Jen Edwards 3Every Autumn the Minneapolis Advertising Community huddles together for a soirée that fetes the strongest work of the past year. It’s a chance to openly brandish the best radio ads, TV spots, print pieces, interactive, B2B and so on.

Cleverly named, “The Show”, it’s a singular evening to be seen and obscene; to drink, feign, fawn and fall over. A frat party with pretense and better hors d’oeuvres. At the culmination of the evening a glossy book of great ads gets tucked under your arm that’ll spend the next year displayed on your coffee table – prominently so if your name is anywhere in it. Thus allowing, “Oh really? I didn’t notice…” to become the follow-up response to every, “Hey, I think I saw your name in The Show book.”

Jennifer Edwards-Hughes records in Babble-On’s new lobby.

Love it, loathe it, or some combination thereof – it’s always fun, (well, we think so) and one can’t argue with the effort made to elevate the quality of ads we produce here in Minneapolis.

One local agency with whom we do a lot of work, Colle+McVoy, won some hardware for a radio spot produced here at Babble-On. What makes this all the more sweet is that the client, Ready4K, is an organization worthy of some attention and praise. Its campaign is to get kids from all walks of life ready for kindergarten so that they aren’t left in the dark that first day of school. Downright noble.

Eric Husband and Dave Keepper, the copywriters for this session, were hoping to create a classroom ambience with a teacher welcoming kids to their first day of classes. The hook in this radio spot was the carefully timed reveal of this teacher’s monologue – slowly telling the truth about the situation some of these kids will face. It works especially well because the teacher keeps the steady soothing tone of a kindly mentor, but the message is chilling.

Minneapolis voice-over talent Jennifer Edwards-Hughes (other work of hers is here on the Babble-Blog) was hired to portray the teacher. In a strange twist of fate, the record date for this spot happened during the recent construction of our new lobby here at Babble-On – it became the perfect setting for a “classroom” recording.

To record her voice-over we strung up a Neumann RSM-191 stereo mic that we normally only use for recording ambience. The effect was great – as much as we like plug-in’s for faking a reverb there’s nothing like grabbing the real thing when you can. Of course, to pull this off, we had to try to make sure everyone was quiet around the recording studio (not easy) and during the voice-over recording we did get a few phone rings, door opens and large guffaws from Amelia.

Once Jen was recorded, the audio post production and sound design began in earnest. As anyone who does sound-design for a living will attest, one of the hardest “feels” to get is that of a quiet room with just a few people in it. Cloth movements, air-conditioning, chairs and breathing just don’t make a lot of noise, so sneaking those sounds in becomes a delicate game. They aren’t sounds that you hear and are aware of in the traditional sense – they’re sounds that form a natural background that you take for granted. Basically, you only notice them when they’re not in the final mix of a radio spot.

The meat of the ad now in the bag, we brought in voice-over talent Bob Davis to record the announcer section. We had to laugh a bit because we realized, once we recorded his section, that the web address when spoken – doesn’t state the number “4” in it – people would have gone to – not ideal. So, we hastily re-edited the top of the spot to accommodate a longer announcer section, Dave and Eric rewrote the copy to “explain” the url and the mix was done and out the door.

Here’s the award winning “Scared” from Colle+McVoy

Our friend Katie Lynch was the producer on this spot and Mike Fetrow was the Creative Director. Jennifer Edwards Hughes can be booked through her Twin Cities voice-over agent, Wehmann Models and Talent, Inc. Bob Davis can be scheduled through his agent, Moore Creative Talent, Inc.