By Stephanie Ciccarelli
August 3, 2006
Firsthand account from a voice talent in the director's chair: tips for auditioning that you can't go without.
The following article was sent to me confidentially by one of your colleagues who has used our service to find voice talent for one of their projects.
This perspective is quite telling and may be a source of great insight for many of you reading this post.
Without further ado...
I've been auditioning through Interactive Voices for over a year now, but recently had the opportunity to post a job, since I also run a production company. It gave me a valuable insight into the process of auditioning and submitting, as well as the dynamic between talent and client.
As a service to other talent who are auditioning on a daily basis, I thought I'd share my experience and give you some tips.
1) If a job asks for an audition, audition the copy provided. If you don't have time to audition, don't send your commercial demo. You won't be considered. Clients have a very difficult time making the leap from your demo to their copy.
2) If a job gives you a description or direction, follow it. If you don't match the casting specs, don't embarrass yourself or waste your or the client's time by attempting to cast yourself in a role that's obviously not even close to what they're looking for. For instance, if they ask for a young, 20-ish voice, don't audition if you're 50+. Be objective enough about your voice to pass on an audition that's not right for you.
3) If a client asks you to label a file in a specific way, follow the instructions to the letter, literally and figuratively. Every casting director has his or her own way of managing file names, and if you don't pay close attention to the template they give you, you can rest assured your audition won't be considered. If the template shows a dash, use a dash, not an underscore.
If the template shows all caps or upper and lower case lettering, follow the template! The reasoning is simple: If you can't follow labeling directions, you won't be able to follow real ones in a session! Also, if the client gives you a file labeling template like BJones-Annc.mp3, with your information, don't be an idiot and label it BJones-Annc.mp3. I work with agents all over the country, and they can't believe that they constantly get submissions labeled with the template they gave their talent instead of the talent's name!
4) If a client asks you to slate your name at the top, just slate your name. Don't give your phone number, don't give the client name, don't give a pitch! As long as your name is labeled correctly on the file, that's enough information!
5) If you're using this service, you should know that there are a lot of voice actors out there with great equipment in their home studios, with a great sound. Remember that you're competing with a lot of professionals who've been in the business a long time, so your sound needs to be competitive. Send some of your sound files to people you know in the business who can give you feedback (no pun intended) and constructive criticism about the sound you're getting out of your microphone. Bottom line: if your audition sounds like crap, forget about being considered for any job.
6) If you're auditioning daily, but you've never taken any formal training in voice acting I strongly suggest you do so. I heard many talent give totally inappropriate deliveries, as if they had no clue as to how to approach the script. It's more than just following direction; it's all about knowing how to follow direction, so you can give the client exactly what they're looking for.
7) If a job asks you to submit a specific demo, i.e. Commercial, Narration, Audiobook, make sure the demos you've posted on Interactive Voices are competitive. If you want templates, go to www.voicebank.net to hear hundreds of V-O demos from V-O agencies across the country. If your demos don't sound like these, you better think twice about submitting yourself for a job.
8) There were a range of bids offered in the budget category, some at the top of the range, many in the middle and surprisingly, many below the low end of the range. Of the factors that determine who is hired--voice, quote, turnaround time, studio equipment. etc.--I will honestly say that it's the actor's voice that matters most, and most importantly, how well the person acts. You can have the most beautiful voice in the world, but if you can't act, you won't get the job or last very long in this business.
9) Check your sound levels before submitting your audition. We heard a number of auditions that were barely audible, level-wise, or sounded awful, fidelity-wise. If you can't be objective as to the way your setup sounds, send a file to a friend and get their feedback. We even had a couple of auditions that didn't make it, i.e., there was an error in posting. We made those people aware of the problem, and hope they arranged to fix it.
10) If you think that submitting your audition immediately is important, in this case, at least, it wasn't. We waited until all the auditions were in to make our final choice.
I hope this information helps some of you out there who really want to be successful in voice acting. I'm sure you want your efforts and expenditure in time and money to pay off. By making yourself more competitive in this very crowded, talented side of show business, you might have a chance of succeeding.
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