AV123 - an audiovisual show by Voice123

How to succeed as a Creative Director with Brittany from Quill Podcasting

July 02, 2024 Voice123 Season 1 Episode 5
How to succeed as a Creative Director with Brittany from Quill Podcasting
AV123 - an audiovisual show by Voice123
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AV123 - an audiovisual show by Voice123
How to succeed as a Creative Director with Brittany from Quill Podcasting
Jul 02, 2024 Season 1 Episode 5
Voice123

AV123 - an audiovisual show powered by Voice123 - the largest and most trusted network to hire voice actors for any voice over project.

Sign up for free to bring your AV projects to vocal life!

This week, Brittany Nguyen, the Creative Director at Quill Podcasting - a branded podcast agency -  explains the importance of branded content in AV production!

Branding is a crucial marketing strategy that helps companies, marketers, and creators connect with global audiences. But how can you create a brand that’s memorable and impactful? Listen to this week's episode to get branding tips and insights for audio and video production!

Need a voice actor to bring your AV project to life?

Sign up for free and search for the best vocal pros!
Or book a free call with a Key Account Manager to get project advice & learn about A-to-Z project management, curated voices, translation, and more!


Want to be featured on the show? Reach out to us at avshow@voice123.com

Send us a Text Message.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

AV123 - an audiovisual show powered by Voice123 - the largest and most trusted network to hire voice actors for any voice over project.

Sign up for free to bring your AV projects to vocal life!

This week, Brittany Nguyen, the Creative Director at Quill Podcasting - a branded podcast agency -  explains the importance of branded content in AV production!

Branding is a crucial marketing strategy that helps companies, marketers, and creators connect with global audiences. But how can you create a brand that’s memorable and impactful? Listen to this week's episode to get branding tips and insights for audio and video production!

Need a voice actor to bring your AV project to life?

Sign up for free and search for the best vocal pros!
Or book a free call with a Key Account Manager to get project advice & learn about A-to-Z project management, curated voices, translation, and more!


Want to be featured on the show? Reach out to us at avshow@voice123.com

Send us a Text Message.

Carel:

Whichever way you look at it, storytelling is an art, and brand storytelling no less so. Hi, I'm Carel, host of AV123, an audiovisual show powered by Voice123, the largest and most trusted network to hire voice actors for your AV projects. In this episode, we chat with Brittany Nguyen of Quill Podcasting about all things brand storytelling and how to get it right.

Brittany:

Doesn't necessarily need to have a beginning, middle, end. Like today, in social media, we have like 10 second clips that you might not see have a beginning, middle, end, but it's a message that we want to get across.

Carel:

The art and craft of storytelling, coming up on AV123. Brittany Nguyen of Quill Podcasting. Welcome to AV123 .Now you're a creative director at the company and rumor has it that you're also a master storyteller. Now, there are many different kinds of stories and there are many different definitions of storytelling. How would you define storytelling first in general, and then more specifically in the context of brand?

Brittany:

Well, thank you for having me on the show. I would say, in general, storytelling, I think at the basic form, it's how we communicate to other people to get them engaged. I think in the simplest way, it's that we are telling some sort of narrative, whether it is short or long form. Doesn't necessarily need to have a beginning, middle, end, like today in social media, we have like 10 second clips that you might not see have a beginning, middle, end, but it's a message that we want to get across.

Carel:

Something that short? Can one define that as storytelling?

Brittany:

I believe so, I think. We can define something as short as a ten second clip or a ten second audio piece as a story, because I think at the crux of it, as long as it has some sort of message to the audience whether it's actually impactful or not. I think we're so used to storytelling when we're younger of like reading a book where you obviously have, well-defined characters. They go through a well-defined plot and everything like that, but I think. In the terms of like specifically brands and social media, that's all changing common knowledge of what storytelling really is in the context of brands. Their goal is to get their message across for their particular campaign. So whether it is to endorse a new product, they are trying to not obviously endorse a product, like, Hey, buy this, they're trying to create characters behind it, create a message that will relate to whoever they're selling to.

Carel:

Now, having said that let's zoom in on what you do at Quill. What is your role as creative director in audio and video production?

