I still do the very. Announcer read but not as often. I kind of miss that because that's how I how I was trained in radio. Yeah the conversational read is definitely high on the list and I think it's honestly rather hard to do sometimes at least with my background. It takes a lot of out of well maybe that's where they just read comes in because. You know I tend to look at a script and it turns into like a musical piece and I want to put a symphony to it and and all I need to do is just read it and chat with my friend in the coffee shop.
Mike Russell: It makes a lot of sense. Now I'm guessing just looking at your bio. Yeah. You know you've worked on tons of different projects from you know radio and TV commercials to e-learning training have you. Have you done much with audiobooks as well?
Amie Breedlove: You know I did three audio books and after the third one I was like I don't think I made for audiobooks. It's very time consuming and my voice tends to get very tired after about an hour. I have to slow down and stop and you know add some more lemon in my tea and so I get very fatigued with audio books. Now that's not to say I would never do one again. However it's just not my top pick.
Mike Russell: Makes a lot of sense because a lot of reading like you say over a long period of time and having all those tricks. Like yeah. Lemon in your tea or in your water to refresh. Really really helpful so thinking about those those challenging projects. Have you got maybe one of the the most challenging projects you've worked on that maybe you can you can share with us and I'd love to hear about you know something that was really really challenging for you.
Amie Breedlove: It actually would be one of the audio books it was for the Texas School Systems and it was a very easy read. But it was just very long it took me about three months maybe even six months I can't quite remember it's been a couple of years ago. But it was on a tight deadline so with the tight deadline being there and then my voice that gets fatigued easily after an hour or two and then of course I have my other jobs and auditions that I'm working in around the audio book. I almost never left my studio. My husband was sliding food under the door for me. So that was quite a challenge. And of course I was editing as well. So if I hadn't been editing the project it would have probably been easier. But there was tons of editing involved.
Mike Russell: Yeah that's nice if you can just record you can just record and then stop and upload and then its producer or editor's job to go through and that is and tidy up and clean and get rid of or quieten down breaths and all of that. Yeah that's interesting so audiobooks definitely. That's interesting you mentioned Texas School Systems. I don't know for that particular book if this was the case but are there any projects you work on where you have lots of technical words to read or things like that. I don't know if you're working for an electronics company or you know talking about chemicals or something like that. Do you ever get projects like that that kind of really you have to almost look at pronunciations of words as well as thinking about how you're delivering the script?
Amie Breedlove: I do. In fact I've done several medical narrations where you have to stop you know Google or how do you say this how do you say this. And also gosh it's been at least four years ago that I've worked on a wine project with tons of French and Italian words and the session probably lasted four hours because of all these words. And you know when you get tired during a session to the pronunciations just don't want to roll off your tongue as easily as well. So that was probably one of the top challenging projects as well.
Mike Russell: I can definitely imagine. So before we get onto other projects that maybe you'd be inspired to work on I'd like to ask you certainly as much as you can or you're able to share about being the voice of Target stores self checkouts. I'd like to share a little bit about what that project was like working on that what you had to do. Because I'm really curious I'm sure a lot of people listening are as to what kind of work or what you have to do going into that. So as much as you are able and comfortable to share I'd love to know more about that project too?
Amie Breedlove: Sure. You know that was actually one of the easiest sessions I've done. And I had no idea that it was going to be excuse me a national project I thought it was simply a regional project until I received the contract and I was like oh this is going everywhere. But it was a very easy session. It was simply reading prompts you know for the self checkout and the session probably lasted an hour, hour and a half and I did my little prompts and that was it. And it was fun. And I had no idea it would turn into something so cool.
Mike Russell: That is really cool. That's amazing because I mean this is this is the norm now worldwide. Any store or supermarket you walk into they have the self checkouts. But absolutely someone has got to be there behind the microphone creating those prompts. I still remember we have I guess a similar supermarket in scale and size to Target in the U.K. where I'm from is Tesco and that has one of those voices at the checkout and the thing that always gets me is when it says, "unknown item in bagging area". Did you have to read that?
Amie Breedlove: I think I did. There was about 50 prompts that I read. And yes I'm sure that was one of them.
