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A Spotlight on the Nitty Gritty of Auditioning

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

July 26, 2010

Comments (9)

Microphone on a stoolFinding the right person to work with comes down to more than just a demo and a quote... sometimes what matters most is how you present yourself.

Even though you work in an audio medium, part of how you promote yourself and communicate includes the words you use to earn someone's business.

Find out how you can make your proposals more appealing in today's VOX Daily.

Does This Sound Like You?

Your voice and interpretations are spot on. You are consistently auditioning and reply within a couple hours of receiving a job notification. The majority of your quotes fall within the client's budget range. Sometimes you include multiple takes in one audition to go the extra mile.

If a great read, a quote within the client's budget range and auditioning for the client early on aren't doing it, perhaps it's the proposal that needs some work. After all, it's one more factor involved in the process that does count for something!

Here are some ideas that you might be able to put to use.

Personalizing the Proposal

You'd never guess how far some simple personalization can take your audition. Addressing the client by name in the greeting is one of the easiest and most critical steps you can take to personalize a proposal. Also, be sure that if you are using audition templates for your proposal that you personalize other areas and clearly state such things that might in theory appear obvious, such as "I recorded a sample from your script." One of the drawbacks of the audio medium is that you can't really "preview" it before you listen and unless you spell it out for a client, they may assume you have sent a stock demo, especially if the proposal included with your audition appears to be generic and unrelated to their specific project and needs.

Becoming Relevant to the Client

Say something specific to the client about why you want to work for them and record their voice over (remember, this is their baby so they may want to feel an emotional connection with your reasons for wanting to record). Mentioning something of particular note that relates to them is a great way to connect and become memorable, however if the client is not addressed by their name (as was recommended above), this strategy becomes less effective than it could be. You don't have to write them a sonnet, just a sentence or so that sets you apart while connecting with the heart of the project. People make decisions with more than just their pocketbooks and their ears.

Reassuring the Client

Affirm that you are able to meet their needs as outlined in their job posting. If they say something like, "I need this done by phone patch," include the fact that you can do so in your proposal. It may seem redundant but it is affirming on the client end knowing that you are on the same page. Similarly, if the client wants a particular sound, let them know that your audio sample bears the sound they asked for. The client has revealed their most pressing needs in the posting. Be sure to identify and acknowledge those needs by briefly reassuring the client of your ability to meet their needs as requested.

Taking Care With Each Submission

When you're auditioning and have the convenience of using a template, it can be easy to go on autopilot. Be careful to customize templates or edit parts out of a template on the fly that don't directly relate to the client you are auditioning for at the moment. For instance, let's say you were auditioning for a movie trailer voice over but the template you chose to use was recording telephone voice prompts. If you're not careful and don't edit the template, the client may get the impression that not only is your reply a stock response but that you may not even know what you auditioned for in the first place.

Parting Words

Coming from someone who has had the privilege of receiving and reviewing hundreds of auditions during the past 6 years, something I consistently observed was the need for greater personalization in proposals with a more obvious affirmation that the voice talent could meet specific requirements.

While auditioning in itself may seem like the only affirmation necessary for someone who is as gifted as they are professional, a little extra goes a long way in building that trust with a person you don't know from Adam.

When you choose to make a personal connection, what you're really doing is showing interest in their work and answering a knock at the door... and in doing so, are planting the seeds for a successful business relationship.

Any Tips You'd Like to Share?

Have any insight to add? I'm always interested to hear about what works for you when auditioning. Also, if you've found that some of the tips above made a difference for you, I'd love to hear about it!

Looking forward to your reply.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Gerville Hall

Related Topics: acting, auditioning, budget, proposals, quote, voice overs, Voices.com


Comments


    Thanks for this, Stephanie. In our rush to audition and complete ongoing jobs as well, we may forget to give the prospective client the personal attention he or she is due. Though we may feel like a verbal assembly line at times, we have to remember that the client only hears the one thing we do for them. The way we present ourselves in our written introduction may color the way our audition is perceived. Best to be friendly.

    Posted by:

      Great article....this is exactly what I'm teaching in my current workshop so I don't want to give all my secrets away in an article, but i just want to reaffirm what Stephanie has so elequently put.....

      THE COVER LETTER AND THE AUDITION are all about the client, not you - so make it be about them and there are MANY ways you can do that. Put yourself in the clients shoes and remember they may be hearing from 100 or more of you on this particular project.

      When was the last time you forked out hundreds and thousands of dollars to put together a production? Think their way - not yours, but be true to your personalities. Those cover letters are more important than you know.

      It's great sales

      Thanks for sharing Steph - you're the best

      All my best
      Deb Munro
      My Voice, Your Way!
      www.Debsvoice.com
      deb@debsvoice.com

      Posted by:

        Stephanie, I just read this article on personalizing the proposal today. Thank you! I've always felt that it would be a good idea to add a personal touch, but often wondered if it would appear to be pandering or "kissing up" to the client....

        Thanks for reaffirming that it's OK to go beyond the basics.

        Posted by:
        • Peggy James-Thornby
        • July 29, 2010 10:45 AM

          Absolutely great advice.

          Interesting happening this morning after I finished an educational gig.

          I had started working at a big Boston studio off a client request from Ireland three years ago. Studio CEO has often told me that he and the staff like my friendly attitude and accuracy in the booth. Today he also added, "We now consider you our # 1 voice for educational projects." Really felt great.

          We've never met but I consider you a supportive " e-friend" who also appreciates how important having the right proposal - and attitude - is and not just a terrific set of pipes.

          Cheers!

          Dave C.

          Posted by:

            Thanks, Stephanie, for clarifying some stuff I'd been wondering about. Like Peggy, I haven't been quite sure whether to trust my instincts on adding those personal touches to the covers. Your article answered a persistent and bothersome question for me!

            Posted by:
            • Victoria Randlett
            • August 10, 2010 1:11 PM

              Thanks Stephanie, these are all great points about the audition process. I have a question. Lately I feel rushed to submit my auditions. I will send a proposal within minutes of receiving the notice and there will already be 5 - 10 demos submitted for a job. You give lots of great tips for auditions such as finding the character and sending more than one read. How are people doing this so quickly? Are these the people who don't send a custom demo? It feels like a race to get an audition in early.

              Posted by:
              • Jill Tarnoff
              • August 12, 2010 9:04 AM

                Stephanie! That was VERY useful! I just read it today for the first time, only to realize how easy it is to go on auto-pilot after you've submitted the n-th audition! It's simple solutions and clear thinking that often bring the best results. Thanks for the insight!

                Posted by:

                  Templates are time-savers but they prevent personalisation. Of course they can always be modified but has the time to do that?

                  Here's the rub: so many people rush to be first in line when sending in an audition, that they just click "send" without personalizing their message or demo. That's one of the side-effects of a cyber cattle call. We all want to be in that first group of 10-20 talents responding to that job.

                  Plus: personalization seems to be on its way out. Who hasn't received automated invitations to connect on LinkeIn or requests to become facebook friends?

                  I have three words for that: inconsiderate, lazy and disrespectful.

                  If you want to be outstanding, you have to stand out in all aspects of the way you present yourself. This still is a people-business. Personalization is key!

                  Posted by:

                    If your competition (other talent) are rushing to get their auditions in, complete with their quick, impersonal template-generated proposals, what is going to make your proposal stand-out when you "get in line?" Ours is a people business, and, if you wish for repeat business with any client, you work to build a relationship--make the time to craft a personalized proposal. It doesn't have to be a novel, but it does have to make an impression!

                    Posted by:

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