Brittany:

So in my role at Quill, I'm the creative director. So we are mainly a podcast agency, but we produce both video and audio podcasts for our clients. And so in short, my overall responsibilities is to basically ensure the creative direction, the mood, the feel, the message of the podcast specifically for our clients are consistent throughout the video and audio version. And there's only one version. It's like, how is it consistent throughout like the whole series? How's it consistent throughout like any imagery that might be with the podcast in a nutshell? That's my role

Carel:

Do clients ask for one or the other or both?

Brittany:

We are getting more people asking for a video now. I think when Quill first started in 2020, just around the, when the pandemic fully started, people were asking for audio because in light of the circumstances of where we were, a pandemic, there was little opportunity for people to have video podcasts. And so audio was like a medium for them. But now we're getting more people using video content to essentially share with their audience, and they feel that adding a video component can help them see who is talking, see who are the hosts and guests and kind of connect with their brand just a little bit more.

Carel:

So it's more impactful?

Brittany:

I would say it's more impactful. And also they are really big on share ability to with audio. It's very hard to share. A piece of content on social media or LinkedIn or any of those, but video people see the video and they get a little bit more engaged and they're able to comment on it more.

Carel:

In terms of audio and video production, how technically skilled should a creative director be, and I'll give you some context to why I'm asking you that. Because when I was a creative director at an advertising agency, I found it very useful to have a technical background because sometimes you'd be confronted with a sound engineer and audio engineer who'd say, You can't do that, and I'd say, but you can, let me show you how do you think it's important?

Brittany:

I think it's definitely important because when I first started, I quote, I was basically the technical person. I wasn't creative director first. I was the technical person and all aspects of production and post production. And so having those skill sets and knowing what the creative vision is and knowing how to execute it, I think it's also important. Some creative directors are really known for their ideas, their vision, breaking the mold and thinking outside the box. But I think really great creative directors are able to do that, but also know that this is who my team is. These are the technical skills needed, and this is how we can like flawlessly execute a creative vision or project.

Carel:

How do you do that? What tools do you need to master to be able to be as proficient as you are at doing what you do?

Brittany:

I think definitely knowing your audio editing software, whether it is Pro Tools or Adobe Audition or any of those, and really knowing different plugins too, I think knowing the ins and outs of audio frequencies, basic audio editing, and just how you can manipulate audio and sound to make it sound how you want is extremely important, especially when we are doing remote podcasts. And so how do we tell a really effective story where sometimes qualities also compromise.

Carel:

What do you do under those circumstances?

Brittany:

Technology and audio has, I would say from 2020 until now, in the aspect of AI, it has definitely helped us clean up audio a lot better. And even in the circumstances where people may not have a microphone, or maybe not be in the best environment. For example, we have like a host, he lives in an RV van, he likes to travel around the world, and he works out of an RV van. So he doesn't have the best Wi-Fi and so I think with that, first of all, it's like making sure their environment and wherever the recording is to their ability, the best it can be. And then afterwards, if, when we are putting it in post production, we are running it through a couple of filters and plugins that we have that work really, really well, and so we have a lot of AI filters that we use to clean up noise and sound. And even, help them improve their speech as well. So some people are against AI, but I'm very pro AI in terms of making our lives better and also delivering really good work for our clients.

Carel:

When you say that, how exactly has AI become involved?

Brittany:

I would say in the post production and editing standpoint, of course, in a podcast, you're not taking the absolute raw interview and just sending it onto the podcast platforms. You are editing it and fine tuning it. And so you might cut words here and there. And so when we are cleaning up speech and maybe a cut isn't as perfect as we want, we have this AI tool that can actually learn about the guest or host voice and kind of regenerate a couple words. Of course, they have to say it for them to regenerate, but we would highlight the end of a sentence in the beginning of next to be like, okay, can you make this as smooth as possible? And it does the trick.

Carel:

Wow. That's quite extraordinary. I won't ask you what it is, but I think that that can be incredibly useful. Any other tools?

Brittany:

Adobe has their AI enhancer for if you have guests that are not in the best situation, it kind of makes. their voice sound like almost it's like in the studio, but I will also have to caution that sometimes AI tools, you have to use them with caution and also use your tools as an audio engineer to know how to clean up some things. For example, When we use like AI voice enhancer tools to make people sound a little bit more clear and they're not talking over the phone, sometimes we find that they sound a little bit robotic, or we found instances where some female voices the AI attached a lisp to when they were speaking.