Mike Russell: You have a load of cool stuff that you been working on. I'm really interested to know though because you always interests me to know what are the cool projects that you'd like to work on those inspirations or those those goals. So is there anything in particular Amie you'd like to work on the maybe you haven't told anyone about yet?
Amie Breedlove: Oh my gosh yes I would love to do TV promo work. I think that would be great. Coming up tonight at 10:00 I think that would be so much fun. And then of course who doesn't want to be a Disney princess or a mom? I'd love to work with Disney and maybe be a mom voice. I think that would be spectacular.
Mike Russell: Have you had a think at all like with the Disney princess. I mean I don't know how far the dream has gone but have you visualized like what situation might it be like. I don't know. A Princess in a castle or a princess in some other land or maybe something like I don't know The Little Mermaid some underwater princess have you gone that far with the thought of what it might be yet?
Amie Breedlove: You know I always focus on Belle because I love Belle from Beauty and the Beast. So that's my go to inspiration for a Disney princess or the mom in The Incredibles.
Mike Russell: Absolutely wow. Really cool really good stuff. So I'd love to talk to you I mean you have a fantastic voice. I can hear her now. When I when I talk to you and obviously I'm interested to know you started in voiceover in 1999 but I'm sure that you've been interested in audio and maybe the voice for a lot longer than that. Did you work in radio before you got into voice full time or what was your background before all of that. Obviously you have the B.A. in speech broadcasting but did you have any other experience outside of just diving straight into voice over?
Amie Breedlove: I did. Of course I did work in radio for 16 years. Everything just it's so strange how it happened because when I was growing up I loved to sit in front of my stereo and record songs because I'd love to sing. I started doing that at age 7 and I still have my little tape recorder that you know you'd hit record and it would pick up all the sounds in the room. And so I have some great memories from that that I can't even listen to today. So I've always been in front of a microphone just recording songs or I used to have my friends over and we would play newscaster with my little recorder. And then of course college just popped in. And I always wanted to be a singer. So when I went to college I was like What am I going to do. I've got to do something you can't just saying in college so I sell radio stations so I went toward that table on orientation to orientation day. And again it just it kinda happened.
Mike Russell: Nice you got the radio bug so working radio have you done every single pretty much role inside radio?
Mike Russell: Back to the interview in a moment. But if you want to win my perfect audio creator set up head over to MRC dot FM slash win.
Amie Breedlove: Yes. Other than being the big boss I've just been let's see a music director, a production director and have been a deejay. Gosh I've worked in TV a little bit as well and I don't know the technical term but pulling down the weather maps. I did that during college as an internship and I thought oh maybe I can be a meteorologist because I'm such a weather nerd too. That would be like a second job that I would love as being a meteorologist but too much math is involved. But I love all aspects of audio.
Mike Russell: That's really good. So obviously you mentioned that that childhood memory of yours. You look back and make you smile and was possibly the start of your interest in audio when you were 7 years old and you were recording yourself singing and you had your friends round and did the same thing. Was that recording onto like a cassette tape back in the day?
Amie Breedlove: That was the fabulous cassette tape.
Mike Russell: Nice. That's great. And do you ever. So you say you can dig them out and you can still play them today have you ever thought of doing anything like that especially as you were singing back then have you ever thought of doing a duet with your younger self or something like that?
Amie Breedlove: You know that's a great idea. I haven't considered that.
Mike Russell: You could you could put it into Adobe Audition you could do the hiss reduction on the cassette tape to get the quality sounding good and then yeah go for it.
Amie Breedlove: I might have to do that today right after this podcast.
Mike Russell: That'd be really good! So well, fantastic Amie I mean so we've got a bit of a background there of you know the production advice you've received the projects you've worked on and want to work on your childhood memories and a bit of your background not only in voiceover but also in TV like you say pulling down the weather maps that's so cool and working in radio. Just before I get onto how you are using Adobe Audition I wanted to check with you what was your favorite role inside radio was it being on the air or was it something else?
