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How To Research Job Opportunities Before Auditioning

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

June 24, 2011

Comments (8)

Businessman thinking about a decisionDo you audition for every job that comes your way or do you only audition for opportunities that you'd be proud to associate with your name and business?

Some due diligence on your part, especially with brands you are unfamiliar with, can help inform you beforehand when making the decision to audition or not. Understanding how a voice over can impact you personally should factor into this process.

In today's VOX Daily, we'll be discussing the significance of the work you choose to do and provide you with tools to discern opportunities that may prove invaluable to your career.

The Art Of Selection

While auditioning in itself is part of what actors need to do to get work, most talent want to do work that satisfies both their personal interests and business needs. That means being more selective with the jobs that they apply for.

This topic has come up in the past (thinking like an agent, doing work that sits well with you, and so on) but today we're going to look at it from a fresh angle that I trust will prove useful to you when choosing whether or not to audition from a values perspective.

Tips For Discerning and Researching Opportunities

๏ Consider your own perception or opinion of what is being presented and by whom
๏ Carefully read the copy and identify anything that might be misleading or incredible
๏ Do a search online and read reviews of the product, service or company

The points above warrant further exploration. Let's take a look at each one on its own to get a better grasp of why these three tips matter and how they can help clarify decision making.

Perception And Opinion

How do you feel about the opportunity? Do have any preconceived notions about the company, product or service? The way you feel toward the project in general may be enough to help you determine if auditioning is the way to go. Acting can be defined as living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. That being said, imaginary circumstances can be acted out with integrity by using discernment. Disregarding your own convictions simply because there is a dollar to be made is of short term value with the potential of long term implications. Keep in mind that it will be you who is making the compromise, not the company in question, and ultimately it's your decision to participate in the process.

Look For Traps

Does the copy promise the moon? Is it targeted at a demographic that the advertiser may be trying to take advantage of rather than serve? Does anything stand out in the read that makes you feel uncomfortable or mislead? Voice talent do read copy for a living but that doesn't mean you have to read all copy. Be selective in this regard and remember that although the listening audience won't likely know who you are, you do and so will other people who follow your career or employ you.

Researching Unfamiliar Brands

Who hasn't done a Google search to contrast and compare a product or service? Peer reviews, as well as customer reviews, play a large role in helping people decide nowadays whether or not they purchase a product or enlist a service to meet their needs. If you should come across a job promoting a new product or service, see what others have said about their experiences to better gauge how the product is being received by the public.

In a Nielsen survey featuring degrees of consumer trust in a number of forms of advertising (2009), it was revealed that 90% of survey respondents trusted recommendations from people they know while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online. That's significant, isn't it? A company's website turned up third on the list at 70% so if you have limited time to put your ear to the ground, at least consider visiting their online storefront.

Whether the VO is promoting a hotel, computer software, a loaf of bread or an automobile, it's wise to know what the word on the street is so to speak before auditioning.

I realize that the research aspect may be overly time consuming but those who are sensitive to this area of discernment will appreciate this additional tool for crowd-sourcing customer feedback.

What About The Money?

You may have noted that I did not use compensation as one of the tools to evaluate an opportunity. Certainly, you can use the client's budget to help decide, however you may find that being proud of your work and association with the company takes more precedence over the amount of pay.

For instance, a project may not align with your views, yet it pays a handsome sum. If the decision were to be made primarily based upon the money instead of your opinion of the company or your feelings about the project and its copy, the possibility of doing work that you're uncomfortable with becomes a real issue.

On the flip side, if you come across a job that doesn't pay as much as you may think it should, yet you are comfortable with everything else, moving ahead with an audition under those circumstances is also your call. In instances such as the one I just described, be sure to factor in how long it will take you and also what the long term gains could be when choosing to submit an audition.

Jiminy CricketTo quote the lovable Disney character, Jiminy Cricket, "Always let your conscience be your guide."

As noted in the song Jiminy sings, taking the straight and narrow path isn't easy but it does yield the best results.


Any Thoughts?

If you've found this article to be useful or have any tips to add, be sure to comment and join the conversation!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

iStockphoto.com/Jacob Wackerhausen

Related Topics: acting, awards, decisions, discernment, Disney, Google, how to, jobs, voice overs, work


Comments


    ...This is a very powerful article in that the decisions we are making now will continue to follow us throughout our careers--and lives! Recently I discovered that 2 projects I had done over 2 years ago have received new life--a video game that is being re-issued for the iPad, and a documentary that was recently 'picked up' by the Documentary Channel (DirecTV). I'm very happy that these projects were fun and interesting, but I'm MORE pleased that I can say without reservation 'Yes, that's my voice' without trying to explain why I took a project that flies in the face of everything I believe. The money from these 2 projects is long gone and well spent--but the projects themselves just keep going, and going, and going...

    Posted by:

      The choices of project we go after are a reflection of who we are and what we stand for. I have always equated this to being in sales and selling something you love, use, or believe in personally. It's not sales at this point, but more of a natural testimonial, or a referral to a friend. That's much more powerful to speak from the heart with conviction and belief and it comes across to the customer.