Carel:

Yes.

Brittany:

Think it's about not using these AI effects to a hundred percent, but using them as like a good base to help you use your skills that you will have as an audio engineer to be like, okay, now I will clean up the background noise a little bit further. I will adjust the high and low frequencies, maybe the high, because there's a lot of static in the background, like high pitch noise. So bring that down to have like a cleaner output.

Carel:

So, in other words, to cut it short, you're basically saying that, as far as AI is concerned, one uses AI in a supporting role, not a leading role.

Brittany:

Yes, it's very much a supporting role.

Carel:

Now, just tell me, as a matter of interest, which would you recommend as a career path? Starting off in a technical environment, as you did, and then learning the creative skills? Or being creative? And then learning the technical skills.

Brittany:

Some people say creativity can't necessarily be learned, but I definitely think creativity is a skill they can definitely nurture if you're willing to put in the time for it. Because I find that people who have technical skills and then later learn about the creativity in my experience have really learned how to use the technology and tools that they know to smoothly execute a creative vision. From a logistics point of view, so it's less like humps to go through, you know, like how to do it technically, you know, what kind of scope it will be rather than we have this really big creative idea, but then you start from we actually don't know how to execute it.

Carel:

Let me ask you something completely off the wall. Creatives, by implication, by nature of the role that they fulfill within the body of a company, need to be creative. How do you stay inspired and keep your creative juices flowing? Is there a methodology you subscribe to? Is there a methodology you can recommend that others who are listening might be able to follow should they hit a dry patch in their creativity?

Brittany:

I think with creativity, you should be first consistently consuming different kinds of content. For example, I work for a podcasting company, but I'm also indulging in radio, indulging in paintings, indulging in pottery. And I think like opening yourself up and opening your mind, your eyes, your ears to things that are not within your bubble really helps you be creative in your own work. Because pushing boundaries of creativity doesn't mean that you stay within your own expertise. It's actually going outside your comfort zone and going outside of what you know, and learning things from the outside and bringing it into your own craft.

Carel:

That's some very good advice. Another question for you. You have a creative team that you work with or a technical team and a creative team. How do you navigate conflict within the team? Because creativity by nature is often born of conflict. What do you do under those circumstances?

Brittany:

Funny enough, I think it's actually creative differences with the client more than with the team. With my team specifically, we are an incredibly strong team that we know each other's strengths and weaknesses. And we have creative sessions all the time, which could relate to what we're working on or just like completely doing a creative activity. And we don't have a lot of like creative differences or conflicts. I think they're all really good conversations that we have with each other. I think creative differences come with the client of like not understanding the medium too well.

Carel:

What sort of creative differences do you have with a client?

Brittany:

I think in the realm of podcasting, it's funny because we create branded podcasts. And so what the podcasts that our clients listen to are like podcasts for the everyday person. For example, the Daily always like comes up. It's like, Oh, we want our podcast to be like the Daily. But are you talking about the same things as the Daily, for example, you are a financial company, you are an insurance company, you also have to think about your audience. And so I think they listen to podcasts that just entertains them outside the workplace versus we are creating podcasts specifically for brands and for like professionals within their industry. When we deal with creative conflicts, we reel it back to like, who's your audience? Who are you talking to? And what are they interested in? We're not making this podcast for you, although you might be in the realm of the audience, but we're making it specifically who you want to target and who your audience are. And so I feel like that's a really important piece when you nail down the core of your audience to be like, okay, this is who we're making it for. Of course, they wouldn't like X, Y, and Z that I listened to on the Daily. They would prefer this instead.

Carel:

With reference to conflict specifically now, what strategies do you use to ensure that a project's vision or the client's vision is consistently executed from start to finish, especially because conflict can be so disruptive?

Brittany:

We realized that when we work with a client, they actually don't hear what the podcast could sound like until we give them a trailer. And that's after we've done like immense like pre production and production work, and they still don't know what it exactly sounds like. So what we implemented in the beginning is sort of like a short proof of concept for what the podcast could sound like. These are like short five minute podcasts. And we give them two options. Option A, with this structure where the hosts and the guests are more having like a conversation, it's kind of light, easygoing. And option B is a little bit more hard hitting, maybe more use of music and sound. Which one do you think fits with your brand or fits with what you're trying to portray? And so I think some strategies are like giving them something tangible to listen to, giving them something excited to look forward to, because there was just such a long period where they did not hear any work or hear how things would come together. And so putting that nugget in the beginning of like, this is what we are creating and this is the concept. So it's going to be a hundred times better than this, but this is something to get you really excited about.