Amie Breedlove: Definitely production director. That's where I found that I loved doing voiceover. I was recording the commercials and writing and producing and a little backstory. The voice guy for the radio station that I was working for was in town and I was chatting with him like so how do you do what you do and he goes You mean voice over And I'm like so that's what it's called? So I hadn't even heard of it before and he gave me all these little great tidbits of information and that's when I started out doing voiceover locally just some local paid spots and from there it flourished.
Mike Russell: Well let's get into a bit more of the software and maybe even the tech the gear side as well with some of your equipment. So let's start off with Adobe Audition so we've got an overview of you are using it day in day out to record edit your voice overs save them send them off to clients around the world but if you had to pick just one feature from Adobe Audition as a voiceover artist that is your favorite feature. What would that be?
Amie Breedlove: Oh yes. Let's see definitely the Spectral Display. I love that because I tend Well I've noticed that with my new mic I upgraded to a Neumann U87, yay! This past year and there's a little bit. It really picks up your sounds and so I get a little bit more mouth noise occasionally and man the Spectral Display is just perfect for pulling those out. It's just they're right there. You highlight it. Delete it. You're good to go.
Mike Russell: So what were you using Amie before the U87. Did you have a TLM103 or something different?
Amie Breedlove: You know when I first went fulltime in 2011 as a voice over talent I started with the Blue mic and then I used that for maybe a year and then I switched over to the Harlen Hogan microphone and then I just kept reading about which microphone do I want. I know I want a Neumann but which one do I want? And after a few voiceover conventions I was able to try out some different types and this is the one that I fell in love with. So finally I saved up and I got it.
Mike Russell: That's brilliant but it definitely does place you in a different spectrum or area in the voiceover field. Having a good quality microphone and I try to stress this as much as I can in my teachings get the microphone right. Get a good quality microphone because there are so many people out there that want to make voice over their thing and their full time passion. But there are not many people that really go and get the kit that makes them sound the best. So yeah very very important. So let's move on now to amazing work flows and timesaving short cuts inside Adobe Audition. Do you have any that you use on a regular basis as a voice artist to speed up your work flow?
Amie Breedlove: I do. I have my shortcut keys for editing which makes me just fly along my silencing I use every now and then and of course I have a little I don't really silence them completely but I bring the levels down in my breaths. So you know it sounds natural as I'm reading but then you don't hear the breaths in there and the audio volume as well sometimes you know I want something to sound a little softer or maybe a little louder at a certain point. So I have a shortcut key for that so I definitely love my shortcut keys.
Mike Russell: That's good. And to you before you even hit Adobe Audition when you're recording do you add any kind of compression or EQ. Maybe using a mic preamp or processor or any kind of EQ board before the audio actually gets into your DAW.
Amie Breedlove: I don't. However I do use an Apollo Twin so if a client is looking for raw audio they're receiving absolutely raw audio but if they say you know add a little of whatever you do I do add a little bit of compression and of course I do remove the room noise because I do have a small amount of room noise with all my recordings. But again Adobe Audition makes it super simple to catch that audio and take it away.
Mike Russell: Well let's get into some of your audio resources and your gear obviously pride and joy of your studio is that Neumann U87 also the Apollo Twin that's brilliant for getting your audio into the computer. So what other resources and gear are you using on a regular basis in your creations?
Amie Breedlove: Well I love my Mac. I used to be a PC gal but you know they say when you go Mac you can't go back and I absolutely just adore my Mac. So I've got that. And I've got my Auralex in the room. And my Bose speakers and outside of that. It's literally just Adobe Audition my microphone and Apollo Twin that make me sound like a superstar.
Mike Russell: Really really cool. I love it so. Well we have a great overview. I'm curious actually with your Adobe Audition editing. Do you ever hop over into the multitrack? Do you ever piece things together that way or are you usually working in waveform?
Amie Breedlove: Usually always 99, 98 percent in just the single waveform. However I do love to get into the multitrack whenever I can. Imaging is another one of my fun things to do if I ever find the time to do that because I did do some imaging. Forgot about that in radio and I absolutely love putting sound effects and music and getting music to sync together. It's just so much fun so that's definitely one of the things I love to do. I just don't have a lot of time to do that as I'm busy working on projects.
