Revisiting some past work with a cringe and a smile

How many times do we look back at something we did, after learning how to do it better, and wish we could try again? Perhaps it was going for a birdie putt with some cash on the line? Or maybe it was your first attempt at cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family? We all have something we would like to do over after improving our technique.

I was faced with that proposition while going through some old flash drives I found in my laptop bag. On one of them was a recording of a radio spot I did for a former employer, SUNation Solar Systems, from back in the fall of 2017. So, a little over two years later (and after finishing a lot of voiceover coaching), I listened. Thankfully I had my Beats on, and no-one else could hear it…. YIKES!

The script, which I wrote, had too much copy, but it was the message that the company wanted to get out. As most radio spots are about 30 seconds, I had written about 45 seconds worth of copy. And that was after editing. So, I went to WBAB, where the ad was to run, and recorded the spot in their studio with one of their engineers.

My memories of the studio time are vague, but I remember being told to smile when I was doing the read and to pick up my pace a bit. If I recall correctly, I could do it in about 36 seconds, and the engineer worked his magic. At the time, my untrained ear thought it sounded fine. When they sent me the MP3 of both versions, one with the phone number only and one with the website URL, I played them for my co-workers and the bosses. Not only did they like it, but I was complimented on how I sounded.

As I listen to it now, I realize that all those compliments came from the goodness of my co-worker’s hearts. Why? Because I sounded like Pee-Wee Herman… on crack! Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself….

See! What did I tell you? Pee-Wee Herman on crack. As I write this, I am cringing. Time for a mulligan of sorts. Now that I have received some excellent coaching from my two VO angels, Linda Bruno and Julie Williams, I can do it again. But different this time.

The first change is the copy, which was sort of a ‘get as much info in as possible’ version the first time. A little judicious editing and tweaking, removing the reference to the website as an FB ad would have a hyperlink, and it flows better. Next, instead of doing a read for a 30-second radio spot, I did the read as if it would be used for a 45-second FB video ad. Then to impart some of those wonderful lessons I learned and a little polish of the sound thanks to some lessons from Uncle Roy, I am much happier. Here it is!

So, while this new version will never see the light of day beyond this blog post, I feel better about redoing it just so that I could fade the memory of the first version from my mind. Oh, wait! That one will live on in this blog post too! Feeling cringey again!

One last thing…. for anyone who reads this who lives on Long Island and wants to go solar, call SUNation. You won’t go wrong. And tell them Rob Carbone referred you. You won’t be sorry!