Carel:

Speaking of excitement, let me direct this question to our listeners. Are you an audio producer? Did you know that Voice123 has an AV resource center where you can learn everything on how to hire a voice actor to creating video game characters? No? Well, all you need to do is visit www. voice123. com forward slash blog. And with that, back to you, Brittany. How do you know when your stories are compelling and engaging? Is there a secret sauce you can share?

Brittany:

It's really interesting with like having a role of a creative director because you think it's all creativity and like storytelling, but there's actually a lot of like strategic thinking and like analytics behind it as well, because you can put something out in the world. But you have to see how it performs, how it engages with their audience. And I think that's like a measure of success. So one metric that we measure is like consumption rate. So how long someone will listen to the episode for or how long someone would view the video for. And so using that rate, which we usually tend to hit about like 70 to 80, that's like really, really good. And that's our goal for like our clients across the board to be like, is this like a successful product that's out there?

Carel:

How do you predetermine it though? Or is it just a matter of, you've just got to cross your fingers and hope to die and send it out into the wild?

Brittany:

I think in some cases we kind of just wrap it up like a project and like have your kid out in the wild because like sometimes when you work on a project for too long you can get in the weeds of like you're in your own little bubble and you just know that something will work but you're like oh I have an inkling that might not work. I think like sometimes throwing it out into the wild kind of like what we do because then we get like kind of like a fresh outlook on it. That we see like, okay, episode one and two, people are actually really engaging with this. People are actually commenting on the episode. We are getting reviews and all things like that. And so, yeah, I don't think we, we predetermine it because it's very hard because you don't know if they will necessarily exactly resonate with it. It's, I think it's a matter of being flexible and like kind of keeping an eye on like how things are performing.

Carel:

How often do you trust your gut?

Brittany:

I would say I trust my gut 90 percent of the time.

Carel:

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Brittany:

Yeah.

Carel:

One has to. Obviously, you've, over time, you've gathered strategies and elements that you know will work and will work for a certain audience?

Brittany:

Yeah, we work a lot with financial companies. And so we have like acquired the skills of like, sometimes two companies have like very similar like audiences and demographics and we have like insights of like those male to 40, like what they like and where they consume media and how they liked it to sound. And so keeping that in like a back pocket and our logs really is also like a pillar of success of like how we treat clients who may have like a similar audience.

Carel:

With reference to AI, how do you as creative director and having to be on the bleeding edge of what you do, how do you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in the audio and video production industry?

Brittany:

I watch a lot of YouTubers, actually. I think there's a lot of, especially audio and video YouTubers, they are very passionate about their technologies. There's just so many out there that I don't watch one, I watch like as many. And there's always them doing really, really in depth reviews and things like that, so that's one way I get up to date on like AI and technology. I'm subscribed to like certain like newsletters on technologies or like articles and things like that But I think it's like also just like consuming content, too. I think like my algorithm specifically is around that and so I think like on my social media is just like always coming up with this company released a new camera this company released a new microphone and so things like that

Carel:

So you've just got to have your finger on the pulse of what's out there constantly. In the final analysis, how do you measure the success of a project from a creative standpoint?

Brittany:

That's a really good question. And the final output of it, first of all, are you happy with the project? Like us being so close to the project, despite like many, any conflicts that we might have with the clients, are you happy with like the overall product and it's like something up to your standards, I think we have like a certain standard where we try to have our clients at or more. And so it's like, did it hit that standard? And then, afterwards, like seeing it how performed creatively, I think it's really hard in podcasting, but we've had like a lot of people, we have some people really like reach out to the companies that we've created a podcast for, or even like the individual podcast hosts and be like, this is a really, really great podcast, I think word of mouth and having an actual person be like, this is awesome. I think is like a really good marker that you have, or we have done something like really creative and really successful because numbers can be anything, you know, but having that word of mouth and having that audible sense of like positive affirmation is really great

Carel:

As creative director is there a project that you have personally done from start to finish that you are particularly proud of? Then tell us what made it special.