Mike Russell: Just before I get into the the penultimate question. On that on imaging and you say you do some radio imaging and some mixing of music. Do you have any favorite vocal effects or strange voice changing effects that you like to use when you're in your imaging mode. Anything that is your go to kind of make your voice sound wide or big or echoey or reverby anything in particular there that you'd use or do you tend to keep the voices sounding quite straight? What's your take on that?
Amie Breedlove: Definitely when I do my radio imaging I use a ton of the effects and that's another thing Adobe provides just a plethora of amazing effects. I've used the flanger the chorus. Oh gosh there's a stereo image effect that I've used quite often. And then some that make you sound like you're on a telephone. Oh yes and I've slowed down and you know faded off at the end and slow down.
Mike Russell: Like a winding slow down. Like that? It's awesome and yeah like you say you can you can do all of that inside Audition. That's awesome. Neraly at the end of the show but I'd like to ask you I like to ask everyone who comes on this podcast who has experience and has been in the industry for a while and kind of knows how things work. If you were to talk now to a young and aspiring audio producer or maybe maybe they don't quite know yet maybe they maybe they do want to get into voice over. Maybe they want to work in radio or they want to just create their own imaging at home and you know maybe build up a worldwide base of clients. But they're just getting started. They're definitely energetic. But what would be your advice to them if they're just getting into the industry now what would you say to them?
Amie Breedlove: Well first of all keep learning always keep learning because tech is always changing how I learned Adobe was actually by watching. It was when I was in radio around 1995 or 1996 and one of the deejays was editing some audio and I'm like what you doing there? And so I sat there for probably a week in-between my other duties at the radio station just mesmerized watching going. I can do this. I would love to do that. This is like on a bigger scale from my little recorder that I had as a kid. You know you can do so much more than with a cassette. So yeah definitely. If watching someone do this is good for you then check out YouTube videos and listen keep your ears clean and healthy because your ears are very important in hearing audio and take lessons from those who have been in the business for quite a long time. But yeah just always keep learning I think is the most important aspect of this and practice. Obviously you want to get in there and throw some audio in and just practice editing so you can edit quickly because obviously clients normally want their projects turned around yesterday so being able to edit your audio super quick and super clean and make it sound just perfect. You want to practice a lot.
Mike Russell: I really like that. Yeah absolutely and that final piece of advice of just practicing yeah. You know do spend a lot of time watching and learning from others. That's one of the best ways you can do it. Obviously like you mentioned Amie. You know when you were learning and certainly when I was learning inside a radio studio you'd usually have someone I guess you'd call a mentor who's kind of teaching you they already know and you're learning and picking up along the way but get into practice as soon as you can even if you don't think it sounds as good as someone else you know you have your own style you'll build your own style and put it out there. And also I think that's fantastic about keeping your is clean. There has been another guest Mark Edward Lewis who was on this show. He's a Cinema Sound designer. He does film editing and audio editing and he's very very hot on also saying that you should definitely look after your hearing in this industry. So yeah definitely. Oh, what a great piece of advice. And and just finally to go back to your your tape recorder but on a bigger scale I'm going to have to stick that up as a quote on my wall that will inspire me on a daily basis like playing with Adobe Audition. It's like the tape recorder I used to have but on a bigger scale.
Amie Breedlove: And you don't have to use a pencil to turn…
Mike Russell: And you don't have to hold down the rewind or fastforward button half way to get the sped up sound as well.
Amie Breedlove: Oh my gosh. That's true.
Mike Russell: That's cool. Well thank you so much for joining me. I mean it's been an absolute blast. And I'd like to know obviously for myself but also I'm sure there'll be others listening. Who will have really got to know you over this 30 minutes and like what you do and they'll want to know more about you too. So why would you send them online to find out more?
Amie Breedlove: Oh sure my web site is W W W dot Amie Breedlove dot com and that's a m i e b r e e d l o v e dot com.
Mike Russell: There you go. Amie thanks for joining me on the show.
Amie Breedlove: Thank you so much Mike. I had so much fun.
Mike Russell: That concludes this episode would you like an extra chance to win the awesome audio gear giveaway. Hit subscribe and review this podcast. Then email the details to podcast at MRC dot fm for an extra entry into the awesome audio giveaway. Good luck.
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