      The same holds true with voiceover. When you believe in the topic or product, etc., you naturally deliver from the heart without having to fake it or use techniques to try and sound believeable, which comes through to the listener.

      At the end of the day, this is a business and being a versatile talent with polished acting skills is part of the game for securing work and paying the bills. Fortunately for us there are many, many opportunities out there especially with sites like Voices.com that give us some flexibility in what topics and jobs we choose. Make a choice about what you want and get behind it. You'll be amazed at how many new doors open when you decide not to go through others.

      Ken

      Posted by:

        Great article. I got into this field because I love it. I get a great deal of satisfaction from the work I do and from exceeding a clients expectations. For me, you can't put a price on that. While I would love to land every job out there, it's just not possible, or more importantly, practical. Early in my career I auditioned for way more jobs than I do now because I feel I have found the types of jobs I am better suited for and because there are some jobs I wouldn't feel good about being a part of. I've received some private audition requests which I've respectfully turned down because of this fact.

        No one likes to turn down work but you've got to be true to your niche your values and do what's best for you which in turn is what's best for the client.

        Posted by:

          Wow, this topic is very timely. I just had this conversation today with Scott at Voices.com customer service. We didn't talk about selecting the job based upon personal goals and objectives. But, we did talk about being selective in the audition process. Sending a demo to every job opportunity isn't always the most productive use of your time and skills. After all, our voices shouldn't be wasted on custom demos for projects that aren't even worth the time. And we certainly don't want our voice to be associated with a product that we don't endorse, at least I don't. Sybil Shepperd found out the hard way when she agreed to became the spokesperson for the beef industry then told a national magazine that she didn't eat red meat. We will also always struggle with those that want something "cheap" and compete with those that are comfortable working for "a dollar a holler," as we used to say back in my broadcast days. So, I spend a segment of my day recording custom auditions, a portion researching potential jobs and the companies making the offer, and a bigger portion of day marketing myself through the social networks, personal word of mouth networks, and to anyone who will listen. When I started doing voice overs the Internet was just an idea. Now, it's the second best tool we have, our voice is still the first.

          Posted by:

            In the beginning a person might just try anything once to get a foot in the door then when they become somewhat seasoned they're more selective in choices.

            Posted by:
            • Kevin Johnson
            • July 14, 2011 4:05 PM

              I'd love to truly research the seekers more carefully -- trouble is, if you take too long researching and/or evaluating, you wind up having too many auditions ahead of you in line. And audition number 117 rarely gets reviewed.

              So what I do is make a quick judgement based on the grammar and spelling in the job description and script. For example, if "your" is used in place of "you're," I just delete the job and move on.

              Posted by:

                Dear Stephanie- Thanks for your article on evaluating audition opportunities. I agree with you that it is important that a voice actor not compromise his values in order to get work. I do think it is important to take a minute and look at the evolution of the voiceover business . Before unions and licensed and/or franchised agents began to organize the industry, the voiceactor's talents were undervalued to the extent that it was impossible for most voice actors to earn a liveable income.This changed with time and a lot of years at the bargaining table. Now, with the introduction of sites such as Voices.Com and others, keeping the value of a voice talent up has become an uphill battle. I don't want to come off as anti- VO software sites, in fact, I have referred many brand new VO talent your way. But I do think it is important that VO talent be educated in what the market value of a voice talent is or was( both union and nonunion ) for every category of work .They should also hear the truth about how oversaturated the voiceover market is and how incredibly difficult it is to become established and to earn a living, especially if they continue to undervalue or give away their services.

                Jenny Bosby
                Pastorini-Bosby Talent

                Posted by:

                  Dear Jenny,

                  Thank you very much for commenting and for sharing your perspective on the industry as an agent. I appreciate it! Thank you also for sending aspiring talent and those new to the business our way.

                  To address your point about online marketplaces contributing toward an uphill battle for maintaining the value of a voiceover, Voices.com is doing a lot in terms of helping talent understand what their service offering is and what makes it unique. We also have a minimum budget range that clients must select in order to post a job through the site. Providing education on the industry to both clients posting jobs and talent promoting themselves is a priority for our company. I'm glad we are both on the same page where this area of serving customers is concerned!

                  With regard to rates, every now and then we update a standard rate for voice over on our site. These are non-union rates, however, they are reasonable where the market is concerned and are for dry voice recordings only. We see editing as a separate service as well as production and so on.

                  If you'd like to send us more detailed feedback regarding rates, we'd be happy to take a look and consider what you are using at Pastorini-Bosby. Perhaps you'd like to submit a podcast from an agent's point of view for inclusion on Voice Over Experts?

                  Here's a link to the show for more information:

                  http://podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts

                  I hope you are able to share more of your insight, Jenny.

                  Looking forward to hearing back from you!

                  Best wishes,

                  Stephanie Ciccarelli
                  Co-founder of Voices.com

                  Posted by:

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