Brittany:

One of the projects that, like, I'm particularly proud of is we did a podcast for SickKids Hospital. So, SickKids Hospital is a major hospital in Toronto and their whole mission for the podcast is essentially highlighting the work that they do as a hospital and then highlighting the stories and personal stories of their patients and the patient's parents. And so, I was really, really proud of that because I think the writing of it was like incredible. So it was a narrative podcast where we had maybe two to three guest voices on and then a host kind of narrating everything. And the way that the writers wrote and did some of the patient stories justice was so beautifully written. And that's what like I talked about in the beginning. It's like people have their strengths. And using those strengths and letting them shine in the medium and putting everything together is really, really beautiful. And even in the editing process, we didn't do too many frills as in put in a lot of music or sound effects. We carefully put it in a way where like, it would just like add or enhance the story versus sometimes we put it in a lot just to keep it engaged. But I think it was like, a product that really let the voices in the podcast sing and tell the story. And it wasn't like overly complicated. It was actually kind of simple, but it resulted in a beautiful product. So many great stories from it and really, really good feedback.

Carel:

You mentioned host narration as a voice actor attached to Voice123 , which is a voiceover and a voice actor platform. How important is voiceover? How important is narration in the business of storytelling?

Brittany:

Narration is incredibly important. Because they are, whoever the narrator is, is the vehicle for the story. Taking the audience to whatever path they are in the story. And hearing different voiceovers in our work. Really knowing the importance of, like, what kind of voice is going to be a narrator? Is it going to be, like, a deep, bassy male voice? Is it going to be a sultry female voice? That all affects how you tell the story and affects, like, how your audience will receive your message.

Carel:

Do you use AI narration? Or do you always go for the real thing?

Brittany:

We've only had one instance where we use AI narration, but that's specifically because the show wanted to have a quote unquote AI host. And so, that was the only instance we used, like, maybe AI narration to, like, do like a host pickup just to replicate their voice, but it's always a real person behind it.

Carel:

What do you see as the future of the role of creative director in media production? Are you preparing for it? Is it changing constantly as it has with the tsunami that is AI?

Brittany:

If you are listening out there and you want to be a creative director in the future, I think there are still the basics of like society, trends and technology is constantly changing. And so you have to constantly see the future of like, what is society thinking? What is your audience thinking at this moment? What are the current trends? At this moment, if you are doing something a little bit more timely, and then what is the technology out there to help you execute your vision? And so how am I preparing for this? I think for me, apart from like consuming creative content, I'm also consuming news out there of like what's happening in our society, seeing what is the most up to date. I know it's like a popular topic, but always talking about the next generation. So generation, like Gen Z, Gen Alpha, to know like what they're talking about. But I think it's like being really in tune about people and knowing what the future of how people are behaving, how people are consuming media will really make you a really good creative director because you know how to create content or create things that will really memorize or engage future audiences.

Carel:

Is that the advice, as a final question, is that the advice you would give to aspiring creative directors looking to break into the industry?

Brittany:

Yeah, I think that would be the advice and also those who are looking to break into the industry I think it's also honing into your craft and constantly creating something whether it's in your field or not. I think constantly creating something and practicing that muscle is very, very important. Even if you think it looks like crap, you know, just like exposing yourself and like practicing that muscle is incredibly important. And people will see that people will see the effort. People will see your development of like who you are as a creative and people are really drawn to that.

Carel:

Brittany Nguyen of Quill Podcasting. Thank you so much for joining us on AV123.

Brittany:

Thanks for having me here.

Carel:

And to all of you listening, remember if you ever need a voice acting maestro to bring your AV projects to life, head over to Voice123. com. It's free to use so you can hire voice actors for any project, or you can even get our Managed Services to manage your project from A to Z. We'll be back with another show soon. So watch this space.

AV123 Intro & show blurb
Brittany Nguyen and Quill Podcasting intro
What is brand storytelling?
The role of creative director
Technical skills for creative directors
Using AI post production tools
Other useful editing tools
The importance of creativity and technical skills
How to maintain one’s creativity
How to handle creative differences
How to maintain a creative vision
Voice123 promo
How to ensure stories are compelling and engaging
How to keep up with industry trends
How to measure the success of a project
Brittany’s favorite creative project
The importance of great narration in storytelling
Advice for aspiring creative directors
Outro and Voice123 promo